Highnoon Holsters Blog
When the summer months come around, many gun owners find that it becomes more difficult to concealed carry due to the hot weather and light clothing that comes with the season. Holsters that work perfectly fine in cooler months can suddenly become uncomfortable in the summer as the heat and humidity cause the holster to become hot against your skin as well as cause sweating and chafing. You also will be switching wardrobes to something with fewer layers and lighter materials. This makes it more difficult to properly conceal your weapon. In the fall and winter, jackets and layers easily hide even the bulkiest of holsters. In hot weather, however, you will need to be more conscious of hiding your gun while maintaining your comfort. To conceal your weapon while staying as comfortable as possible in the heat, be sure to choose the proper holster, clothing and gun.
Choosing a Holster for Summer Months
In cooler months, you may very well be able to get away with shoulder holsters and OWB (outside the waistband) holsters. Your several layers of clothing and jackets will easily conceal these types of holsters. When it comes to the summer heat, you will want to switch to a holster that is more compact and made of lighter materials. There are lots of material options to choose from, and each one has its benefits. Take a look at some of the most popular holster materials:
- Leather - Leather holsters are usually made from cowhide or horsehide, but also come in more exotic materials like shark, kangaroo, python and bison. If you choose a leather holster, be sure that it is thick and has well-defined lines that are fitted to your gun so that the holster maintains its shape. While leather is a common choice in cool weather, it is not the best option for summer time. The leather heats up easily in the sun and can become very hot against your skin. You could wear an undershirt to protect your skin from the holster, though wearing double layers in the heat is not usually comfortable. Leather holsters should generally be kept out of extreme heat, humidity and dry air because they can begin to crack or become dry-rotted. Additionally, good leather holsters are fairly bulky and are difficult to hide under light clothing. So, if you have a leather holster, save it for cooler months and opt for something different when summer time rolls around.
- Nylon - Nylon holsters are easier to conceal than others because they are so flexible and lightweight. However, they are also less durable than other holsters and can begin to fray after several months of repeated use. The nylon is porous and will absorb liquids such as sweat. After several uses, the holster will begin to smell and washing it could cause it to shrink. While a nylon holster might be a good idea every once in a while for certain situations, they are not recommended for everyday use, especially in the heat of summer.
- Synthetics (Kydex) - Kydex is a synthetic holster made of a thin thermoplastic sheet. The plastic is heated and molded to fit the exact shape of specific firearms. The snug fit means your gun will be secure in the holster and the holster will never lose its shape. Since your gun will fit perfectly in the holster, it won't weigh the holster down, which eliminates the risk of your holster being spotted sticking out under your shirt. A Kydex holster is an excellent choice for a summer holster because the material is incredibly lightweight. Since the holsters are also very thin, they are easier to conceal under light clothing such as t-shirts. The material is non-porous, so it won't capture sweat or dirt. Kydex holsters can also be easily washed off with soap and water. Because of the lightweight thermoplastic material, Kydex holsters provide the most comfort in hot summer months.
- Hybrids - A hybrid holster is the combination of a synthetic holster with a leather backing. The leather pad is designed to sit snugly against your skin while your gun fits securely in the Kydex. If you don't want a full synthetic holster, the hybrid holster is the next best choice. The leather can still get hot against your skin, but the holster is more lightweight than an all-leather holster. Since hybrid holsters are more lightweight and less bulky than leather holsters, they are more comfortable and easier to conceal, making them a better choice during the summer.
While a synthetic Kydex holster is the best material for a summer holster, the style of holster is another important factor to consider. OWB holsters are appropriate for open carry or concealed carry in the winter time when you're wearing a jacket or overcoat, but IWB (inside the waistband) holsters are recommended for concealed carry during the summer. IWB holsters are tucked between your trousers and undergarments, keeping them out of sight and off your skin. With the proper clothing, these holsters are easy to conceal. While IWB holsters are commonly used, they aren't always practical. Sometimes, your outfit or environment will call for a different style of holster. There are lots of alternative holster options on the market:
- Pocket holsters - A pocket holster is just what it sounds like - a holster that fits inside a pocket. Pocket holsters are typically covered in a tacky material that helps them stay secure in your pocket without moving. They also usually have a squared-off design that helps to eliminate printing through clothing. Pocket holsters can easily fit in the pocket of a pair of cargo shorts or pants, making them a viable option when the summer heat comes around. Since these holsters come in all different materials and styles, be sure to choose one that works best with your clothing. Try your pocket holster out with several pairs of shorts and pants to find the best fit.
