To begin with, my loyalty to OneTigris can be reflected in my regular use of their products from everyday carry to sports and airsoft. My first impression was the durability and unwavering quality of their designs, and at such competitive pricing in delivering these values.


I’ve caught wind of their eagerness to expand their airsoft product line, how they’re looking into “modernizing” existing nylon pistol holsters with polymer built fast draw systems. As a “pistol nerd” I was intrigued and immediately reminded of my experience in using side arms during service. It so happened that I chanced upon an opportunity to converse with OneTigris’ airsoft product designer and shared my experience on various pistol holsters with him. This article contains the highlights of that particular conversation with hopes of educating those who wish to learn more about how to choose the right pistol holster.


The first question for you: Where will you secure your pistol holster? Generally speaking you can opt for the chest, waist, or outer thigh rigging. Thanks to blockbuster movies most people would go with thigh rigs to look cool, and it’s true that veterans who have served before 2005 also favor this option. Before you decide, here are the pros and cons of each option for you to consider:



    Pros of Chest Rigs – Saves strength and energy, high level of comfort in any posture, fast draw capability in a vehicle, and low risk of losing your weapon compared to waist carry and thigh rigs.
    Cons – Interference with rifle slings, slow ammo retrieval, and less speed compared to gun draw from the waist and thigh.

    Old school operators before the MOLLE system liked to go with chest rigs. You can google for pictures of US Special Forces using Chinese PLA Type 56 AK Chest Rigs in Vietnam and you’ll see. It makes the most sense to carry pistols and ammo this way considering the design of man’s body structure. For men in war required to march for long distances, chest carry is the most energy efficient and physically comfortable solution. Then the MOLLE system came along and many gun holster manufacturers launched body armors or plate carriers that incorporated the chest carry system.

    Take a look this picture of the Blackhawk SERPA Quick Draw Holster used by the US Army Special Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. These men and women spend long hours patrolling vast areas of land and imagine how difficult it would be for them to draw their rifle from a thigh rig or waistband in a narrow vehicle when fast draw is called upon. Chest rigs would be the best option in such a situation.


    From the end of the 80’s to the beginning of the War on Terror, thigh rigs mainstream due to the limitations of combat suits and how ballistic armors (prior to the existence of plate carriers) took up most of the upper torso area leaving little space for a soldier to work with.

    Take a look at this picture and you’ll see how it would be difficult to carry your pistol around the waist area in a desert combat uniform. The soldier in the picture may have gone with a thigh rig because it enabled fast draw but still you can see how waist carry would not be idea.

    Despite the fact that Gen 3 type combat pants are so commonly worn, many people would still choose a thigh rig for pistol carry, especially law enforcement personnel, SWAT and VBSS teams. The reason they all go with thigh rigs is they’re already heavily geared up with protective gear with little space in the upper torso, and mobility when standing upright isn’t a top priority when on duty, so a bit of weight on the leg is acceptable.

    Pros of Thigh Rigs – Quick draw when standing without inference with upper torso gear, as well as being able to carry more gear around the chest area this way, and the fact that you’d look like an action movie hero.
    Cons – Pistols can be easily removed from a thigh rig, mobility would be hindered if required to push forward while laying low, considerable discomfort if required to dash a couple hundred yards or to march for several miles with 10lb of weight hanging from one leg, and as previously mentioned it’d take more time to draw your gun if attacked when within a vehicle.

    It’s evident from this picture that thigh rigs are less comfortable to sit with and weapon access wouldn’t be as handy or quick:


    Waist carry is naturally the first option for man as warriors from ancient times did this with daggers and swords, as do cowboys and the police of today. At the dawn of the War on Terror, waist carry became once again popular in the military with the advancement of military equipment through experience from operations and combat. Lightweight military gear was the way to go, and with the increased use of lightweight plate carriers, there now is more space in the upper torso for gear, and combat uniforms have also become compatible with waist carry systems. When you’re looking for mobility and flexibility, and you require swift pistol access without knocking into other pieces of gear (chest rigs, rifle straps and telecommunication wires and cables), waist carry is evidently the best option. Take a look at this picture of a MARSOC member using the classic Blackhawk CQC holster for waist carry to sum up the advantages mentioned above.

    Pros of Waist Carry – Better concealment and protection of weapon from enemies, quick draw when standing compared with chest/thigh rigs, better comfort regardless of when sitting, sitting or laying low, optimized mobility in hundred-yard dashes and mile-long runs, high versatility for multiple environments be it parachuting or river crossing or driving, and easy access to your gun without knocking into other equipment.
    Cons – When heavily armored or in winter combat gear, access to your gun may be less straightforward, and it doesn’t look as cool for those who do care about how they look.

    With more combat experience to refer to, we now have other feasible solutions for pistol carry. When the stability and comfort of waist carry as well as swift access to your pistol were both required, several leading brands came up with the drop leg platform that could be described as a hybrid between the waist carry system with thigh holsters. Holster height can be conveniently adjusted based on personal preference. The below picture below shows a drop leg platform with the pistol hanging low and the use of a bungee cord for heightened stability.


Credit: Goose (Translated by 1TG)

Background & Experience: Ex-member of PLA and China Fire Department, long-time airsoft and outdoor sports enthusiast, military replica/equipment collector.