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I am new here, but I have two holster-related questions. These may have been asked and answered before, and if so, please feel free to direct me to the threads.

(1) The Kydex holsters seem fairly popular, and are offered by several makers. They are made of a hard plastic type of material, and I was curious if they tend to mar the gun more than a "softer" leather or nylon holster might?

(2) What is everyone's opinion of thumbstraps as a retention device? I know there are a lot of feelings about being able to draw and use a weapon quickly (every second counts, right?), but many quality holsters are offerred with thumbstraps. Perhaps these are mainly for law enforcement etc., but what about the CFP holders out there?

Thanks!
 

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I feel opinionated tonight, so here's my opinions:

1) All holsters will mar a finish that is suseptible to wear. Kydex/hard plastic holsters cause "point wear" at the small areas of contact between the holster and the handgun. Molded leather holsters tend to contact the handgun in larger areas and cause slower wear but in larger areas of finish. Soft nylon holsters can also cause wear from the accumulation of grit. Even stainless steel handguns exhibit polishing from holster contact. My SS auto shows a LOT of polishing on the edges of the matte surfaces. BUT - carry handguns are tools to be used and, like tools that are used, will acquire signs of that usage. I don't worry about the finish on a wrench being marred by usage and neither do I worry about the finish on my personal defense tool.

2) Most of my carry is concealed. I use good molded leather (mostly IWB) holsters that will retain the pistols even while they are held upside down and shaken. That is sufficient retention for a handgun that is hidden from view. I can't justify the addition of a separate retention device for my usage.
 

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Car Knocker said:
I feel opinionated tonight, so here's my opinions:

1) All holsters will mar a finish that is suseptible to wear. Kydex/hard plastic holsters cause "point wear" at the small areas of contact between the holster and the handgun. Molded leather holsters tend to contact the handgun in larger areas and cause slower wear but in larger areas of finish. Soft nylon holsters can also cause wear from the accumulation of grit. Even stainless steel handguns exhibit polishing from holster contact. My SS auto shows a LOT of polishing on the edges of the matte surfaces. BUT - carry handguns are tools to be used and, like tools that are used, will acquire signs of that usage. I don't worry about the finish on a wrench being marred by usage and neither do I worry about the finish on my personal defense tool.

2) Most of my carry is concealed. I use good molded leather (mostly IWB) holsters that will retain the pistols even while they are held upside down and shaken. That is sufficient retention for a handgun that is hidden from view. I can't justify the addition of a separate retention device for my usage.
+1 -- from my limited experience, but I agree nonetheless.
 

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I am not fond of thumbstraps for retention. Just my opinion, but I think they just add another level of difficulty that you've got to familiarize yourself to.

Some holsters have a screw that can be adjusted for tension. That is something that you might look at instead of the thumbstrap.
 

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If you think holsters cause wear on the finish of a carry piece, you are right, but it is nowhere near the wear experienced when you bounce the gun out of your holster and it lands in the gravel. Retention is a must.

I have no opinion on a thumb snap though. Never had one.

Lets face it, if you carry a piece regularly, yes, it will show some wear. It has been my experience it will also, most likely, take some good bumps now and then. Bumps may or may not mar the finish.

If you want a pretty piece to stay that way, buy it in a felt lined walnut box and leave it there.
 

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There are some good thumb straps and some very bad ones. As a general rule if you can undo the strap with a full grip on your gun then I would say it is good. If you have to use 2 hands, can't obtain a firing grip while the strap is in use, or can't undo it with natural movements then stay away! Unless you OC (open carry) it is really just overkill, and even then there are much better options. Car Knocker is right on when it comes to wear, if you carry it then it will show some wear.
 

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Thumstrap or not? I think it depends on the individual circumstances.

I carry IWB almost all the time and I don't feel the need for one. But if I think that I'm going to be extra active then I sometimes do. While on the ATV or on long drives I have a Miami Classic that pretty much needs it, but it is still very easy to draw as most thumb-break straps are. So it just depends.

