What Is The Best Concealed Carry Holster? (2019)

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What Is The Best Concealed Carry Holster?

Top Concealed Carry Holster Options:

When it comes to choosing the best concealed carry holster, the process has never been more difficult. A particular holster may be perfectly made, designed to mold to every curve and crevice of the human body, light as a feather, and breathable as mountain air. The difficulty is, if it doesn’t feel right when you wear it, it’s not worth a penny.

The best concealed carry holster the author used with the Kahr CM9 is a Crossbreed MiniTuck IWB (inside-the-waistband) with a forward cant.
What attributes make the best concealed carry holster? Like a lot of things in life, that depends – in this case on your clothing choices, CCW handgun and lifestyle.

Luckily, the holster market is nearly limitless. If you can conceive of a potential way to carry a handgun, there’s somebody out there stitching together a CCW holster that’ll work. All you need to do is to find it.

Here we’ll look into what makes a good concealed carry holster, what types are available and some recommendations of the top models out there today. From there, you should find yourself armed with enough knowledge to hunt down the best concealed carry holster to fit your needs and enhance your experience.

What Makes A Good Concealment Holster?

Regardless of the style of handgun holster you opt for, it should be capable of a few basic functions. Obviously, if you want the best concealed carry holster, concealability is chief among the attributes you’ll need. Beyond that, there are a number of safety and other considerations you’ll need to take into account. Let’s go through them.

Fit: Holster fits both your gun and your body
Retention: Holds gun firmly in place, without any worry about it slipping out.
Concealable: Reiterate, it must enhance the ability to conceal a handgun on your person.
Protects Handgun: You’ll sweat, so your holster must provide a barrier from moisture.
Protects You: Must cover the trigger completely to avoid a negligent discharge while holstered.
Enhances Draw: Holster must allow a full combat grip on your draw; cleanly works with the rest of your attire.
Enhances Re-holstering: The holster mouth doesn’t collapse after drawing, allowing a clean and quick re-holster.
Comfort: Simply, if it doesn’t feel right on your person, you won’t wear it, pretty much blowing the whole carrying thing to hell.

Considerations

Funny as it may sound, it’s not all the holster’s job to get it right. You’ve got to meet the piece of gear halfway in some respects. You need to put some hard and heavy thought into the cloths you wear, whether or not you’ll invest in a new wardrobe, the lifestyle you live, the type of gun you plan to carry and your proficiency with it.

If you do, you’ll go a long way in figuring out what the best concealed carry holster is for your particular circumstances.

EXOTICCO - What is the best concealed carry handgun? Galco makes some of the best.

An example. Say you drive for a living, an inside-the-waistband holster – particularly those carried past the 3 o’clock position, might prove an uncomfortable choice. Furthermore, it could hinder a draw when on the job. Neither ideal.

Or if you wear shorts and a T-shirt all the time, it all but precludes an out-side-the-waistband holster. Additionally, a full-sized 1911 might not top the list as your preferred defensive handgun choice. Absolutely, you can conceal this style of pistol under this type of garb, but your options are severely limited in how you do so.

Also, your risk profile can play a role in how you carry. By risk profile I mean the likelihood you’ll become involved in a lethal-force event. Certainly, this is not a set-in-stone guideline and depending on how much and where you travel in a day it can change. Evaluating this variable, however, goes a long way in finding the holster best suited for you. A small urban business owner who walks his till daily to deposit has much different needs and concerns from somebody who telecommutes to work every day from the comfort of their own home.


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The key to all these factors is flexibility, not simply in the holster you choose, but the gun you carry and how you conceal it. This shouldn’t mean you compromise. But something as simple the willingness to add an additional layer of clothing or the position in which you plan to carry your gun can make all the difference.

The Best Concealed Carry Holster Styles

There are a few other specialty holsters out there, but for the most part these are the most popular concealed carry options available:

  • OWB Holster
  • IWB Holster
  • Appendix Carry Holster
  • Cross Draw Holster
  • Shoulder Holster
  • Belly Band Holster
  • Ankle Holster
  • Pocket Holster

Certainly, somewhere in this mass, there has to be the perfect one for you.

