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Concealed Carry Holsters: The Ultimate Guide

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Ultimate guide to concealed carry holsters.

It cannot go unsaid that the rise of shall issue concealed carry changed the firearms market in so many ways. Now, more than ever, we can find guns, accessories, and of course holsters designed for concealed carry.

The market is massive, and holsters are likely one of the largest product categories in the gun industry, second behind ridiculous accessories. The holster market is huge, and it can be both confusing and intimidating.

As a self-professed gun nut, I browse forums, social media groups, and more. Some of the most common questions I see are:

  • “What’s the best holster for X?”
  • What’s the best concealed carry holster?”
  • “What’s the most comfortable concealed carry holster?”
  • “What’s the best concealed carry holster for women?”

There seems to exist a hefty amount of holster confusion out there.

I can see why just a little browsing online shows that there are hundreds and hundreds of different holsters out there in a dozen different configurations. I mean just in the inside the waistband category of holsters you have appendix holsters, polymer, leather, hybrids, and more.

What Makes a Good Concealed Carry Holster?

There are lots of different holsters out there, and they aren’t all designed for a single task. Some holsters are made for duties different than concealed carry.

The duty holster, for example, is designed for police and military use. These holsters are often large, incorporate some form of retention device, and are pushed away from the body. Duty holsters are hard to conceal and a poor choice for concealed carriers.

Duty Holster
An example of a duty holster.

Holsters designed for the competition circuit are another holster that is poorly designed for concealed carry. Like duty holsters, they are large, pressed off the body. They are designed to be quick to draw from more than anything else.

Competition Gun Holster
An example of a competition holster.

To get that quick draw they sacrifice a lot of material, and the retention level of these holsters is good enough to get it from the loading area to the firing line, and that is it.

Other holsters designed for hunting like chest rigs, are again not intended to be concealed and are difficult to hide.

Is There a Best Concealed Carry Holster?

Short answer, no.

Long answer, it’s complicated. There is no one holster to rule them all for concealed carry. Different holsters have different strengths and weaknesses. There are numerous factors to consider, including comfort, type of gun being carried, the weather, your daily life and more.

No holster just does it all and does it well. There are great holsters that function brilliantly in the role they are intended for. Today’s article isn’t just a list of good holsters.

We want to teach you how to find the right concealed carry holster that works for you. But don’t worry, we’ll also give you our recommended concealed carry holsters later in this guide.

What Makes a Bad Holster?

Lots of combined factors make a bad holster, not just a bad concealed carry holster, but a bad holster overall. You need to know what a bad holster is as much as you need to know what a good holster is.

I’d rather you know what a bad holster is more than a good holster. A lousy holster is a dangerous holster. Bad holsters make it difficult to draw, the retention is terrible, and they likely conceal as well as a mad raccoon.

What makes a lousy holster? Admittedly it’s tough to judge any holster without it in your hands. However, there are some dead giveaways that a holster is junk.

First, any soft nylon holster that cost six bucks and declares itself universal is a junk holster. These soft nylon holsters will have your gun rattling around with every step, and it will be held in with nothing more than a thumb snap with a button not fit for my jeans. These are for BB guns, not real guns.

Next, a holster made from substandard polymers. If the company doesn’t reveal what it’s made from on its website, it’s likely junk. Stick with kydex, bolatron, and other well-known materials. Way back when I was a young buck, I bought a USP C and for some reason the cheapest polymer holster I could find.

After a long day of shooting and training, I holstered the gun and called it a day. I cleaned up the range, put my targets away, picked up brass, drank a Coke, and standard post-training stuff.

When I attempted to remove the gun from the holster, it wouldn’t budge. It would shake, and rattle but I couldn’t draw it. I had to remove the holster and move the gun back and forth until it finally broke free. The holster melted to the weapon!

Do you know how long it takes to get plastic melted to a gun off? Freakin’ forever.

Also, when it comes to polymer, you want to ensure your gun fits the holsters. Poorly molded holsters will make inserting and removing the gun difficult, which will likely wear your finish quickly.

Is the holster complicated in its operation? Do you have to take multiple, convoluted steps to access your gun? If so I’d likely stay away from it. If it’s something you can’t do in less than a second with one hand, then stay away from it.