- Belly bands - A belly band holster is made from a stretchy material that compresses around your waist. These holsters are very lightweight, making them easy to conceal under even the thinnest athletic clothing. As an added benefit, a belly band pretty much eliminates the need to wear a belt. Many belly bands also have additional pockets for credit cards, a cell phone, keys, and more. The material is breathable and easy to wash, so it's a good choice to wear when it's hot outside. For women who concealed carry, belly bands come in a comfortable and more feminine lace material as well.
- Fanny pack - Storing a gun in a fanny pack is a last-resort option, and some people say that it screams "concealed carry," however, it can be a good option for traveling. Wearing a fanny pack in a touristy area is not unusual so you will blend in fairly well. A fanny pack should only be your holster option when none of the other options suffice. Of course, a fanny pack is also not practical for everyday use.
- Purse - Women may sometimes choose to conceal their weapon in a purse or bag. If you do this, be sure that the weapon is secured within the bag and keep the bag on you at all times. Do not leave your bag unattended. Again, this should be a last-resort option. It is better to have the weapon on your person for your own safety and for easier access.
Summer Clothing for Concealed Carry
As important as it is to choose the proper holster, it is equally important to wear clothing that will help you concealed carry. Choosing clothing for concealed carry in the summer is difficult because you will want to wear lighter clothing and fewer layers. The risk of printing or exposing your weapon increases with your summer wardrobe. Keep these tips in mind when dressing to concealed carry in the summertime:
- Increase pant size - If you're going with an IWB holster, it could be a good idea to go up a pant size or two. This allows more room for your holster and gun and can make concealed carry more comfortable.
- Loosen belt - If you find that you have to expand your belt to the last holes in order to accommodate your holster, you may want to buy a bigger belt. That way, you can adjust your belt to a comfortable position while wearing your holster. You won't have to feel like you are squeezed in tight with your holster on.
- Wear exterior layer - Wearing an undershirt or tank top with a loose exterior layer is a great way to concealed carry in the summertime. A short-sleeved shirt is a great outer layer because it provides ventilation under your shirt and also prevents printing.
- Choose longer shirts - You may want to wear a shirt that is longer than usual when you concealed carry to prevent your holster from sticking out. Another inch or two added to the length of a shirt makes a big difference.
- Avoid tight clothing - Wearing tight clothing in the summer months will make you sweat more, which can cause your holster to become uncomfortable. Tight clothing also seriously increases the chance of your weapon printing through your clothing, which defeats the purpose of concealed carry.
- Choose stretchy fabric - Stretchy fabrics that are made of sweat-wicking materials are your best choice for the heat. Linen, polyester blends and synthetic fabrics will all help to keep you cool and conceal your weapon.
- Wear dark colors - Darker colors conceal weapons better than light colors. Avoid wearing white or pastel colors. Also, avoid any fabrics that are sheer. Keep in mind that light colors, like white, become see-through when they get wet or damp. Wearing darker colors reduces the likelihood of printing.
- Choose textured clothing - Wearing textured clothing helps to hide printing because the textures make it hard to spot shapes and outlines. The textures will break up the lines of your weapon so it is more easily concealed.
- Avoid stripes - Stripes make it incredibly easy to spot a weapon. Printing is almost guaranteed if you wear stripes because the stripes become distorted as they pass over your holster. It will be obvious you are carrying if you wear stripes.
After you are dressed and have your weapon concealed on your body, check that the weapon is fully concealed. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and check yourself from multiple angles. While looking in the mirror, try various movements such as squatting, sitting, reaching your hands over your head and bending over. Notice if your weapon is visible from any angle. Some movements may need to be avoided in order to keep your gun concealed. For instance, it is better to squat than to bend over when wearing certain holsters.
Modified clothing is also a popular choice for concealed carry. You can find shirts, pants, jackets and more that have built-in pockets and compartments for your firearm. On top of that, you could even take non-modified clothing to a tailor to have special pockets added. Of course, let your tailor know that you are bringing your gun ahead of time to ensure that they are comfortable measuring the weapon to sew your pockets.
Switch to a Subcompact Summer Gun
To further conceal your weapon, you may have to switch out your usual concealed carry gun of choice for something more compact in the summer months. The most important factor to consider when looking for the perfect concealed carry gun is the width of the barrel and grip. The width is what is going to make the gun bulge more so than the length or weight. It is common to carry one gun in the cooler months and another smaller gun during the summer. Take a look at some of the most common concealed carry guns:
- - Beretta 92 Compact
- - Beretta PX4 Subcompact
- - Glock 26 Gen 3 (9MM)
- - RUGER LCRx .38 Special
- - Sig P320 Subcompact
- - Smith & Wesson M&P 40C
- - Springfield XDs (.45 ACP)
Many manufacturers have a line of subcompact guns that are specifically designed for concealed carry purposes. These smaller firearms will be easier to conceal under light clothing, making them an ideal choice during summer.