OWB Holster

Attaching to your gun belt on the outside of the pants, the outside-the-waistband holster is one of the most comfortable ways to carry. Outside perhaps the confines of a car’s bucket seat, an OWB Holster won’t dig into your side. Additionally, when made of good leather or Kydex (a type of plastic) it is among the easiest concealed carry holsters to draw from. The grip is clearly presented allowing you to get your entire hand around it with little or no impediment.

The downside, OWB holsters are more difficult to conceal. If you go this route plan on an additional layer of clothing, such as a jacket or second shirt. Furthermore, make certain the clothing covers the entirety of the gun and holster. You don’t want to “make” yourself (inadvertantly disclose you’re armed) by simply bending over to pick something off the floor.

Top OWB Holster: Galco Combat Master Belt Holster

Best concealed carry holster from Galco.
Galco’s tough to beat, especially the classic pancake design of the Combat Master Belt Holster. It flattens tight against the body, while providing plenty of room to access a handgun. Tough as iron, the steerhide is durable and has a long lifespan. It’s damn good looking to boot. MSRP: $92

Runner-Up: Kryptek Typhon Kydex OWB

Best Concealed Carry Holster Kryptek Typhon Kydex OWB
Hugging the body tightly and cutting down the profile of your pistol, the Kryptek Typhon Kydex OWB holster is tough to beat. Rigid, the holster consistently presents your gun’s butt so drawing is second nature. Options for multiple belt attachments also adds a lot of versatility to the system. MSRP: $59.99

IWB Holster

Kissing cousin to the OWB holster, the inside-the-waistband holster is perhaps the most prolific carry method today. As its name suggests, the holster is carried on the inside of the pants and close to your body. This intimate position reduces printing (when the outline of a gun is visible through clothing), thus is a highly concealable method.

IWB holsters come in many styles and systems, from multi-material hybrid holsters to simple leather models. How particular models attach can also vary, but a majority nowadays utilize clips and loops that attach over the pants to a belt.

Clandestine, the IWB holster has a few wrinkles that you must consider before going this route. Given their position, they tend to be more difficult to draw from and require a fair amount of practice to perfect. They turn up the heat in the hotter months, given they directly contact the skin. And finding a comfortable model takes effort and patients.

Top IWB Holster: Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5

Best Concealed Carry Holster: The Alien Gear Cloak.
The Cloak Tuck is a rarity in IWB Holsters — comfortable. Breathable perforated neoprene backing keeps the holster cool against your body, which makes it ideal for hot-weather carry. Adjustable cant, ride and retention make it among the most flexible options on the market. Tack on Alien Gear’s excellent customer service and you’ve got a winner. MSRP: $49.98

Runner-Up: Crossbreed Freedom Carry IWB

Best Concealed Carry Holster Crossbreed Freedom Carry IWB
Crossbreed’s Freedom Carry IWB is about as minimalist as holsters come. Yet, it provides the versatility and performance of a full-sized rig. The mighty mite accepts full-sized pistols and is fully cant adjustable. Comfortable to boot. MSRP: $54.83

Appendix Carry Holster

Essentially an OWB or IWB holster that is generally slimmer in overall dimensions, making it easier to carry a gun in the front of your person. In recent years, appendix carry has become somewhat controversial. Some instructors refuse to teach the style of carry, due to safety concerns, namely the tendency to contentiously muzzle sweep some part of the body. This is especially true if you happen to be … ahem … a man. Additionally, it’s not generally considered the most comfortable way to carry, particularly among the heftier armed citizens.

Still, an appendix carry holster fills a niche for certain shooters. It facilitates a fast draw for righties and lefties when seated, say driving. It guards against a gun grab executed from the rear. And, at least among the slender, it tends to conceal nicely.

