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7 Must-Have Features in a Competition Holster for Competitive Shooters

Competitive shooting requires special equipment to give you an edge over the competition. A critical piece of competition gear is the holster.

Competition holsters can offer a balance of protection and speed. They can fit 1.25 to 2 inches belts and have adjustable ride height for different shooter positions.

Adjustable Retention

Competitive shooters rely on the ability to draw their handguns quickly. A slow draw can put them at an ever-so-slight disadvantage during high-speed drills. A good competition holster allows you to draw your gun quickly and securely.

You can adjust the retention level of your holster with screw options to accommodate your weapon and personal preferences. This feature helps maintain a secure fit without being too tight or restrictive.

Some shooting sports may have specific requirements regarding holster retention levels, so checking the rules before choosing a holster for your particular application is essential. For example, a level 1 holster with passive retention holds your firearm in the trigger guard area until you release it.

Ergonomic Design

A Kydex competition holster offers shooters a balance of speed, protection, and retention. They typically have a low-cut front to aid in a smooth draw.

An affordable beginner option features a holster body and injection-molded paddle attachment.

The holster uses interchangeable insert blocks to accommodate different handgun models. It also features adjustable cant and ride height settings. These adjustments allow shooters to customize the holster for their preferred shooting position.


A quality competition holster will conceal your gun without interfering with a quick draw. Some holsters are heat-molded to your specific firearm, making them easy to carry for long periods while still providing a secure fit. It has also is lighter and more durable than leather holsters.

A competitive shooter must wear their holster for extended periods during matches and practice. Look for a holster with sturdy belt clips or loops to keep it securely fastened to your gun belt throughout the day.


Depending on the shooting sport, a competition shooter needs a versatile holster. For example, a holster must have enough space to hold the gun and a minimum of two magazine pouches.

In addition, the holster must be compatible with different guns and be easy to access. The holster must also be stable when positioned on the belt, ensuring it doesn’t move around during rigorous actions.

Many IDPA competitors use a combination of holsters for different events. For instance, some holsters are more suitable for the ‘belt ride’ or ‘dropped and offset’ start positions, while others provide better protection for the front sight.


IDPA is a fun and exciting shooting sport that balances speed with accuracy. This discipline uses time-plus scoring and mainly focuses on pistol shooting.

A high-quality holster is essential to competing in IDPA or other competitive shooting sports. You want a holster to draw your firearm with minimal movement.

Open-style race holsters provide more significant speed potential because they only grip the gun around the trigger guard, but these holsters offer little protection for your rifle. They could scratch the front sights when walking around the course.


The rigors of competitive shooting can take a physical toll on equipment, so your gear should be made to last. Choosing a quality holster for your pistol will protect it while allowing you to draw your gun faster and more smoothly, giving you an advantage over other competitors on the range.

A good holster will be made from a durable material, injection-molded plastic, or carbon fiber. Soft holsters will wear out quickly and can potentially damage your firearm. When drawing your gun, they can also snag on small parts (like the safety, takedown levers, and hammer).


Depending on the organization or competition you compete in, there may be restrictions on what type of holsters are allowed. It would be best to look at the rules before making a purchase.

A holster that fits your gun well can make a huge difference in your performance. It can protect your handgun from damage and allows you to draw it more quickly.

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