Other Tips for Concealed Carry During Summer
- - Cheap powders like Gold Bond or a roll-on like Body Glide can help prevent chafing when your holster rubs against your skin.
- - Any holster you choose should fit close to your body to prevent printing through clothing.
- - Wear a holster every day for at least two weeks to break it in and allow it to become more comfortable.
- - Be aware of your environment. Rain, wind and sweat can make your weapon easier to spot.
- - If you want to conceal a magazine, a single stack is always easier to conceal than a double stack.
High Noon Holsters for Summer Months
At High Noon Holsters, all of our holsters are custom made in the USA to ensure the best quality and fit for your gun. If you're in need of a new holster for concealed carry during the summer, we have a variety of Kydex and hybrid holsters available. If you can't find your gun model, we may still be able to create a holster for it. Just give us a call if you need something custom. Browse our store or shop by category:
Choosing the right holster material is just as important as choosing the proper gun. With a new holster, you'll be able to carry your gun comfortably and safely. Whether you need a gun for personal protection or commercial shooting, having a holster will provide additional protection for yourself and your gun.
With many gun holster materials to choose from, you may be wondering what the best type is for you. If you aren’t sure what the best holster material is, here’s a guide that outlines what a gun holster is, materials you can choose from and factors to consider when deciding.
What Is a Gun Holster?
A gun holster is a device that enables people to carry their gun and restrict its movement. When someone has a concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit, they may carry a gun, but it must remain hidden. All states in the U.S. allow carrying a concealed weapon in some form. Individuals with a concealed carry permit may choose to use a holster to conceal their weapon.
A high-quality holster should take a few design features into account. It should:
- Ensure the firearm fits securely into the holster
- Protect the gun
- Not constrict the ability to draw the handgun
- Be easy for the individual to access
Types of Gun Holster Materials
A variety of different materials are used to make handgun holsters. Each material has its own benefits and disadvantages. The following are a few of the most common types of handgun holster materials that manufacturers use.
One of the oldest materials used for gun holsters is leather. It's made from the skin of an animal using a tanning process. Leather holsters are made from materials such as cowhide, horsehide, kangaroo, bison and much more. To accommodate the needs of the people of the U.S. frontier, artisans started making new leather holster designs in the mid-1800s. Designs like belt holsters and shoulder holsters were invented during this time. Although leather versions may remind people of cowboys on the western frontier, they're still a popular and attractive material option today.
Leather holsters can be molded to fit your specific gun or loose fitting to accommodate different gun sizes. Holsters made of leather tend to last a lot longer than those made of synthetic materials. When you draw your gun from a holster made of leather, there's very little noise compared to other materials. The ability to draw your gun quietly could provide a life-saving advantage. The aesthetic appeal of leather holsters makes them a popular option.
On the other hand, leather holsters are sensitive to humidity and moisture and may require additional care to prevent cracking and drying. Without proper care, leather can stretch over time. Your holster will become more broken in the longer you wear it, but some individuals dislike that it takes longer to “break in” a leather holster. Lastly, leather is known for being one of the more expensive materials used to make holsters.
Kydex is a thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride material that has become popular for use in manufacturing gun holsters. Kydex was invented in 1965 by Rohm and Hass and was originally used for aircraft applications. Because of its durability and the potential to easily mold the material, Kydex is a common choice for gun holsters. These versions can be made from a variety of different plastic grades and can be a lite, medium or extreme duty.
Kydex is known for being lightweight, waterproof, low friction and scratch resistant. Compared to leather holsters, Kydex holsters require less maintenance and are easier to wash or wipe off if they become dirty. Also, there's no break in period like with leather holsters. The durability of Kydex holsters is incredible even after years of constant wear. Unlike nylon or leather kinds, Kydex holsters will not collapse when you draw your gun, making it less likely for you to snag your trigger on your holster.
However, Kydex does have a few disadvantages that some individuals have mentioned. One is that plastic Kydex holsters are less aesthetically pleasing than a leather holster. Also, the hard plastic exterior may be harder to conceal and offers less comfort to the wearer. Because plastic is not as flexible as other materials, you'll need to choose a Kydex holster that's specific to your gun model.
