Choosing the best concealed carry holster can prove to be a daunting task, because the market is flooded with thousands of options, each claiming to be better than its competitors.
Most holsters claim to be perfectly made with high-quality materials, designed to mold with every curve of the human body. While it might have the best characteristics, if it doesn’t feel in place when you wear it, then it’s not the right for you.
In this article, we’re going to look at what separates the well-concealed carry holster with the others. Our in-depth guide will provide you with enough knowledge to determine which model fits your needs the most in order to enhance your shooting experience.
Best Concealed Carry Holster Comparison Table
|Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Crossbreed Freedom Carry||4||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Concealment Express IWB Kydex||4||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|L.A.G MK2 IWB||3||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Wright Regulator Holster||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|DeSantis Sky Cop||4||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Alien Gear Shapeshift||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Galco VHS Shoulder System||3||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
Why do you need a well-concealed carry holster?
Holsters are required for four important reasons:
- Protecting and holding the firearm
- Provide quick access when required
- Prevent theft or loss of the weapon
- Prevent accidental discharge
So the more important question isn’t why you need a proper holster, but what makes a holster good or bad? They keep the weapon safe by adhering to all safety rules, that you should already know by now. In case you don’t, we’ve got them for you:
- Every gun must be taken care of as if it is constantly loaded
- Don’t point the gun at targets you do not intend to shoot
- Keep your finger off the gun if you don’t intent do fire
Number three is the most important and we would like to expand it even further. For maximum safety, nothing should come close to the trigger, because it can be pulled or caught, which can lead to a discharge.
An accidental misfire would be the last thing you would want from the firearm you carry. History knows a great number of cases where the trigger has been caught even after being holstered.
That’s why it is of great importance to learn how to re-holster your handgun properly to ensure that no accidents will ever occur. That said, always double-check whether the gun’s path is clear of any objects, including your fingers, before you insert it.
What makes holsters good?
Regardless of the model you choose, certain expectations of a holster must be met. This includes the following attributes:
- Retention: Keeps the firearm tightly in place.
- Concealable: A holster must be able to conceal the weapon perfectly
- Comfort: No matter how cool a holster is, if it doesn’t bring comfort, then it is not for you.
- Quick Draw: Holsters should allow you to have a full combat grip when you draw it out.
- Quick Re-holstering: The holster stays tight after drawing, allowing for quick re-holster.
- Gun Protection: They must provide moisture protection against sweating.
- Self Protection: It should cover the trigger completely against accidental misfires.
This is something that you won’t be told in the gun shop. Buying a holster doesn’t mean that the job is completely done as you have to put in some effort on your part.
Whether you will have to choose carefully what you wear or replace your current wardrobe with a different one, you will have to think about your daily wear.
For example, if you drive most of the time, then a holster that’s positioned inside the waistband would be uncomfortable. Also, if you live in areas with hot weather, you will most likely wear light wear, so you have to keep that in mind as well.
Another factor to consider is whether your work involves risk situations such as law enforcement or security guard. This could also play a role in how you carry your gun.
Types of concealed carry holsters
The list of most popular types of holsters for concealed carry include:
- Appendix Carry
- Cross Draw
- Pocket Holster
- Belly Band Holster
- Ankle Holster
- Shoulder Holster
The IWB holster, or also known as “inside-the-waistband”, is probably one of the most popular ways to carry a weapon nowadays. As the name suggests, the weapon is placed inside your pants.
This way of carrying reduces the chances for the outline of the gun to be visible through clothing, making it very concealable. Plus, they can be found in a variety of different designs.
Starting from leather models to multi-material versions that provide extra protection. For example, some models have different attachments like using loops or clips to attach to a belt.
Best Concealed Carry IWB Holster Reviews
Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5
Rating: 5 stars
With the Alien Gear, you get one of the best deals for the money. There’s a 30-day “no questions asked” trial period that allows you to test it thoroughly and decide whether it is for you. Given that you decide to buy it, you’re protected with a lifetime warranty.
The Cloak Tuck is a rare find in the IWB market as it provides unbeaten comfort. It uses a breathable perforated neoprene backing that keeps it cool. This makes it very suitable for hot weather conditions.
Moreover, the ride, retention and the cant are adjustable, which is also a great addition to the model.
Crossbreed Freedom Carry Holster
Rating: 4 stars
If you’re a fan of the minimalistic designs, then you’ll surely like the Crossbreed Freedom model. It is compact, but it doesn’t lose anything in terms of reliability and performance.
You can place all full-size weapons and it is cant adjustable, which is a great plus. It can be worn at 3 & 5 o’clock positions and it can be used in cross-draw, appendix, or strong-side carry.
It is similar to the SuperTuck holster, but without the leather backing so that it locks with only one locking clip. Also, it is very comfortable to boot, which is an advantage too
Appendix Carry Holsters
This is an IWB or OWB holster that is smaller in overall size, allowing you to carry a gun in front of you. There’s a bit of controversy surrounding this type of holsters due to safety reasons.
Mainly because the muzzle sweeps some parts of the body, especially when you’re a male. Plus, it might not be very comfortable to wear if you’re carrying a larger firearm.
Even though there are many concerns, it still fills a niche for specific shooters and it is still a preferred option by many. It allows for quick drawing from right-handed users and for lefties when drawing from a seated position. It also conceals properly and protects the gun from being grabbed from behind.
Best Appendix Concealed Carry Holster Reviews
Concealment Express IWB Kydex
Rating: 4 stars
Given the fact that you’re looking for a lightweight, comfortable and effective appendix holster, then the Concealment Express is the right model for you.
