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Thread: Belt Vs Paddle Holster

  1. #1
    Regular Member dmatting's Avatar
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    Belt Vs Paddle Holster

    I search this forum section and came up with nothing...

    Let's say you have a favorite OWB holster - do you prefer it to be a paddle holster or a belt holster and why? Looking for experience with these two types and pros and cons of both. I've decided on a holster but not on the paddle/belt choice.

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    I prefer paddle holsters because they are easy to slip on and off if needed. A lot of paddle holsters (bladetech, serpa, etc.) come with belt attachments as well. I have found paddles to be more comfortable as the weight is distributed more evenly on your body. I have also found that they are just as secure as a belt holster. Buy a Serpa and give it a try with both attachments to see which you prefer.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Some of this is also going to depend on where you plan on carrying. Personally I carry left side appendix as I prefer it there compared to on the side or small of the back. I prefer the paddle holster because it gives me more options for positioning since I don't have to deal with belt loops, but on the down-side it is a larger attachment and depending on what I'm doing my leg can end up hitting the bottom part of the paddle. Now since it is easier to move around when that happens it's easy enough to move it to the side where it's less of an issue, but even when I move it it can still be pressing against me and you don't always want to readjust your holster (such as out in public where someone might see it and get the wrong idea).

    Now for spare mags I use a bladetech belt attachement and it's fairly nice (and has a quick release feature at the bottom). I like carrying spare mags cuz they help balance out the weight of the gun so that the pants aren't just being pulled down on one side.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    I like paddle holsters because they allow me to carry where I want to without having to compromise due to where belt loops are or other considerations. The careful use of a Dremel and a heat gun can adjust the contours of the paddle so that it does not stick into me uncomfortably, or so that the retention against the belt or waistband is not compromised by where I am wearing the paddle. (Seems most of them are designed to be worn between 3 and 3:30 or 8:30 and 9, as opposed to 1 to 2 or 10 to 11. Contouring the paddle eliminates a lot of digging into my gut and the top of my leg.)

    Another unintended consequence of using a paddle holster is that when I must administratively handle my handgun (professional "operator"-speak for sitting bathroom break) I can do so without taking it out of the holster and without worrying about the gun/holster getting scratched or wet from the floor.

    stay safe.

  5. #5
    Regular Member GuidoZ's Avatar
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    Another vote for paddle here - and I have used both. HIGHLY recommend the Safariland ALS line (over the Serpa included). As was said, you can get belt attachments for it (here's and example of those options for my XDm .40), which work pretty well. I frequently stick to just the paddle since I find it easier to maneuver, have never had an issue of it being not stable enough, and it's easy to remove if necessary (or put on). That said, do make sure you have the proper belt. Newer gun owners/carriers frequently overlook this fact.

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    Regular Member Baked on Grease's Avatar
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    Paddle myself. I purchased the Blackhawk SERPA lock on which gives you the option of either belt or paddle, and the paddle is SO COMFORTABLE. Nothing sticking in to me, I even forget it's there, I can stand up and sit down and don't feel a thing.

    I tried belt for a while to see the difference and the main thing I noticed was that when I sit I can't adjust it's position to be more comfortable as easily as paddle. Plus, it's easier to put on my pants with a paddle holster..... just saying...

    I concur with Skidmark above, going to the bathroom is much easier with a paddle.... What holster were you looking at btw?
    "A Right Un-exercised is a Right Lost"

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    Regular Member UtahRSO's Avatar
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    I've been sold on paddle holsters until recently. Paddle holsters are easier to take off when needed, and mostly easy to put on (not always). But I recently got a leather holster that has snaps front and back that loop around my belt. More secure, just as easy to take off and put on. And the holster stays put on the belt (doesn't slide back and forth on the belt). I think my new holster is the best of both worlds.

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    Paddle. Bianchi accumold, only left hand paddle I can find. Easy on, easy off. I dont wear a belt all the time.