Note: For safety reasons, various local, state, and federal agencies require multiple levels of retention with their holsters. Retention refers to mechanisms on a holster that prevent the gun from being drawn or obtained by anyone other than the intended user or to prevent the gun from coming loose from the holster. A concealed carry holster shouldn’t have more than one level of retention.

That leads us to gimmicky holsters. There are lots of those out there, promising to solve what is likely a non-existent problem. This is a very big problem when it comes to concealed carry holsters for women. Gimmicky holsters are almost always targeted at women.

Holsters aren’t complicated, and it’s hard to reinvent the wheel when the wheel turns perfectly fine. Avoid gimmicks and stick with what’s proven.

The Different Types of Concealed Carry Holsters

Remember when I mentioned different types of concealed carry holsters? Well, we are going to touch on most of them now. Some of these holsters are easier to conceal, some are faster to draw from, and some are more comfortable than others.

This list isn’t a personal endorsement of any style of carrying, just the pros and cons of different types of concealed carry holsters.

IWB (Inside the Waistband)

IWB concealed carry holsters are some of the most popular holsters on the market. In terms of concealment, they offer it in spades. Inside the waistband is an apt enough descriptor but if you are new here, IWB places the weapon inside the pants, concealing it mostly in the pants you are wearing.

Inside the waistband (IWB) holster

This makes it easy to conceal weapons both big and small. Admittedly, smaller weapons are much more comfortable to carry. IWB concealed carry holsters come in several configurations, and most quality models will offer adjustable clips to change ride height.

With very little of the gun being exposed it blends in effortlessly with nothing more than a t-shirt. IWB holsters are built from the ground up for concealment.

Admittedly, many people do have comfort issues with IWB carry. Some find the gun rubbing into the body uncomfortable, and those who have a few extra pounds will likely face a bit of discomfort with IWB carry.

Some may claim IWB is harder to draw from because the grip is sitting too far into their pants. With some poorly made holsters, this may be true, but most will either allow you to adjust ride height to correct this issue or use loops that will not allow the gun to sit too low.

AIWB (Appendix)

Technically, appendix is just another way to carry IWB. Its popularity, and the specific concealed carry holsters designed for appendix carry, have made AIWB its own category. Appendix carry has the same advantages of IWB carry and then some when it comes to concealment.

AIWB carry positions the holster in the front of your body. Because of the way the gun sits, it will make it so that no one looking at you will be able to identify any odd bulges. This makes it an excellent means to conceal a weapon for thinner or more petite people.

Appendix Carry Holster
Appendix carry with a Sig P365 is a great match.

AIWB is also very fast to draw from. The position of the holster is a more natural reach, and it’s drawn right into the center of the body. It meets the support hand quickly and gets you on target a fraction of a second faster.

Some criticism of AIWB is the fact you are pointing the gun at yourself as you draw and holster. This has led some to declare it unsafe, however, as far as I know, there isn’t a widespread issue with AIWB carriers shooting themselves.

Like IWB it’s not super comfortable for those with a few more pounds on their frame. It is, however, one of the more concealable positions and is great for hot summer days full of shorts and thin t-shirts.

OWB (Outside of the Waistband)

OWB carry is probably the oldest way to carry a gun and still a very relevant way. OWB positions the gun on the dominant-hand side. OWB concealed carry holsters designed for concealed carry are much different than models designed for duty.

They hug the body and are designed to minimize their appearance. OWB holsters are quite comfortable for carrying a gun. It’s also quite easy to reach your weapon and draw it with some serious speed. OWB carry is very easy to learn and master in regard to drawing and reholstering.

Outside of the waistband holster

Some smaller people may have more issues concealing a gun in an OWB configuration. This concealed carry holster can create a lump on the side of the body and does require an unfitted shirt to conceal in most cases.

OWB is very comfortable if you want to carry a compact or full-sized handgun, but the challenge of concealing the gun is the biggest issue. OWB is one of the most comfortable concealed carry holster options.

Shoulder Carry

While shoulder carry may have been popularized by Miami Vice, it’s been popular since repeating handguns have existed.

Shoulder concealed carry holsters position a gun under the arm and are hidden via a cover garment. Shoulder holsters go across the back and conceal the weapon under the arm.

Shoulder holster for concealed carry

With a cover garment, like an open shirt, or jacket, the gun does disappear. Shoulder holsters can conceal a full-sized gun with ease. The necessity of a cover garment makes a shoulder holster a little less comfortable in hot environments.