My carry gun has the finish worn off on the corners of the slide where it rides against the holster.
 

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I am also looking for a retention holster, I really like the Blackhawk Serpa, you may want to look at them. It is not a thumb release, you use your index finger to press the release, when you grip the gun for draw and your index finger is in the off trigger straight position it is in the correct position to press the release.

I just wish they made one for the Walther P99, I am waiting for an email from Blackhawk as I type to see if they have one in their future plans.
 

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My first holster for my XD had a thumb snap. Then I found the Serpa with the index finger release. The original thumb snap has sat in my box of holsters since. The Serpa is better on many levels. Most importantly, my gun feels much more secure in it.
 

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I like leather.

Every holster that I USE (not every one I own) has some sort of retention. In most cases it is a thumb break. I have one Bianchi pancake holster that I love that has a carylock system.

I am a Geologist and I do a lot of field work . I have always recognized the need for retention in my open carry and field holsters. I did not always see the same need for my CC holsters.

I have an IWB holster for one of my autoloaders, that was tight and you could hold the gun upside down with out it falling out and all that, BUT one day I was leaving the office and I had to run to catch the bus. I got about half way there and CLUNK as my autoloader left my holster and landed on the sidewalk.

Running is like vigorously shaking your weapon and out it came.

I no longer use that holster.

Tarzan
 

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Interesting, Tarzan (edited).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, IWB holsters just don't seem to have that problem. My DeSantis Pro Stealth has been through miles, and miles, and miles, and miles of jogging and hiking without ever coming loose, even once.

However, the holster that came as part of the "XD Gear" is something I would only wear in a casual setting because I could not trust it to keep that weapon in check if I had to move around a lot more. And setting the retention screw tighter only makes the gun darn near impossible to remove from the holster.
 

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tapehoser said:
Interesting, bane.
:?: -- I'm pretty sure that comment wasn't actually supposed to go to me. :)

On another note, in regards to the XD holster... I am currently using mine as a pocket-holster in my coat pocket. Recently I have found out that I am in need of long-term and serious chiropractic care which means I have to see the Chiro 3-5 times per week. On-body carry currently is both impractical and risky (having to remove it every day in the parking lot prior to going in for treatment, figuring out where to stash it while I'm in there, and then re-holstering it once back out to my car is just overly problematic).

I decided to carry in my coat pocket (which zips) which I do not remove except at home (and work, but I'm careful about putting my coat back on anytime I leave my office) and see how it goes. Thus far, it goes well. Until now I have been using the XD holster, which I admit does pretty much suck. I am going to go get something a little better like an Uncle Mike's.

To address the thread... my snapless IWB (the CrossBreed SuperTuck) seems to have no problems whatsoever retaining my XD9. I can shake it upside-down and it seems to do pretty well. The nice thing about the CrossBreed holsters is if you want a "tighter" fit you can heat the plastic up with a hairdryer while your firearm is inside the holster and the plastic will soften up and shrink even tighter around the firearm. I haven't had to do that, but it's nice to know I can.
 

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bane said:
The nice thing about the CrossBreed holsters is if you want a "tighter" fit you can heat the plastic up with a hairdryer while your firearm is inside the holster and the plastic will soften up and shrink even tighter around the firearm. I haven't had to do that, but it's nice to know I can.
I did not know this... good info to have if I ever do need it.
 

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tapehoser said:
Interesting, Tarzan (edited).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, IWB holsters just don't seem to have that problem. My DeSantis Pro Stealth has been through miles, and miles, and miles, and miles of jogging and hiking without ever coming loose, even once........
Can't speak for your holster(s) can only speak for mine. The gun in question is a small autoloader with a 3 in. barrel, so it is not very deep into the IWB holster.