  9. #9
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Retention!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    WO WOO WOOOOOO, let me jump in here for belt holsters



    [QUOTE=thebigsd;1573878]I prefer paddle holsters because they are easy to slip on and off[QUOTE]
    ^This is why I don't do paddle holsters. I carry a gun for a SHTF situation, if the SHTF the last thing I want is someone grabbing my gun or holster and pulling it right out. I know they all sit still pretty well, but for wrestling on the ground with someone yanking at hit as hard as they can as if their life depends on it, it is not going to stay. Like I said, this is the reason we carry, because of a life or death situation. Unless you plan on drawing on a paper target from behind the firing line, a paddle holster is the wrong choice. (This is all my opinion)

    I have a binachi accumold I wear SOMETIMES if I'm just BBQing at my house or cutting grass. Any time I leave the house, belt holster.

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Schlitz;1577247]WO WOO WOOOOOO, let me jump in here for belt holsters



    [QUOTE=thebigsd;1573878]I prefer paddle holsters because they are easy to slip on and off
    ^This is why I don't do paddle holsters. I carry a gun for a SHTF situation, if the SHTF the last thing I want is someone grabbing my gun or holster and pulling it right out. I know they all sit still pretty well, but for wrestling on the ground with someone yanking at hit as hard as they can as if their life depends on it, it is not going to stay. Like I said, this is the reason we carry, because of a life or death situation. Unless you plan on drawing on a paper target from behind the firing line, a paddle holster is the wrong choice. (This is all my opinion)

    I have a binachi accumold I wear SOMETIMES if I'm just BBQing at my house or cutting grass. Any time I leave the house, belt holster.
    Have you ever tried to pull a Serpa paddle off without un-buttoning your pants? It ain't gonna happen. I also have some nice leather belt holsters which I use from time to time. If someone yanked at a belt holster hard enough the gun will come out. I think they each have unique qualities and borh are suitable for daily carry.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

  11. #11
    Regular Member dmatting's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input. I'm leaning toward the Safariland ALS. The online descriptions of what you receive with the paddle holster don't seem to be complete. I called up their customer service and they said that the paddle holster comes with a belt loop attachment as well (I understand the Serpa comes with both, too). If you buy the holster with only the belt loop attachment, you would need to buy the paddle separately. So, it looks as though I will be able to try both out.

    I also like the QLS system for quick removal and relocation of the holster that you can get for the Safariland holsters (yes, the Serpas have a similar add on product as well). Functionally, the two holsters appear to have all the same basic features and they seem to differ only on how they operate. After looking at the two, I am leaning towards Safariland but that is a personal preference and isn't meant as a slight toward the Serpa or their owners.

  12. #12
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Talking Imma get that holstered gun!!!


    Have you ever tried to pull a Serpa paddle off without un-buttoning your pants? It ain't gonna happen. I also have some nice leather belt holsters which I use from time to time. If someone yanked at a belt holster hard enough the gun will come out. I think they each have unique qualities and borh are suitable for daily carry.
    Just me trying to pull it off, no of course not. I don't want to break something I spent 30+ dollars on. Now put me in a life or death situation with a person who has a paddle holster on, I will get that holster off of them.

    You see, it's like tickling yourself, you just can't poke yourself and make it tickle. Someone else has to do it. Same with ripping your holster off, I don't think you're going to wrestle yourself to the ground into an awkward position and rip it off your hip. Put a criminal who is fighting for THEIR life against your paddle holster.

    Like I said, I'm not saying that if you have a paddle holster SOMEONE WILL RIP IT OFF. I'm just saying, I carry for a SHTF situation, if I get jumped from behind in the parking lot and it turns into a grappling melee I don't want my holster staying on purely by just pinching itself to my belt/pants with a few pokey things to give it some teeth. It IS plastic. Yea, they hold well with the teeth, but if I was fighting for life and death....imma get that holster off. you bet'cha.

    CHEA!
    Last edited by Schlitz; 07-20-2011 at 10:16 AM.

  13. #13
    Regular Member Baked on Grease's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    Just me trying to pull it off, no of course not. I don't want to break something I spent 30+ dollars on. Now put me in a life or death situation with a person who has a paddle holster on, I will get that holster off of them.

