Best Concealed Carry Holster Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the best concealed carry holster? Read on as we review the top options along with all the pros & cons of each model.

If you’re getting your concealed carry permit, you need to start looking into holsters for your firearm. The law states that your holster must always secure your gun when carrying. Any responsible firearm owner knows that choosing the right holster is as important as choosing your gun.

Walking around with an open-carry weapon might let you feel powerful, but it exposes you to risk. Unless you’re involved in law enforcement, concealed carry is the better choice for civilian firearm owners.

A concealed weapon provides you with all the advantages of an open carry. The only difference between the two is the draw time to remove your gun from the holster. However, with a little practice, you can draw from a concealed holster almost as fast as a side holster.

Concealed holsters are useful for firearm owners that live in communities where folks might feel conscientious about guns. Seeing you walking around with your firearm on display on your hip might leave your neighbors or others in the community feeling scared.

A concealed holster keeps your firearm out of sight, and the best holsters minimize “printing” od the gun under your clothing. With a concealed holster, you get all the benefits of carrying your gun, without the funny stares from people around you.

In this review, we’ll breakdown the best gun holster for your concealed carry needs. After reading through our picks, check out our buyer’s section for more information on how to pick out the best holster for your gun and your carry requirements.

Our Top Picks

If you don’t have the time to go through all the holsters on offer in this review, we’ll give you our top choices to save you a minute. Our top options are available in inner-waist band versions, and we also have a tactical model for those sports shooters out there that are looking for the best quickdraw holster around.

The Best Overall IWB Gun Holster – Tulster

Tulster IWB Profile Holster in Right Hand fits: Glock 43/43X w/TLR-6
  • Minimal to zero "drag" until retention point keeping "holster wear" down to a minimum.
  • Comes with a 1.5" Quick Clip that makes it extremely fast and easy to put on and take off your weapon.
  • Adjustable cant (angle) from 0-30 degrees. Forward hole is oblong to allow for you to choose any angle between 0-30 degrees.
  • Holster has a full sweat shield to aid in re-holstering by giving you and indexing point and to keep clothing out of the opening.
  • Adjustable positive retention point.

Featuring design and construction with Kydex, the Tulster wins our top spot for the best overall gun holster in this review. We like the undercut trigger guard and the quickdraw functionality it provides this IWB model. This claw-compatible holster eliminates the printing of your firearm under your shirt.

The Best Premium Tactical Holster – eFluky Universal

efluky Universal OWB Holster Gun Drop Leg Thigh Holster Police Security Modular Equipment System Duty Belt Nylon Set Fits Glock, S&W M&P Compact, S&W M&P 9MM, H&K USP, Springfield XD, Sig P320
  • 💪 Buy one get all: Universal OWB Holster Gun Drop Leg Thigh Holster fits Glock19, 19X, 17, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 31, 32, 33, 45 (Gen1-5) , S&W M&P Compact, S&W M&P 9MM., S&W M&P 2.0 4", Springfield XD 4", H&K USP, Springfield XD , CZP09/P07, Walther P99, Sig Sauer P320, and other full size pistols. Sweet tips-Please check the correct model before purchased.
  • 💪 360 Degrees Adjustable: Easily adjust drop leg paddle to find the most comfortable angley you’d like by rotating the swivel connection, compatible belt width up to 2 inch.
  • 💪 Durable Drop-Leg platform can be fully adjustable for height and tension, Adjustable straps which you can choose one/two straps to help you meet the demands of tactical operation units.
  • 💪 Professional and Usual Application: For IPSC shooting, just need to release the lock button before the Competition and help you aim at the target more quickly and smoothly. As for the usual style, draw the gun with your index finger to release the lcok button for conducting operations. Availble for personal protetction use, shooting competition, security personnel, military, law enforcement agencies etc.
  • 💪 Long-lasting & Widely Used: Custom-molded body made of high quality polymer stronger and nylon than leather that will wear out, ideal equipment for military, courser, shooting coach, law enforcement agencies or personal protection use. Please confirm the product model before buying, if you have any questions, please contact us。

This tactical holster is our top choice for the best premium holster available. If you’re a sport shooter looking for a multi-gun compatible holster, the eFluky is compatible with all leading brands, including Glock, Sig Sauer, HK, and S&W. The inside leg clip secures the holster to your leg, allowing for fast, accurate draws to the shooting position.

