Common Concealed Carry Holsters

Once you have decided to carry a firearm concealed, you have a few choices to make.  What kind of firearm, where on your body are you going to carry it and what are you going to carry it in.

Most state laws require that you carry your firearm in a holster.  Choosing the right holster is very important.  It needs to be comfortable and easy to access yet conceal the weapon so others do not see that you are carrying. One of the most popular types of holsters is…

is the inside the waistband holster or IWB.


The Inside the Waistband Holster

The IWB holster is attached to your belt with clips or loops and can be placed anywhere around your waist.  Most permit holders will describe where they carry it in relation to a clock.  If you carry in the center of your right side this would be 3 o’clock. This type of holster will leave only the handle of the firearm above your waist. The IWB holster offers great concealment and very quick access but you generally have to keep your shirt un-tucked, although there are tuckable holsters that allow you to tuck in your shirt.  You may also have to wear pants a size bigger depending on the size of your firearm.

Outside the Waistband Holster

Another popular holster is the outside the waistband holster or OWB.  The OWB holster is very similar to IWB holster except that is worn on the outside of your pants.  These holsters are a little harder to conceal and usually require wearing a coat, vest or a longer shirt. Access to the firearm with this holster is about the same as with an IWB holster. The good thing about OWB holster is no need to buy a larger size pants.

Small of Back Holster

SOB or small of the back holsters are made in either OWB or IWB fashions. These holsters are great for concealing larger firearms but are slower to access and nearly impossible to access while sitting in a car. They have also gotten a bad reputation for causing spinal injuries. If you were to fall on your back having a large solid object against your spine may create an injury.  Most U.S. police departments have banned the use of these holsters for their officers.

Shoulder holsters can be very easy to conceal.  These holsters are popular with plain clothes detectives or other professionals that wear a suit on a daily basis.  They can also be worn under a shirt but may slow down your access time. Shoulder holsters are very comfortable and distribute the weight across your shoulders much like a backpack does allowing you to carry a large firearm.

Belly Band Holsters

Belly band holsters are a great concealment option.  They are simply an elastic band that goes around your stomach typically with Velcro on the ends and a pocket to hold your firearm.  You must wear a loose shirt with these holsters but you can tuck your shirt in.  This type of holster is usually best for lighter guns.

Ankle holsters are a great way to conceal your firearm but they are not quickly accessible and are usually reserved for a backup gun.  Ankle holsters are very popular with police officers for their backup. One great advantage is if you hug someone they won’t know you are carrying.

There are several types of bags designed for carrying concealed. Companies like Maxpedition and 5.11 are just of the few of the companies making these bags.

Fanny packs are another method of concealed carry. You can buy a pack designed for carrying that has a compartment just for your weapon.  There will usually be a Velcro strap to pull away to gain quick access.  Most people would not consider wearing one but they can be a good option for someone jogging or walking a lot.


Concealment underwear has come into the market lately.  Basically they are a pair of underwear with a pocket for your gun.  These are another option for the jogger or someone that prefers to carry while they exercise. They can be quick to access as long as you are not sitting down.

Once you have decided on your carry method, invest in a good holster.  Make sure it is from a reputable company and that it is comfortable to wear. De Santis, Galco, Blackhawk and Don Hume Leather goods are just a few of the manufacturers who make great products.  Another option is to have a holster custom made to fit you and your firearm.  Having one custom tailored will ensure a comfortable holster that will fit your needs exactly.  Some great custom holster makers out there include and El Paso Saddlery and A Touch of Yellow Leatherwerkes. Prices for custom holsters are usually comparable to a mass produced holster but may take a little time to make.

Many of My Readers Purchase Holsters on Amazon.com

You asked me to make it easy for you, so that’s exactly what I did.

1) Type a search term in the box below. (ankle holster, concealed carry holster, galco inside the waistband holster, tactical paddle holster, purse concealed holster, etc.)

2) BANG! Press enter and Amazon shows you several of those holsters

3) BOOM! Buy your holster. It’s almost too easy.

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6 thoughts on “Common Concealed Carry Holsters

  1. CWP Holder

    Nice holster roundup and good article, but I think the part about comfort should be stressed more heavily. If the holster isn’t comfortable, you won’t use it and may stop carrying your weapon. Folks should try several before settling on one to make sure it’s comfortable for them. Just because a friend uses a shoulder rig, doesn’t mean it’s right for you, eh? And then, if you buy one and it’s not comfortable for daily wear, buy another. Don’t stop carrying! That’s why you got a CWP in the first place.

    Reply
    1. admin

      that’s a good point. i don’t think people realize how important it is to wear a comfortable holster. the problem is, most people are just ordering their holster off of the internet and never really get to go to a “holster store” (i haven’t found any) and try on a ton of holsters to see which one they like. what do u think is a good inside the waistband holster for the glock 19? i kind of like crossbreed a lot, but i haven’t worn a lot of different holsters.

      Reply
  2. Steven

    I have been using the PPH-007 CCW Ultra-Compact Pocket Pistol Holster for years and find it to be the most comfortable pocket concealment holster available. This holster is compatible with many micro pocket pistols including the Ruger LCP, Kel Tec P-3AT, S&W Bodyguard, Taurus PT738, Rohrbaugh R9 and others due to its tensioning binder screws. It is flexible yet ridged due to the multiple plied layers of various thin select materials. This simple design simply works extremely well and is a superior USA built product. http://www.MaelWear.com

    Reply
    1. admin

      Looks like a nice holster. I like the simplicity of the design. I have a couple of questions. How easy is it to draw from? Can you post a video of somebody doing an emergency draw with it? Will it fit the Ruger LC9, or is the LC9 to big for it?

      Reply
  3. Steven

    Happy 2013!

    I have a YouTube video at: http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=6xIfPCqEqGw&feature=youtu.be&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D6xIfPCqEqGw%26feature%3Dyoutu.be

    Unfortunately, the LC9 is substantially larger; enough so that it will not work with the PPH-007. If sales are strong with this holster I have similar and significantly different designs for that weapon and others that conceal very well and are also extremely comfortable to use and wear.

    One of my design principles is KISS for the customer through better thought out complex design ideas.

    I don’t really consider the LC9 a mouse, micro-pocket, pistol.

    The PPH-007 is a culmination of three years of use from seven prototypes. I am very satisfied with its outcome, but still have ideas for improvements.

    If you see my holster in person you will may notice the materials incorporated into this holster serve to provide the customer with confidence, and most importantly this is a holster you will not get that post-purchase ripped-off feeling as you will use this holster everyday because it is so comfortable; and it will last for years with nominal wear.

    Reply

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