Open carry is the practice of carrying a firearm openly and in plain view for personal safety or to exercise second amendment rights. It is a hotly contested issue, and its legality differs by state.
Regardless of personal beliefs, people who choose open carry must have the proper equipment, including a holster that is comfortable, secure, and allows for quick access to the firearm in an emergency.
This post will evaluate the best open carry holsters based on expert analysis and hands-on testing. We will also discuss the elements to consider when selecting a holster, including comfort, retention, accessibility, durability, and garment suitability.
Whether you are a seasoned open carrying or a beginner, this guide will help you pick the perfect holster for your needs.
Best Holsters for Open Carry
|Rapid Force Duty Holster|
|Rapid Force Lvl 2 Slim Holster|
|Alien Gear Roswell OWB Holster|
|ShapeShift MOLLE Holster|
|ShapeShift Drop Leg Holster|
1. Rapid Force Duty Holster
The Rapid Force Duty Holster is a high-quality holster designed for use by law enforcement, the military, and the general public. This holster is constructed to last and offers a variety of features and benefits that make it an excellent option for open carry.
The Rapid Force Duty Holster is ergonomically designed. Even when worn for extended periods of time, the holster’s soft, breathable material will not cause irritation or discomfort. Additionally, the holster is adjustable, allowing for a comfortable and secure custom fit.
The retention system is one of the standout features of the Rapid Force Duty Holster. This holster secures your firearm with retention levels of 2 and 3, preventing it from falling out or being taken by others. In an emergency, the retention mechanism is simple to release, allowing for a rapid and smooth draw.
The Rapid Force Duty Holster is designed for rapid and simple firearm access. The positioning of the firearm in the holster and the design of the holster itself permit a smooth and natural draw without the need for excessive movement or fumbling. Whether you are a law enforcement officer or a civilian, you can rely on this holster to provide quick access to your firearm in an emergency.
Rapid Force Duty Holster is constructed for durability. This holster is constructed from high-quality materials to withstand frequent use and exposure to the elements. It is also able to withstand the weight of your firearm as well as repeated use-related wear and tear.
Whether you use this holster for work or personal protection, you can rely on its longevity.
The Rapid Force Duty Holster is versatile in addition to being comfortable, secure, accessible, and long-lasting. It is compatible with a variety of firearms and can be worn in various locations, including the hip, back, and shoulder. This permits you to select the most comfortable and convenient placement.
Among the primary advantages of the Rapid Force Duty Holster is its 0.450″ sight height. This indicates that the holster is designed to accommodate firearms with sights of this height, allowing you to acquire your target quickly and precisely. This holster will help you get the most out of your firearm, whether you’re using it for self-defense, hunting, or target shooting.
Made in the United States, the Rapid Force Duty Holster is constructed to the highest quality and performance standards. Whether you are looking for a holster for personal or professional use, you can be confident that this holster will meet your requirements and exceed your expectations.
In conclusion, the Rapid Force Duty Holster is an excellent option for anyone seeking a high-quality open carry holster. This holster is designed to meet the needs of law enforcement, military, and civilian users through its comfort, retention, accessibility, durability, versatility, sight height, and American-made construction. The Rapid Force Duty Holster is an excellent choice that is certain to meet your needs, whether you are looking for a holster for work or for personal protection.
- Multiple retention levels (2 and 3) for customizable security
- Specific sight height of 0.450″ for improved accuracy
- Made in the USA for higher quality and reliability
- More expensive than basic holsters
- May not be compatible with all firearms
- Can be heavier due to multiple retention mechanisms
2. Rapid Force Lvl 2 Slim Holster
The Rapid Force Level 2 Slim Holster is a traditional level 2 holster designed to provide safety and security while maintaining a slim, minimalist profile. This holster is ideal for detective, security, and off-duty personnel who require a level 2 holster.
The Rapid Force Level 2 Slim Holster provides the same advantages as the Rapid Force Duty Holster, including a quick, intuitive draw, maximum durability, and ultimate security, but in a more compact design.
The level 2 retention of this holster is one of its most notable characteristics. This indicates that the holster has two retention levels, providing the user with added security and peace of mind. The passive retention mechanism is the first level of retention, securing the firearm in place.
The second level of retention is the active retention mechanism, which requires the user to actively release it before drawing the firearm. This additional level of security is essential for individuals who work in high-pressure environments and must be confident that their weapon is secure and easily accessible.