The Best Budget IWB Gun Holster – CYA Supply Company

CYA Supply IWB Inside Waistband Concealed Carry Holster, Right Hand Draw - Flat Dark Earth
  • Fits Only: Glock 43 / 43X - No Light/Laser Attachments (Right Hand Draw Only)
  • IWB Holster - Inside The Waistband - Easily Adjustable Retention Pressure & Carry Angle (Cant) 0-15 Degrees
  • Precision molds from CAD milled in house on our CNC. Made of .08" Thickness Boltaron Material - Belt Clip 1.5" wide - All Stainless Steel Black Powder Coat Hardware
  • Posi-Click' Audible Retention Lock System - Sweat Guard covers full length of slide
  • Made in USA - WE STAND BY OUR QUALITY: 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, No questions asked return policy and Lifetime Warranty.

If you’re on a budget and looking for the most affordable but functional holster, check out the CYA Supply IWB holster. This holster features design and construction with durable Boltaron material for friction-free draws.

Gun Holster Reviews

Now that you know the best gun holster’s top choices, it’s time to unpack the features and benefits of these models in greater detail. We’ll also look at a few other holsters we think are excellent choices for your concealed carry.

Best Overall IWB Holster – Tulster

The Tulster wins our top spot as the best overall gun holster. If you own a Glock 43 or 43X, then this holster offers you superior performance and reliability. Manufactured with durable Kydex, this holster has an adjustable cant, and the minimal use of Kydex makes it a compact and comfortable holster to wear IWB.

We like this model on the hip or offset at the 4-o’clock position. The undercut trigger guard provides a satisfying retention level in this holster, preventing the material from interfering with your draw. The over-cut open face fits all types of modified threaded barrels, and it clears suppressors and sights.

The Tulster comes with a full-length sweat guard, and you get a rear sight shield to protect your firearm from sweat. The fiber-reinforced belt clips have a stealth look, ensuring that no-one knows you’re carrying.

For those 1911 owners looking for a reliable and effective holster, the Tulster is claw-compatible. The optional claw kit allows you to utilize your belt buckle to turn the butt of your gun inwards. The result is no printing and a clean look. Essentially, the claw kit allows your weapon to disappear in your belt line.

The adjustable “posi-click” retention produces a satisfying “click” when you rack your gun in the holster. The weapon won’t come out until you draw it and remains securely in position. Owners can adjust the retention pressure on the gun using the black oxide steel screws in front of the trigger guard.

You can easily adjust the cant from a -5 to +20 degree angle, giving you a variety of carrying options for AIWB, cross draw, or behind the hip carry positions.

  • Eliminates printing
  • Good for Glock and 1911 owners
  • Kydex body for friction-free draws
  • Undercut trigger guard for easy draw action
  • Full-length sweat guard
  • Adjustable retention and cant
  • Not a good choice for wearing on the back of your belt

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The Best Premium Tactical Holster – eFluky Universal

You understand the importance of having your gun on your hip for fast draws if you’re a sport shooter, hunter, ranger, or law enforcement officer.

The eFluky premium tactical holster has a universal fit to Glock, S&W, Springfield, CZ, Walther, and Sig Sauer models. The holster accommodates full-size guns with plenty of space between the hip and the butt of your weapon, allowing for amazingly fast draws in a competition setting.

The durable and robust drop-leg platform on offer with the eFluky offers you an entirely adjustable setup for tension and height. The straps keep the gun at your side, and the lower leg strap prevents the holster from moving during quickdraws in a sport shooting or CQB situation.

The eFluky is compatible with all 2-inch gun belts, and it’s a great choice for professional shooters. With nylon straps, a Kydex holster, and plenty of retention, this model is a top choice for tactical sports shooters and law enforcement officers.

For use during IPSC shooting events, releasing the lock button drops the retention level, allowing for friction-free fast draws. The holster features design and construction with heavy-duty nylon straps and a polymer holster.

This OWB model is our top choice for the best premium holster in this review. If you’re with law enforcement, security services, or if you sport shoot, then you won’t find a better deal on a holster.

  • Professional competition model
  • Compatible with all the leading gun brands and models
  • Good choice for law enforcement
  • Secure straps and buckles
  • High-quality polymer holster
  • Not suitable for concealed carry

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The Best Budget IWB Holster – CYA Supply Company

The CYA Supply company wins our top spot for the best budget holster in this review. When we say the best budget, we’re not talking about the cheapest model. Our version of a budget holster is a model that offers you good value for money.

The CYA Supply Company IWB holster is a no-frills piece of tactical gear. You get a comfortable IWB holster with adjustable retention pressure. You move the retention screws in and out to increase or decrease the clamping pressure on the gun. The “posi-click” retention in this model produces an audible click when holstering your firearm.