    You see, it's like tickling yourself, you just can't poke yourself and make it tickle. Someone else has to do it. Same with ripping your holster off, I don't think you're going to wrestle yourself to the ground into an awkward position and rip it off your hip. Put a criminal who is fighting for THEIR life against your paddle holster.

    Like I said, I'm not saying that if you have a paddle holster SOMEONE WILL RIP IT OFF. I'm just saying, I carry for a SHTF situation, if I get jumped from behind in the parking lot and it turns into a grappling melee I don't want my holster staying on purely by just pinching itself to my belt/pants with a few pokey things to give it some teeth. It IS plastic. Yea, they hold well with the teeth, but if I was fighting for life and death....imma get that holster off. you bet'cha.

    CHEA!
    I might have an upgraded model, but I use a Blackhawk paddle holster, and it comes with two sets of hooks to keep the paddle on you. One is adjustable to grab your belt from below after you've put it on... if you pull up then they catch on your belt and move no further. If you manage to twist those out of place to get past them, there is another hook down low, pointed outward from inside your pants on the paddle, that snags on your pants from inside further preventing removal of the holster.

    I tried, I really did, I even had my wife go at while wearing it and I struggled not a bit. No matter how she pulled at it, it would not come off...... until my pants started to rip after almost 10 mins of pulling. You HAVE to use two hands in a very particular method to get my paddle off me. I will agree with you, that eventually, Murphy will rear his head and something could go wrong if in a grapple situation, but during the effort my assailant will have others things to worry about long before he manages to get my holster loose. Heck, the gun itself will come out long before my holster does anyway. But I still find it preferable to belt holsters for the time being, imho.
    "A Right Un-exercised is a Right Lost"

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  14. #14
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Heck, the gun itself will come out long before my holster does anyway
    On a side note; I've "heard" of a police officer having a safariland 070 actually ripped off his belt and the criminal couldn't figure out how to operate the holster to get the gun out. XD



    Well to each his own, I've owned and carried in both belt and paddle holsters and I am convinced that a paddale holster isn't going to cut it >IF< you get into some type of grapple situation where someone wants that gun to save their life. (ever hear of mothers lifting cars to save their kids? ...how about a coked out criminal who knows that if he doesn't get that gun he's dead? just saying!!!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    On a side note; I've "heard" of a police officer having a safariland 070 actually ripped off his belt and the criminal couldn't figure out how to operate the holster to get the gun out. XD



    Well to each his own, I've owned and carried in both belt and paddle holsters and I am convinced that a paddale holster isn't going to cut it >IF< you get into some type of grapple situation where someone wants that gun to save their life. (ever hear of mothers lifting cars to save their kids? ...how about a coked out criminal who knows that if he doesn't get that gun he's dead? just saying!!!)
    As stated, the Blackhawk paddle is designed to catch a bunch of your pants ona hook so that it can't easily come off by simply pulling on it. And if you have a belt on then the hook (or hooks if you also have the optional ones attached) will also catch on the belt. Which means that short of proper manipulation you have to pull hard enough to break the hooks or rip the pants (if you don't have a belt on). And bringing up the lifting of cars and what not is a bit pointless. Someone who can do that is likely able to rip off a belt attached holster as well.

  16. #16
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aknazer View Post
    And bringing up the lifting of cars and what not is a bit pointless. Someone who can do that is likely able to rip off a belt attached holster as well.
    Easy broham I was just kidding lol.


    On a serious note, has anyone tested the durability of a paddle holster when it comes to pulling it away from the pants? What I mean is: has anyone tried to actually break it by pulling the holster itself away from the paddle? Kind of like pulling a wishbone apart? If so how far did it go before breaking IF it broke at all?

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    I think we are looking at the wrong idea here. A criminal is trying to get your gun, not your holster right? I think any holster with a reasonable retention system will make this difficult to do. Just for the sake of argument, with a belt holsters wouldn't that make it easier for someone to get your gun without taking your holster along. If someone was to get my gun away, I would prefer it in the holster rather thannin their hand. That being said, I use both types of holsters and consider them to be equal.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    Easy broham I was just kidding lol.