Shoulder rigs are great when traveling or if you spend a large portion of the day sitting. Not only are they supremely comfortable in these situations but they are easy and quick to access in a seated position.

Well-made shoulder concealed carry holsters are expensive but worth every penny. If you get a cheap shoulder holster, you can expect pain and discomfort to set in pretty quickly. You’ll need one that offers adjustability, and flexibility.

Also, the straps need to be wide and supportive or say hello to shoulder pain. Expect to spend upwards of a hundred bucks for a good leather shoulder rig. They are well worth the money, even if it’s just a road trip holster.

Pocket Carry

Carrying a gun in your pocket doesn’t mean the pocket is your holster. If you take this route, you need a dedicated pocket holster. Safety is the main reason. You need something to cover the trigger to ensure the gun is safely carried.

The secondary reason is the fact your pockets are magnets for lint, dust, and junk. You do not want that in the operating system of your handgun. Pocket holsters are one of the few concealed carry holsters that can be multi-fit and work reliably.

Pocket concealed carry holsgter

Pocket holsters are often soft and designed for ultra-small guns. These are for pocket 380s and J frame snub nose revolvers at the largest. Pocket carry can be very convenient and easy to commit to.

Day in and day out carrying of small guns is easy and safe with a pocket carry holster. You’ll need one that stays in the pocket if you draw the gun and this is why most pocket holsters are oversized. They’ll also commonly sport a wing or a textured area to create friction and hold the holster in place.

Pocket carry is slow to draw from and difficult to use when seated. It is very friendly towards smaller concealed carriers as well as those in formal attire. For a short period of my life, I worked in an industry where I had to wear a shirt and tie and pocket carry was a lifesaver.

Ankle Carry

I don’t personally adore ankle carry, but it may work for other people. Ankle carry is a very deep means of concealment that does place a gun in an area few people look. Ankle carry is another means of carrying that is highly accessible when driving or seated.

Ankle concealed carry holster

Ankle carry does require both a high-quality concealed carry holster and a small gun. Attaching a large gun to your ankle does require a pair of bell bottoms to conceal. Ankle carry can be very comfortable with a good holster, and a good holster will often employ a very wide strap to support the gun or an additional strap that goes around the calf.

Best case scenario you have a combination of both. Ankle carry is slow to draw and does require several movements to access your gun. Many people do carry a back-up gun on their ankle for several reasons.

Distance from the waist is a major one, and if you cannot get to your waist, you may be able to get to your ankle. Additionally, the ankle is not the waist and won’t require adding even more bulk to your frame with a secondary holster.

The final problem with ankle carry is you are keeping your gun very close to the ground, which may expose it to water via puddles, dirt, and other grime so make sure you keep an ankle gun a  clean gun.

Belly Bands

Belly bands are another option that fits a certain niche in the firearms industry. First and foremost, belly bands are well suited for more formal business attire. A belly band concealed carry holster is just that, a band often made from neoprene, that wraps around the midsection and offers what is essentially a kangaroo pouch for carrying a firearm.

Belly band concealed carry holster

Belly bands are comfortable in all but hot environments. Then it lays a somewhat thick layer of material across your midsection. From experience, it can get quite sweaty after only a short period.

A belly band does offer the user 360 degrees of concealment because the band can be positioned to have the gun sit nearly anywhere around the torso. This design makes it easy to conceal it in a variety of ways for a variety of different clothing choices.

One very important consideration is shirt or blouse color. A white top will show a black belly band in the right light, so consider more neutral colors for your belly band. I also suggest a belly band concealed carry holster with some form of retention device that will ensure the gun stays in place.

My first belly band used nothing more than elastic to hold the gun in. I remember being new to belly bands and bending over and the gun just came tumbling out. After that, I retired that belly band and got one with a thumb snap.

These concealed carry holsters can be quite comfortable and perfect for when a traditional holster is a no-go. I taught a concealed carry class to a young lady who swears by them for women’s business wear.

Off Body Carry

I advise against off-body carry. It’s got a few problems. First, you still need a holster to cover the trigger and prevent anything from getting in there. Next, if you carry in a purse, a messenger bag, or anything similar, you have to keep it on your body at all times.

