2018 Buyer’s Guide: The Best Paddle Holsters

There are a number of holsters ranging from natural strong side belt holsters to the more esoteric, IWB appendix carry, or MOLLE vest style attachment. 

Known for being a very comfortable method of carrying, the external or Outside the Waist Band (OWB) holster is one of the most popular ways to carry a sidearm. It affords a better grip on the draw as it sits further off the skin, enabling you to get your entire hand on it in the right position.

However, the traditional holster that slides onto the belt has less flexibility in getting it on and off. Besides, there's a hidden cost, because the belt usually anchors an OWB rig to your body, it means you have to invest in a quality, strong gun belt, sturdy enough to not flex under the weight of a fully loaded firearm.

The Best Paddle Holsters Comparison Chart

Product

Our Rating

Price

Alien Gear Holsters Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster

Best Paddle Holster

Fobus Glock GL2E2

Best Fobus Paddle Holster

Fobus Standard Holster RH Paddle

Best Fobus Paddle Holster Runner-up

Galco Speed Paddle Holster for 1911 5” Colt

Best Leather Paddle Holster

BLACKHAWK! Serpa Sportster Holster

Best Blackhawk Paddle Holster

Uncle Mike's Kydex Off-Duty OT Hip Holster

Best Kydex Paddle Holster

Sumtop Taurus Millennium G2 OWB Paddle Holster

Best OWB Paddle Holster

Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB paddle holster

What is a Paddle Holster?

A paddle holster consists of two sections: a holster and a "paddle" or duckbill, a flat, concave shaped plastic piece or stiffened leather that is worn inside the pants.

The holster secures itself with a paddle that slides inside your waistband generating friction to prevent the entire holster from being pulled away when the gun is drawn.

What Makes a Great Paddle Holster?

Therefore, these are the main reasons for the development of the revolutionary paddle holster - a holster that doesn't need a belt to be attached to and a holster, which is much easier to remove from your person.

A paddle holster looks and feels like a traditional on-the-belt holster, but offers a "no frills" minimalist design and provides high retention complemented with a streamlined and straightforward exterior.

Except for the primary benefit of easy removal, paddle holsters have are designed with an adjusting cant and grip angle feature to suit the user's preference.

Currently, high quality and durability material for carrying a paddle holster over an extended period of time are leather and plastic.

Leather paddles are strengthened by stitching and sometimes by inserting a small steel plate into the paddle for added support. The more prevalent materials are plastic offered in the form of molded nylon, Boltaron, and Kydex.

Are Paddle Holsters Good Daily Carries?

Actually, paddle holsters are more popular in recent years than belt slide holsters, as they offer excellent grip retention over the handgun. While the passive retention is almost perfect for the occasional user, for the people who carry a paddle holster daily, active retention is a must.

Because the paddle holster isn’t stuck to your belt, this method of securing the holster to the wearer gives you another benefit as you can easily slide it around your body until you find a comfortable position.

By using a paddle holster, you're no longer dependent on a belt. However, please note that paddle holsters tend to be larger and bulkier and tend to print more often than standard on-the-belt carry models.

A second disadvantage is that its security is not as great as a holster secured with a belt, as the paddle holster relies on the friction of the "paddle" to keep it in place. You should also keep in mind that paddle holsters sometimes tilt the butt of the firearm inward, pushing the barrel out and making the gun more identifiable.

How to Wear a Paddle Holster

Since the paddle holster does not have to be on your belt, this gives you a lot of wearing options, making it almost a universal holster.

On the other side, the use of a belt is still recommended due to another layer (the belt) between the side of the holster and the holster paddle. Note that the paddle has to be put in between your pants and underwear and not over the belt.

The standard holster location for a right-handed users is at 3-o'clock and 9-o'clock for lefties. If you feel like this position is unnatural, you can slide the holster around your waist until it settles into a comfortable, natural point along the curve of your body.

Body Clock (source)

Undoubtedly, the paddle holsters are notoriously bulky due to the way they angle out from the body, thereby making it easier for them to print. For that reason, it is usually recommended that you wear loose fitting shirts, coats, and jackets over the paddle holster, instead.

Below, we have offered a few good examples of the best paddle holsters; all of them would fulfill a lot of necessary purposes and will work well for your particular carry style and keeps excellent retention over the handgun.

Quick Take - The Best Paddle Holsters

Review of the Best Paddle Holsters

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite paddle holsters. We’re going to highlight each holsters main features then covers some important pros and cons -- stay tuned!

