IDPA, or the International Defensive Pistol Association, is a foundation established in 1996, in Berryville, Arkansas. It is an international community of shooters and organizes pistol shooting competitions based upon real-life defense situations.
IDPA is a fast-growing sport with a lot of buzz going around the shooter community. IDPA has its specific set of rules, related to weapons, tasks, ammunition and the gear to be used. Even the holsters.
Here we’ll be talking about these IDPA rules pertaining to a holster, and what qualities should a holster possess to perform well at IDPA. We will also review the best IDPA holsters for different types of handguns available on the market. Helping you out with your next IDPA competitions.
Best IDPA Holsters Comparison Chart
Comp-Tac International OWB Kydex Modular Mount
Best IDPA Holster
Uncle Mike's Tactical Reflex Competition Holster
Best IDPA Holster
Black Scorpion Outdoor Gear IDPA Pro Competition Holster
Best Glock 17 Holster IDPA
USPSA IPSC Holster Pro Competition IDPA
Best Glock 34 Holster IDPA
USPSA IPSC OWB Kydex Holster Pro Competition IDPA: Fits 1911
Best 1911 IDPA Holster
Blade-Tech IDPA Competition Holster
Best Blade Tech IDPA Holster
Comp-Tac Paddle Holster - Straight Drop
Best Comp Tac IDPA Holster
Speed Beez OWB 686 4” Tactical Revolver Holster
Best IDPA Revolver Holster
Speed Beez OWB Revolver Holster
Best IDPA Revolver Holster Runner-up
What are IDPA Holster Rules?
Blatantly speaking, the IDPA holster rules are very simple.
Don’t bring nnything fancy! That’s it.
The IDPA competitions were designed to simulate real-life self-defense situations. Which is obviously deduced from the fact that you have to use a basic weapon and gear in real life situations.
The holster is a part of the gear and accessories, so it is bound by certain rules.
First of all, you must use your holster on the dominant side. No cross draws are allowed.
Secondly, your holster must be an IWB or OWB. Shoulder, ankle, chest or any other kind of holsters are not allowed.
Third, your holster must be comfortable for everyday wear and must cover the trigger and trigger guard while the gun is holstered.
Fourth, the holster must be concealed. However, there is an exception for law enforcement officers who can use an open carry holster with all of their additional gear (cuffs, baton, etc.).
Fifth, any retention devices on the holster must either be used or permanently disabled.
That’s pretty much it. Sounds like real life simulation, huh?
Qualities of the Best IDPA Holsters
The rules of the IDPA regarding holsters are quite simple. Pertaining to the strenuous and tactical environment of an IDPA competition, a holster must possess several qualities to assist the shooter in winning. A few of these qualities may be:
Concealment is a prerequisite of an IDPA competition and your holster must abide by it. A properly concealable weapon will not only ensure your entry into IDPA competitions, but it will also help you with your day to day carry.
Quick Draw and Safe Retention
Such holsters must have a quick draw so you can choose and shoot targets quickly, as every second counts in an IDPA match. Additionally, the holster must have good retention with probably some locking mechanism, or precise adjustments of the screw.
IDPA competitions demand you to move around quite a lot. Plus, you’ll have to carry around your weapon all day as the competition proceeds. Thus, a comfortable holster is quite necessary.
Needless to say, a participant plays to win. A holster with a modular mounting system and adjustable cant options can give you an edge over your competitors.
These days, kydex is a good choice of material for IDPA holsters. As it is waterproof and durable and doesn’t get worn out after numerous draws and holds in an IDPA match.
Are all IDPA Holsters the Same?
Of course not.
Even if ten different holsters used by different people in an IDPA match abide by the rules, it doesn’t mean that all of them are same.
People make their choices based on their discretion, ability, and comprehension. A holster that suits someone else might not be the perfect one for you.
After all, IDPA competitions are a test of ability and skill. Where you have the option of choosing the gear that suits you well.
For example, two holsters might be the same in material, designs, locks, and everything else, but one may have a more flared and wide opening than the other, affecting the retention time.
Similarly, a holster with an ALS lock mechanism might look good at first (which it is). But it might end up not so well for someone who cannot draw in time.
Some holsters allow, whereas some don’t, to make cant or mounting adjustments, which might end up to be a deterrent flaw during a match, depending on the shooters ability and scenario.
Quick Take - The Best IDPA Holsters
These are our recommendations for the best IDPA holsters:
Review of the Best IDPA Holsters
Now, that we know about the qualities to look for in an IDPA compliant holster and the qualities that make it an ideal one. Let’s review the best IDPA holsters on the market for different handguns.
This list has been carefully compiled based upon the above-mentioned qualities and features of an ideal IDPA holster.
Best IDPA Holster: Comp-Tac International OWB Kydex Modular Mount
The Comp-tac holster has been made from kydex which is lightweight and durable, and will not stretch or sag over time.
The OWB design features three different mount options. Namely, Belt Mount, Paddle Mount, and Drop Offset Piece.
The holster also has a .5” tall sight rail space to fit most optic sights. The cant of the holster is adjustable, and retention can be adjusted using two screws near the base.