The adjustable carry cant moves between angles of 0 to 15 degrees, allowing you a comfortable carry position with an easy draw. This model features design and construction from Boltaron material, precision-molded, and milled in-house by CYA Supply Company.

You also get a full-size sweat guard to keep you dry, with a 100% satisfaction guarantee from the CYA Supply Company. The only downside of this model is that it only suits Glock 43 models. However, since Glock is the number-one selling handgun in the United States, we expect there are plenty of owners out there looking for an affordable, functional holster to secure their G43.

  • Affordable and good value for money
  • Lightweight and functional
  • Designed with Bolatron material
  • Audible retention system
  • Made in the USA
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Leaves a subtle print
  • Only suitable for Glock 43

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Most Comfortable IWB Holster – Alien Gear ShapeShift 4.0

If you’re looking for a great hybrid holster, then the Alien Gear Shapeshift 4.0 is a solid choice. We were close to entering this holster as the best premium option in this review. This hybrid holster is fully adjustable. You can adjust every aspect of this model from the cant to the ride height and retention.

The Alien Gear ShapeShift 4.0 is possibly the most comfortable holster in this review. The polymer holster secures to a neoprene backplate, with black clips securing the holster to your belt.

This IWB holster is comfortable and easy to wear. The neoprene breathes well, reducing sweat buildup during extended wear. The flexibility and sweat-wicking capabilities of the neoprene backplate, along with the rugged performance of the holster, make this model a top choice for concealed carry.

Made in the United States, this holster might be a bit on the pricey side, but it’s a top piece of kit that will last for years.

  • Made from comfortable neoprene
  • Rugged and robust
  • Contours to your body
  • Breathable and won’t make you sweat
  • Adjustable to your custom settings
  • Compatible with other ShapeShift products
  • Not as easy to draw as a Kydex holster
  • Not suitable for Sig Sauer models

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Best Pocket Holster – Desantis Nemesis Pocket Holster

A pocket holster can come in handy in warm weather. If its 100-degrees outside, then carrying a heavy-duty IWB holster can be somewhat uncomfortable. The Desantis Nemesis Pocket Holster features design and construction with lightweight nylon materials.

There’s no clip on this holster, and you draw the gun directly out of your pocket using your shooting hand. It’s not big enough for full-size firearms, but compacts like the Sig Sauer P365 and the Glock 9 will have a snug fit to this holster.

This model is so affordable that every single-stack handgun owner should have one for sunny summer days.

  • Fits easily into your pocket
  • Good for compact guns
  • Allows you to draw straight from your pocket
  • Affordable
  • Slimline design for low printing
  • Only suitable for single stack guns
  • Limited carry options in terms of cant and position

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Best Ankle Holster – Concealed Carrier

If you have a compact, then an ankle holster is also an option. This model has excellent stealth concealment, and with compact models, it prevents printing through the legs of your pants.

The most important aspect of an ankle holster is how it secures to your leg. The hallmark of a good ankle holster is a non-slip fit that keeps your gun from moving around while walking or running. The concealed carrier ankle holster features design and construction with breathable, padded medical-grade neoprene.

The material features ventilation holes for enhanced airflow around your leg, wicking away moisture from your skin, keeping you dry. The thick padded foam lining prevents discomfort, allowing for extended use.

Designed by a team of military veterans, the concealed carrier ankle holster fits all manufacturers and models of compact guns. You also get the option of left or right-hand sided carry with this holster. It’s a good choice for a sub-compact Glock 27 and can hold onto a full-size 1911, making it a versatile holster.

With this holster, you get a quick-release draw, and room for an extra magazine, knife, or less-lethal kit like pepper spray. This model is the ultimate ankle holster and an excellent choice for concealed carry.

  • Universally compatible with all makes and models
  • Extra mag pouch included
  • Designed with breathable neoprene for comfort and dry wear
  • Designed by combat veterans
  • Not a good choice with shorts
  • Challenging to cover a full-size gun with your pants

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Best Belly Band Holster – Gootus Ultimate Belly Band

The Gootus belly band holster is a comfortable concealed carry option for men or women. The holster features design and construction with breathable and stretchable neoprene material.

The neoprene features a design with ventilation holes to improve airflow, preventing sweating. This adjustable and versatile holster fits up to 40-inch waists. The slimline form factor of this holster provides easy-wearing in the outside the OWB, IWB, or cross-body draw positions.