Best Paddle Holster: Alien Gear Holsters Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster

One of the most user-friendly holsters focused on all-day comfort comes from Alien Gear, a company that is constantly innovating its products.

For this overview, we have chosen their 3.0 version of Cloak Tuck inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster, available for nearly 600 handgun models.

Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster comes out of the box with a recommendation to carry at a 4:30 position and manufacturer claim that it requires zero break-in time.

Furthermore, the Alien upgraded holster comes preset with cant, ride height, and retention, but you also have 3 types of spacers and screws as an option so the holster can be customized to your exact preferences.

You can also attach this hybrid holster either on your waistband or on your belt using adjustable steel or nylon clips, making it versatile and able to switch between belt slide and paddle attachments.

While the Cloak Tuck 3.0 is molded around Boltaron shell, the rest is made from a mix of materials. A strong stainless spring-steel core inside the backer is coated with a layer of ballistic nylon and soft neoprene, which reduces hardware exposure to the skin, and cushions the holster against the body.

All these options make printing (unintentionally showing the outline of a handgun) nonexistent and provide good concealment. The retention of this advanced Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster that can be adjusted by tightening or loosening screws on the holster shell to the exact angle and height you prefer.

However, there are some user complaints, such as one on reholstering the handgun due to one side being soft or easily scratching the holster.

Pros

  • Forever warranty.
  • Very comfortable fit.
  • Adjustable retention, cant, and ride.
  • The hybrid holster can be attached to any belt or waistband.

Cons

  • Wears easily.
  • Very difficult to re-holster the weapon with one hand.

Bottom Line

Engineers at Alien Gear Holsters make constant improvements on this IWB holster by applying the latest advanced materials in its construction. The Cloak Tuck holster is held tight against the body, making gun printing almost invisible under the loose shirt.

Best Fobus Paddle Holster: Fobus Glock GL2E2

The Israeli Fobus E2 series is one of the most popular paddle holsters for semi-auto pistols as they are combat-proven, highly durable, and very affordable.

Fobus Evolution E2 Paddle Holsters for Glocks are made of lightweight and highly durable plastics, and include steel reinforced rivet attachments and a protective sight channel.

The E2 series holster attaches to the paddle backing with steel reinforced rivets. The paddle of this low profile holster also includes a rubberized insert to provide both comfort and stability.

The GL2E2 holster features one-piece body construction, and is designed as a high riding open carry holster for excellent firearm retention. The proven FOBUS passive retention design features an incorporated tension adjustment screw to allow the user to customize the ease of draw and the security of retention.

While the barrel of the handgun is held with 5 to 10 degree forward cant, the angle of the gun is fixed and not adjustable. This style covers the trigger guard and leaves the muzzle open, making it a great choice for open carry.

Pros

  • Protective sight channel.
  • The holster is comfortable.
  • It is an inexpensive option.
  • Lightweight 2oz. paddle holster.
  • Molded to fit the guns indicated in the description specifically.
  • Offers a considerable amount of retention for passive retention only holster.

Cons

  • Not a real "concealment" holster.
  • The larger handguns may feel uncomfortable.

Bottom Line

Draw requires a reasonably deliberate motion, but thanks to the adjustable passive retention screw and light coating of silicone, it makes drawing your pistol much easier.

Best Fobus Paddle Holster Runner-up: Fobus Standard Holster RH Paddle

The Paddle version of the Fobus Standard Series is a passive retention holster that attaches to the person by a rubberized Paddle.

Like other Fobus paddle holsters, the standard holster is designed by an injected molding system that features a one-piece construction, made of high-density plastics.

The carrying of this holster implies very high riding, which is convenient for a deliberate and rapid upward motion, definitely enablingusers to draw pistols faster than typical leather holsters.

Besides, this extremely lightweight holster gives enhanced firearm retention. Moreover, the amount of friction holding the weapon in place can be adjusted via tension screw upon your personal preference.

Additionally, the Fobus Standard outside the waistband (OWB) holster utilizes a rubberized paddle and a reinforced steel rivet attachment system. This ensures your pants stay in one place with the holster while you draw the pistol.

However, this model has some minor complaints -- as an OWB holster, it's not nearly as concealable as an IWB. Therefore, you have to pay close attention to what you wear or check the laws in your state to make sure you have the right to open carry.

Pros

  • Lightweight (two ounces) paddle holster.
  • Passive retention is automatically engaged upon re-holstering.
  • Very affordable, but reliable holster.
  • Highly durable plastic is practically maintenance free.
  • Holds up to wear and tear.
  • One holster is suitable for a large number of handguns.

