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Here is our glossary (so far) - If you have any questions, suggestions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ambidextrous Holster -
A Holster That is made for both left and right hand shooters and can be carried on either side of the body.
Appendix Carry / Appendix Inside The Waistband / AIWB -
A type of Holster that is made to be worn inside the waistband (against your body and on the inside of your pants against your belt and is over the appendix area of your body (to the right side of your belly button). It has many advantages such as a fast draw, more comfort and better concealment and these type of holsters are one of the most comfortable and popular ways to carry.
AIWB is the acronym for Appendix Inside The Waistband -
Belt Holster -
Any Holster that is meant to be worn on a belt, this could be inside the waistband or outside the waistband. Usually worn with belt loops, clips or other forms of attachments such as soft loops. Belt holsters are on the belt opposed to other types of holsters like ankle holsters, shoulder holsters, chest rigs etc.
Boltaron is an extruded sheet material with very similar working and performance characteristics to Kydex. It is used as an alternative to Kydex by some of the largest holster makers in the world. It is a proprietary, fire retardant, extruded PVC/Acrylic alloy produced by SIMONA a company out of Ohio. It has many uses outside of holster making as it is such a versatile material due to its higher heat and cold tolerances more so than Kydex. It is becoming more popular in the Holster world due to its strength and versatility and its wide variety of colors and patterns.
Belt loops are a way for a Holster to be worn on the belt, there are many forms of belt loops available now, closed loops which the belt must be thread through which could be made of plastic or soft loops which come with a button fastener that can be opened and unclipped then looped around the belt and then sealed by being pushed together to close the fastener, this makes for easy taking the holster on and off the belt quickly, the downside to other closed loops designs is the holster is not as easy to take off as you must thread and unthread the belt to take the holster on and off.
Cant - Not to be confused with can't. No cant refers to the angle of which the butt of the gun is angled at for a different draw position from a 4 o'clock carry. Some holsters have adjustable cant so the user can decide which angle the gun is angled at.
The cant is measured in degrees and is anything which is off the gun being 0 degrees - vertical.
The FBI has a cant anywhere between 10 and 20 degrees off vertical. Some people even prefer a bigger cant such as 30 degrees. Most people like it as they feel they can get a better draw reaching backwards towards their hip but its personal preference and your shoulder flexibility plays a part too. It all comes down to the user and what works for you.
Concealment Claw -
A concealment claw is used on an inside the waistband holster to push the butt of the gun in towards the body by acting as a resistance against the inside of your belt, this pushes the butt which can print and show through your clothing in towards the body more keeping it more concealed and out of sight. Claws come in all shapes and sizes and different makers use different variations but they all serve the same purpose.
Cross draw holster -
A less popular type of holster but it can be inside or outside the waistband and it is when you carry your gun on your weak side the opposite side of your dominant hand where most people carry their guns, like the name suggests to draw your weapon you reach across your body to your weak side to draw.
Drop Leg Holster
A Drop Leg Holster is a type of holster that is worn below the belt line on the thigh area secured by a thigh strap that goes around the leg and attaches to the belt.
You will often see police officers and military wear this type of holster this is if they are wearing body armor or kit the holster would be obstructed on the belt line and not as easy to draw, therefore the drop leg holster puts the gun a bit lower where their hands would naturally fall by their sides defeating any gear they are wearing. These holsters are also becoming more popular with civillians enjoying outdoor or competition shooting or firearms training classes.
Safariland and G Code Holsters make drop leg holster quick on and off mounting systems such as the QLS line by Safari Land and RTI mounting system by G-Code this allows the holster to be taken off the thigh quickly and easily with a manipulation of the system, the knock on drop legs are if you are in and out of vehicles they can become a bit tiresome.
