How to Properly Wear and Use a Paddle Holster?

A paddle holster is a popular type of holster used by many concealed carriers. Paddle holsters offer a comfortable and secure way to carry your firearm on your hip. They utilize a “paddle” attachment that allows the holster to be securely affixed to your belt or pants without the need for loops or clips. This makes paddle holsters easy to put on and take off while still keeping your firearm close at hand.

When worn correctly, a paddle holster should secure your firearm comfortably against your body in an optimal draw position. Follow these tips to safely and effectively wear your paddle holster:

Choose the Right Holster for Your Firearm

  • Select a paddle holster designed specifically for your make/model of firearm. Using one made for a different gun may result in a poor fit or insecure draw. Take measurements of your gun to ensure a proper molding and cutout fit.
  • Opt for a holster with good retention to keep your gun securely in place when worn. Passive retention like friction or tense fit is minimal – active retention like hoods/straps is better for securing the firearm.
  • Make sure the holster properly covers the trigger guard to prevent accidental discharge. Look for full trigger guard shields or straps.

Position the Holster Optimally on Your Beltline

  • The optimal position for a strong-side paddle holster is between the 3 and 5 o’clock position on your beltline. This allows for a natural draw stroke across your body that is comfortable and efficient without overextending your arm.
  • Keep the muzzle angled slightly backward along the holster body for better concealment. This prevents printing of the barrel shape against your clothing.
  • Adjust ride height so the grip breaks cleanly above the beltline for easy access. Having too low of a ride height can impede your draw.

Secure the Paddle Stably Against Your Hip

  • With your firearm unloaded, put the paddle holster on by slipping the belt through the paddle loops. Make sure the belt is threaded correctly through the loops.
  • Position the paddle against your hip by sliding it inside your pants, securing it between your belt and body. The paddle should be flat against you.
  • The tension of the belt should hold the holster firmly in place during normal movement. Give it a few test draws and walks around your home to check for slippage.
  • Give it a few test draws to check security and angle or ride height adjustments as needed for optimal stability and concealment.

Always Practice Safe Draw Techniques

  • Keep your finger off the trigger and outside guard during the entire draw until ready to fire. Do not touch the trigger until the sights are on target.
  • Draw straight up until the barrel clears the holster before angling the muzzle away from your body. Prevent sweeping yourself by drawing directly up.
  • Smoothly lift and present the firearm towards your intended target. Avoid flagging or sweeping any bystanders.
  • Practice drawing with an unloaded gun until the motion becomes natural and automatic. Repetition builds drawing skills.

Maintain Proper Concealment of the Holstered Firearm

  • Position yourself appropriately in relation to others to keep muzzle direction safe. Face the firearm away from others if close by.
  • Tuck in shirt behind grip so grip clears cleanly without snagging fabric. A grip tangling in clothes can damage your draw.
  • An untucked cover garment like a jacket can help break up the outline of the holstered gun. Look for uneven drapes of fabric.
  • Check angles in a mirror to identify and address any printing issues. Printing compromises concealment.
  • Learn how your body moves and bends to ensure coverage in all positions. Make adjustments to prevent exposure.

Know When and Where Paddle Holsters Should Not Be Worn?

  • Only carry in a paddle holster when it does not violate local laws. Research carries laws in your state and location.
  • Be aware of any premises restricting firearms so you can comply accordingly. Honor legally posted no firearm requests.
  • Remove the holster when entering secured areas like airports or courthouses to avoid violation. Check it if needed.
  • Take care when bending over to prevent the paddle from becoming visible. A foot back while bending can help.
  • Avoid strenuous activity where excessive motion could dislodge the holster. Use a belt clip holster for high activity.

Maintain Your Gear

  • Inspect the holster interior regularly for wear and keep it clean. Replace padded liners if worn out.
  • Check retention screws are tight. Replace worn or damaged paddles/parts. Regular maintenance preserves function.
  • Clean and lubricate your firearm as needed when carried in a holster. Sweat and dirt can affect the gun.
  • Evaluate new holster styles periodically for improved features or fits. Improvements are frequently introduced.

Following these guidelines will help you securely and comfortably carry your firearm in a paddle holster. Always prioritize safety by using proper handling techniques and developing consistent competence through ongoing practice. With some care and experience, paddle holsters can be an effective and convenient concealed carry option.

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