We just finished up another great Concealed Carry Tactics class and we saw a lot of inside the waist band holsters that used a “clip” to secure the holster. If you have something that is essential then you are going to want something more secure.
We have seen a fair amount of these holsters slip out during the draw forcing the shooter to strip the holster during the draw stroke. It happens enough times that we take notice of it and try to work to improve their security. If you do run a clip style holster then I strongly suggest you consider practicing a few draw strokes where you purposely set up the holster to slip off your pants forcing you to strip it off. That is the best way to plan for that contingency…actually the best way is to avoid using it altogether, but they are popular.
Remember, training on a flat range is only part of the total package. The moment you start moving around, going from a sitting to standing or vice versa you are pushing and pulling on the holster body. If you have adjustable retention you might think loosing it up so the pistol is freed easier is a good idea. I wouldn’t recommend that as a solution. Part of your criterion for holster selection is retention of the pistol or the dump boat test. If you secure the pistol in the holster, turn it upside down and gently shake it the pistol should not fall free.
Another consideration is where the clips contact your pants. Ideally you want them to contact your pants where they can get the best purchase. You want to avoid adding girth by having them clipped over a belt loop. The clip may not actually fully bite down creating a little gap that again through some normally movement or worse aggressive fighting can dislodge and make it easy to slip off. You need to give consideration to where you place the holster to ensure the clips secure directly over the belt.
If you opt to forgo wearing a belt then you are really running the gauntlet. The clips usually snap over the belt, which then acts as a ledge to help bite down and secure the holster to the pants. While you might get away with it, I wouldn’t trust this technique to some intense movement such as fighting on your feet or worse fighting off the ground.
If you have an option as far as steel clips versus plastic clips I would suggest steel. Usually they are made of spring steel, which puts just that much more pressure than plastic to bite down and get a good purchase on your pants.
While clips may be convenient, should convenience really be a consideration for holster selection. Are you really evaluating a holster based on how easy it is to take on and off? That seems a little backwards if you really give it some thought.
When you are danger close, have had to fight someone off you; you not only want the holster to stay in the same location, you want it to stay.