Holsters, holsters everywhere

Stainless 14

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Hi folks--new member here. Very glad I found this site. Current owner of a pre-ban Ruger Mini 14, (1983) but I made my first hand gun purchase recently. A S&W M&P 380 Shield EZ. It's currently at S&W for a recall re: a possible defective hammer issue. RECALL ALERT: Smith & Wesson Issues M&P Shield Pistol Recall

So, I haven't fired it yet. I've been researching holster choices and the list of makers and models is overwhelming, to say the least. I've done web searches, viewed youtube vids for "Best Choice" reviews, visited 1 million manufacturer sites, and it just gets crazy. I have decided on an OWB style. From what i've seen, any IWB doesn't appeal to me it terms of comfort, fit, and drawing the gun smoothly. I have considered a paddle style, but the gap between the belt and holster seems a bit too wide for concealed carry and printing may be pronounced. I've looked at companies like Urban Carry Holsters, Vedder, Alien Gear, We The People Holsters, and on and on. One model seems promising...a leather/Kydex hybrid such as: LockLeather OWB Holster, but it's an only an option at the moment.

The bottom line is that I need some advice/recommendations from experienced owners such as yourselves. Any help would be much appreciated. keep in mind, you're dealing with a babe in the woods, lol. Thanks in advance!
 

ToddDubya

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I didn't believe it when I was in your position, but you'll probably go through a few holsters before you find one you like. I've found OWB to be pretty easy to conceal on just about anything. I know you've taken paddle out of the equation, but I'll just add that in my opinion those are for range only. They're way too uncomfortable to wear around.

The Shield is going to be pretty light, but as people here will attest, most of the comfort comes from having a STURDY belt. It's probably less of an issue with a small plastic gun, but something to keep in mind. Some leather gun belts are 1/4" thick and VERY STIFF.
 

dgrafton

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Don’t be discouraged if you end up with ten holsters in a box that you don’t use. Eventually you will find one that fits YOU!
Personally, I like a Don Hume iwb for my edc.
 

KMM696

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Todd is correct - buy an actual gunbelt. Makes a huge difference in comfort with any holster. It was said at least twice above but let me reiterate, don't be surprised if you can't find the perfect holster first time out. This is like buying shoes: Yes, the features are interesting, and some of those features are quite nice and great to have, but the most important thing is does it fit you? If it doesn't fit, the features don't really matter. OWB is a good place to start, as they're easier to fit than IWB. IWB is trading off some comfort for concealability, or with tuckable IWBs some comfort and speed for even more concealability. The other issue with IWB is that not only do you need a holster that fits you and a good gunbelt, but your pants need to be sized with the holster in mind or you'll never be comfortable. Don't completely discount paddle, the extra bit they stick out is not as big a deal as it seems the first time you try carrying concealed. Where paddles shine is situations where you are taking the holster on and off regularly throughout the day and don't want to deal with unthreading your entire belt every time. Or, if you want something that will go on quickly, and are willing to give up a little comfort for that.

Leather or Kydex each have their uses. Kydex is more rigid than leather, so you can count on a well built Kydex not deforming over time. This is also one of it's possible drawbacks, that it will not mold to you over time either. A well built Kydex is almost indestructible - I've got a Kydex paddle that survived 11 years of being bashed into truck door frames (I'm a lefty) and anything else I was walking too close to or rolling on carrying a full size M&P with only cosmetic damage. Leather is more flexible, so one like that LockLeather OWB you linked will form to you over time in the same way a leather gunbelt will. The risk there is that it might flex too far with time, and the top of the holster might begin to collapse making holstering difficult and potentially unsafe.. That's what that strip of leather around the LockLeather holster's mouth is addressing by reinforcing the top. There are leather holster makers that work with stiffer leathers that will not deform, but it gets expensive working with heavier leathers. I've got two Kramer holsters, one OWB and one IWB that have been my main CCW holsters. I used the IWB from about '95 to 2004 daily, and when that pistol was sidelined the OWB picked up the job from 2006 to right now. They are expensive, and Kramer doesn't stock anything, and their mag pouches need breaking in before they're reliable, but they are my hands down favorites.

My other advice is to not ever buy cheap holsters for CCW. Everyone in this market has roughly the same costs, so if one of them is significantly cheaper there's a reason for that. An uncomfortable holster will not keep you happy if you're using it every day.

Good luck - you might try asking other shooters or shops if they will let you go through their box of lightly used holsters that didn't quite work out. We all have that box somewhere. I'd let you go through mine, but it's very left handed, doesn't have anything for Shields and is way out in the western wilds of Massachusetts.
 

