The best concealed carry holster is one that takes safety, your personal shooting attributes and comfort all into account in one tailor fitting package.
Although there are many different styles, sizes, materials placements, and retention types we’ve compiled the best rated holsters among the most trusted brands.
This guide is fairly lengthy so we’ve split this guide into several parts, click on the following links to jump to the section you wish to read about
- Beginner’s Guide
- Inside-the-Waistband Holsters (IWB)
- Outside the Waistband Holsters (OWB)
- Pocket Carry Holsters
- Fanny Packs
- Leg and Ankle Holsters
- Other specific areas
- Accessory Carriers
This type of holster has gained a recent surge in popularity due to the extra-concealed nature of its placement.
The gun is placed inside the waistband allowing for a very close to the body fit. This makes your weapon un-noticeable if wearing a shirt over it. However, the nature of the placement also means draw will be slower and clumsier.
In addition, these holsters will not be as comfortable as say an over-the-waistband holster. These typically do not include retention clips or straps, but many do come with trigger guards to prevent accidental firing while tucked.
If concealment is your top priority, try any of the following selections:
Click to see the highest rated concealed carry inside the waistband holsters for your pistol. Glock. The traditional holster, this is probably the most common type of holster available.
They are advantageous over IWB holsters in that they are more comfortable since the holster isn’t pressed against your body.
Additionally, the gap between firearm and body allows for a quicker and better grip on the firearm and better access to the trigger. Many of these holsters include retention devices which prevent accidental slippage, especially important in a physical scuffle.
In short these are less concealed but more comfortable, faster and safer than IWBs. Additionally, there are tons of styles and options available to choose from.
If pure convenience and usability is your top-priority, consider the most popular holsters on the market.Outside-the-Waistband Holsters (OWB)
In addition to these holsters which are strapped on the belt, are Paddle Holsters. These are held in place using a paddle that is inserted inside the waistband.
Although this design allows you to put on and remove the holster with ease, it also posses the risk of slippage during physical activity.
Pocket Carry Holsters
Also known as inside-the-pocket holsters, these offer a concealment advantage over OWBs. These are basically sleeves that positions and straightens the firearm in your pocket to a better position for drawing. Typically these are made of lightweight materials and very affordable.
Fanny Packs – Yes, I am being serious here.
While the notion of wearing a fanny pack in any situation may cause some raised eyebrows, one should still be advised that fire-arm purposed packs are indeed a viable concealed carry option.
Not only are these types of carriers very comfortable, but many feature tactical, quick-draw mechanisms and extra storage for ammunition. The best part is that most will be unaware of the Glock you may be packing inside that fanny.
Here are our picks for tactical and concealed carry fanny-packs.
Leg and Ankle Holsters
These are less popular than their waistband siblings; however they are still a viable option when considering maximum concealment. Additionally these are an excellent choice as a backup or secondary firearm holster.
These also make the best concealed carry holster for women in that it allows them to carry on the inside of the leg if wearing dresses and skirts.
For secondary and even tertiary option for concealed carry, there are other options as well. These include holster and harnesses that allow access from areas such as: the small of the back, under the arms and shoulders.
Gun Holster Beginner’s Guide
When buying a holster it’s always important to keep the make and type of firearm you have. Many holsters can accommodate several types and sizes.
Keep in mind that there are many gun specific holsters as well and are designed to work with those specific guns. Here are some basics points to get you started on choosing the correct system for you.
There are three basic factors to that make up the overall quality of a holster. These are as follows:
- Security – This is a major component of any competent holster. The holster must be succeeding at being able to secure the gun in its place in multiple scenarios. Because you may not always be upright when you need to draw, the gun must stay secure while you are running, jumping, rolling on the floor and getting out of vehicles.
- Concealment – Concealed is in the name, you’d expect a concealed carry holster to be just that. But first you must research concealed carry laws in your state to find out what exactly is allowed and what isn’t. In some states, Texas for example, the concealed weapon must not be visible and there cannot be an outline or print of the weapon showing through the shirt or pants.
- Access – This is also very important. The ideal holster should provide access to the user in minimal time and with minimal effort. Keep in mind that in a stressful emergency, a fight on ground for example, one wasted second can prove fatal. This is why a holster that keeps the pistol in the optimum position for drawing is important. Additionally, any holster that is equipped with a retention device should be easily removable. Ideally, you want to be able to draw with one hand, leaving your hand free for other defensive and offensive duties.
It should be noted that no one holster will be perfect in all these aspects, the key is to find that right balance of features and qualities that are ideal for you.
Retention Clips, Belts, Materials and Fits
These are three very common qualities of a pistol safe that must be determined before purchase.
First off, having a retention device for your holster is an excellent idea if you so choose to invest in an exposed or over the waistband holster. These clips prevent your firearm from slipping out during physical activity and also prevent others from snatching the gun from the holster.
These devices are more suitable for ununiformed police that require an exposed gun.
The best concealed carry holsters are made up of either leather or a strong synthetic material. Leather is the traditional choice and many still prefer leather for their comfort and low price.
Leather can mold to the contours of your body however it is also more sensitive to water and other elements. Synthetic materials are becoming increasingly popular for their rugged construction and accessibility.
Many of these are form-fit to the brand and model pistol (always research to make sure yours will fit). These more tailored fits allow for higher security and more efficient draw time.
It cannot be stressed enough how important a proper belt is when choosing a side carry belt holster. First and foremost the width of the belt will determine the width of the belt loop. It is a good idea to match the belt with the maximum size belt the holster can accommodate to ensure a snug fit.
Buy a holster with a larger maximum size belt loop may fit looser than wanted. A good belt needs to be built with the holster in mind. It must be heavy duty, made from thick leather.
This will proved the necessary vertical leverage that will prevent the holster from flopping around during movement. The belt will also form an adequate base on which to draw the weapon from. An ordinary belt won’t cut it, get yourself a proper belt.
Fits and Weapon Placement
There are a couple terms that are useful to be familiar with when choosing the best concealed carry holster. We will go over ride and cant.
- Ride – The ride of the weapon is where it will sit relative to the belt-line vertically. A high-riding holster will place the trigger above the belt-line. A low-riding (or deep-ridding) holster will place the trigger below it. In determine the optimum ride; you need to factor in your personal comfort position as well the length of the weapon barrel. A long barreled pistol will natural place the trigger higher so a low riding holster may be your best option.
- Cant – The “cant” of the holster is reference to the tilt the pistol is positioned at perpendicular to the belt line typically expressed in degrees. 0-degree cantor positions the firearm perfectly vertically. Typically, holsters will range in cant 0 to 30 degrees. The optimum cant is based on your personal preference as it affects the positional and therefore comfort of the weapon. Different pistol shapes and angles will also affect this measurement.
If you’re just starting out, it is probably best to start out with a normal-ride, straight cant (0-degrees), side-carry holster. Always make sure to invest in the proper belt as well.