Top Appendix Carry Holster: Concealment Express IWB Kydex

Best Concealed Carry Holster: IWB Kydex style.
Not exclusively for appendix carry — it will perform in nearly any position — the holster is an excellent option up front. It presents plenty of your handgun’s grip making a draw intuitive, while still keeping it low enough to conceal. Adjustable cant and retention give you the ability to fine-tune the holster to your preferences. MSRP: $34.95

Runner-Up: L.A.G. MK 2 AIWB

Best Concealed Carry Holster LAG MK 2 AIWB
Precision designed and pressure formed, L.A.G. MK 2 AIWB holster is purpose made for the task. Two different height wedges allow you to adjust how tightly the rig fits your body and adjustable cant lets you micro tailor the presentation of your gun. It’s also lightning fast on the draw. MSRP: $69.95

Cross-Draw Holster

Again, most IWB and OWB holster can fit the bill. But in recent years outside-the-waistband cross-draw holster models have gained popularity. Typically slim options with a lot of play in the cant (how much the gun is angled) are favored, reducing muzzle sweeps common in appendix holsters. Cross-draw holsters are carried support side (weak side), away from the dominant hand in the 1 or 2 o’clock position. As the name implies, a draw is executed by reaching across the body.

The style of carry proves useful for those seated for long periods, giving unimpeded access for both right and left-handers. However, it suffers the same drawbacks as appendix holsters, in they’re more difficult to conceal. More so, given they’re right up front.

Top Cross Draw Holster: Wright Regulator Cross Draw Holster

Best Concealed Carry Holster: The Regular Crossdraw
Lacking some of the adjustment found in other models, the Regulator more than makes up for it in concealability, performance and quality. Holding the handgun high and tight against the body, the holster greatly reduces the likelihood of printing while providing excellent access. Built from rich, fine-grained leather, it also might be among one of the best looking holsters on the list. MSRP: $88

Runner-Up: DeSantis’ Sky Cop

Best Concealed Carry Holster DeSantis
Situated at an excellent height and designed to carry full-sized pistols, DeSantis’ Sky Cop is a tactically proficient cross draw holster. The nice part about the rig, it’s simple to conceal for an OWB option and comfortable, even in a sitting position. Though, outside of tension, it doesn’t offer much adjustment. MSRP: $81.99

Shoulder Holster

Technically a cross draw method, shoulder holsters are worth a few words on their own. Contrary to every James Bond flick and TV detective show you’ve ever watched, they are not the most popular concealed carry holster. In fact, they’re rare.

Shoulder holster rigs are typically constructed of leather and consist of harness straps that go over the shoulder and support the gun. Generally, they are configured to hold a handgun in a vertical or horizontal position and some are adjustable between the two.

This style of holster can be tricky to conceal, a bulky jacket is advisable to avoid printing. And poorly designed ones are uncomfortable; the key is to find one with wide straps that distribute weight. The great advantage of the shoulder holster, they’re a snap to draw from sitting.

Top Shoulder Holster: Alien Gear ShapeShift

What is the Best Concealed Carry Holster? Alien Gear's shoulder holsters are hard to beat if comfort is the goal and belt carry isn't an option.
Padded in all the right places, one of Alien Gear’s newest holsters vies to be among the most comfortable shoulder rigs around. Padded straps are the secret, along with plenty of adjustment to get the perfect fit. Boasting Level III retention with a quick-access strap, the holster removes the concerns of a gun drop. Built with stability in mind, the lightweight system keeps everything in place. It’s also compatible with all the company’s other ShapesShift products – so it’s more than just a shoulder holster. MSRP: $133

Runner-Up: Glaco’s VHS Shoulder System

Best Concealed Carry Holster Galco VHS Shoulder System
Glaco’s VHS Shoulder System is an absolute classic. Almost the archetype of a shoulder holster. It should be, considering it’s the company’s improvement on its iconic Miami shoulder holster. The key component of the steerhide rig is its four-point spider harness that pivots independently thanks to the Galco’s Flexalon swivel back plate. Field tested by the military and law enforcement, the system just the ticket for upper-body carry. MSRP: $249

Belly Band Holster

A deep concealment method, the belly band holster is an elastic band, usually with holster pockets sewn into it to retain a handgun. Generally speaking, most are dynamite at concealing a gun, given how close it keeps one to the body.

A favored method of carry by women, belly band holsters are also excellent at keeping a gun handy while undertaking an athletic endeavor, such as jogging or biking. In most cases, a belly band eliminates all concerns of a gun drop.

They are also extremely flexible, positioning a gun nearly anywhere on the torso – armpit, waistline, small of the back, etc.

They have their drawbacks, though. Given belly bands hold a gun so close, they are not exactly quick-draw rigs. Getting a gun re-holstered in many can also tend to prove a task. Additionally, small guns are better suited to the system.

