Gun Holsters – Does Cant Really Matter?

Anyone that has purchased a gun holster in recent years or is thinking of purchasing a gun holster, will or has most likely faced this dilemma. Do I want a canted holster or one that rides straight up and down? To further complicate matters, holster makers are now offering holsters in cant variations that even make it more confusing.

Let’s take a second to talk about cant and how it can impact you. As it stands right now, holster are typically produced in one of the following standard cants:

  • Straight Up (also called a 0 or no cant)
  • 15 Degree Forward Cant

Recently some custom makers have started offering cant variation such as:

  • Slight Cant (5 degree forward)
  • Extreme cant (over 15 degree forward)

For the sake of this article and to keep things simple, let’s focus on the more common straight up and 15 degree forward cants. Each cant has alleged pros and cons, and we’ll try to cover both below. Please note that these pros and cons are alleged as they are questions or comments that we have routinely heard or been asked, and therefore have not been truly substantiated personally.

Straight Cant – Early holsters were only offered this way. The rides straight up and down on the belt. The draw is a simple up and then out motion.

Proponents of this cant make the following points:

  • The straight cant draw is a more natural motion, and therefore, faster.
  • Straight cant places the holster more in line with the natural extension of the arm making the draw or repeated draws less taxing on the joints of the hand and wrist.

Conversely, opponents of straight cant make the following points:

  • In larger weapons, the straight cant may allow the butt of the weapon to print when moving or bending.
  • In larger weapons, the straight cant places the bottom of the holster low so it can’t be concealed under a simple undergarment like a T-shirt.

15 Degree Forward Cant – The holster is canted forward at a 15 degree angle.

Proponents of this cant make the following points:

  • The forward cant allows for a faster draw as the weapon itself is already leaning towards the direction of the draw.
  • The cant places the butt of the weapon in line with the thickest part of your body offering better concealment with less printing.
  • The cant angle also brings the bottom of the holster up higher than a standard cant so it has less chance of sticking out the bottom of a simple concealment garment.

Opponents make the following counterpoints:

  • The grip and draw angle are an “unatural” motion and less effective than a straight cant.
  • The same grip and draw angle are detrimental to the joints over time, especially with sustained, repeated draws.

Now that we’ve covered some of comments and rumors that you or may not heave heard about cant, let’s talk about factual basis.

Is one cant better than the other? The short answer is: it really depends. As with most things in life, nothing is a one size fits all. At the end of the day it really comes down to personal preferences. Each offers slightly different advantages over the other. I personally prefer a straight up cant as it offers a more comfortable grip for me. I can shoot and carry a 15 degree forward cant holster, but prefer a straight cant at the end of the day. I don’t find the forward cant grip un-natural or uncomfortable, but can see how others might.

Is there any truth to one being faster than the other? I really don’t know. I’m certainly not fast on the draw in the first place, but I’ve never honestly felt that a forward cant holster added any speed to my already slow draw.  However, you may feel differently.  Try each style and pick the one that suits your needs the best.