The Rapid Force Level 2 Slim Holster also features a minimalist design. This holster is ideal for individuals who prefer a low-profile holster that is less noticeable under clothing due to its slim profile. This holster’s minimalist design is ideal for individuals seeking a holster that is easy to wear and carry without adding extra bulk or weight.
The Rapid Force Level 2 Slim Holster is designed for maximum durability to withstand the rigors of daily use. The holster is constructed from high-quality materials, such as Kydex or leather, which are known for their durability and resistance to wear and tear. The holster’s reinforced mouth ensures that it will retain its shape and form over time, even after repeated use.
The Rapid Force Level 2 Slim Holster’s rapid, intuitive draw is a key feature, making it ideal for individuals who must draw their weapon quickly and easily. The holster’s design allows for a smooth and rapid draw, minimizing the time required to access your weapon in an emergency. Utilizing a low-profile retention mechanism that does not impede the user’s ability to rapidly draw their weapon enables a smooth and rapid draw.
The Rapid Force Level 2 Slim Holster is an excellent option for those in search of a high-quality holster that offers safety, protection, and a quick, intuitive draw. This holster is ideal for individuals who prefer a low-profile, easy-to-carry holster, while the level 2 retention provides added security and peace of mind.
The Rapid Force Level 2 Slim Holster is the ideal holster for those in search of a holster that provides the advantages of a duty holster in a slim, minimalist design. It features maximum durability, a quick draw, and the highest level of security.
- Slim, minimalist design for a low profile and ease of carry
- Level 2 retention for added security and peace of mind
- Fast, intuitive draw for quick access to weapon in emergency situations
- Maximum durability for long-lasting use
- May not be compatible with all firearms
- Can be difficult to adjust retention for some users
- May not provide enough retention for individuals in high-stress situations
3. Alien Gear Roswell OWB Holster (Outside the Waistband)
The Alien Gear Roswell OWB Holster is a sleek and effective holster that is ideal for open carry, range use, and competition. The holster is designed to be thin and uncomplicated, making it an excellent option for those who wish to carry a firearm with ease.
The open-top design of the Alien Gear Roswell OWB Holster allows for quick and easy access to your firearm. In an emergency, you will not have to fumble with a flap or hood to access your weapon. The design also permits a smooth and rapid draw.
The holster is injection-molded from durable polymer, rendering it both lightweight and sturdy. The holster’s polymer construction also ensures that it will last for years, despite its frequent use.
The paddle-style attachment of the Alien Gear Roswell OWB Holster ensures that it will remain securely attached to the waistband. The holster is compatible with belts up to 1.75 inches in width, so you can rest assured that it will remain in place even during physical activities.
The Alien Gear Roswell OWB Holster includes a hood for red dot sights. The hood safeguards your sight, preventing it from being damaged or misaligned during use. It also improves your shooting accuracy and performance.
The Alien Gear Roswell OWB Holster is made in the United States, ensuring that it is made of high-quality materials. The 30-day return policy and lifetime warranty provide customers with peace of mind, as they can return the holster if they are unhappy.
The Alien Gear Roswell OWB Holster is an excellent option for those who enjoy open carry, target practice, and competition. It is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a dependable and effective holster due to its slim and straightforward design, durable polymer construction, and paddle-style attachment. With the optional red dot sight hood, you can rest assured that your sight will be safeguarded and your shooting performance will be improved. With the 30-day return policy and lifetime warranty, you can feel confident in your purchase and secure in the knowledge that you can return the holster if you are unhappy.
- Open-top design for quick and easy access to your firearm
- Durable polymer construction that is lightweight and strong
- Secure paddle-style attachment that fits belts up to 1.75 inches wide
- Paddle-style attachment may not be preferred by some users
- Optional red dot sight hood may not be necessary for some users
- May not be suitable for concealed carry due to its open-top design
4. ShapeShift MOLLE Holster
The ShapeShift MOLLE Holster is an adaptable, customizable holster that fills the void in the tactical market. Alien Gear Holsters, a company known for its innovative designs and high-quality holsters, is the manufacturer. This holster is compatible with both standard and non-standard PALS platforms, making it ideal for anyone who wants to carry a firearm in a variety of environments.
The MOLLE Holster is constructed from a premium engineered polymer that is both lightweight and durable. A double-pronged holster base provides stability and security for your firearm, while the holster’s smooth texture allows it to easily slide into PALS webbing.
The MOLLE locks included with the holster are designed to fit the height of two or three PALS webbing strips and can be installed without the use of tools, allowing for a quick and secure attachment.