Nylon holsters are made of a stiff, synthetic fabric. Although commonly found in everyday products like clothing and cookware, nylon has become a common material to make holsters. It's considered a smooth thermoplastic that's elastic, strong and durable.
Nylon holsters are known for being water resistant, flexible and more affordable than other holster materials. As one of the most affordable holster material options, this type of holster is commonly recommended for first-time gun owners.
However, the lower cost of nylon holsters has its disadvantages. Individuals have noticed that nylon holsters tend to collapse once you withdraw your firearm, making it necessary to use two hands to re-holster your gun. Also, nylon will begin to fray or snag at a much faster rate than other materials. Depending on how you carry your holster, you may need to replace a nylon one more frequently.
A hybrid holster combines two different materials. It may have a back pad made from one material and a shell made of another. Typically, leather and Kydex are combined to form a hybrid holster. It may have a leather backing that rests against the body and a Kydex shell to hold the gun. By combing materials, manufacturers can create a strong and comfortable holster.
A hybrid holster will contain two clips for the waistband that help ensure the piece is stable. This type is less likely to move around on your belt. Hybrid holsters often use leather for their backing, which provides additional comfort and will break in to fit the user. Hybrid holsters are usually very customizable, so you can get a product that's comfortable and reliable for your everyday use.
On the other hand, because leather is used for the backing, a hybrid holster is more susceptible to wear over time compared to full Kydex holsters. This wearing can cause the leather backing to drape over the gun and make it hard to draw.
Injection molding is a manufacturing process where plastics or rubbers are heated and injected into a mold. Materials that may be used include nylon, polymers and carbon fiber blends. Injection molding allows holsters to be produced in larger volumes.
Because these holsters can be produced in large volumes and at a faster rate, they often cost less for the manufacturer, which results in them being less expensive for the consumer. Because molds are created based on your specific gun model, an injection molded holster creates a shell that fits your gun accurately.
On the other hand, depending on the type of polymer used, injection molded gun holsters may not be as strong as holsters manufactured from Kydex. Also, some injection molds have been known to damage the finish of a gun.
Factors that Influence Your Holster Material Choice
When deciding which pistol holster material is best, you should take a variety of factors into consideration. If you want to ensure you've selected the best material for your gun, make sure you account for the following details.
Gun holsters are not “one size fits all.” Having a holster that limits movement of your gun will help you make sure you're safely carrying your weapon. If the holster is too lose for your gun, it could be a safety hazard.
The type of gun you carry may help determine the material you should select. Some holsters, like those made out of plastic, may require you to purchase based on your specific gun model or get a custom-made product. Kydex is an easy material to work with and mold, which allows for manufacturing of custom holsters for your gun. Other materials like nylon are more flexible to fit multiple handgun models.
Finding a holster that provides complete concealment for your gun is important. Take into consideration the size of your gun and the holster design to find a holster that will give full concealment. If you want a custom holster that will fit your specific gun model, choosing a Kydex or hybrid material will allow you to have a holster molded to match the size of your gun.
Depending on your body type, certain gun holster materials may feel more comfortable for you to wear every day. Finding a holster that's designed specifically for men or women will help make sure yours will fit your body type. Some holster materials may be easier to conceal or may cling more tightly to your body. When choosing a material, consider which materials will be more durable and resistant to sweat.
Durability and Maintenance
If you're planning to wear your gun holster every day, you want to find one that's more durable and less susceptible to everyday wear and tear. With materials like Kydex, finding a durable holster should not be a problem.
In addition to durability, certain materials will require more maintenance for an extended lifespan. For example, leather needs proper treatment to ensure the holster does not stretch or crack. If you're looking for a holster that requires little maintenance, choosing a Kydex or injection molded holster may be a better option.
The type of carrying method you use will help determine the best gun holster type and material you should choose. The following are the different ways you can carry your gun and what to look for in a holster material based on your preferred carrying method:
- Inside waistband holsters: If you carry your holster inside your waistband, you want to ensure the material you choose will not irritate your skin and will be sweatproof. Materials like Kydex are sweat-resistant and easy to clean, making them a great choice for an inside waistband holster.
- Outside waistband holsters: Outside waistband holsters may be covered by your clothing, which makes it essential that the material you choose will not get caught on your clothing.
- Ankle holsters: When you select an ankle holster material, you should consider the strength of your ankles. If you have weaker ankles, you may need to consider a lightweight material like Kydex. In addition, choosing a material that collapses easily may make it even harder for you to access your gun located around your ankle.
- Shoulder holsters: If you want a shoulder holster, you should ensure the material you choose is durable and has a strong, comfortable shoulder strap. Because a shoulder holster is more visible for others to see, you may want to choose a more appealing material, like leather.
