What is Training Gear?

Some students ask us why they can’t use their everyday carry gear such as an inside-the-waist band (IWB) holster in our Defensive Pistol classes. After all, shouldn’t they train with what they carry?

Our philosophy at Paladin Group Training is that the skills you’ll learn in class using training gear are transferable to carry equipment with practice. Drawing from IWB holsters and using concealment rigs in a class setting is best reserved for very experienced students who have many hours of training and practice under their belts. And that type of training is typically done in a concealed carry–specific class where students are vetted up and down ahead of time. Other instructors may have different opinions, but we stick by our methodology for the sake of safety.

For our Defensive Pistol classes, we ask that students come equipped with “training gear.” What that means is you’ll be purchasing equipment that you’ll likely only use for training and practice—not everyday carry (although it’s possible).


Your training holster should be of an outside-the-waist band (OWB), open-top design—no flaps or retention straps—preferably made of kydex. It should secure to the belt using sturdy belt loops on your strong side. We prohibit the use of SERPA holsters and other trigger-finger-activated designs. No inside-the-waist band holsters, clip-on holsters, fabric/nylon holsters, or thumb strap holsters are allowed. Leather holsters are not ideal for training with us but are acceptable, granted yours must be broken in and not have a thumb-strap and must not require a support hand to hold it open during re-holstering.

A few good examples of training holsters are the Blade-Tech Classic OWB, the Blade-Tech Signature OWB, Comp-Tac’s International, Safariland’s ALS and GLS models, and Galco’s Stryker.


A quality thick gun belt is a must-have for training. It should be at least 1.5 inches in width and be made for carrying firearms. Cheap canvas/fabric belts just don’t cut it, neither will a regular leather pants belt. Gun belts are typically reinforced or have extra material built into them in some way to maintain shape and support the weight of a loaded firearm and magazines.

Here are examples of quality gun belts: 5.11 1.5″ Trainer Belt, MidwayUSA Instructor Belt, and 1791 Gunleather’s Gun Belt 01.

Mag Pouches

You need somewhere to easily access your reloads—that’s where a belt-mounted, double-magazine pouch comes into play. Having reloads on your belt is a requirement when training with us. Kydex is always preferable over leather or nylon. And there shouldn’t be any straps or flaps on the pouch—it should be open top (like your holster) and made to fit your gun’s magazines.

Many companies make good double-mag pouches (often times they’re holster makers), here are a few examples: Blade-Tech’s Signature Double Mag Pouch, Comp-Tac’s Twin Warrior, High Speed Gear’s TACO, and Galco’s Kydex Double Mag Carrier.

As you can see, you’ll need to spend some money on training equipment. Too often folks cheap out on these key items and end up paying the price in more ways than one. They struggle with poorly made/inappropriate gear throughout class instead of learning new skills, and they just spend more money down the road on replacements. Buy quality; buy once.
-Brian Bertoldo, Instructor, Paladin Group Training, LLC