BrianWilson

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Stainless 14

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Thanks for the feedback, guys. All very good advice to consider.
KMM696...tons of great info, pros and cons as well. much appreciated. well, after slogging through all the choices out there, and realizing i may end up with my own drawer, lol, I'm leaning heavily towards the LeatherLock. I like the idea of the Kydex/leather construction. That, and the fact it will form to my body, and has the extra section of leather to prevent collapse of the top edge also helps. Decent cant.
Just one thing...the muzzle end is open. Not a big fan of the muzzle being open to dust, the elements, random dirt particles, all of them traveling up the bore. What do you people think of an open muzzle as opposed to a closed end, which a lot of Kydex makers offer? Do you care either way? especially for an edc, which my M&P will be. Thanks!
 

Stainless 14

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I didn't believe it when I was in your position, but you'll probably go through a few holsters before you find one you like. I've found OWB to be pretty easy to conceal on just about anything. I know you've taken paddle out of the equation, but I'll just add that in my opinion those are for range only. They're way too uncomfortable to wear around.

The Shield is going to be pretty light, but as people here will attest, most of the comfort comes from having a STURDY belt. It's probably less of an issue with a small plastic gun, but something to keep in mind. Some leather gun belts are 1/4" thick and VERY STIFF.
Thanks, Todd. I'll definitely look into a belt more suitable for a holster.
 

dgrantdoherty

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Im a smith and wesson fan. With that said. What qualities did you find most attractive in the shield 380 ez? Not a bad choice. Just interested.
 

KMM696

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Thanks for the feedback, guys. All very good advice to consider.
KMM696...tons of great info, pros and cons as well. much appreciated. well, after slogging through all the choices out there, and realizing i may end up with my own drawer, lol, I'm leaning heavily towards the LeatherLock. I like the idea of the Kydex/leather construction. That, and the fact it will form to my body, and has the extra section of leather to prevent collapse of the top edge also helps. Decent cant.
Just one thing...the muzzle end is open. Not a big fan of the muzzle being open to dust, the elements, random dirt particles, all of them traveling up the bore. What do you people think of an open muzzle as opposed to a closed end, which a lot of Kydex makers offer? Do you care either way? especially for an edc, which my M&P will be. Thanks!

I've never worried about the muzzle being open. Any dirt that makes it uphill into the bore isn't going to affect anything, I believe. Where my CCWs have picked up dust and lint has been on the top of the pistol - in other words on the back of the slide. Hammer pistols like a P239 are really good at collecting that dust, but it hasn't affected anything. Where your Shield is basically closed up, it's not going to get dirty real fast. I try to use the minimum amount of oil I can to minimize oil & dust sludge, but I'm not a fanatic about it. Get the Leatherlock - gotta start somewhere!!! :D
 

Stainless 14

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Im a smith and wesson fan. With that said. What qualities did you find most attractive in the shield 380 ez? Not a bad choice. Just interested.
Hi...well, at first i was looking at 1911s. Mostly the Ruger SR1911. But, no store had any in stock. Scarce as hell and a long waiting list for store ordering. well, i just didn't want to wait endlessly, so i looked at other options, randomly checked the SW site, and the EZ just seemed to appeal to me right away. did a lot of online research of reviews, forums, etc. decided it was a good choice for a first time hand gun owner. and, since i haven't gotten to fire it due to a hammer recall (only 2 reported instances, but to their credit, SW did a full recall for those built between march and october of this year.) anyway, i should be getting it back in about a week. once i get to try it out and gain some experience with it, i can give better feedback. but i'm pretty sure i'll enjoy it.
 

dgrantdoherty

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Hi...well, at first i was looking at 1911s. Mostly the Ruger SR1911. But, no store had any in stock. Scarce as hell and a long waiting list for store ordering. well, i just didn't want to wait endlessly, so i looked at other options, randomly checked the SW site, and the EZ just seemed to appeal to me right away. did a lot of online research of reviews, forums, etc. decided it was a good choice for a first time hand gun owner. and, since i haven't gotten to fire it due to a hammer recall (only 2 reported instances, but to their credit, SW did a full recall for those built between march and october of this year.) anyway, i should be getting it back in about a week. once i get to try it out and gain some experience with it, i can give better feedback. but i'm pretty sure i'll enjoy it.
Awesome. Let us know what you think.
 

Stainless 14

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I've never worried about the muzzle being open. Any dirt that makes it uphill into the bore isn't going to affect anything, I believe. Where my CCWs have picked up dust and lint has been on the top of the pistol - in other words on the back of the slide. Hammer pistols like a P239 are really good at collecting that dust, but it hasn't affected anything. Where your Shield is basically closed up, it's not going to get dirty real fast. I try to use the minimum amount of oil I can to minimize oil & dust sludge, but I'm not a fanatic about it. Get the Leatherlock - gotta start somewhere!!! :D
sounds good. you're right..the EZ is a striker, so any dust, lint, etc. won't be a factor with an internal hammer. yup...gotta start somewhere, lol.
 

