The Unthinkables: Concealed Carry Holsters

The Unthinkables: Concealed Carry Holsters

Choosing concealed carry holsters

Massad Ayoob dedicates no fewer than eight (of 23) chapters directly to holster choice and use in his ever-popular Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, 2nd Edition. An additional chapter speaks to concealed carry clothing.

That says a lot.

It’s almost 40 percent of the content of the entire book.  By comparison, one chapter is dedicated to the best handguns for concealed carry, while two chapters tackle ammo and one more is about tactical lights.

Is there really that much to know when it comes to holsters and clothing for concealed carry? It turns out there is.

Which Concealed Carry Holster to Choose?

Holsters for open carry should have a retention system. This SERPA holster, from Blackhawk is popular for open- and concealed carry.
Holsters for open carry should have a retention system. This SERPA holster, from Blackhawk is popular for open- and concealed carry.

Committing to carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) for self-defense carries with it a profound lifestyle change. You now need to think about that handgun on a practical level — ensuring it is concealed, secured and at the ready.

That’s why concealed carry holsters and clothing are so important: The only other things besides your gun you’ll always be carrying are your clothes. And because your clothes are always changing (they are always changing, aren’t they?) your holster will sometimes need to be adapted as well.

Newcomers always wonder what handgun is best. Price is always a concern. And the availability and cost of ammo is another worry. Holsters, belts and new clothes are the unthinkables — the things that get overlooked.

But don’t overlook them. A good gun belt for concealed carry, two or three top-quality holsters, and new clothes better suited to concealing a pistol are essential.

Just keep in mind that the cost of these things can add up fast, so be sure to take them into account.

Here are some more tips:

  • Buy at least one iwb concealed carry hip holster (Inside-the-Waistband, strong-side) matched to your handgun. The IWB-style is the most versatile, four-season holster, in my opinion.
  • Invest in a good 1¼ -1½ inch wide steel-reinforced gun belt. This is the backbone of your gun load-bearing system. Buy the best quality you can. It will keep your piece from digging into your side.
  • Have one good alternate method holster, such as a shoulder harness holster for concealed carry or an ankle holster and compact pistol for those times when you just can’t conceal the big gun (and as a full-time backup gun).
  • Get a dummy training pistol and practice drawing and re-holstering (with one hand) from beneath a variety of garments. You’ll quickly learn what type of holster works best for your lifestyle.

More Recommended Reading: How to Choose the Best Concealed Carry Holster

My recommended resources for concealed carry:

Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, 2nd EditionThe Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, 2nd Edition

The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery

Armed: The Essential Guide to Concealed Carry

Find more resources at



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