- Pocket holsters: If you have a smaller pistol and are wearing looser pants, you can consider using a pocket holster. They should be made out of durable materials that are safe and comfortable.
Because you'll be wearing your holster often, you want to purchase one that's aesthetically appealing. Depending on the style you desire, you may need to consider alternative materials. If you want a specific color or design for your holster, it could impact the material you choose. As opposed to leather, Kydex and Hybrid holsters often come in more designs or colors. On the other hand, if you're hoping for a more sophisticated look with your holster, choosing leather will be a better option.
Ease of Drawing
For concealed carriers, being able to access and draw a gun quickly and efficiently is important. Selecting a material that's less susceptible to folding and collapsing will make it easier to draw your pistol with only one hand. Also, finding a material that doesn't catch on your clothing will help prevent the holster from getting caught.
A holster that's hard to draw from or that collapses and is hard to re-holster can be dangerous. If the material collapses, it may be easier for the trigger to get caught in it. The material should be sturdy and protect your handgun from being triggered when it comes into contact with anything.
When choosing a holster, you should make certain that the one you select supports your gun and keeps it close to your body. You do not want the holster to be too tight or too lose.
A well-designed holster will help prevent an attacker or others from having easy access to your concealed gun. Support relates to the material you choose, because certain materials — like leather or Kydex — are sturdier and offer more support. If you select a holster material that's more susceptible to wear over time, you'll need to monitor it more often to check the support it offers.
The price you're planning on covering will impact the type of material you should choose. While Nylon holsters may be less expensive, deciding to invest in a leather or Kydex one will have many advantages and mean your investment can last longer. Paying more for materials that are customizable will ensure you find a holster that fits your gun comfortably.
Get High-Quality Holsters from High Noon Holsters
High Noon Holsters provides high-quality holsters made from some of the best materials on the market, including leather and Kydex. Our products are made in the USA and customized to fit your firearm. Using the best leather, Kydex and polymer available, we ensure that you receive the highest quality holster available.
With unique designs and quick turnaround, we can provide you with a reliable gun holster that fits your needs and allows you to comfortably conceal your handgun. Our products come in a variety of attractive colors and designs for you to choose from. Shop now to find a gun holster that fits your unique personality.
It's a long-debated question — what's better, concealed carry or open carry?
For every gun owner, how to carry your firearm is an important decision. The way you carry your weapon becomes a part of you — do you prefer the subtlety and security of a hidden holster, or do you take pride in a visible gun belt?
Each option has its advantages, as well as its drawbacks. Here we'll examine the pros and cons of both concealed and open carry, as well as situations that are appropriate for each type. We'll lay out a comprehensive list on which states allow open carry and which ones don't, and look at some special cases such as National Parks.
To open carry a firearm, it must be displayed obviously on your person. Typically, people open carry handguns, but the term also applies to rifles or shotguns.
Open carry puts your weapon on clear display, usually attached to a belt at your hip. Recently, the numbers of gun owners wearing their guns visibly has skyrocketed. Almost every state allows the open carry of firearms, and some don't require you to possess a license. Below are a few of the advantages and drawbacks associated with openly carrying your firearm.
Advantages of Open Carry
Open carry has several benefits including crime deterrence, fast access, and optimal comfort.
1. Deter Crime
One of the reasons people choose to open carry is to deter crime. A visible gun discourages crime against the gun carrier as well as in the general environment around them. Once a potential criminal sees that a citizen is armed, the argument goes, they will think twice before attacking.
Although so far there is little empirical evidence to support this claim, open carry can at least give an added feeling of confidence and security — you are armed to defend yourself, and criminals can see it.
2. Fast Access
When you carry a gun on your hip, you can draw it quickly in an emergency situation. A concealed weapon will take longer to access, but an openly carried firearm is designed to be within reach in a hurry.
For gun owners concerned about defending themselves, the fast access of a visible weapon makes open carry an attractive option.
Perhaps the most common reason people open carry is the comfort. If you can't invest in high-quality holsters and gun belts, a concealed weapon can be uncomfortable and even painful.
Concealing a firearm during sweltering summer months is even more awkward, and often the added heat and insulation of a gun is unbearably hot. For those who want to carry during warm summers, open carrying is an appealing alternative.
Drawbacks of Open Carry
But open carry has a few drawbacks. As you decide whether or not to open carry, consider these factors.
1. May Attract Crime
While some argue that displaying your gun deters crime, others suggest that it might actually make you a target.