The injection-molded shell of the ShapeShift MOLLE Holster provides a unique form of retention that locks your firearm in place with a distinct click. Optionally available is a thumb release that provides an additional form of retention and guides the hand into the correct drawing position. The holster’s prongs are detachable and reattachable in four different ways, allowing for an extensive range of ride height adjustment. The rotating adapter also permits a 360° cant in 22° increments, giving you full control over your draw.
The ShapeShift MOLLE Holster’s ability to quickly switch between other ShapeShift holsters is one of its distinctive features. You can release the full shell configuration containing your firearm with the push of a button, allowing you to quickly transition to other holsters such as the ShapeShift OWB Paddle Holster, ShapeShift Drop Leg, ShapeShift Holster Mount, and more.
The ShapeShift MOLLE Holster is manufactured in the United States, allowing Alien Gear Holsters to offer it at an affordable price. The manufacturer is so confident in the quality of this holster that it offers a lifetime warranty and a 30-day trial period.
The ShapeShift MOLLE Holster by Alien Gear Holsters is a highly customizable, versatile, and secure holster that is ideal for anyone who must carry a firearm in a variety of environments. It is the best option for anyone looking for a high-quality holster due to its sturdy construction, adjustable design, and simple switching features. With a lifetime warranty and a 30-day trial period, there is no reason not to try out this holster.
- The ShapeShift MOLLE Holster is compatible with a variety of PALS platforms, including backpacks, tactical belts, vests, and more.
- The holster is made from premium engineered polymer that is both durable and lightweight, ensuring it can withstand the demands of tactical use.
- Secure fit: The MOLLE Holster features a double-pronged holster base and Alien Gear Holsters’ patent-pending MOLLE locks that ensure a quick and secure fit.
- Some users have reported about the poor retention of the holster.
5. ShapeShift Drop Leg Holster
The ShapeShift Drop Leg Holster is a highly adaptable and customizable holster designed to meet the needs of tactical and outdoor enthusiasts. This holster has several features that set it apart from other holsters on the market, making it an excellent option for those seeking a durable, high-quality holster.
The ShapeShift Drop Leg Holster is distinguished by its 38″ leg strap, which can be trimmed to fit a variety of body types and sizes. The adjustable leg strap also ensures that the holster stays securely in place, even during vigorous activity, making it an excellent choice for hunters, anglers, and shooters who require a dependable holster in the field.
Compatibility is another distinguishing characteristic of the ShapeShift Drop Leg Holster. It is compatible with the ShapeShift Modular Holster System. With a few simple adjustments, you can easily switch between various carry positions. The ShapeShift Drop Leg Holster has you covered whether you prefer a traditional hip carry or an innovative drop leg carry.
The holster’s ride height is adjustable, allowing you to position it in a manner that is most comfortable for you. The Level 2 retention system and detachable thumb release provide you with additional peace of mind and ensure that your firearm is always secured.
The ShapeShift Drop Leg Holster is also designed with comfort in mind. The flexible shell is designed to conform to the shape of your leg, while the thick straps distribute weight evenly to reduce discomfort. The injection-molded Shift Shell is also extremely durable and provides additional safety by covering the trigger guard.
The ShapeShift Drop Leg Holster is a high-quality holster that offers a variety of features and customization options to satisfy the needs of tactical and outdoor enthusiasts. The ShapeShift Drop Leg Holster is an excellent option whether you’re looking for a reliable holster for your next hunting trip or simply want a holster that can be used in a variety of carry positions.
- Versatile and can be attached to a variety of gear and clothing through MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) system.
- Durable, made from high-quality materials built to withstand harsh environments and rough use.
- Adjustable retention, allowing customization of the level of retention on your firearm.
- Easy access to your firearm, suitable for self-defense scenarios.
- Relatively expensive compared to other holsters on the market.
- Complex to use and may not be suitable for those looking for a simple and straightforward holster.
- May not be appealing to individuals on a tight budget.
About Open Carry
Explanation of Open Carry:
Open carry is the practice of carrying a firearm, primarily a pistol, openly, typically on one’s person or in a holster. It differs from concealed carry, which entails concealing a handgun on one’s person or in a handbag or backpack.
Open carry is a contentious issue, with supporters stating that it is a form of self-defense and a way to exercise one’s second amendment rights, and opponents arguing that it can be hazardous and intimidating to others. Some states and countries have tight limitations on open carry, while others permit it with few or no restrictions.
History of Open Carry:
The origins of open carry can be traced back to the colonial and frontier eras of the United States. At the period, firearms were commonly employed for hunting and self-defense, and openly carrying a firearm was viewed as a symbol of personal liberty and accountability. As the nation grew and became more urbanized, open carry of firearms became less prevalent, and several states began to regulate or ban it.