Would you remove your holster and set it in the grocery cart with your gun? The correct answer is no, so you have to treat your bag like a holster and keep it on you at all times. You generally want a purpose-built bag with a built-in concealed carry holster pouch for hiding a gun.

Typically drawing from an off-body bag is difficult and slow, but a dedicated concealed carry bag can speed things up. These bags are also a good choice for a backup gun, or if you are doing physical exercise. I have a nice sling bag from Tactical Tailor I like to use when running.

Off body carry is tricky and takes discipline to do right, and is very, very niche in terms of usefulness. Off-body carry isn’t easy and to me is a great EDC option, but I’m not the arbiter of carrying methods.

Just be disciplined and cautious.

Holster Materials 101

Holsters are made from a variety of different materials, and each offers both strengths and weaknesses. It’s important you understand how materials affect your concealed carry holster. This will be a generalized overview of the most common materials out there.

If alligator holsters wear slower than traditional leather, let us know, but don’t expect me to address the skins of ostriches, stingrays, and sharks here.


Leather is an old classic, a standard for holster design for well over a century. Leather holsters have of course grown and evolved into much more modern designs.

While duty holsters have strayed from leather, leather holsters are still very viable for concealed carry. Leather concealed carry holsters are designed for IWB, OWB, appendix, and of course shoulder holsters.

The best shoulder concealed carry holsters are made from leather and leather is one of the few materials that work for shoulder holsters. The reason why it works for leather shoulder holsters is the same reason it works for a lot of leather holsters.

Leather concealed carry holsters

It’s soft and malleable. Leather moves and gives and outside of being easy to work with and rugged it’s comfortable for all variety of holsters. IWB leather holsters, for example, are soft and comfortable after an initial breaking-in period.

When it comes to OWB holsters, leather works well because it can be held tight to the body. Pancake-style holsters, for example, are classic leather designs that are perfect for OWB leather concealed carry holsters.

Leather is an amazing material for holsters, and a leather holster can serve you well for years and years in a wide variety of configurations.

The downside to leather is the fact that it eventually wears out. As it wears, it can bend and fold, and this can cause it to deform. Deformations can be dangerous. It’s rare, but we have seen more than once a deformation cause an accidental discharge.

This is rare and less prone to happen with high-quality leather concealed carry holsters. However, after a few years of use, these holsters should be inspected just to ensure the leather is safe.

While it’s not gospel, I do suggest seeking a leather holster with a reinforced mouth. This keeps the holster open when the gun is drawn. It makes a holster quicker and safer overall.


Kydex, or bolatron, or any other similar number of polymers out there are the cutting edge so to speak, of holster technology. For brevity’s sake, I will refer to them as Kydex to keep things simple. Kydex exploded onto the market and overnight it became the go-to material for building modern holsters.

From tactical duty rigs to concealed carry designs, kydex holsters are everywhere. Kydex is my favorite holster material for many reasons. First, it’s damn near indestructible.

Kydex concealed carry holster

Second, it’s made to last nearly forever. It doesn’t crack, stretch, or fall apart. It is not weakened when exposed to the elements, and it doesn’t retain corrosion-causing moisture.

Lastly, it can be easily molded to accommodate any gun and any accessory. This includes guns with lights, lasers, and other such designs. This makes kydex a supremely adaptable material. When it comes to concealed carry, there are plenty of designs that make it an exemplary concealed carry holster.

This includes IWB, Appendix, and OWB designs. Kydex is also utilized for hybrid-style holsters, but we’ll talk about those a bit later. When used as an IWB holster, one of the many benefits is the fact the holster does not collapse when the gun is drawn. This makes holstering the gun safe and easy to do.

However, Kydex concealed carry holsters aren’t as soft or as comfortable as leather rigs. Some may dislike this, but a properly built holster will remain quite comfortable.

OWB concealed carry holster designs are tricky but possible. They need to feature an inward curve or similar design to allow it to be easily concealed. This gives them a body-hugging design to improve concealment.

Kydex, as a material, also allows a holster to be more adaptive. Some Kydex designs allow you to swap clips, belt attachments, and more, as well as easily adjust height and cant. These designs are often smaller than leather holsters and can incorporate accessories into their overall design.

