In this article, we will be discussing different types of concealed carry holsters and the qualities that make one ideal.
We will also learn about the top aspects to consider when choosing a concealed carry holster for yourself or as a gift.
The models below are rated and reviewed so you can make a well informed decision when it comes down to the best concealed carry holsters.
Best Concealed Carry Holsters Comparison Chart
ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry
Best Concealed Carry Holster
Belly Band + Ankle Holster with Magazine Pouch
Best Concealed Carry Holster Runner-up
LIRISY Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry
Most Comfortable Concealed Carry Holster
Yeeper Deep Concealment Shoulder Holster
Best Shoulder Holster Concealed Carry
Concealed Carry Women's Universal Purse Holster
Best Concealed Carry
Belly Band Holster For Concealed Carry
Best IWB Concealed Carry Holster
Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB Paddle Holster
Best OWB Holster for Concealed Carry
Types of Concealed Carry Holsters
There are quite a few types of concealed carry holsters and they differ in two aspects.
One is material and the other is the design. Functionalities like retention, locks, and ends should also be noted.
Concealed carry holsters are commonly available in three different materials: leather, plastic, and nylon.
Leather holsters are more conventional and can be priced higher. They are durable, comfortable, and easily conform to your body. However, they may sag with time and are susceptible to wear.
Holsters are also made from different kinds of plastic -- the most common being Kydex. These holsters are extremely durable, lightweight, waterproof, and offer a low profile and excellent retention. The only drawback is the discomfort they can cause while sitting since they don’t conform easily.
On the other hand, nylon holsters are softer and more comfortable. Yet, they are also more susceptible to wear and tear.
In regards to styles, there are several types that should be noted. These include IWB, OWB, Shoulder Straps, Belly Bands, Ankle Holster, SOB, Specialty holsters, and Chest Rigs.
Some not so popular designs also include fanny packs, handbags, and purses.
IWB stands for Inside the Waistband.
As the name suggests, these holsters are worn inside the waistband of jeans or pants. These are the most common and best kind of concealed carry holsters in our opinion.
Another type is OWB (Outside the Waistband) holsters. As the name suggests, these are worn outside the waistband and are clipped to the user's belt. They can also be concealed using any jacket or coat.
Shoulder Strap Holster
Shoulder holsters feature straps which run over the shoulder and are secured around the torso. They no doubt look cool, but they also have drawbacks such as the tendency to cause excessive sweating, low concealment, and reduced security while holstering.
Belly Band Holsters
Belly Band holsters are an amazing innovation and have taken the market by storm. They wrap around your waist and can be used in IWB, OWB, cross draw, appendix carry, hip carry, and many other positions.
Plus, they also prevent someone from drawing your weapon. Keep in mind though, belly bands might not be very comfortable during harsh summer months.
Ankle holsters are worn over the calf and remain hidden under your jeans or pants. They are perfect for carrying without paying attention to the holster. Plus they great for carrying a backup. However, the draw times are considerably high.
SOB, Specialty Holster and Chest Rigs
SOB stands for Small of Back, which also indicates the position these holsters are worn.
SOB holsters offer good concealment, but also pose a threat of injury, discomfort, and back pains. Specialty holsters describe designs like underpants or bra holsters which are specially designed for specific purposes.
Chest rigs, also known as chest holsters, are worn across the chest and are good when you have to carry large backpacks or gear.
What Makes a Great Concealed Carry Holster
Just like any other ideal product, a concealed carry holster must have certain qualities that make it exceptional. These include:
Concealment and Comfort
The first quality that differentiates such holsters is concealment. Holsters must offer a high level of concealment under every situation.
IWB holsters offer better concealment than OWB holsters in almost every condition. Furthermore, the level of comfort depends upon the material and the design of the holster.
Retention refers to how well the holster does at securing the weapon in place. Some holsters have retention adjusting screws, while others have locking mechanisms such as ALS. The bottom line here is that a good holster must offer reliable and secure retention.
Trigger Guard Cover
This detail is often overlooked, but trigger guard concealment is vital. This might cause you to falter or in the worst case, accidentally discharge your weapon. Thankfully, most holsters (all within this review) have concealed trigger guards.
Handgun and Body Protection
A good concealed carry holster must also be soft on your gun and your skin. Good holsters feature padding on the outside and are lined properly on the inside. Leather holsters are a good option in this case.
A good concealed carry holster should provide full grip so it's easy to draw and re-holster. A fully visible grip also ensures that you can draw with one hand, even with thumb straps or locks.
Negative Qualities of a Concealed Carry Holster
Apart from the ideal qualities, there are also certain negative qualities to stay away from, when buying a concealed carry holster. These include:
Open Trigger Guard
Back in the day, most revolver holsters had designs which made the trigger guard open and some thought it was ideal for quick draw. However, that’s not the case today. This is a safety hazard that can end with your gun accidentally discharging.
Open Top Holster
Open top holsters are known for being a holster without any form of retention. Several holsters just rely upon the elasticity of their material for retention, which can be a serious flaw.
Level of Comfort
Before choosing a holster, you should assess and envision how it will suit your lifestyle. Finding that perfect holster will alliviate an discomfort you may encounter in the future. Be sure to check the material and fit to ensure everything is good to go!
Quick Take - The Best Concealed Carry Holsters
These are our recommendations for the best concealed carry holsters:
Review of the Best Concealed Carry Holsters
Now we're going to switch it up a bit and take a look at some of our favorite concealed carry holsters. We're going to break down what makes each holster stand out, so stay tuned!
