Women and Wearing a Gun
It can be difficult to find a holster that works well for a woman, and this is definitely an area where one size does not fit all...a holster that works for a man most likely will not work for a woman. For one thing, we are shaped differently (we have curves they don't have); for another, our torsos are typically not as long which means the grip of the gun in a holster that fits a man can be nearly under a woman's armpit – this is not only uncomfortable, but it makes it quite difficult to draw the gun.
It is important to have a holster which is a custom fit to your specific gun. A custom fit holster holds your gun securely in place without a retention strap. For self-defense carry you do not want a retention button or strap as it will slow you down should you need your firearm...in a panic it's nearly impossible to get that retention strap off, or depress the button enough, so as to draw your firearm. This custom fit also assures your firearm is exactly where you need it (not moved or rotated) should you need it. A proper and safe holster will completely cover the trigger of the firearm so it cannot accidentally be bumped or snagged. A proper and safe holster will have a reinforced opening – this makes it possible to re-holster one handed, which is important in a self-defense application. A proper and safe holster will allow you to draw it without pointing the barrel at any part of your own body or anyone else standing near you. A proper and safe holster enables you to get a proper grip on your firearm in order to safely and properly draw your gun.
There are only two holsters I wear and recommend to my students, the
Mitch Rosen Clipper leather holster and Justin Lewis Custom Kydex holsters. Both meet my criteria in the above paragraph.
Mitch Rosen makes a number of very fine leather holsters and I have tried different ones – only the Clipper (CLP) is thin enough for me for concealment. Mitch Rosen's leather holsters are not in the same category of holsters you can buy retail, his holsters are custom made, have steal reinforced openings that make it so you can reholster one-handed and keeps the leather from collapsing into the trigger guard. I have worn mine almost daily for the last six years and it has held up exceptionally well.
Dr. Justin Lewis makes custom kydex holsters. They are very thin (even thinner than the Mitch Rosen CLP), yet very strong. Once made, they permanently retain their shape. He makes both inside the waistband (IWB) and outside the waistband (OWB). There are a lot of people making kydex holsters, including large companies that make assembly line holsters, but none compare to Justin's holsters. The workmanship and quality of his holsters is unlike anything I've ever seen. He does a lot of things that make his holsters more beautiful, better quality, and easier to wear than any other kydex holster I've seen or tried.
Justin has made a number of holsters for OPD team members and students, which you can see here. He can customize a great deal, including colors (see color options here).
To see more of his holsters, go to his website and click “Recent Work.” The photos of the colors and holsters are nothing like seeing them in person, they are quite beautiful.
To order one of his holsters, go to his website and click Store, then Shop Products, and on that page you can choose your options.
He started making holsters five years ago because he couldn’t find a holster that met his needs...most of us who carry have experienced this same thing, and most of us have a “holster drawer” with a lot of money’s worth of holsters that just don’t work. His holsters work, are comfortable, and as I’ve mentioned, they're beautiful. If you’re looking for a good quality holster, please check him out. He does not have a storefront but is local to Oklahoma City metro. His website makes it easy to custom create your holster.
A word about comfort...
It takes some time wearing a holster for it to become comfortable. For the first 2-3 weeks of total time wearing it, it WILL feel uncomfortable, especially if you're not used to wearing a gun. This is because you’ve not worn a gun on your person before so it feels like you’ve got a rock in a stiff box on your side. It also takes some time to figure out the right spot to place it. I wear mine with the front of the holster right in line with the back of my front jeans pocket. Sometimes even a little movement forward and back from that will make a difference.
A sturdy belt is a MUST, thin belts like most women wear will not support a gun, and not wearing a belt will not support the gun at all. Mitch Rosen has beautiful reinforced gun belts. You can also get a sturdy leather belt at a place like Kohl's. Go to the men’s section, women’s belts are not sturdy enough. Remember you’re not making a fashion statement so you want something that’s thick and wide and strong enough with a good buckle to support a gun...very important.
Give it time ladies, don't give up when you first put a holster on and it feels like you've got an alien attached to your hip, I promise you'll get used to it!
OPD Founder and Lead Instructor
Gun wearer for more years than I care to mention (lest you think I'm old)