Holster Safety: 4 Simple Rules To Follow

Holster Safety: 5 Rules To Follow [For Everyone]

It’s a painful truth that –

Most folks out there don’t really care about gun safety.

They’ve got their heater. They’ve got some holster from Walmart to carry it in.

And they’re done.

If you’re reading this, I can already safely say that you’re already well above the average when it comes to gun owners in the US.

So, let’s talk about holster safety basics.

I mean, nobody wants an accidental discharge while reaching for their wallet at the grocery store checkout line, right?

In this section, I’ll cover different types of holsters, proper wear and draw techniques (so you don’t shoot your foot off), and common mistakes to avoid.

This way, you can confidently strut around town with your trusty sidearm without causing panic or ending up on YouTube as “that guy.”

So buckle up buttercup; it’s time to learn how not to be a danger to yourself or others when carrying concealed.

1. Holster Safety Basics

A. Proper Wear Techniques

To avoid any mishaps while carrying, follow these tips:

  1. Choose the right holster for your body type and firearm: Make sure it fits snugly on your belt or waistband and securely holds your gun in place.
  2. Cover it up if carrying concealed: Dress appropriately to ensure proper concealment of your weapon. Loose-fitting shirts or jackets work well over IWB or OWB holsters; longer coats can help cover shoulder rigs.
  3. Avoid printing: Printing is when the outline of your gun shows through clothing – not a good look. Adjust holster position, cant (angle), or ride height as needed to minimize this issue.

B. Safe Draw Techniques

Drawing from a holster safely takes practice.

I recommend practicing at home with an unloaded firearm until you’re confident in these steps:

  1. Firm grip: Grip the handgun high on its backstrap ensuring no part of your hand is below where the slide moves during firing.
  2. Finger off trigger: Your finger should rest along the frame above trigger guard until sights are aligned on target – no exceptions.
  3. Straight draw: As you draw, keep the muzzle pointed downrange and avoid sweeping any part of your body or others nearby.
  4. Sights on target: Bring the gun up to eye level, align sights with target, then (and only then) place finger on trigger ready to fire if necessary.

C. Common Mistakes To Avoid

Avoid these common holster safety blunders:

  • Finger on trigger during draw: Keep that booger hook off the bang switch until you’re ready to shoot.
  • Muzzle sweeping: Don’t point your gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy – this includes yourself and innocent bystanders while drawing from a holster.
  • Poor retention: Your firearm should be secure in its holster; if it’s loose or wobbly, consider adjusting tension screws or upgrading holsters altogether.

Now that we’ve covered some basics let’s move onto choosing the right holster for you in our next section.

2. Drawing from a Holster Safely

Having established the necessary prerequisites and selected an appropriate holster, let’s now focus on drawing your firearm safely to avoid becoming “that guy” at the range who shoots himself in the foot. Trust me, you don’t want to be “that guy” at the range who accidentally shoots himself in the foot.

A. Mastering Your Grip

The first step in drawing safely is getting a solid grip on your gun while it’s still holstered. This might seem obvious, but I’ve seen too many people fumble with their guns during practice draws.

  • Finger off the trigger: Keep your finger straight and outside of the trigger guard until you’re ready to shoot.
  • High-tang grip: Get as high up on the backstrap as possible for better control and recoil management.
  • Palm contact: Ensure full contact between your palm and grip for maximum stability.

B. Clearing Your Cover Garment (If Applicable)

If you’re carrying concealed, chances are you have some sort of cover garment obstructing access to your holster. You’ll need to clear this out of the way before attempting a draw – unless looking like an awkward magician is part of your self-defense strategy?

  1. Lift or sweep away any clothing covering your gun using one hand only (usually support hand).
  2. Maintain positive control over clothing so it doesn’t interfere with drawing or reholstering later on.

Always bear in mind to exercise secure drawing from a holster, and keep your digit away from the trigger until you are prepared to fire. Ensuring your holster is well-maintained can help it last for many years of use.

3. Maintaining Your Holster

Having obtained your ideal holster, let’s now discuss the essential steps for preserving it and ensuring safe gun handling.

Maintaining your holster is crucial for both its longevity and ensuring safe gun handling. Let’s look at ways to maintain your holster for optimal performance and safe handling.

Cleaning Your Holster

The first step in maintaining any good relationship is keeping things clean (I’m talking about holsters here, folks). Whether you’re rocking a leather or Kydex-style firearm holder, dirt and debris can accumulate over time.

  • Leather: For leather holsters, use a damp cloth to gently wipe away surface grime. Avoid using harsh chemicals or soaking the material – nobody likes a soggy holster. After cleaning, apply leather conditioner to keep it supple and prevent cracking.
  • Kydex & Other Materials: With non-leather options like Kydex or nylon holsters, warm soapy water will do the trick. Just make sure you rinse thoroughly and allow them to air dry completely before reholstering your gun – we don’t want any accidental rust forming on our precious firearms.

Side note: See also our complete guide on holster materials, with in-depth comparisons and pros & cons. 

Routinely Inspect for Wear & Tear

We all know that life happens: things wear out eventually (just ask my favorite pair of jeans).