Cons

  • Not intended for concealment, it has a noticeable print.
  • Not included any retention mechanism.

Bottom Line

Fobus holsters allow the possibility of wearing the paddle between your pants and belt for extra comfort against your body. While this passive retention holster includes a retention adjustment screw, if you are not satisfied with its drawing speed, you can also use silicone spray in the trigger guard area of the holster as a means of lowering the level of retention.

Best Leather Paddle Holster: Galco Speed Paddle Holster for 1911 5” Colt

An iconic firearm like the 1911 deserves a classic holster such as the Galco Speed top-quality leather holster. Made from premium saddle leather, this holster features a "Speed Paddle" system, built with a co-polymer injection-molded belt-lock paddle and is suitable for quick arming and disarming.

This Galco Belt Holster features an open-top design for quick draw and firearm access, which is highly appreciated among the gun competition community. It also has a covered trigger guard that offers improved safety and tension-screw adjustment system for added security.

The Galco Speed paddle pistol holster features an elegant leather design with an outstanding finish requesting a little time for break-in. However, some users' complaints that the paddle is too small for the weight of the full-size pistol such as 1911 5-Inch Colt, since the weight of the magazine pulls the top-heavy grip away from shooters body.

Pros

  • Constructed of premium steer hide.
  • Adjustable tension.
  • Fits comfortably with decent retention.
  • More friction to wear and tear than plastic.
  • "Speed Paddle" system for easy takeoff.

Cons

  • The paddle is too short.
  • The holster still rides too high.

Bottom Line

The Speed Paddle Holster by Galco will fit the shape of your 1911 with a custom-tailored design, that includes a belt-lock paddle, making it possible to attach on and take off without removing your belt.

Best Blackhawk Paddle Holster: BLACKHAWK! Serpa Sportster Holster

Blackhawk has established a benchmark in the holster industry by offering one of the most secure holsters of any kind, suitable for everyday carry and tactical gear enthusiasts.

The Serpa Sportster Holster is made of injection-molded polymer and designed as a level 2 holster, where the second level lock retention utilizes a mechanical lock, that grasps the trigger guard from the inside.

The drawing motion is a natural extension of your index finger and pressing a button makes it nearly impossible for anyone to take your firearm from your holster.

Like other counterparts, SERPA Sportster holster from Blackhawk comes with a paddle rig and an interchangeable belt loop rig. This enables the owner to use a variety of additional accessories including vest rigs and shoulder harness rigs.

As for the concealment, though Serpa's design keeps it close to the body, Sportster holsters are suitable as cold weather concealed OWB.

Pros

  • Passive retention with adjustable screw.
  • Active retention keeps your weapon safe.
  • Clicks when the gun is holstered.
  • Retention is adjustable.
  • Belt loop or paddle options for extra support option.

Cons

  • Large and Bulky.
  • Needs plenty of practice.

Bottom Line

Without a doubt, the Serpa holster dual mounting systems fit a variety of needs. The holster itself can oriented vertically, with a forward cant, or a reverse cant. With such a unique design, a SERPA auto-lock keeps the gun secure but also requires some getting used to.

Best Kydex Paddle Holster: Uncle Mike's Kydex Off-Duty OT Hip Holster

Uncle Mike’s a big name in the gun accessories and tactical gear world, with a long history of making quality holsters.

The Kydex Off-Duty and Concealment OT Hip Holster is their entry into the paddle holster market and offers users the ability to wear it either behind the hip or in the appendix position; a neat feature that set it apart from the competition.

Furthermore, the body’s lead edge of this model has been cut down for a faster draw, allowing you to move the muzzle of your handgun forward even before completely clearing the holster.

Uncle Mike’s tactical holster can be angled forward or back via mounting screws, while the retention tension is also easily adjustable. This Kydex, open-top hip holster has air vents and very firm paddle arrangement, meaning it will ride close to the body at a mid-level height.

Made from injection-molded plastic, Uncle Mike’s tactical holster will conveniently fit several handgun models. Like all paddle holsters, this model is a little bulky for CCW without a longer concealment garment.

Pros

  • The holster is not gun specific.
  • Adjustable for cant and tension.
  • The molded form of the holster holds the pistol in place.
  • Rides close to the body at mid-level height; near-vertical rake for conventional behind-the-hip carry.
  • Low ejection port cutaway allows the shooter to draw the firearm out of the holster a lot faster than other holster that cover it.

Cons

  • Not convenient for conceal carry.
  • An open holster without retention system or thumb break.