In recent years, open carry has once again been a contentious subject, with advocates stating that it is a way to exercise one’s second amendment rights and a method of self-defense, and opponents arguing that it can be hazardous and intimidating to others. The dispute over open carry has resulted in a patchwork of laws and regulations across the United States, with some states permitting it with few limits and others prohibiting it or imposing tight rules.
Laws and Regulations
Some states have minor limitations on open carry, whilst others have tight limits or outright bans. In certain states, open carry requires a permit or license, whereas in others, this is not the case. In addition, there may be restrictions on the types of carryable firearms, the locations where open carry is permitted, and the manner in which firearms may be carried.
Individuals who seek to openly carry a firearm must be familiar with their state’s laws and regulations, as well as any applicable local or municipal restrictions. In addition, they must be familiar with safe handling and storage procedures and have had sufficient firearms training.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Carry:
- Self-defense: Open carry proponents believe that it gives a way of personal protection and self-defense in settings when one might not have access to a firearm otherwise.
- Exercising second amendment rights: Many view open carry as a means of exercising the constitutional right to bear guns and making a statement about the significance of this freedom.
- Deterrent effect: Open carry can operate as a deterrent to potential criminals, as they may be less reluctant to attack a person carrying a firearm in plain view.
- Intimidation: Open carry can be intimidating, especially for those who are uncomfortable near firearms or have had terrible encounters with guns.
- Accidents: Any firearm carries the potential of accidental discharge, and openly carrying a firearm enhances the possibility of such an incidence.
- Legal issues: Individuals who openly carry a firearm may find themselves in legal problems if they do not understand or abide by the local open carry rules.
- Negative perception: Open carry may be perceived by some as a confrontational or violent act, which can harm the reputation of law-abiding gun owners.
Importance of Choosing the Right Holster for Open Carry
Choosing the appropriate holster for open carry is essential for a variety of reasons. It is essential for safety reasons, as the holster should hold the pistol firmly and avoid accidental firing. In addition, the holster should offer rapid and easy access to the pistol in the event of an emergency or for self-defense.
The holster should not be uncomfortable or restrict movement, particularly if it will be used for extended durations. The holster should be readily concealed or hidden when required and should not cause an ugly bulge or be visible beneath clothing.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Holster for Open Carry:
- Comfort: Comfort is a crucial consideration when selecting a holster for open carry, as it will be utilized frequently. This item will be worn for extended periods and will come into contact with the skin. The holster should be constructed from a pliable, breathable material that does not irritate the skin, and it should be tailored to distribute the firearm’s weight evenly. Additionally, the holster should be adjustable to ensure a suitable fit and to accommodate various dress levels.
- Concealment: In open carry, concealment is not a main issue; nonetheless, some individuals may prefer a holster that provides some degree of concealment, especially in situations where they do not wish to attract attention to the fact that they are carrying a firearm. Deep concealment holsters are designed to be worn beneath garments or in a covert area.
- Durability: The holster should be constructed from robust, high-quality materials that can survive repeated use and exposure to the environment. Additionally, it must be able to bear the weight of the handgun as well as any frequent use-related wear and tear.
- Retention: Retention refers to the holster’s ability to hold the pistol securely in place, preventing it from falling out or being removed by others. A decent open-carry holster should feature a secure retention mechanism, such as a thumb break, that can be easily removed when necessary.
- Accessibility: The holster should allow for easy and quick access to the firearm in the event of an emergency. The design of the holster and the positioning of the pistol should permit a smooth and effortless draw, without the need for undue movement or fumbling.
- Versatility: The optimal holster for open carry should be adaptable, permitting use in a variety of situations and with various types of apparel. For instance, it should be suitable with several types of firearms and can be worn with a variety of attire, from casual to formal. Additionally, it should be able to be worn in many locations on the body, such as the hip, back, or shoulder, to fit individual tastes and circumstances.
When it comes to open carry holsters, it is essential to consider several factors, including comfort, security, accessibility, and adaptability. Popular holster materials include leather, Kydex, and nylon.
Retention in a holster can be accomplished through passive retention, active retention, or a combination of the two. When choosing a holster, it is also important to consider the type of firearm you own and your personal preferences.
Choosing the appropriate holster for open carry requires careful consideration of multiple factors. It is essential to select a holster that provides the optimal balance of comfort, security, accessibility, and adaptability for your needs. It is also essential to select a holster that is designed specifically for your firearm.