Other Soft Materials

“Other Soft Materials” is a vague title I can use to address holsters made of materials like soft nylon, ULTRAcomp, and more. These materials are similar in many ways, but also unique. In general, these soft materials are not well suited for standard holsters like IWB, OWB, etc.

These materials are too soft for that type of carry. They flex and bend too much and poorly retain the weapon. They are also too difficult to mold to a gun. They work better when used to make belly band and pocket concealed carry holsters.

Soft material concealed carry holster

These holsters are niche, and the way they are used allow them to be carried efficiently and safely. I’ve said it more than once outside of specific holsters these materials are not well suited for OWB, IWB, Appendix, etc.

Hybrid Holsters

Hybrid holsters are exactly what it sounds like: a hybrid between two materials. The most common, and only one worth mentioning, is the combination of Kydex and leather, or leather-like, concealed carry holsters. These hybrids often sport a long, flat leather wannabe material and a Kydex shell.

Outside of leather, other common materials are neoprene and various takes on neoprene, as well as nylon. Leather options still exist with hybrid concealed carry holsters. In this situation the material is simply a soft backing so that nylon can work here without issue.

Hybrid concealed carry holster

The Kydex shells are custom-molded for different guns – at least with quality holsters they are. Their designs are controversial. You need a well-made design if you go the hybrid route. If not, the soft backing can be an issue.

It can collapse and fail to provide support, or the leather can deform and enter the trigger guard. It’s wise to invest in a reputable concealed carry holster design and to read several reviews before investing.

This all being said, hybrid holsters can be incredibly comfortable. It’s very easy to forget you are wearing a gun of any size while carrying day in and day out. This combination of comfort and concealment allows for easy carry, and these designs are almost exclusively IWB holsters.

The Basics of a Good Concealed Carry Holster

How do we define a good concealed carry holster?

Ask a hundred different shooters, and you’ll get a hundred different answers. I’m going to talk in broad terms of what makes a good holster to avoid any personal bias.

The most important consideration will be safety, first and foremost. This is a constant with guns at all times.

Guns are dangerous, and you should take every means possible to prevent the weapon from firing until you intend to fire it. If the holster doesn’t cover the trigger of the gun go ahead and toss it aside.

Holster trigger guard

Beyond safety, you have to consider the holster’s ability to conceal a weapon, of course. You should be able to conceal a weapon without much disruption in your daily routine. This means the weapon should be tight to the body and nearly invisible when covered correctly.

You should not have to make massive changes in your attire or lifestyle to accommodate a weapon. If you find yourself doing that you might have the wrong gun and holster. A Desert Eagle in an OWB rig is likely going to be difficult to conceal and might be the cause of more pain than satisfaction.

Past that, we’re looking at comfort. Comfortable holsters are holsters you’ll use to carry a gun day in and day out. If the concealed carry holster isn’t comfortable, you may be inclined not to carry it and then not carry your gun.

Comfort often leads to a simple “less is more” design. Less holster is easier to carry than more holster. Simple holsters do not require you to defeat complicated retention devices or anything crazy. This is where we get to access.

A good concealed carry holster must be easy to access and quick to draw from. It should be intuitive and simple to do with a single stroke. The design should never be complicated and, again, less is more.

In terms of access, the holster should also stay in place at all times. It needs to be secure enough; it does not slide or move in your day-to-day affairs. This may require a good belt as well, but the holster should do the Lion’s share of the work.

Another access issue is retention. I mentioned retention devices, but retention is still an important feature to consider when it comes to concealed carry holsters. The gun shouldn’t bounce or move when holstered.

Holster retention keeps a pistol securely in place

It should remain in place at all times through your normal daily interactions. This comes from passive retention devices that are incorporated into the design itself as well as the shape and mold of the design. This is why proper holster shape is critical when it comes to picking a holster and why universal holsters often suck.

The traits of a good concealed carry holster often overlap with each other. A good holster is also durable, and one that will last for years of daily carry. You need a holster that is well constructed and tested by a large user base and a critical eye.

I rarely follow brand names myself in my day-to-day life, but when it comes to holsters, I research hard into the reputation of a company and the reviews they’ve received across the industry. From professional to average joes, an expansive experience review is necessary.

Editor’s Note: It would be impossible to list every great holster company on the market and even harder to list all the junk companies out there. What we can do is suggest a few companies we use and trust every day.