Bottom Line

Remarkable for a low-cost holster, Uncle Mike's open top hip holster is fully adjustable for cant and tension, something that is more difficult to accomplish within it's price class.

Best OWB Paddle Holster: Sumtop Taurus Millennium G2 OWB Paddle Holster

The  PT111 G2 from Taurus is one of the most popular compacts and is mainly used for defensive purposes. This models fits PT111 PT132 PT138 PT140 PT145 PT745, OWB Tactical Pistol Holsters and includes a black microfiber gun cloth.

With its lightweight polymer frame, thin profile, and ramped 3.2-inch barrel, the new version called "Millennium G2" is a perfect pistol for concealed carry, either at the waist or in a purse. Sumtop offers such holsters from CYTAC manufacturer that will enhance the portability of the PT111 and Taurus whole lineup of Millennium Generation 2 sidearms.

As a fairly inexpensive tactical holster, it features a Level 2 (II) safety locking mechanism with built-in quick-release and an audible quick-locking button upon re-holstering. Its passive retention system is designed in a way that the only point of contact the handgun has with the holster is where the trigger guard touches the frame.

The holster body height can be easily adjusted too, offering a full 360 degrees of rotation for every application (i.e. small of the back, cross draw). In addition, you can also adjust the holster cant with the included Allen key, but you will have to wear a very loose fitting shirt to cover it.

While the Sumtop's holster features a smooth interior, this ensures quick draw and re-holstering. Its included soft silicone paddle provides comfortable and easy securing of the holster too. Moreover, the Sumtop OWB Taurus Millennium G2 is made of durable high-tech Military Grade polymer materials, it is maintenance free and has extreme temperature tolerance (-30℃ to 180℃).

Pros

  • Non-expansive.
  • Easy maintenance.
  • Level 2 (II) Auto lock System.
  • Paddle or belt clip is optional.
  • The adjustable tilt angle rotates 360 degrees.
  • Automatic locking when your gun is reholstered.

Cons

  • The fit on PT 111 is a little loose.
  • Not so convenient for a conceal carry.
  • Will not fit Gen1 PT111 Millennium.

Bottom Line

Sumtop OWB Tactical Millennium G2 Holster is compatible with most of Taurus PT series pistols and can be attached to a paddle, belt clip, MOLLE, or drop leg platform. However, it will not fit Gen 1 PT111 Millennium handguns.

Best Alien Gear Paddle Holster: Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB paddle holster

Alien Gear enjoys an excellent reputation in the scene of holsters and the Cloak MOD OWB Holster represents their newest addition to a line of holsters with a distinct, modular design.

It's an outside-the-waistband holster, which uses either a paddle or a slide feature to attach it to your belt. It's made from a mixture of rubber, nylon, and steel and built to last. A steel, spring-flex plate is the retention provider and is placed between the top surface membrane layer and the rigid nylon backer.

While the curved paddle, which is uniquely designed in the shape of an alien head, allows for quick placement or removal of the holster, a belt slide attachment is entirely different from the ordinary, rigid belt slide option.

The Cloak Mod has a rigid back plate and features multiple mounting points for the belt slide or paddle attachment. This allows you to adjust retention and set cant, which let you determine your preferred draw.

The customization of the Cloak Mod OWB holster means that the outer holster shell is weapon specific, but also exchangeable. As with other Alien Gear holsters, you are still allowed to swap out the custom-molded retention shells, making the holster suitable to a different handgun. Lastly, the manufacturer offers a 30-day test drive and lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Adjustable retention and cant.
  • Paddle or belt clip is optional.
  • An Iron-clad triple guarantee.
  • Spring steel flexplate for added retention.
  • Includes paddle and slide for user configuration.

Cons

  • The most expensive option.
  • The interior of the holster does rub the gun blue off of your weapon.

Bottom Line

This Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB features a relatively easy on-off design, but also provides very convenient versatility through its modularity. Any previous shells that you may own from Alien Gear will work perfectly with this holster.

Conclusion

If you're not a fan of the classic pancake style, you should consider a paddle type holster because they are an enormously popular. Ultimately, there's no "best" paddle holster, but we have selected a handful of the top-rated paddle holsters and provided them to you, knowing that everybody has their own preferences. Many paddle holsters are often made with polymer, but leather holsters have their own charm since leather is the ultimate heritage material.

With this, paddle designs are more convenient, comfortable, and versatile, but can never be a 100% anchor like a belt-mounted holster. We hope this has been helpful in outlining some of the best paddle holsters.

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