How To Avoid Buying Holsters That Won’t Work | Armed And Styled

Sometimes, finding the right holster for your gun can make you feel like Cinderella and her slipper, as Tessah from Armed and Styled [YouTube channel] says. But it doesn’t have to be a Sisyphean task. Tessah takes us through the key features to look for in a holster and how to avoid the dreaded box of misfit holsters.

Tessah from Armed and Styled discusses things to consider with a holster
What are the main things to consider when looking for a holster? (Photo: Armed and Styled)

It used to be that you had to try all sorts of holsters before you could find one that magically fits you. But there is more than just finding the right fit; it’s also about not wasting your money to find that right holster. Tessah’s advice for finding the right holster is to do your research before buying anything.

There is so much information available now on key features and concealment issues that it would be silly to buy something without at least doing some research. According to her, if you don’t take the time on the front end, you’ll continue down the line to the box of shame. She said the easiest way to start the process is by watching review videos.

What are the main things to consider when looking for a holster?

  1. Safety
  2. Concealment features
  3. Efficient design
  4. Budget

The items Tessah covers in the video are all in relation to appendix carry, specifically between 10-2. The process will take time and you shouldn’t rush it, especially the customization of the holster after you receive it. There is a lot more to the idea of successful concealment than buying the right holster. She said it is a lot like fitting a prosthetic.


The first thing to consider with a holster is if it is safe, and what features make the holster safe. It must have hard trigger coverage on both sides of the trigger, appropriate retention, reliable access to the gun, and an open mouth. The first point of trigger coverage is self-explanatory.

The topic of holster retention deals with pressure-type retention, not active retention like a button. Retention can be fixed or adjustable with pressure. There are ways to test the retention as well such as shaking, but that isn’t reliable. The best way to test retention is to make sure the firearm is unloaded and do normal active movements such as jumping jacks.

In regards to the holster having an open mouth, it means that the holster will not collapse in on itself when the gun has been drawn. If the holster collapses in on itself, it will be nearly impossible to reholster without flagging or muzzling yourself. And we all know that that is a violation of one of the universal gun safety rules.

Collapsed holster mouths
A major safety issue is a holster mouth that collapses once the gun is drawn. It’s nearly impossible to reholster without muzzling yourself.

The last thing for safety is to have consistent access to the firearm. The idea behind this is that there is nothing in the holster that would interfere with the wearer getting to the gun when necessary.

Concealment Features

So, what goes into a quality holster? The holster is going to have concealment features that aid the user in successfully carrying. The items will work with pressure like a belt or Enigma, but a quality holster will also have:

  • Wing(s)
  • Built-in or aftermarket holster wedges
  • Additional holster length

Now, as Tessah explains, not all wings are created equal. Quality wings, like a mod wing, dark wing, or raven wing, for example, will have two points of contact (holes) for attaching to the clip or belt. The wing works by pressing against the belt or Enigma and pushing the grip of the gun toward the body to help mitigate grip printing.

Holster wings
Not all holster wings are created equal. Tessah recommends using wings that have two points of contact with the holster. This will help push the gun toward the wearer’s body.

The idea behind why you need additional holster length is for additional comfort when wearing the gun. It helps keep the firearms from tipping away from the body and creating painful hotspots. If the gun tips it causes the grip or sight to print, along with the muzzle digging into the body causing a hotspot. It’s about giving a larger surface area to mitigate the spots, making the holster feel more like a push against the body instead of a poke.

Tessah touches briefly on the topic of built-in holster wedges saying that some of the best holsters out there—PHLSter, Henry, and Tenicor—utilize built-in holster wedges. The end user can also make or buy a wedge after the fact if they need it for concealment.

Efficient Design

No one wants the holster to counteract the concealment that the user is going for. That’s why efficient design is important. The user will want a holster that will help keep the gun in place, obviously not add to printing, and be comfortable. If you have a wider holster or one with an attached magazine holster, it will require more force to rotate the grip. These are just a few things to consider with the design.

Holster customization
The last thing to remember with a holster is the important customization period. Adjusting the ride height of the holster can make a world of difference in carrying comfortably.


Buying a quality holster can come with a little bit of sticker shock. But it comes down to getting what you paid for. Quality gear will last a lot longer than cheaper gear, generally. Tessah estimates that a quality setup will cost the user anywhere from $90 on the low end up to around $200 on the high end, especially if you’re buying a belt along with the holster. She recommends Dark Star Gear, JM Custom Kydex, PHLster, and Henry Holsters.

Research is so important when it comes to buying a new holster. Not every person is going to need all the concealment features on the market, but they won’t know that until they do their research and go through the customization process, which is the most difficult part.  Most people will need to go through the customization period for concealment success, and the effort is necessary to do it right. From adjusting the ride height of the holster to the possibility of wedge usage to the clothes and placement, it’s important to be comfortable when carrying. But if you consider the key points Tessah brings up, you can avoid the box of shame.

Patti Miller is one of the most awesome females in the tactical/firearm (or any) industry. Imagine a tall, hawt, dangerous Laura Ingalls Wilder type with cool hair and a suppressed blaster and you'll be getting the idea. What's interesting is that in addition to being a willing brawler and intrepid adventuress, she's also an Ent/Ogier level gardener and a truly badass baker.


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