Keep in mind these are a few of our concealed carry holster choices, and this list is far from expansive; they are just some of the holsters we’ve used before and enjoyed for concealed carry.

This list includes :

  • Tenicor Holsters
    • I typically carry appendix, and if I’m wearing a fitted shirt, I use Tenicor’s Velo AIWB Holster. I like how the Velo has an integrated wedge that pushes the muzzle away from the body and rotates the grip towards the body (for less printing).
  • Vedder Holsters
    • I have quite a few Vedder Holsters that I really like. They have a very wide selection of holsters that will accommodate various weapon-mounted lights, and they fulfill and ship orders out fast!

Special Concealed Carry Holster Considerations

As always, there is no one size fits all approach to any aspect of concealed carry. This goes back and forth with holsters as well. There may be a variety of special considerations to consider when it comes to purchasing a concealed carry holster.

Let’s talk about some of the special considerations that may exist when it comes to purchasing a holster.

Compatibility with Other EDC Gear

What else do you carry every day and how do you carry it? If you carry a lot of stuff in your pockets, will you survive carrying a gun in your pocket? Or maybe you wear a tool belt at work, and pocket carry is likely your safest option.

It can be harsh to get your hopes up about one holster or another and to forget all about all your daily EDC stuff. This is another part of simply factoring in your lifestyle with your concealed carry habit.

EDC gear

Before shopping for a holster, lay out all the gear you carry daily and see if it will interact or interfere with your intended means of carry. Ensure it will all be compatible with your gun and means to carry.

Do You Need to Carry With a Light?

A couple of years ago, this question may have seemed ludicrous. Concealing a gun with a light would be a major hassle. You are adding bulk to a gun designed to be carried in a low profile manner.

Times have changed though. Lights have gotten smaller and much easier to conceal overall. Lights like the Streamlight TLR-6, for example, add barely any bulk. Additionally, more companies are now producing holsters designed for light equipped guns.

Concealed carry holsters with lights

Do you need one? That’s subjective. Good lights are expensive, and they do add bulk and weight to a gun. Light-bearing concealed carry holsters are typically a little more expensive as well.

If you find yourself out and about constantly at night, it might be a consideration to make. I used to have a job that kept me on the road at night, and in these situations, I packed a weapon-mounted light.

To this day, I keep holsters that are light-compatible for several guns and light combos in case I know I’m going to be out at night for a long period. It’s just another tool to keep in the box.

What About a Spare Mag Carrier?

Many modern appendix rigs now come with a built-in spare magazines holster, i.e. sidecar style holsters.

The nature of appendix carry is unlike any other position in that it allows easy access with either arm. Outside of appendix positions, you can find standard IWB and OWB designs with a built-in magazine carrier.

Shoulder rigs are another type of leather concealed carry holster that seems to always come packed with a spare magazine carrier.

Are these needed? They do add a little bulk, and an extra magazine adds weight as well. Additionally bulk can be uncomfortable in all forms when it comes to carrying concealed.

I carry a spare magazine daily for numerous reasons.

First off, it’s not to reload with per se. The chance of me firing 16 rounds in a civilian self-defense encounter is very low. Heck, the chance of me firing at all is low, but I still carry a magazine.

I carry a magazine in case the one in the gun malfunctions. It’s rare, but magazines are often a gun’s weak point. Additionally, if my gun has a malfunction, I am likely going to drop the mag to ensure it is properly cleared. It’s fast to reload from a spare mag than to try to retain the magazine.

Now, is it necessary to have one built into your holster? Extra mags on a strong side OWB or IWB design are hard to reach with a non-firing hand. It can be intuitive for appendix and shoulder rigs, but is it necessary?

It’s handy, but far from necessary.

Some people call them highly uncomfortable with appendix rigs, and shoulder rigs certainly require a tie down to keep the mag from swinging around. If you want to carry a spare magazine, there are dozens of different options for carrying one safely and effectively that are separate from your concealed carry holster.

I would advise you to do a lot of research about the height of the magazine in an appendix carrier. Some that are positioned too low will be hard to reach and others positioned too high will poke and prod when seated.

OWB and IWB strongside designs are a hassle to reach and not something I’d personally go with. Shoulder rigs often allow up to two magazines to be carried and this can help balance the gun and rig and can even be easy to use.

