Offset v. Drop Leg Holsters
There are few products on the market that can make a big difference in your practice. When it comes to Range or Tactical skills, however, there is a huge difference between EDC and Training Holsters.
If I am training for EDC or Every Day Carry, I use a belt-mounted holster. This can be either an In Waist Band, IWB holster carried in the Appendix, 4 ‘o’clock, or Center of Back / Mexican style. I can also carry Outside Waist Band or OWB, which can be positioned really anywhere on my belt, but is commonly right on my hip in the case of open carry or even concealed carry if I am wearing sufficient coverage garments.
If I am not training for EDC, like practicing my combat draw skills or rolling in the dirt, I use a leg-strapped holster. There are a lot of different terms to describe these holsters, but really there are only two different versions: Drop Leg and Offset holsters.
DROP LEG HOLSTERS
Drop leg holsters have a strapping system that connects to your belt, but only to keep it from falling. The holster itself is strapped directly to your mid-thigh, thereby providing retention and fit as you move. These types of holsters are common with the military and law enforcement in many cases but not widely employed by civilians.
The problem with drop leg holsters is your gun cant is controlled by the angle of your thigh. Cant is a term used to describe the angle of your gun or holster during your draw stroke. If your gun grip is not in a natural position relative to your primary hand as you reach for it, you must pivot your wrist to adjust to the grip, and this leads to a poor grip on your gun during draw.
Since the drop leg holster is mounted directly to your leg, as you bend, kneel, sit, or whatever, the holster itself is no longer in line with the natural angle of your wrist as it would be in a normal standing position. And this means your draw stroke will be different depending on your position.
The other problem with drop leg holsters is they are usually positioned too low on your leg. You don’t need your pistol to be 8” below your belt to accommodate your gorilla arms. This just makes it more difficult to reach your firearm and perform an effective draw stroke.
True, like the Drop Leg, Offset holsters do, and should, strap to your leg, they are called Offset for a reason. But they are only a slight offset, like 2-4” from your belt. This offset makes it easier to reach your pistol and removes the opportunity for loose or partially tucked shirts to get in the way of the process.
A Drop Leg holster requires you to almost fully extend your arm to reach your pistol, an Offset holster holster lives in the sweet spot between your belt, which can be too high, and the full extension of your arm, which in my experience is also too low.
Offset holsters also do not impact the cant of your gun, no matter if you are kneeling or crouching. Cant is important when it comes to tactical training. We are not always standing at ready to engage a target. You need to be able to draw and shoot effectively from any different position. And offset holsters make that process even easier because no matter what your position, the cant of your pistol is nearly the same.
Do you need a thigh strap if your offset is sturdy? Yes! The importance of a thigh strap comes down to retention. When I draw my pistol from an offset holster, because it is slightly lower than the belt where it is mounted, the angle of my draw changes. Instead of drawing my pistol straight-out of the holster, the offset mount will pull away from my leg, making me draw into my body instead of directly up.
The cost of a leg strap is insignificant to the impact it has on your draw from an offset holster. It is simply a must have if you employ offsets.