ToddDubya

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I've never worried about the muzzle being open. Any dirt that makes it uphill into the bore isn't going to affect anything, I believe. Where my CCWs have picked up dust and lint has been on the top of the pistol - in other words on the back of the slide. Hammer pistols like a P239 are really good at collecting that dust, but it hasn't affected anything. Where your Shield is basically closed up, it's not going to get dirty real fast. I try to use the minimum amount of oil I can to minimize oil & dust sludge, but I'm not a fanatic about it. Get the Leatherlock - gotta start somewhere!!! :D

Not to mention with an open muzzle, any crud that gets in, gets out. I don't think I have one holster that's closed at the muzzle.

Do a search on belts and you'll find a thread with 1,000,000 opinions on the best belts. One guy's absolute lifetime favorite after trying all the others is company A. Someone else tried company A and it was the worst one they've ever had. So take opinions with a grain of salt. Find one you like, buy it, try it, improve next time (or stick with it if you like it).

I have a cheap Uncle Mike's instructor belt with the reinforcement liner. It worked well enough to get me by until I decided to go leather. The velcro was/is a hassle so it lives on a specific pair of pants that I use in the woods.

In related news, my buddy was looking for his first holster and I gave him all the same advice you're getting here. But he knew better and didn't want to spend the money. I think he's on the third $30 holster and hates them all. Seems my advice was "Buy the $75 holster and have a good one or buy three shitty ones for $25 apiece and still not have a good one".

Good luck, and be prepared for someone to call you a skinflint for not spending $200 on a custom holster and another $200 for the matching belt.
 

dgrantdoherty

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Not to mention with an open muzzle, any crud that gets in, gets out. I don't think I have one holster that's closed at the muzzle.

Do a search on belts and you'll find a thread with 1,000,000 opinions on the best belts. One guy's absolute lifetime favorite after trying all the others is company A. Someone else tried company A and it was the worst one they've ever had. So take opinions with a grain of salt. Find one you like, buy it, try it, improve next time (or stick with it if you like it).

I have a cheap Uncle Mike's instructor belt with the reinforcement liner. It worked well enough to get me by until I decided to go leather. The velcro was/is a hassle so it lives on a specific pair of pants that I use in the woods.

In related news, my buddy was looking for his first holster and I gave him all the same advice you're getting here. But he knew better and didn't want to spend the money. I think he's on the third $30 holster and hates them all. Seems my advice was "Buy the $75 holster and have a good one or buy three shitty ones for $25 apiece and still not have a good one".

Good luck, and be prepared for someone to call you a skinflint for not spending $200 on a custom holster and another $200 for the matching belt.
I spent 200 for holster 200 for belt. Nothing wrong with that. It keeps my hi point safe
 

Mesatchornug

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sounds good. you're right..the EZ is a striker, so any dust, lint, etc. won't be a factor with an internal hammer. yup...gotta start somewhere, lol.
While the normal Shields are striker-fired, the EZs are internal-hammer fired. These are different things. But yes, you don't have to worry too much about lint getting into your hammer.
/technically
 

Sterg

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Welcome to the forum! Go green and reap the benefits. For every holster I have there are two that sit in a drawer. I have settled on Kusiak holsters. Super thin like kydex, only leather. Inexpensive too for a custom holster maker. They make owb as well as iwb. I have an owb for my 642 from Blackhawk called a speed classic. You might like them also. For a really nice custom holster look at Mitch Rosen out of NH. One of the best. Also DM Bullard out of Texas.
View: https://youtu.be/TE5NkJJBwjE
 
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surgetek

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If you're going OWB, I would get a holster that's all kydex, no leather.

I have an "Outlaw Holsters" OWB from Amazon, surprisingly good.

I second Outlaw holsters. They’re well made, decanter price, and from the website they’re pretty quick with shipping. I have two of them.
 
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Is this your passive aggressive way of hounding him? [rofl] also I love the irony now of your username. New guy joined 2009 lol

It was an accurate description at one time. Now I just like it for how generic it is. I can completely change my identity by switching avatars. [smile]

No passive aggression intended. Sorry, Derek.
 
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But you agree. He should totally go green. Right? [devil]

That's not what I’m saying at all. If he wants to hang around and talk guns and wu-flu and Kamala he should be able to without being squeezed. This is America after all, and it’s his decision if he wants to be a hated pariah instead of being totally best friends with the greatest bunch of guys and girl on the whole internet.
 

dgrantdoherty

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That's not what I’m saying at all. If he wants to hang around and talk guns and wu-flu and Kamala he should be able to without being squeezed. This is America after all, and it’s his decision if he wants to be a hated pariah instead of being totally best friends with the greatest bunch of guys and girl on the whole internet.
Im just messing with ya
 

dgrantdoherty

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No love for uncle mikes? [rofl] I know alot of people don't like them. But im digging we the people holsters. Not the skinflint side of it either. Just comfortable
 
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Im just messing with ya

Sorry - was trying to play along but it was too subtle. [smile]

OP, if you need a decent gun belt that doesn’t cost a million bucks or make you look like a dork check out bladetech’s nexbelt (in nylon).

 
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