EDC - Every day carry is a mindset and way of life, it is a bit of an extension to concealed carry, it refers to tools and objects that the carrier has decided to carry with them every day to be prepared for whatever life throws at them. It is a ready and prepared mind set the necessities you can not live without. EDC items are often things such as - Carry weapon of choice, Flashlights, Knives, Multitools, First Aid Kid med pouches, Tourniquets. These can also extend to choice of wallet, phone, sunglasses and other every day essentials. People in the "EDC Community" love to share their pocket dump and Every Day Carry items.
Gun belt - A belt specifically made to accommodate the weight of a holster and gun. It could be leather or a nylon type material, EDC belts are becoming more common and Cobra buckle style gun belts are becoming more common place. Blue Alpha Gear make some of the best gun belts out there.
A regular belt most of the time will not cut it and will sag and not support the weight of the holster and gun. Gun belts are usually thicker, more rigid and sturdy and made to take the weight of the gun and any other tools the wearer has decided to carry on the belt possibly a multitool, flashlight, taser, pepper spray and radio if law enforcement. These belts are thicker and made for the purpose and because of that a lot more comfortable to wear a gun with. The importance of a good gun belt is paramount.
Gun belts come in 2 belt heights 1.5" and 1.75"
1.75" is more of a duty belt size for military or law enforcement. These belts are to bear the weight of more gear than just a gun and holster, and because of the height a 1.75" belt wont fit through most normal pants belt loops, 1.5" is most common and ideal for EDC as it will fit through most of your pant belt loops.
Competition Gun belts also have inner and outer belts, there are duty belts, "war belts" and many other varieties. Cobra are becoming the most popular EDC belts for their quick on off ability with the Cobra buckle.
Hybrid Holsters are Holsters made of 2 different types of materials such as a leather backing to go against the body combined with Kydex shell to cover the gun. Alien Gear and Cross breed are some of the most popular Hybrid Holster makers.
Inside The Waistband -
A popular holster carry method designed for the gun and holster to be worn inside the waistband, it is mainly preferred for increased concealment over comfort, it keeps the gun closer to the body by being on the inside of the waistband of your pants, it keeps the gun close and pushes against the inside of your belt. The holster attaches to the belt usually by a clip that goes over the belt.
Kydex Holster -
Kydex is the king of the holster world and for good reason!
Kydex is a thermoplastic widely used to make holsters. The material is heated up and then formed to the shape of the gun giving the holster a very accurate and great fit of the gun and whatever light is mounted, this also gives the holster great retention and produces the famous audible click when the trigger guard clicks into place with the holster. Kydex comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns and designs.
Magazine Carrier -
Like the name suggests it is made to carry a spare magazine, think of it as a holster for a magazine, these can be made from a wide variety of materials such as kydex, leather, nylon.
There are individual magazine carriers that can attach to your belt or go in your pocket in a variety of ways via a clip or loop. There are other types of mag carriers that can attach to a belt, plate carrier, vest or anything else using MOLLE.
The NEO mag is an interesting mag carrier which consists of a magnet and pocket clip, the magazine then attaches to the NEO mag magnetically and you can slide the spare mag into a pocket.
Magazine carriers can also be integrated into Holsters such as a side car design by which a spare magazine is in place via a mag carrier in the holster itself.
You will see a lot of military running mag carriers on their chest rig of their plate carrier for quick access.
Mod Wing - A slightly different design of a concealment claw, but it serves the same purpose of other Claws, it's designed to be mounted below the trigger guard and push against the belt to pull the grip of the gun closer to the body. People often mistakenly call mod wings claws and claws mod wings as they serve the same purpose.
Outside the Waistband Holster (OWB Holster):
An Outside the Waistband Holster or OWB for short is a type of holster designed to be worn outside of the waistband the opposite of inside the waistband holsters, it is on the outside of your belt and usually attached via loops a clip design here would not suffice as the holster could fall off the belt, clips work for inside the waistband because the holster is also held in place via pressure against the body. These holsters are on the outside of the belt and your pants therefore they are a lot more comfortable, but with comfort you lose some concealibility.