    On a serious note, has anyone tested the durability of a paddle holster when it comes to pulling it away from the pants? What I mean is: has anyone tried to actually break it by pulling the holster itself away from the paddle? Kind of like pulling a wishbone apart? If so how far did it go before breaking IF it broke at all?
    With mine it's not so much the pulling of the holster away from the paddle that would break it. The paddle and holster are held together by three screws. It would require one to pull on the gun in such a way that the back part of the paddle was pressed against you while the front part and holster were perpendicular to you. Personally I've bent mine out to about a 45 degree angle, and given how the plastic feels I'm sure one could take it to a 90+ degree angle and not have it snap (though it would make it easier to get the holster off, and I doubt it would be usable again afterwards).

    But also remember that the perp is going to be grabbing onto the pistol grip, and that grip is right at the pivot point for bending the holster in the manner you're talking about. And snapping it like a wishbone would be hard because with a wishbone you pull at the bottom, but with this scenario one would be pulling at the top where there's less leverage and it's stronger. Your better bet would be to try and snap where the thing screws in or pulling straight up, and I would be willing to bet that neither of those would fail in a real life situation so long as you properly take care of your gear.

  19. #19
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    If someone was to get my gun away, I would prefer it in the holster rather thannin their hand.

    Hmm, touche...

  20. #20
    Regular Member Outdoorsman1's Avatar
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    I open carry dailiy and prefer a belt holster for reasons already mentioned as well as I use a seperate firearm specific "gun belt" (outside of regular pants belt) that also has my extra Mag holder(s) opposite of my strong arm. A seperate firearm specific belt also comes in handy for other things such as, flashlight (in nylon case, cell phone case, voice recorder, etc. These items can be added or removed based on need. The "gunbelt" allows for placement of the sidearm anywhere I choose without having to deal with "belt loops". For medical reasons I choose not to go into here, I have forarms that are a little shorter than average as well as a "bad" (painfull at times) right shoulder and as I am right handed I choose to carry somewhere between 1 and 2 o'clock for easier faster draw... If I am in a "safe" enviroment, I can simply rotate the entire belt to put the sidearm @ 3 or 4 o'clock for easier movement in certain circumstances.

    I have a specific belt / holster set up for my XD- 40 and a different belt / holster set up for the Taurus Judge and practice with the same holster / firearm combination without having to switch firearms to different holsters. I wear the XD as my daily carrier and the Judge on occasions, only if and when I am 100% confident of being in a less "threating" enviroment.

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  21. #21
    Regular Member dmatting's Avatar
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    Found an interesting video regarding kydex holsters. I'm not sure if the holster in this video is homemade or if it is a brand name and which brand name and model it would be.



    My understanding of the Safariland and Serpa holsters is that they both made of proprietary materials - not kydex.

  22. #22
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmatting View Post
    Found an interesting video regarding kydex holsters. I'm not sure if the holster in this video is homemade or if it is a brand name and which brand name and model it would be.



    My understanding of the Safariland and Serpa holsters is that they both made of proprietary materials - not kydex.
    Interesting video. Too bad they provide absolutely no information regarding the holster.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

  23. #23
    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Most of the time I use a belt holster w/ retention strap.
    When I ride, I don't have a belt on my riding pants, so I use a paddle (Fobus).
    Or rather, once I get to where I'm going I uncase, load, & put it in the paddle holster.
    Until 01NOV.
    The only problem I've had w/ the paddle is once when I tried to draw from it @ the range it came off my belt instead of the pistol coming out.

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    Last edited by DrkDestroyer; 07-25-2011 at 08:28 AM.

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    Regular Member sraacke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outdoorsman1 View Post
    I open carry dailiy and prefer a belt holster for reasons already mentioned as well as I use a seperate firearm specific "gun belt" (outside of regular pants belt) that also has my extra Mag holder(s) opposite of my strong arm. A seperate firearm specific belt also comes in handy for other things such as, flashlight (in nylon case, cell phone case, voice recorder, etc. These items can be added or removed based on need. The "gunbelt" allows for placement of the sidearm anywhere I choose without having to deal with "belt loops".
    Same here. I have nothing against paddles but I currently wear a belt holster on a dedicated pistol belt.
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