When a criminal can see your gun, they have the advantage. The element of surprise has been lost, and this puts you at risk. If you are in an emergency situation such as a robbery, openly carrying your weapon makes you the first target for elimination. Also, carrying your gun on your hip increases the chance of someone taking away your gun before you have a chance to react, making you and the people around you vulnerable to attack.
2. Susceptible to the Elements
In environments that often see harsh weather, especially floods, snow or rain, an exposed firearm can experience a lot of wear and tear. Openly carrying a weapon requires a lot of detailed care and attention along with regular maintenance — if not properly handled, an exposed gun can quickly be damaged by weather, which negatively impacts its function.
3. Draws Attention
Wearing your firearm openly can raise a lot of alarm. Citizens may report you to the police, who will stop you to investigate. Although the vast majority of people who open carry don't pose a danger to society, citizens are unused to seeing a gun in public, and it typically creates nervousness and unease.
Most gun owners don't want or enjoy this type of attention and would be frustrated by the unintended hassle of concerned citizens and law enforcement.
Concealed carry refers to the practice of carrying a weapon hidden on your person while you're in public. Small handguns are preferred for hidden carry, and specially designed holsters can store them in a variety of locations. Currently, over 16.3 million United States citizens possess permits for concealed carry — 6.5 percent of American adults can legally wear a handgun hidden on their person.
To conceal carry your weapon, most states require you get a license. But the extra steps are worthwhile to those who appreciate the benefits. Below are some of the most commonly cited advantages and drawbacks associated with concealed carry.
Advantages of Concealed Carry
All of the benefits of concealed carry are connected — they revolve around the understated and subtle nature of wearing a hidden firearm. Here are three of the top advantages of concealed carry:
1. Maintain the Upper Hand
A concealed weapon gives you an element of surprise in an emergency. An attacker or mugger won't expect you to have a gun on your person, giving you an advantage.
A concealed weapon also prevents you from becoming the first target in a dangerous situation, allowing you valuable time to formulate a plan of action. In addition, a hidden gun is not likely to be taken from you unawares, keeping you and those around you safe from a criminal grabbing your weapon and using it against you.
2. Draw Less Attention
By wearing a concealed gun, you allow yourself to blend into your environment. Part of the appeal of a hidden weapon is the lack of attention — no one knows you have a firearm, so you don't attract attention, whether it's negative or just curiosity.
3. Avoid Encounters with Law Enforcement
Another advantage of the subtlety of a concealed weapon is avoiding run-ins with law enforcement. Especially in emergency situations, if your gun is not visible, there is less of a chance of officers mistaking you for the bad guy.
Also, it's less likely concerned citizens will report you to law enforcement officers, meaning fewer stops and searches.
Drawbacks of Concealed Carry
Like open carry, concealing your weapon comes with a few potential drawbacks. Below are three of the most common:
1. Slower Access
Depending on where you carry your weapon, you might not be able to access it from all positions. For example, if you conceal your gun in an appendix carry, you might not be able to draw when you're sitting down.
Regardless of where you stow your gun on your person, you will have to get around layers of clothing to draw your weapon. For an untrained gun owner, this may take longer than it has to, putting you at risk in dangerous situations.
2. Can Be Uncomfortable
If you have a cheap holster or gun belt, a concealed weapon may be uncomfortable. Especially if you plan on wearing your weapon for extended periods of time, a concealed rig can get irritating very quickly.
Depending on body shape and type of firearm, finding the right holster option can be frustrating and time-consuming. While comfortable holsters exist, it can be a trial-and-error process to find the perfect fit.
3. Blocked Gun
If you store your gun in a purse, backpack or satchel, the barrel could easily get blocked by pens and pencils, lipstick or any other cylindrical object.
Just like the elements can wear away an exposed gun, a concealed weapon is vulnerable to lint and sweat. While often less detrimental than weather conditions, these factors can still shorten the lifespan of your weapon.
When to Open Carry
Now that we've covered some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with both types of carry, let's examine some appropriate situations for each. Ultimately, the decision whether to conceal or open carry is up to the individual and their local and state laws. Every gun owner can take stock of a situation and decide what's the best way to carry — we've just gathered some general guidelines to help you make an informed decision.
First, here are some contexts where open carrying is almost always appropriate.
1. When You're Outside
When you're in nature either for hunting, fishing or hiking, open carrying your weapon is safe and practical. You're well removed from people, and the goal of wearing your gun in the great outdoors is fast access — whether for hunting or defending yourself against treacherous wildlife such as snakes.