This holster also allows for wearing in the lower back, or high up like a shoulder holster. Our favorite position is AIWB, and the innovative design of this model makes it easy to reposition. The airflow and comfort on offer with this holster will make you forget you are wearing it altogether.

The body-hugging form factor of this holster means that you get minimal printing, especially in the AIWB position.

You also get a pouch for a spare mag or less-lethal defense option. The harness secures with Velcro for easy fitment and removal, and it’s universally compatible with almost all makes and models of handguns.

  • Universal use with all compact and sub-compact makes and models
  • Breathable fabrics with secure-lock Velcro
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Low printing
  • Hybrid design and construction
  • Not suitable for full-size models

View Details

Other Best Selling Concealed Carry Holsters

Bestseller No. 1
Ultimate Belly Band Holster (Black, Medium and Large Pistol)
  • Our belly band holster is available in right- and left-hand draw; designed for firearms of various sizes, including subcompact, compact, and full-size pistols and revolvers
  • From wearing it at the appendix or hip, to sporting it outside the pants cross draw or open carry style, you can wear this pistol holster your way
  • Our gun holster for women & men is compatible with Glock 19, 23, 38, 25, 32, 26, 27, 29, 30, 39, 28, 33, 42, 43, 36, Smith and Wesson, Bodyguard, M&P Shield, Sig Sauer, Ruger, Kahr, Beretta, Springfield, Taurus PT111, Kimber, Rock Island, Bersa, Kel Tec, Walther, and more
  • The Large, adjustable neoprene waistband on our concealed carry holster for men and women fits up to a 44" belly while the XL fits up to a 54" belly
  • These belly band holsters come with a hard plastic trigger guard and metal snap retention strap as a helpful safety feature to keep your gear secure
Bestseller No. 2
Raw Dog Tactical - Breathable Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry CCW Dual Handing Tactical Holsters Ambidextrous Fits Most Models (Black, Large 40" to 52")
  • DUAL HANDING - Ambidextrous model with pockets on both sides for right hand, left hand or dual concealed carry
  • BREATHABLE - Mesh material for breathability to reduce heat and sweat
  • ADJUSTABLE STRAP - Strap is adjustable to accommodate for most firearm models for a secure fit
  • STRONG VELCRO - Keeps belly band in place and to prevent any roll over
  • UNIVERSAL FIT - Fits most any firearm such as Glock 17,19, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 38, 39, 42, 43 Kel-Tec, Bersa, Walther, Taurus, Smith and Wesson, Rock Island, M&P Shield, Beretta, Kimber, Ruger, Springfield, Kahr, and much more
Bestseller No. 3
Concealed Carrier (TM) Universal IWB Holster for Concealed Carry | Inside The Waistband | Fits All Firearms S&W M&P Shield 9/40 1911 Taurus PT111 G2 Sig Sauer Glock 19 17 27 43 (Right-Handed)
  • ⭐️ RIGHT-HANDED ✔ MAXIMUM COMFORT GUARANTEE - Our IWB holster is made out of padded and breathable surgical grade elastic neoprene with air holes that allow ventilation for your legs – you'll forget you have it on! The soft foam innards of the holster will prevent rubbing and discomfort unlike most other IWB holsters you'll find on Amazon!
  • ✔ COMBAT VETERAN OWNED BUSINESS - We are a team of U.S. military veterans using our combat experience with firearms to provide you with the most effective IWB concealed carry holster on the market. We also provide outstanding customer service! Our 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE and LIFETIME WARRANTY ensures you'll be making a risk free purchase with us.
  • ✔ FITS ALL GUN SIZES - The universal inside the waistband holster was designed to accommodate any size firearm from a sub-compact Glock 27 all the way up to a full-size .45 1911. Don't believe me? Check out our pictures on the Amazon listing to prove it! The only exceptions are a few SIG SAUER models that may require a couple of stitches to be cut with a razor to fit the trigger guard through.
  • ✔ QUICK DRAW GUARANTEE. ✔ NO PRINTING GUARANTEE - Thumb break holster allows you to flick up the retention strap with the back of thumb to draw the firearm quickly and effectively. Also, you can walk, jump, work out, and even run with this IWB holster's sturdy metal belt clip without any movement of your firearm. The sleek design of this holster allows you to carry concealed discreetly with no possibility of firearm showing through your pants (printing).
  • ✔ EXTRA MAGAZINE, KNIFE, OR NON-LETHAL HOLSTER - We provide you with an extra neoprene belt clip holster that can be used for your extra magazine, a folding knife, or even some non-lethal equipment such as pepper spray or a taser.
Bestseller No. 4
ComfortTac Gun Holsters for Deep Concealed Carry - Ultimate Belly Band Pistol Holster for Men & Women, Belt Compatible with Smith and Wesson, Shield, Glock - Firearm Accessories, Black
  • Our waistband gun holster for women & men is available in right- and left-hand draw; designed for firearms of various sizes, including subcompact, compact, and full-size pistols and revolvers
  • From wearing it at the appendix or hip, to sporting it outside the pants cross draw or open carry style, you can wear this pistol holster your way
  • This belly band holster is compatible with Glock 19, 23, 38, 25, 32, 26, 27, 29, 30, 39, 28, 33, 42, 43, 36, Smith and Wesson, Bodyguard, M&P Shield, Sig Sauer, Ruger, Kahr, Beretta, Springfield, Taurus PT111, Kimber, Rock Island, Bersa, Kel Tec, Walther, and more
  • Our concealed carry holster for men and women comes in 3 sizes; the Medium fits up to a 37" belly, the Large fits up to a 42" belly, and the XL fits up to a 53" belly
  • These ComfortTac belly band holsters come with a retention strap for a fast, smooth draw from the holder