Maybe if I had some love handles to sort of flop over it and hold it in place it would work better.....(Well you never know) :D

Tarzan
 

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Tarzan, it sounds like you were using an IWB that was not custom-made for your firearm??? If so, I would bet that has a lot to do with it...
 

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bane said:
Tarzan, it sounds like you were using an IWB that was not custom-made for your firearm??? If so, I would bet that has a lot to do with it...
That is true, the holster was not exactly made for my gun.

In light of this fact and to make it fit like it was made for the gun, I got a very big needle, made some very strong thread and took a couple of stitches in the holster to snug up the gun.

I can put the gun in the holster, turn it upside down and shake it with out the gun falling out.

The gun falling out when I was running to catch the bus could be the result of a combination of factors.

1. Did I place the gun all the way into the holster
2. Did the gun come loose as I worked that day and I not notice it
3. Did I bump the gun as I was running

And so on.

The problem is that with out a retention device, any of those things, and many others, could happen at any time due to normal circumstances.

I am a sentient creature that tries to learn from his mistakes and as such I cannot trust a holster without retention.

Tarzan
 

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Fellow Learning Sentient Creature, ;)

Ah, yes, but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water!

What I am referring to is that SOME holsters that do not have a standard retention device DO have some form of retention device that might not seem so at first glance.

For example, my CrossBreed SuperTuck is made of MOLDED plastic that fits my gun much like a SURGICAL GLOVE would fit a hand. It fits it so well, in fact, that the area inside the trigger guard is actually slightly recessed (dimpled-in) into the trigger guard. This serves to act as a physical "catch" on the gun, preventing it from "coming loose" and bouncing out easily.

And, before we stop to say "yeah, but it still COULD come loose and come out", let's take note of the fact that thumb-snaps COULD come loose with the right bump as well -- it's not like they are 100%. So, a 4th item could be added to your list: "4. Did I inadvertently bump my thumb-strap loose?"

IMHO, a well-fitting holster can have just as good of retention capability as any standard holster with a thumb-strap. But I am not saying that ALL well-fitting holsters exhibit such a high-degree of retention, only that they CAN.

Another example of a holster which does not have a thumbstrap but does retain the weapon very well (if properly worn) would be the SMART CARRY.

I had to throw that one in b/c I know for your particular affinity for the Smart Carry! ;)

[/b]
 

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bane said:
Another example of a holster which does not have a thumbstrap but does retain the weapon very well (if properly worn) would be the SMART CARRY.
I've been considering adding something similar to a thumbstrap to my SmartCarry. I've worn it a couple of times while snowboarding, and for that application I think it needs some retention.

Usually, the retention is provided by the waistband of the pants; if the gun somehow gets "bounced" upward, it hits the waistband before the muzzle can come up far enough to slip out of the pouch.

When riding, however, I wear looser clothing that doesn't restrain the sidearm effectively. There's also the fact that falls can exert forces in almost any direction, including straight "up", which would slide the gun right out and leave it floating around inside my clothing while I bounce and slide to a stop. That's a very scary though with any gun, more so with one like an XD that doesn't have an active safety. It seems unlikely that bunches of clothing would happen to depress the grip safety and trigger at the same time, but...

I've kicked around a few designs for a retention strap, but I haven't found anything yet that I'm sure wouldn't interfere with a draw. Drawing from an SC is hard enough without adding something the gun can get caught on.

Has anyone else thought about this?
 

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bane said:
.....Another example of a holster which does not have a thumbstrap but does retain the weapon very well (if properly worn) would be the SMART CARRY.......[/b]
Being who I am I made my own version of "Smart Carry"

I bought a cheep cloth pancake holster. It is reversible and comes with a mag/speed loader pocket and a thumb break. :D

Because it is cloth and reversible I put a web belt on the outside set of loops and position it as you would your Smart Carry and wala you have a smart carry with a retention thumb break. :D

If you don't want retention that is fine with me (but don't complain to me the next time your gun falls out) but I'm Jake with it.

Tarzan
 
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