2. When You're in a Rural Setting
Often, large urban environments have their own gun regulations distinct from state law. To avoid accidentally breaking a city ordinance, stick to open carrying in rural settings outside of city limits. This also reduces negative encounters, either with nervous citizens or concerned law enforcement.
3. When You Have Advanced Training
Most citizens haven't had defense training such as weapon retention. When you wear your gun openly, a criminal may attempt to disarm you and take your firearm. It is also vital to maintain a high environmental awareness when open carrying, so you will not be caught off guard in a dangerous situation. Before carrying your gun visibly on your person, consider taking a few basic training classes so you can carry safely and responsibly.
When to Conceal Carry
Concealed carry generally works better than open in a few contexts. Here are some of the most common settings where it might be best to conceal your weapon.
1. When You're Around People
To avoid unnecessary run-ins with alarmed citizens and law enforcement officers, conceal your firearm. In many cases, this will help you blend into an environment and prevent an atmosphere of nervousness from forming around you. This also lessens the chance of your weapon being spotted and taken from you unawares.
2. When You're Unsure About Local Laws
Gun laws vary between states, and even between cities and counties. For example, Colorado permits open carry without a license except in the city and county of Denver, where it's illegal altogether. When you visit or move to a new place, consider concealed carrying until you're sure about the local laws.
3. When You Don't Have Advanced Training
The majority of gun owners haven't gone through advanced weapons and defense training. Carrying concealed helps to ensure that your weapon won't be grabbed and used against you, and gives you time to choose whether or not to engage in an emergency situation. In some dangerous settings, you might decide that engaging a threat might do more harm than good or put innocent people at risk. If you open carry, you might not have a choice — the criminal will see your weapon and single you out. If you carry concealed, it gives you time to formulate the best plan based on your training and situation.
State Regulations About Open Carrying
Regulations about weapons carrying vary between states. While all states permit concealed carry to some degree, not all permit open carry. Some require you to have a license, some don't, and a few prohibit visible guns completely. Here is a broad list of the open carry laws in each state, so you can make an informed and legal decision based on your location.
1. States That Don't Require a License to Open Carry
Although almost all states permit the open carrying of handguns, specific limitations vary between jurisdictions. A quick note — while some states allow you to visibly carry your weapon, none have unrestricted gun laws. According to federal law, you are prohibited from openly carrying a weapon into several settings such as federal prisons, federal buildings, and schools. Excluding federal lands, below is a list of the most permissive states concerning open carry laws.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
In these states, you don't need a permit to openly carry your gun. However, some states have a few restrictions on their no-license policy. The following states allow free open carry outside of city limits but not inside them, earning them the title of rural open carry states:
- Alabama: To openly carry a gun on someone else's private property, Alabama requires you to either have a handgun permit or the landowner's express permission.
- Colorado: Although open carry is legal without a permit throughout most of the state, this law doesn't apply to Denver. Because Denver's handgun laws predate the state's regulations, they're given precedence — according to Denver city law, open carry is illegal in both the city and county limits.
- Iowa: In Iowa, open carry is permitted outside city limits, but not inside them.
- Missouri: Although in general Missouri permits open carry without a license, this state allows individual towns and cities to prohibit open carry without a license — so check your city's ordinances before visibly wearing your gun.
- Nebraska: Certain jurisdictions restrict open carry, so research the laws of your city.
- North Dakota: In North Dakota, you aren't permitted to open carry a loaded gun without a license.
- Oregon: Like Nebraska, a few Oregon jurisdictions have limits on open carrying.
- Pennsylvania: Depending on where you are, the laws of your city may restrict or even prohibit open carry.
- Utah: In Utah, you need a license to open carry a loaded handgun.
- Virginia: The laws of your city may limit or prohibit open carry.
To be safe, always research your city's regulations before open carrying your weapon.
2. States That Require a License to Open Carry
In these states, you must have a permit to legally open carry a firearm.
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
For all of these states, you need a license to open carry, although specific requirements for a permit vary depending on the state.
3. States That Prohibit Open Carry
A few states don't allow you to openly carry your weapon, regardless of whether or not you have a permit.
- District of Columbia
- New York
- South Carolina
While open carry is generally prohibited in these states, there are a few exceptions. For example, visibly carrying your weapon during outdoor activities such as hunting or fishing is often allowed, as is carrying a weapon in your home. However, check your state to be sure — each state has different exceptions.
Open Carry of Long Guns
While most gun owners possess a handgun, some prefer long guns — rifles or shotguns. Different regulations apply to the open carrying of these long guns, and, as with handguns, laws vary by state.