Top Belly Band Holster: Crossbreed Belly Band

Best Concealed Carry Holsters? Try this low-profile belly band style.
A Kydex shell integral, Crossbreed’s Belly Band makes holstering as simple as drawing. The modular design has an additional length of band, providing additional support for heavier firearms. Extra pouches allow you further space to carry a flashlight, extra magazines, accessories, even a wallet. MSRP: $70

Runner-Up: ComfortTac Belly Band

Best Concealed Carry Holster ComfortTac Belly Band Holster
Don’t let the economical price fool you, you’ll get the whole nine yards with the ComfortTac Belly Band Holster. Designed to be worn anywhere on your torso and in any position, it’s among the most flexible options on the market. Made from rugged surgical elastic, nylon and neoprene backing, the ComfortTac includes a silent-release retention strap, mag pouch and money pocket. MSRP: $39.99

Ankle Holster

Working best with small semi-auto pistols and snubby revolvers, ankle holsters are a favored method to carry a backup gun. Generally not a first choice for primary carry, they have a big disadvantage requiring you to bend down and pull up your pant leg to access the gun. Still, if it’s the only feasible method to carry your primary defensive handgun, it’s better than not being armed.

Top Ankle Holster: Uncle Mike’s Ankle Holster

Best Concealed Carry Holsters: Uncle Mike's Ankle Carry models carry backup guns comfortably and out of sight.
An excellent option to conceal small- to medium-framed handguns, the sturdy ankle holster keeps a defensive firearm at the ready. Wrap-around design with removable calf loop provides excellent support, even when on the move. Level III retention ensures a gun doesn’t come out until it’s needed. MSRP: $42.95

Runner-Up: Blackhawk Nylon Ankle Holster

Best Concealed Carry Holsters Blackhawk Nylon Ankle Holster
Surprisingly comfortable, the Blackhawk Nylon Ankle Holster makes carrying a backup gun a second thought. While it’s designed to tote only small guns (think sub-compacts and the like), it has all the features to keep them at the ready. Chief among these, its calf loop, which plants the gun firmly in place – even if you’re on your feet all day. Closed-cell backing keeps the rig cool and non-stretch retention strap ensures your gun doesn’t hop out of the holster. MSRP: $40.95

Pocket Holster

An update to an age-old method of carrying a gun, the pocket holster is simple and essential to utilizing this facet of your clothing. Concealment-wise, the holster breaks up the outline of a small pistol or revolver, making it appear little more than a wallet. More importantly, it provides a level of safety, keeping the trigger covered. Remember, that’s one of the essential functions of a holster. You should never carry a gun in your pocket without the best concealed carry holster for the application.

Again, gun size is an issue. Pocket holsters are not fit for full-sized pistols. Furthermore, clothing is also a concern. Tight-fitting pants won’t fit the bill, making a timely draw all but impossible.

Pocket Holsters: Crossbreed Pocket Rocket

Best Concealed Carry Holster: Crossbreed's Pocket Holster.
A hybrid design, the Pocket Rocket takes pocket carry to the next level. The sturdy leather paddle reduces a small gun’s outline to little more than a wallet, while rugged Kydex holds it in place until needed. Holstering is a breeze. MSRP: $33

Runner-Up: Clinger Holsters Comfort Cling

Best Concealed Carry Holster Clinger Comfort Cling
More than a pocket holster, the Comfort Cling also doubles inside the waistband option. Now that’s handy. The secret is a glue-like outer fabric that facilities an effortless draw from the pocket and keeps the holster in place when tucked into your britches. Best of all, it weighs next to nothing. MSRP: $19

Choices Abound for the Best Concealed Carry Holster

Competition among today’s CCW holster makers has given armed citizens a plethora of choices for nearly every conceivable handgun, clothing choice and lifestyle. No matter what situation you need to prepare for, the best concealed carry holster is but a mouse click away. 


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1 COMMENT

  1. It seems that every holster review I see somehow misses Vedder Holsters of central Florida. They offer multiple carry options, are well built, and customer service is outstanding. Their holsters are sized perfectly for folks looking for smaller carry options. You’re doing your readers a disservice by leaving out a great homegrown company.

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