As a federal agent who has taught firearms and tactical training to basic agent trainees, narcotics teams, SWAT teams and foreign counterparts, I have seen a lot of tactical gear and a lot of tactical-gear mistakes: pistols held in the holster with a half-dozen rubber bands, tactical holsters hung upside down from the belt, and giant bowie and tanto knives attached to virtually every square inch of the human body. While I believe tactical gear needs to be personalized to each operator, there are some very common mistakes that could be easily corrected.
Let’s start with the holster. The holster moved from being mounted on the belt to a strap hanging below the belt because body armor got in the way. Thick, cumbersome, body armor tends to either painfully trap a pistol against the body or ride on top of the pistol and push it, along with the user’s pants, down. There are two ways to correct this: Wear the holster further away from the body or wear it lower. Most of us wear it lower. That’s the first mistake.
A typical holster only needs to be worn about 2 to 3 inches lower to clear the body armor. But most people take a tactical holster and mount the gun 8 to 14 inches lower. Sure, it looks cool—just ask Han Solo. But everything else it does is wrong. It slows down the draw—the user must reach farther to grab the pistol and bring it up farther before the sights are visible. It also tends to slide around when you run or when you fight with a suspect while handcuffing. I’ve seen holsters end up completely behind or in front of the leg after a short jog across a front lawn. Let me take a minute to describe my favorite tactical holster and the proper way to set it up.