Most states allow an individual to openly carry a loaded long gun without a permit, but some states have restrictions:
- Iowa: The gun must be unloaded.
- Pennsylvania: In some cities, you are not permitted to openly carry a long gun.
- Tennessee: In Tennessee, your long gun can't be loaded.
- Utah: Like Iowa and Tennessee, in Utah, it is illegal to openly carry a loaded long gun.
- Virginia: Certain cities don't allow you to openly carry a long gun.
Six states, plus the District of Columbia, generally ban visibly carrying a long gun.
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
As with handguns, check with your individual state's laws before openly carrying your gun. This is especially important with long guns since visibly wearing a rifle or shotgun can cause more public concern and attention than a handgun.
Carrying in a National Park?
Laws concerning guns in national parks have changed drastically in the past decade. Beginning in the 1960s, weapons in National Parks were confined to vehicles or to select hunting settings. However, in 2009 the policy was revisited, and now state laws have primacy within National Parks even though they are federal land.
If a National Park covers two states, the policy gets a little tricky — carry laws can change between states. For example, Yosemite National Park possesses land in both Nevada and California. If you are in the California portion of the park, you have to abide by California state laws, and the same goes for Nevada policies. There is one exception to this rule — when you're entering a federal building on National Park land, open or concealed carry is not allowed unless you are a federal agent or park ranger.
Premium Quality Holsters
Whether you decide to open or conceal carry, don't limit yourself with poor-quality equipment. At High Noon Holsters, we believe in the integrity of excellent craftsmanship. Since 1997, we have been committed to providing lovingly-made holsters for our customers, and use only the best leather and Kydex available. We offer unique, advanced and custom designs with a quick turnaround so you can purchase a holster to your specification and design.
We pride ourselves on customer satisfaction, and we are committed to the highest standards of quality and dependability. Browse our premium selection of leather, Kydex and hybrid holsters, or feel free to contact us with any questions. We look forward to doing business with you.
Meet the Medium Duty family of inside the waistband or IWB. The Medium Duty family consists of the Hideaway (clip or strap), the Upper Limit (clip or strap), and the Bare Necessity (clip or strap). These holsters are made with the leather rough side out to maximize grip when worn. Having the softer side leather on the inside promotes a easier draw of your handgun. These leather gun holsters are constructed of premium grade cowhide and offers combat grip accessibility, necessary for speed when drawing. All holsters are an open top and open muzzle design. The medium duty holsters also come with a tension screw so that the gun owner can “fine tune” the fitment or snugness to their liking.
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High Noon Holsters stands out at the top of my list of the best holsters that I have used.
ROBB MANNING Every Day Carry www.onwisconsinoutdoors.com High Noon Holster's Slide Guard Feb 2013
Robb Manning served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nearly 11 years where he developed a passion and knowledge for firearms of all types. Since 2010 Robb has been a gun/hunting writer for www.onwisconsinoutdoors.com, and also flims gun and gear videos for his Youtube channel 762x51n8o.
High Noon Holsters stands out at the top of my list of the best holsters that I have used.
Like many of my fellow Wisconsinites, I'm fairly new to concealed carry. Having served in the Marines, I'm not new to carrying pistols, though, having had an M9 strapped to my side or chest throughout the majority of my nearly 11 years in. Being a gun writer also gives me an advantage in that I get to try a lot of different styles, brands, and materials of holsters.
Of the nearly two dozen holsters I've used, I have developed a definit preference for leather. Other materials work great, but nothing works as well, nor looks as good, as ol' animal hide.
With all of that said, High Noon Holsters stands out at the top of my list of the best holsters I have used.
CZ Forum Feb 2013
David Esch and his wife run the CZ-Forum. He has been in state corrections for 11 years, 7.5 years as a Sgt, he has previously worked 8.5 years in the armored trucking industry as a truck captain and supervisor. He is a Navy vet with one Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and has worked at two gunshops and two ranges as a wakeman, range safety officer and instructor. David is an NRA Life Member.High Noon Slide Guard for Kimber 1911
Once in a while you get something so nice, well, you just have to share. It came in the usual nice dirty banged up, (seriously, one corner was caved in), box delivered by our friendly UPS man, but inside everything was intact and outstanding!
The picture really doesn't do it justice, as the beautiful lined Slide Guard holster from High Noon was perfect. What looks like dust is the holster reflecting light, it is so well done! The finish was perfect and even, and the fit was absolutely stellar. How good? Well, when the pistol went in, it was like Part A into Tab B. Usually you expect some fitting and stretching for new holsters – not this one, it was ready to rumble from the word "go".
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