Best Holsters for Competitive Shooters

Outside of self-defense, competitive shooting is one of the most common reasons for an American to own a handgun. And one of the most important pieces of gear for a competitive pistol shooting is their holster. We’ll look at some of the best competitive shooting holsters in this post.

Competitive Pistol Shooting Leagues in the US

Before we get too far into the weeds talking about holsters here, let’s cover the two shooting competition organizations that you’re most likely to encounter. Different leagues have different requirements when it comes to rules, holsters, guns, and other factors. As a result, you may want to In the US, two major leagues exist. They are:

  • IPSC: the International Practical Shooting Confederation is one of largest and oldest shooting leagues in the world today. Founded in the US 1976, it now boasts more than 100 affiliates on every continent except Antarctica. Essentially, if you’re a competitive shooter anywhere in the world, you’re going to find yourself at some IPSC events. The IPSC’s main US affiliate is the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).
    • IDPA: the International Defensive Pistol Association is sort of the IPSC’s little brother in many respects. For one, it’s 20 years younger than the IPSC, tracing its origins to 1996. Ulike the IPSC, the IDPA focuses solely on pistol shooting. It also emphasizes practical and self-defense shooting skills, and it tries to emulate real-world situations in its events.

    Best Competition Pistol Holsters: What to Look For

    Just like with any piece of gear, you want to choose your competition pistol holster based on your mission. Competitive shooting always requires extremely fast and smooth movements. The vast majority of shooting competitions are timed, so even losing a fraction of a second can impact your overall score.

    As a result, you’re going to want to choose a holster that gives you fast access to your pistol. Generally, this will mean a holster with strong passive retention. Passive retention relies on friction to keep a weapon holstered, while active retention involves using some kind of device. That means you won’t need to worry about manipulating some lever or button to draw your gun.

    Competitive shooting holster

    Rules for ISPC Holsters

    The ISPC is such a huge entity that they have several different leagues for pistol competitions, and each of these leagues has their own rules regarding what pistols you can and can’t use. Different events may also have differing rules for pistol holsters. Generally though, their overarching rules state that a holster should “will retain the firearm correctly during vigorous activities yet allow you an unimpeded draw.” Holsters must also have a trigger guard – we mentioned the importance of those earlier.

    OWB competitive shooting holster

    Rules for IDPA Holsters

    One of the great things about IDPA shooting events is how diverse they are. This trains a competitor to be versatile in a multitude of situations. For example, some IDPA stages require a competitor to use their weak hand. This, in turn, may require them to use a completely different holster for this event than they did for the rest of the competition. However, the IDPA’s rules do generally leave an extremely broad array of holsters options for its shooters.

    IWB competition holster

    Choose the Southern Trapper for Your Next Competitive Shooting Holster

    Regardless of which shooting league you’re participating in, the Southern Trapper can connect you with the perfect holster to get that competitive edge. Want to learn more? You can check out our full selection here.

    black leather holster

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