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Black Knights Nerf

Holsters: Types, Functions, and Other Useless Garbage

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Holsters are used and loved by many, but hated just about as much. They're the most freaking convenient things ever, but they have a sickening tendency to be an abolutely royal pain in our backside.

Here's the deal. Holsters should hold your sidearm comfortably. A good holster should allow your gun in and out smoothly, without catching on anything. They should hold your gun steady, so it's not flapping around and getting in the way. And most importantly, they should be comfortable, not cumbersome. Looking good or cool is just a perk.

There are three main types of actual holsters. Then there are cargo pockets. I'll touch on the latter first.

Cargo pockets are some of the most brilliant things ever. But as holsters...let's just say that my opinion of them changed VERY quickly the first time I ran from someone, rounded a corner, turned to draw my pistol and shoot them, and didn't find my pistol there anymore.

Cargo pockets are loose, and not meant to hold guns. They let the gun bang around on the leg, which causes the player generally to slow down, and run awkwardly. They also let guns fly out ALL THE TIME. If you like storing your guns in cargo pockets, so be it. I refuse.

On to REAL holsters. The three main types are leg, hip, and bandolier holsters. Bandolier holsters cover a fairly wide range of things, so we'll get to those later.

Leg holsters are the most common in nerfing. You can buy very nice "tactical" leg holsters made for airsoft guns that work well with nerf guns for around ten bucks (though believe me, you can certainly feel free to pay considerably more...it's just not worth it), and you can just as easily (and certainly more cheaply) make one out of duct tape, coat hanger wire, and some webbing and clips. They consist of a strap that comes down off of your belt to the top of the holster at about the bottom of your butt, and one or two straps that go around your leg to secure it. They're great. I used to use one, but I don't anymore. They sit the gun in a perfect spot. Essentially, the handle sits at about the same level as where your hand does when you casually drape it at your side; prime position for easy access.

The problem I have with them is that they hold my shorts up against my leg, so my leg can't move as freely, independent from my shorts. That may not bug you, but it bugs me.

Next are hip holsters; my new favorite. These little buggers are freaking awesome. They're usually the first holster people make because they're so simple. It's just a holster that attaches directly onto your belt.

The main problem most people have with them is that they put the handle of the gun up higher than where their hand normally is, so they have to reach up, grab the handle, and then pull up some more before they have the gun out. I used to not like that thought either, but I've taken that downside as a trade-off for having my legs free of straps.

The other downside to hip holsters is that they typically sit right on your hips. I find that uncomfortable; if you bump your gun into a building or tree, you've got hard plastic jabbing your hip bone. Not fun.

So I positioned MINE just behind my hip bones on either side, so they're at a slight angle, handles facing back and in towards me, tops of the pistols facing forward and out away from me.

This got them off my hip bones, and on a nice soft spot. This also lets me dive to the side and land just off-center of my hip in the grass and not damage my guns or jab them into me. But it produced another problem.

Remember how I said people don't like hip holsters because they have to reach up so far to get at the handle, only to have to reach up further to draw them? Well as you can tell from my description that I just engineered myself into having to reach up and behind my own back to get at them. Brilliant, let me tell you.

The solution to this? I inverted them. Now my handles face forward and out, and the tops of the guns face back and in. How do I draw them now? For one, I DON'T crossdraw. Reaching up high is one thing, but if there was EVER a waste of time, it was reaching across one's body to grab a pair of pistols with opposite hands. NOT a good idea. I still draw my right with my right, and my left with my left. But when I do, I twist my hands in, and grab at the pistols with my hands exactly where they should be on the handle. I've become incredibly attached to the motion. It's very comfortable and very fast. If using Nite Finders or other external plunger guns, your hand doesn't have to reach past a cocked plunger this way, saving you time. If you're using Crossfires (like me) or other guns with internal plungers, that's not an issue.

Lastly, we have the Bandolier holsters. These things are usually pretty large, have one or more straps wrapping around your torso in various ways, and can carry anything from a small pistol under the arm "undercover style" to a rifle slung over your back and drawn over the shoulder. There isn't a right or wrong way to do a Bandolier holster. Personally, with the exception of a well-made rifle sleeve on the back, they're pointless for nerfing. Undercover pistol holsters don't serve any purpose except to force you to crossdraw. No need for gun concealment unless you're playing nerf assassin. If you are, have at it.

Just wanted to touch on the basics. I'm not going to go into how to construct holsters; just be creative. I tried to remain unbiased in my descriptions, so at least you have some thoughts to run with in selecting one that'll suit your needs. If I didn't...oh well. Get over it, I guess.

Update:
Since writing this, I have, yet again, changed my holster setup one last time. I still use a hip holster, but it is now mounted on my belt just to the left of my belt buckle, on the front of my pants. An extremely convenient crossdraw holster, without the need for a twist on the outside like before. The biggest advantage this gives me, though, is that it keeps my hips and back completely free of equipment, so if rolling is necessary, there's nothing to make it an uncomfortable/painful experience.