Your life circumstances affect your “risk profile,” which has as much bearing on choosing the best concealed carry holster as which gun you choose to carry.
I get asked a lot of questions about concealed carry holsters, usually focused on comfort and security for the weapon. Those are important attributes but rank below an often overlooked factor of greater importance—your personal risk profile.
If you're an armed professional whose employment requires you to go in harm’s way, the most important variable would probably be speed of presentation. This “high-risk” profile would warrant a Kydex-type holster, worn on the belt on the strong side, with a slight forward tilt.
For most shooters in this risk profile, including a civilian whose life situation places them in a dangerous environment, this is likely the carry method that would facilitate the quickest draw from a standing position.
However, if you are a civilian (male) who is fortunate enough to live in a low risk town but must traverse a bad area on your regular commute to work, the most important variable might be ease of access while seated in the car.
For this application an ankle holster may be the best choice, allowing you to get to the gun quickly while in the car. Car-jacking is usually best resisted from within the car. You can present from the ankle in about one quarter of the time it takes to unclip the seatbelt, get through your cover garment, twist your torso radically and present the gun from a belt holster.
Because ankle holsters usually require a smaller pistol or revolver, when arriving at work it can be discretely transferred from its “driving position” to a jacket pocket without getting out of the car.
For women in this risk profile, a belt carry cross-draw would probably be the quickest presentation but it is less comfortable than an ankle presentation for most people and it requires pants.
If you are fortunate enough to live and work in a relatively safe area and want to be armed “just in case,” then the most important tactical variable is likely comfort. If carry becomes tedious it will soon be discarded out of habit.
When choosing a concealed carry holster, both gun and comfort play obvious roles. But keep your lifestyle and personal risk profile in mind, too—it's critical to getting the best practical fit.
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In the warm weather of the Southwest, I’ve often used a 5.11 Tactical Push Pack to carry my off-duty weapon, along with other items, for a number of years. Granted, it’s is not the fastest way to carry, but the most frequent question I am asked about it is, “Is that your camera bag?” Thanks for an excellent article. I have used a number of OWB holsters over my career, and your article brings up points that always need to be considered.
Who makes the holsters in the top photo??? Im looking for a good OWB for My XDS 4.0 9mm
UMMM! Flash Bang? Yeah! I got it right – even though it was in the caption!!
That was a good and timely article for me, I have some different holster types for my Ruger LCP, ankle, IWB, Belly Band and the Under Tech T-shirt type holsters. My biggest problem is finding a holster for concealed carry of my S&W K Frame .357 Magnum revolver, especially in warm weather. Have you any suggestions on that? I would appreciate your reply..
Hey “Area 51”. Large frame revolvers are difficult to conceal without bulky over-garments. The cylinder bulge and pointed rear of the grip frame are the problems. My 4″, S&W Mod 66 is my favorite handgun of all time and I first tried a Bianchi shoulder holster (too heavy) then a nylon “bikini” style belt holster (too floppy) and finally gave up and carried my S&W Mod 60 (“Chief’s Special Stainless” for you younger readers) in stead of the big gun. In recent years I had a gunsmith convert my Mod 66 to a round butt configuration and it now rides in a fanny pack when I do my regular woods walking. A fanny pack is probably your best bet for hot weather, just slower to present to watch your threat zones. Thanks for the question.
I have a Ruger Speed Six snubbie, basically the same size as a K frame. The DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster works great, in the front pocket of Duluth Trading’s Fire Hose work pants. These pockets are large & deep, and my revolver doesn’t print. Also, the tailoring of these pants doesn’t allow the weight to pull my pants down. Sadly, they recently changed the pockets on the shorts version, so they’re not suitable like the full length ones. Worth considering, in my opinion.
I find the Galco belt loop OWB holster or the Wright Leather Works in the same configuration hides my revolvers very well. The Wright Leather Works has gone to great lengths to get their holsters next to your body in the 4 or 5 o’clock position without interfering with your front and/or rear pocket. Changing to smaller grips will reduce imprinting/bulging through your shirt (which I always wear out – since I gained weight).
Nice one! I totally agree with this! Risk profile should always be considered in getting concealed carry holsters and even other firearm accessories as well. This a great tip and helpful article to gun owners.
Thanks for the comment, Aaron. Space considerations kept me from mentioning shoulder holsters. They were quite the “in” carry for the detectives back in the day but have fallen out of favor in the last decade or so. A correct fitting and quality shoulder holster (I am partial to Bianchi, myself) offers good security from grabs and quick access while seated and standing. The problems are good ones are expensive, take a while to get used to and require a sports coat to be always worn but some folks find the weight of the gun and mag(s) carried on the shoulders less tiring than on the belt. Have you ever used one?
Great quality holsters gives good security from grabs and quick access while seated and standing – yeah you got a point in that! I guess that is the great advantage of shoulder holsters. I only use the belt one. Thanks for the great idea anyway 🙂
You are most welcome, buddy. Let us know how it works for you.