1. Best Concealed Carry Holster: ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry
Belly band holsters are the latest and most renowned innovation of the concealed carry market. These holsters feature a wide belt made from breathable neoprene which can be wrapped around the waist.
This holster features a metal snap-on retention strap and one magazine pouch. It can be used in multiple draw positions, including appendix, on hip, behind the hip, cross draw, OWB, and others.
Moreover, the mag pouch can be slid onto the belt to adjust its position. The one-size-fits-all design fits all handguns ranging from full size to sub-compact. Smaller weapons may be harder to handle with this holster, so use caution.
The neoprene material is lightweight and soft on your skin. Fits up to 44 inch waist sizes.
The ComfortTac belly band holster is an innovative, lightweight, comfortable product which fits most weapons. It can be worn in many positions, and the extra mag pouch is an added advantage. The holster is good for all intended uses ranging from the everyday workout to hunting.
2. Best Concealed Carry Holster Runner-up: Belly Band + Ankle Holster with Magazine Pouch
This package from Creatrill is a combo of a belly band and ankle holster. The belly band holster supports up to 46 inches waist sizes. Both holsters are made of breathable neoprene and include additional neoprene padding.
The holsters are ambidextrous, for right or left handed draws. The waistband features an elastic material, to accommodate weapons of various sizes, as well as a bonus extra mag pocket.
A potential drawback is that Velcro straps may not adequately secure large guns.
This is a useful combo at an amazing price. The breathable neoprene is comfortable and soft on the skin. These holsters can be used to carry both a primary and a backup firearm.
3. Most Comfortable Concealed Carry Holster: LIRISY Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry
Another very well-made, comfortable belly band holster. This concealed carry holster from Lirisy is also made of neoprene and is quite versatile.
The holster can be used in eight different carry positions, including shoulder rig carry. The holster’s position is adjustable for left or right handed draw.
One size fits up to 45” in circumference and is held in position by velcro. The holster holds both the firearm and the magazine.
As an added bonus, this holster features a movable second pocket which can be used to hold another accessory like a cellphone, knife, or extra mag. Your weapon is secured by a snap-on lock strap for a silent draw.
This belly band holster from Lirisy is good for everyday carry. The extra pocket increases its usefulness.
The holster, however, is sewn onto the outside of the belt which doesn’t secure the weapon snugly against the body. Overall the quality is great and offers good value for money.
4. Best Shoulder Holster Concealed Carry: Yeeper Deep Concealment Shoulder Holster
This shoulder holster is deeply concealed making it more like a belly band design rather than a conventional shoulder strap holster. The strap on this holster comes over the shoulder and fastens with Velcro. The holster features a Velcro fastened retention strap.
The design of the holster distributes the weight of the weapon evenly over the torso and is suitable for all kinds of pistols. Extra padding makes it comfortable to wear all day long.
The Yeeper shoulder holster is intended for deep concealment and comfortable everyday carry. The adjustable design and neoprene material is comfortable. However, it is not meant for quick draw.
5. Best Concealed Carry Purse Holster: Concealed Carry Women's Universal Purse Holster
This handbag insert is used to conceal carry a handgun inside a purse or handbag. It is easy to assemble and can be inserted inside a purse to offer a sturdy flat partition, great for keeping the weapon accessible inside oversize bags.
Elastic Velcro straps are used to holster the weapon flat against the wall of your purse, taking up minimal space.
Moreover, you can attach your existing holster to the platform. The insert itself is adjustable so it can fit both small and large purses/handbags from 9-18 inch lengths.
The concealed carry platform is a new innovation which facilitates women’s safety. It creates a partition in your purse allowing for a quick draw and organization within your purse.
6. Best IWB Concealed Carry Holster: Belly Band Holster For Concealed Carry
This concealed carry holster is the best choice for IWB carry. The holster is made from perforated neoprene fabric which is comfortable and soft on the skin.
Elastic material secures the weapon and features a button clasp thumb-break mechanism for retention.
The belly band has an extra pouch right next to the holster which can be used to hold a magazine, cell phone or any other relevant item. The versatile belly band is adjustable.
This belly band concealed holster is good for IWB carry. The mag pouch is wide enough to carry two mags, though a single mag may result in a lumpy bulge. Overall it is a comfortable product and is exceptional for concealed carry.
7. Best OWB Holster for Concealed Carry: Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB Paddle Holster
This OWB concealed carry holster from Alien Gear is a masterpiece in its class. The paddle holster can be clipped directly onto a waistband or belt and is easily concealed under your t-shirt or jacket.
No bulky straps, making quick draw and reholstering fast and easy. Retention is adjusted through a couple of screws.
This holster may be worn as a belt slide or paddle holster. It is made of durable Kydex thermoplastic and overall, a good product for people who like to carry OWB.
The Alien Gear holster is an OWB type concealed carry holster. Kydex material is durable and long lasting, and the open mouth offers quick draw and adjustable retention. However, being an OWB type model, it offers limited concealment.
A concealed carry holster hides your weapon while in public places. Many options are available, in varying material and design, to fit any gun owner’s preference, including IWB, OWB, shoulder, belly band, shoulder, and ankle holsters.
Optimal features in a quality holster include, good retention, quick draw and ability to be concealed.
When purchasing a holster, select one that feels comfortable and has the features most important to you.
Ultimately, comfort and ease of handling are two of the most vital features in a concealed carry holster.