Your holster isn’t immune either; inspect it regularly for signs of damage such as fraying edges or cracked materials. If something looks off, address the issue immediately – it’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with concealed carry situations.

Check Retention & Adjust as Needed

One of the most important aspects of a good holster is its ability to keep your gun securely in place. Over time, retention may loosen or tighten depending on use and wear.

  • Screw-based Retention: If you have a screw-based system, simply adjust the screws until you achieve the desired level of retention. Remember not to overtighten – we don’t want any stripped threads.
  • Molded Retention: For molded holsters, applying heat (like with a hairdryer) can help soften the material enough for minor adjustments. Be cautious though – too much heat could damage your holster beyond repair.

Lubricate Moving Parts

If your holster has moving parts like clips or buttons, make sure they’re functioning smoothly by applying some lubricant periodically. A little gun oil goes a long way in keeping things running like clockwork.

Paying Attention to Your Firearm’s Finish

Last but certainly not least: keep an eye on how your firearm looks after being holstered repeatedly.

If you notice excessive wear on the finish where it contacts the holster material, consider using something softer like suede lining or switching to another type of holster material altogether.

A Final Word On Holster Maintenance

Your relationship with your trusty sidekick doesn’t end once it’s attached at your hip; proper care and maintenance are essential for ensuring safe gun handling and a long-lasting partnership.

So, remember to clean your holster regularly, inspect for wear and tear, adjust retention as needed, lubricate moving parts if necessary, and keep an eye on your firearm’s finish. Follow these steps diligently – after all, we’re talking about the safety of you and those around you.

It is important to maintain your holster in order to ensure its longevity and proper functioning. To further protect yourself, it’s also essential to know which holsters should be avoided for safety reasons.

Key Takeaway: 


To ensure safe and reliable use of your firearm, it is crucial to maintain your holster. This includes cleaning it regularly using appropriate methods for the material, inspecting it for signs of wear or damage, avoiding common mistakes that can damage it, and maintaining proper retention through tightening screws and investing in a quality model designed specifically for your firearm. Remember: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

4. Holsters To Avoid For Safety Reasons

Let’s talk about some holsters that you should avoid for safety reasons. It’s important to keep our guns and ourselves safe, so let’s take a look at some holsters that could pose a risk.

Avoid BlackHawk Serpa Holsters

The BlackHawk Serpa holster has been known to cause negligent discharges due to its design. The retention mechanism requires you to press a button with your trigger finger while drawing your gun. This can lead to accidentally pulling the trigger when under stress or moving quickly. Many law enforcement agencies and shooting instructors have banned this type of holster from their training courses because of these issues.

Cheap Universal Fabric Holsters: Just Say No.

  • No proper fit: These one-size-fits-all fabric holsters are often poorly designed and don’t provide an adequate fit for most firearms.
  • Poor retention: A loose gun in a cheap universal holster can easily fall out during movement or even just daily activities.
  • Lack of protection: They usually lack any real structure or padding which means there’s nothing protecting your firearm from scratches and dings.

If you value both safety and keeping your firearm in good condition, it’s best to steer clear of these budget-busting disasters.

Small Of Back Holsters: A Recipe For Disaster

Small of back holsters might look cool and seem like a great way to conceal your firearm, but they can be downright dangerous. If you take a tumble and land on your gun (which is positioned right over your spine), you could seriously injure yourself. Drawing from this position often requires an awkward motion that can lead to fumbling or even worse – pointing the muzzle at yourself during the draw.

If safety is your top priority, then avoid small of back holsters.

The Importance Of Proper Retention

A holster with proper retention will keep your firearm securely in place until you intentionally decide to draw it. This means no accidental falls or slips while moving around throughout the day. It also helps prevent unauthorized access by curious hands – something we all want to avoid.

To ensure optimal retention, choose a holster specifically designed for your make and model of firearm. And remember: practice makes perfect. Regularly train with drawing from and re-holstering into your chosen rig so that muscle memory kicks in when needed most.

Safety First When Choosing Your Holster

In summary, there are some definite no-nos when it comes to choosing a safe holster for carrying concealed:

  1. Avoid BlackHawk Serpa holsters due to their negligent discharge risk.
  2. Steer clear of cheap universal fabric holsters that offer poor retention and protection.
  3. Don’t be tempted by small of back holsters, as they pose a serious injury risk.

Your holster is an essential part of your concealed carry setup. By avoiding these unsafe options and focusing on proper fit, retention, and draw technique, you’ll be well on your way to carrying safely and confidently.

Key Takeaway: 


When it comes to choosing a safe holster for carrying concealed, there are certain types of holsters that you should avoid. BlackHawk Serpa holsters can cause negligent discharges due to their design, while cheap universal fabric holsters and small of back holsters offer poor retention and pose serious injury risks. It’s important to prioritize safety by choosing a properly fitting holster with proper retention and draw technique.


Overall, following these five rules for holster safety is crucial for all gun owners, especially beginners. Choosing the right holster and maintaining it properly can prevent accidents, while drawing from a holster safely requires practice and discipline. It’s also important to avoid holsters that compromise safety.

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