How to choose the right holster for your low-profile needs
For concealed carry and while off duty, consider your choice of weapon, your attire and other factors
Sponsored by DeSantis Holster
By Sean Curtis for PoliceOne BrandFocus
As varied as the mission assignments in law enforcement are, you won’t be going anywhere without your weapon. Accordingly, you need holsters that can accommodate various modes of carry. The old Sam Brown is highly evolved to be functional, providing everything cops need on their shifts – although it was not designed to be concealed.
When the mission calls for something less overt, or when you are off duty, you need to select a holster that can serve your needs without identifying you as a gun-toting officer. Here are a couple of carry methods to consider.
If your job calls for you to blend in, carrying concealed is going to make that a lot easier. This often means blending a little bit of compromise for optimum outcomes. For instance, carrying your full-size semi-auto with weapon light is going to be difficult to conceal. Slides are typically not the issue, but a double-stack magazine in a grip often protrudes a bit unless layers or jackets are applied. Dressing this way may cause you to actually stand out if it isn’t weather-appropriate, though.
Going with a compact-style handgun is a great option that increases concealability without sacrificing too much function. Moving forward with this concept, you will want a holster that is less bulky while still holding your firearm ready should you need it.
Often, this means cutting back on retention devices for a lower profile. The thumb drive, hood cover and other accoutrements are awesome for retaining a plainly visible gun, but they create a lot of bulk when you are trying to conceal. A hidden weapon is your primary advantage in this scenario, along with you choosing when it should be introduced.
The DeSantis Osprey holster is a great choice for this approach because it is a true hybrid. Built of premium saddle leather right here in America, the Osprey can serve as an in-the-waistband (IWB) option by using the included belt strap. This allows the greatest level of concealability for your rig. You can also use the built-in belt loops to mount it outside the waistband (OWB), where a longer shirt or jacket can completely conceal. It fits on belts up to 1.5 inches wide and provides adjustable cant to suit your preferred method of draw. The Osprey comes in a left-handed option, too.
Concealed is only the first step down from a full open carry. While you have less retention to contend with, you will definitely have a different draw and re-holster, which may involve removing or bypassing a cover garment. Be sure to practice with your holster and typical carry method so you are accustomed to the particular challenges garments can offer. Doing this will ensure a smooth draw and avoid issues when you re-holster your weapon.
Concealed is a great method for carrying without drawing attention to you or your mission, although there are times when it isn’t quite enough. One of the most common of these scenarios would be warm weather dictating clothing suited to keeping cool. The long jacket at the pool may conceal your firearm, but the added scrutiny will ultimately defeat your intention to blend in.
Additionally, law enforcement officers occasionally work in less permissive environments where casual methods of concealment aren’t going to get the job done. When facing these parameters, consider deep concealment.
Deep concealment is yet another step in the low-profile direction, and it means a few more compromises in order to achieve an even greater level of discretion for those carrying firearms. Again, hidden is the name of the game, so officers should steer toward even smaller firearms, those in the sub-compact category.
Holsters serving this method of concealment should balance that razor-thin line, obtaining the maximum amount of functionality with the smallest footprint possible. The holster should stay in one place while providing enough retention to your weapon that it is not introduced until you choose to do so. A perfect holster for this class is the DeSantis Slim-Tuk.
The Slim-Tuk is a streamlined IWB holster formed from thermal plastic Kydex, so it is thinner than leather, decreasing the overall profile. Molded to each individual weapon type, the Slim-Tuk is designed to perfectly fit the make and model of gun you choose to carry.
The holster slides inside your waistband, and a C-clip affixes to your belt, although there is also an available J-clip that allows for even deeper concealment. These are also reversible for left-handed shooters. Whichever clip you use, be sure to practice your draw.
Let your plans be dark
The whole idea behind concealed carry is that you have a firearm without anyone else knowing it. Surprise is your advantage, and that secret is only as good as the products you use to accomplish your mission.
Whether it’s for an assignment or when you’re off duty, it’s important to choose holsters made from quality materials that suit your mission and be certain you practice, practice, practice not only your draw stroke but your return to holster as well.
About the author
Sean Curtis is a law enforcement professional with nearly two decades of experience, serving with SWAT, diving and swift water rescue teams in Colorado. He has also served in wildland fire, search and rescue, EMS and emergency management.