It is suitable not only for appendix carry because it can perform in almost every possible position. It allows for an intuitive draw of the gun while keeping it concealed throughout the carry.
With the adjustable retention and cant, you can easily tweak the holster to your personal preferences. The Concealment Express holster is very suitable for beginners who don’t want to break the bank.
Especially good for appendix carries inside the waistband, as the Kydex is thin and the entire equipment weighs less than 3 oz. The cut of the Kydex allows you to have a comfortable grip when drawing the weapon out.
L.A.G MK2 IWB
Rating: 3 stars
The L.A.G MK2 is designed with utmost precision, with two different height wedges, that allow manipulating how tightly the rig fits your body. Moreover, it has an adjustable cant, similar to the other models reviewed here, that lets you modify the holster to your needs.
This AIWB holster has a rigid and molded design, compatible with the red dots available on the market today. For further concealment, the manufacturer has included a claw with two different heights for customization.
The idea of the claw is to remove printing and allow for a better grip. Even further, they’ve included a wedge on the back to eliminate any chances of contacting your body unnecessary.
L.A.G works with soft loops and clip options for easier mounting to the beltline inside the waistband. It is also compatible with all red dots, which is a huge trend in the last few years.
In recent years, the cross-draw holsters have gained immense popularity amongst shooters. They offer a large variety of compact holsters with adjustable cants to position the angle of the gun according to the individual’s preferences.
This reduces the muzzle sweeps that are common with appendix models. They’re usually carried on the weak side of the person, away from the dominant hand in 1 or 2 o’clock position. To draw the weapon, you have to reach across the body and it is suitable for both left and right-handed people.
They’re located on the front side of a man, making them slightly difficult to conceal. However, they’re very comfortable for seated carry, allowing the gun to be drawn by both hands.
Best Cross-Draw Holster Reviews
Wright Regulator Holster
Rating: 5 stars
The Wright Regulator lacks the adjustability of other holsters but makes up in terms of concealment and durability. It keeps the gun tightly to your body and high enough to avoid printing.
It is built from fine-grained leather, which adds for the overall durability of the holster. It is designed with the same concept as the Marshal holster, but with the opposite draw direction. It can easily accommodate up to 1-3/4” belt and it has one of the best designs on the market
DeSantis Sky Cop
Rating: 4 stars
DeSantis is a cross draw holster, designed to carry full-sized pistols while being situated at a proper height. The rig is constructed to conceal fully and it is comfortable even in a seated position.
The holster is molded from premium quality saddle leather. It can also accommodate belts up to 11/2” width and it offers an adjustable tension device for extra security.
The shoulder holster leaves an impression as a popular carry method, but the truth is that they’re quite rare. Mostly, they’re made of leather with harness straps that go over the shoulder to aid the firearm.
They can hold a gun in both a vertical or horizontal position and some models offer a variability between the two. This type is harder to conceal and it requires a bulkier jacket to avoid printing.
Models with poor designs can be uncomfortable as the straps don’t distribute the weight properly. Their main advantage is that they allow for quick drawing even when sitting.
Best Concealed Carry Shoulder Holster Reviews
Alien Gear Shapeshift
Rating: 5 stars
If you’re looking to purchase a shoulder holster and forget about any troubles, then the Alien Gear ShapeShift is the right choice for you. It is padded in all of the required zones and it provides unmatched comfort.
Not only that the straps are padded, but they provide a lot of customization to fit according to your personal preferences. With a quick-access strap and level 3 retention, you can forget about gun dropping ever again.
They are built to withstand continuous wearing and due to the fact that it is lightweight, you can wear them daily without hesitation. Plus, it is compatible with the company’s ShapeShift products.
Galco VHS Shoulder System
Rating: 3.5 stars
If you love classic designs, then you will get it with Galco’s VHS Shoulder system. This model is the manufacturer’s improvement of its Miami shoulder model, which gained huge popularity.
It offers a four-point spider harness that works alone due to the Flexalon swivel backplate. Given that you’re looking for an upper-body carry, this is a model tested by both law enforcement and military units.
Belly Band Holster
If concealment is your first priority, then the Belly Band holsters are the required option. It is basically an elastic band with gun pockets sewn on the inside.
It is a preferred carrying method by women and individuals who’d like to keep themselves safe while doing sports activities. It eliminates all possibilities of gun drop and it can be positioned anywhere on your torso.
This carrying method is suitable for snubby revolvers and compact semi-autos. It isn’t the first choice for shooters, given the fact that you have to bend down to access the weapon. Still, it is a suitable option for those looking to have a secondary pistol.
One of the oldest ways to carry a handgun is inside a pocket. These types of holsters are an update to that method, by securing the gun completely.
Regarding concealment, if a small pistol is placed inside, it will appear slightly more than an ordinary wallet, so gun’s size might be an issue. However, it keeps the trigger out of reach, which is the whole idea of a holster after all.
As you can see, naming the best concealed carry holster can be troublesome because the market offers a huge variety of choices. When choosing one, you have to consider your lifestyle and clothing choice.
That’s why stating that one is better than the other isn’t right, because what works for you, might not for others. We hope that our guide has given you an insight into some of the most popular holsters so that you can make an educated purchase on your own.
A Bulgarian native law student, and a gun aficionado. I’ve graduated from a British International school and have successfully taken a number of Cambridge certificates such as PET, FCE, CAE, GSCE, IGCSE & IELTS. I found love in firearms early on in life when my father took me hunting for the first time. A few years later and an unknown number of rounds fired, I have the opportunity to combine my home defense & firearms expertise with the public.