The Comp-tac holster has been designed for tactical and competitive use. It has a wide range of mounting and adjustment options which make it quite versatile and perfect for IDPA. Fits most handguns.
Best IDPA Holster Runner-up: Uncle Mike's Tactical Reflex Competition Holster
Uncle Mike’s Tactical Reflex Holster is a good choice for IDPA competitions. The holster is made from kydex material and attached to your waist using a simple clip (offset design).
The holster has two height adjustment settings so the shooter can feel comfortable with height.
The integrated locking mechanism needs the user to twist the firearm sideways to draw, which is an extra security feature for self-defense. The grip is widely visible which prevents fumbling.
Uncle Mike’s holster offers a good offset position for tactical shooting, and the design prevents fumbling. Although, the draw lock might affect some people. Limited adjustment capabilities are also a limiting factor.
Best Glock 17 Holster IDPA: Black Scorpion Outdoor Gear IDPA Pro Competition Holster
This Black Scorpion has been intentionally designed to holster a Glock 17. The OWB type holster has been designed using carbon fiber material with different levels of height adjustments for the shooter.
The retention can be adjusted using two retention screws on the holster. Features a simple design, good concealment but limited functionality.
The Black Scorpion tactical has a simple and robust design and is good for tactical use. The Holster complies with IDPA rules and is a good choice for users.
Best Glock 34 Holster IDPA: USPSA IPSC Holster Pro Competition IDPA
This is the best IDPA holster for the Glock 34 and 35 model. The holster features a kydex body and height adjustments for the shooter.
The OWB design is good for IDPA, and 3 gun shooting competitions. The height of the holster is adjustable, and so is the retention.
The holster is large enough to hold the larger Glock models without compromise.
This holster is good for the Glock 34 and 35 models and will hold them with ease, without compromising on function. However, the holster is too big for smaller handguns.
Best 1911 IDPA Holster: USPSA IPSC OWB Kydex Holster Pro Competition IDPA: Fits 1911
This holster, however, fits many different guns. But it has been found out to work best with 1911.
This OWB holster is made up of bolatron, and kydex which makes it durable and helps retain its shape.
The holster is adjustable for height and cant within the permissible IDPA limits. The retention is governed by a couple of tension screws.
This holster suits 1911 pistols perfectly and is ideal for using them in IDPA competitions. Offers Robust adjustments and proper comfort.
Best Blade Tech IDPA Holster: Blade-Tech IDPA Competition Holster
The Blade Tech IDPA holster offers one-of-a-kind package in this IDPA holster. The package includes a kydex holster, a magazine pouch, and a paddle attachment, both manufactured from injection molded polymer.
The cant is adjustable to three different angles, and the holster has a flared base. The holster is a good choice if you are just starting out with IDPA.
The Blade Tech holster offers a three-in-one package offering more value for money and is perfect for IDPA competitions. However, the holster is only available for right-handed shooters.
Best Comp-Tac IDPA Holster: Comp-Tac Paddle Holster - Straight Drop
This one from Comp-Tac is a straight draw IDPA holster which has to be simply tucked down the belt on the waistline. The holster is made up of kydex and offers enough area to holster a gun with sights mounted.
Retention can be adjusted using two screws near the base. This holster is perfect even for people with a small body (especially women). The nylon padding on the rear makes it comfortable for the user.
The Comp-Tac holster is just like any other IDPA holster, with the only drawback being the limited straight draw position. The holster sits close to the body and is quite comfortable even after using it for long durations.
Best IDPA Revolver Holster: Speed Beez OWB 686 4” Tactical Revolver Holster
The Speed Beez OWB holster has been specifically designed to holster all tactical revolvers with a 4” S&W frame. The holster is a three in one package which includes a belt mount, paddle mount and offset mount, where the belt width can be adjusted for each mount.
The all Kydex body will not bend or stretch over time and is impervious to sweat and solvents. The holder has 8 mounting holes to adjust it to the cant. Overall, it is the perfect IDPA holster for all revolvers with a 4” frame.
This holster has been intentionally designed to fit revolvers during IDPA competitions. The Kydex material makes the frame durable, and the multiple adjustments make the holster more versatile, and useful for competition and self-defense. Even with a revolver.
Best IDPA Revolver Holster Runner-up: Speed Beez OWB Revolver Holster
This Speed Beez OWB holster is an entire package, exactly the same as the one mentioned above. The holster is meant for revolvers with a 2.50 to the 2.65-inch frame. Or in other words, smaller revolvers.
The package includes different mounts, each of which features adjustments for belt width and cant. It complies with all rules of the IDPA and offers a quick draw for competitive shooting.
This holster, as described, is perfect for smaller revolvers. The OWB design with modular mounting options and adjustment options, allows the user to adjust it according to their convenience.
IDPA competitions simulate real-life self-defense situations, so they require the participants to use a simple holster with very basic functionalities. The IDPA has defined specific rules for using a holster in its competitions. A good IDPA holster must be comfortable, comply with the rules, concealable, and easily adjustable.