How You Dress Matters

With the number of concealed carry holster options on the market for concealed carry, there’s nearly always an answer to carrying around the way you dress.

While many people are so dedicated to carrying a gun that they will change their style to do so, I doubt many casual carriers are so enthused about doing the same.

The gun market is a market designed to create solutions. More than likely, as long as you don’t take clothes off for a living there is a concealed carry holster for you. Of course, this might not mean you can carry any gun you want in your style of clothing with that specific holster.

Try as you might, but a Desert Eagle isn’t going to fit into a Desantis Nemesis holster in your pocket.

Examine how you dress on average and plan for that style of dress. However, there are additional factors to consider.

Weather Wear

First and foremost, the weather will dictate how you can dress. If you live in the frozen lands above the Mason Dixon line, you are going to have to plan to carry with layers on. How fast can you get your gun out of an IWB concealed carry holster design with layers upon layers over it?

You may need to modify the position you are carrying in to accommodate extra layers, or train to defeat them. You’ll often hear about people packing a larger gun in the winter as their “Winter carry.”

Sometimes it’s just because they can with a larger coat carry a larger gun. However, a larger gun is often easier to draw because it offers more grip, especially when gloves are a factor. So you may want to prepare to carry a smaller gun when it’s warm and a larger gun when it’s cold.

Appendix carry is also very easy to draw from with open jackets due to the positioning of the gun, and the same goes for shoulder holsters. Both are great for heavy-duty winter wear.

Summer wear is only tricky when it comes to how light you are dressing. For men, t-shirts and shorts can work. For women, it can be very challenging to find a women’s concealed carry holster that works with something like a sundress or even business casual wear designed for warm weather.

Sad to say it will take some research to find the right concealed carry holster for ladies. Some popular choices are belly bands as well as specialized shorts designed with a holster built into them.

Why We All Have That Box of Holsters

Anyone who has carried a gun for an extended period likely has a whole box of holsters. As you learn how to carry better, you are always looking for something more comfortable, more accessible, easier to conceal, etc.

Closet full of holsters

Additionally, my big box of holsters aren’t just rejected designs, but holsters I use for different days and different situations, as well for different guns.

Having a multitude of holsters gives me more options for every situation possible. It’s an investment, sure, but as I said above, there’s no perfect holster.

There are perfect holsters for specific guns, carrying styles, and situations though. That’s why I have so many holsters so that I can address my different needs every day of the year. Having a multitude of holsters is just something most concealed carriers have, and this allows us to stay dedicated to daily carry.

If you are new to this and find a holster that doesn’t seem to work, have no fear, we’ve all been there. It takes time and effort to find the right initial holster. The best thing you can do is identify what you didn’t like about your first holster and use those traits to help you find something a bit different.


Finding the right holster is a challenge; finding the perfect holster is impossible. With so many out there, you’re bound to find the ideal concealed carry holster for your current gun and situation.

My last piece of advice is you get what you pay for when it comes to holsters. The cheapest is rarely the best, so expect to pay at least 30 bucks, and that’s cheap for a quality holster. Don’t skimp out on what connects the gun to you.

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Travis Pike

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.

5 thoughts on “Concealed Carry Holsters: The Ultimate Guide”

  1. I like how the article explains that IWB holster is inside the waistband holster and are able to be placed inside your pants. My husband is wanting a holster for his gun so he can be able to carry it around with him. We will look into getting him an IWB holster.

  2. I’m sure that I’m probably alone on this but I’ve carried for years now and I’ve yet to find a holster that I absolutely love, and I’ve spent a lot of money buying dozens of them. I hate the feeling of IWB Holster! Regardless which position you carry them, they’re all cumbersome. Right now I’m carrying a cheap Uncle Mikes style IWB and it’s barely manageable. I love carrying my Glock Sport Combat Holster but I only carry it OWB and I’m not crazy about doing that. I am a fan of belly band holsters, but they roll up and lose their shape after awhile.

    • I feel your pain. The reality about holsters is that everyone’s body type is different, so there is no one size fits all. Trying a bunch of different ones seems to be required these days to find the right fit, though the ones we mentioned above are reputable and have a good selection of holsters.

  3. Thanks alot for this ultimate guide. It will really help me in selecting the right holster for my guns.

  4. Very nice. Thanks for your valuable information about concealed carry holsters. Keep sharing.


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