Define Right- & Left-Handed Holsters

Police officer`s holster with gun.

Whether you plan to shoot recreationally or in a competition, having the correct holster is essential to a smooth draw. You'll find right- and left-handed holsters to choose from in sporting goods and gun shops. If you know what to look for, you can easily spot the difference.

Open-Carry Holsters

Right-handed open-carry holsters have a belt clip on the left side of the holster body. When attached to your belt, the holster fits onto the right hip on the outside of your belt. Right-handed paddle holsters have the paddle on the left side of the holster, tucking into the top of your pants on your right hip. A left-handed shooter will need exactly the opposite. The holster must have the paddle or clip on the right side of the holster body to enable the gun to rest on the left hip.

Concealed-Carry Holsters

Concealed-carry waistband holsters tuck inside your waistband with a clip that secures them to your clothing. You'll want the clip on the right side if you're a right-handed shooter and on the left side if you shoot left-handed. This enables the butt of the gun to point toward your dominant hand. If you plan to carry your gun in the small of your back, you'll still need a holster for your dominant side. Using one for the opposite hand will cause you to point your gun at yourself when you draw. If using a shoulder holster, you'll want a rig that secures the gun on the opposite side of your body from your dominant hand, allowing you to reach across your chest and slide the gun out.