There are pancake style OWB holsters that are designed for the gun to be super tight and close to the body as tight and flat as possible but most still print and require a layer or two to hide.
People who open carry will most likely use an OWB holster.
Other types of Outside The waistband holsters are range / competition holsters that may be worn outside the waistband on the hip usually outdoors and drawn from the hip and not from concealment.
Most people carry the 4 o'clock position with OWB.
A Paddle Holster is type of OWB holster that attaches to the waistband with a paddle-shaped attachment that slides inside the pants.
The advantage to this is they can be taken on and off quickly. The downside to other OWB holsters are they are usually closed belt loops and cannot be taken off and on as fast as a Paddle Holster it is the quickest on/off OWB design.
Pocket Holster -
As the name suggests it is a holster made to go inside the pocket, usually front side pants pocket, the holster must fully cover the trigger guard and it is usually oriented so the gun can be drawn out the pocket in the correct position. These holsters are for small pocket sized guns as most guns will not fit in a front pants pocket.
Printing is the bane of every concealed carriers existence. It is when the gun shows through clothing, the showing is referred to as "printing" as the outline of the gun is usually what is visible. It is frowned upon in the gun world when concealed carrying and most carriers are overly paranoid about printing but it is better to be paranoid than complacent, concealed means concealed I.E - Not printing!
Retention - How the gun stays in the holster, good retention in a kydex holster is usually when you can hold the holster upside down and the gun doesn't fall out of the holster, it should be secure in place and not slide out or fall out. You can adjust this retention for a smoother or stiffer draw with a retention screw if your holster has one which is usually by the trigger guard.
Retention Screw -
A screw on a holster that you can tighten or loosen to adjust the retention of your holster to make for a stiffer or looser draw from your holster. Adjustable retention screws are only found on Kydex/Boltaron Holsters and not on leather holsters.
Ride Height -
The Ride of a holster refers to the vertical height at which the gun is carried relative to the belt line. A normal-ride holster will have the trigger near the belt line. A high-ride holster will have the trigger above the belt. A deep-riding holster will have the trigger below the belt.
Some holsters have adjustable ride height and some have multiple holes drilled in the kydex holster so if you want to unscrew your holster belt attachment clip, you can move your holster clip higher or lower so you can make that adjustment.
Shoulder Holster -
A Shoulder Holster is a holster system that incorporates a harness worn over the shoulders. The holster portion of this rig usually rides under the armpit of the wearer’s weakside. A Shoulder Holster is typically not concealed unless a jacket or suit coat is worn over the holster.
A holster belt loop attachment system that allows the wearer to attach the holster to a belt with soft loops and there is space between the loops and holster for the wearer to tuck a shirt in whilst wearing the holster inside the waistband, perfect for dress attire.
Strong side -
If you are right handed carrying the gun on the right side of your body would be your strong side
Sweat Guard / Sweat Shield -
Like the name suggest is is to guard/shield your gun from sweat.
With an inside the waistband holster the side of the holster touching against the body would be considered the sweat guard, this keeps the gun from touching your skin possibly getting sweat against the gun, there are different sweat guard heights high, medium or none depending on how heigh you want the Kydex to go and how much coverage of the gun you want on the body side of the Holster.
Tactical Holster / Thigh Holster -
Another name for a Drop Leg Holster (See Drop Leg Holster under the letter D )
Thumb Break -
A Thumb Break is a safety retention system, there is a strap that is attached to one side of the holster and snaps to the other side of the holster. This strap goes over the top of the holstered gun and must be unsnapped for the gun to be drawn.
Tuckable Holster -
A tuckable holster is an inside the waistband holster that has space between the holster’s clip and the holster, allowing the user to tuck their shirt into the empty space.
Weak Side -
The opposite of your strong side, if you are right handed the left side of your body would be considered your weak side. Some people carry weak side for a cross draw.