Other Best Selling IWB Holsters

Bestseller No. 1
Concealment Express IWB KYDEX Holster fits Glock 17/19/19X/22/23/26/27/31/32/33/45 (G1-5) | Right | Black
  • INSIDE THE WAISTBAND KYDEX HOLSTER fits: Glock 17/19/19X/22/23/26/27/31/32/33/45 (Gen 1-5) (ONLY unless Specified). Our minimalist IWB holsters are designed to be worn comfortably inside the waistband with an untucked shirt for proper concealed carry. We use .08” KYDEX precision formed over our proprietary in house CAD designed and crafted Aluminum molds. This ensures unparalleled consistency, fit, quality, durability, lightness, comfort, & uniform features across all of our holsters.
  • EXCLUSIVE HOLSTER FEATURES: Undercut Trigger Guard keeps the KYDEX from interfering with your draw. Over-Cut Open-Face accommodates Threaded Barrels and clears Suppressor Height Sights. Full length Sweat Guard & Rear Sight Shield to protect your weapon from sweat. Fiber Reinforced Stealth Belt Clip, so no one knows you are carrying. We utilize all Black Oxide Steel (Phillips) hardware with Threadlock, so you can easily make adjustments but never lose a screw.
  • ADJUSTABLE ‘POSI-CLICK’ RETENTION & CANT: When you holster your Glock 17/19/19X/22/23/26/27/31/32/33/45 (Gen 1-5), you'll hear a satisfying ‘CLICK’ letting you know your weapon is securely holstered & won’t come out unless YOU want it to. Retention pressure is fully adjustable via the black oxide steel hardware forward of the trigger guard. Cant (or Carry Angle) is adjustable from -5 to +20 Degrees, allowing you to angle the holster perfectly for appendix (AIWB), strong side, behind the hip or c
  • CLAW COMPATIBLE - ELIMINATES PRINTING: Our Glock 17/19/19X/22/23/26/27/31/32/33/45 (Gen 1-5) IWB Holster is now Claw Compatible. Our optional Claw Kit cleverly eliminates printing forever by utilizing your belt to angle the butt of your weapon in towards your body. This effectively makes your weapon disappear inside your belt line.
Bestseller No. 2
Universal Holster, Concealed Carry Holster, IWB Holster, Holster for Female/Male Fits Glock 21,23,26,39,42/S&W, M&P Shield /Ruger/Taurus, Black
  • 【Wide Adaptability】 Fit Glock 19,21,26,39,42, Taurus 1911, Walther PPS/PPK, S&W, M&P Shield, Sig Sauer P365&SP2022, Beratta, Ruger EC9s&LC9&LC9s, and Similar one.
  • 【Concealed Carry】 Double 1.77 inch metal clip, belt clips holds fast. You can put the holster whatever angle, It will very easy to pull out and use. Can be concealed carry, convenient for self-defense.
  • 【Innovative Material】The metal clip made by waterborne paint spraying process. The holster main part fabric is made of 1000D nylon and TUP material, Innovative material holster can fit in various types.
  • 【Ingeniously Design】 The back of the IWB holster has more than 1180 3D silica gel particles, can skid resistance, buffering and shock-absorbing, making holster more comfortable to carry.
  • 【Ultralight and Ultrathin】 Universal holster less than 86g. At most 20 A4 paper's thickness. Comfortable contact to person’s skin. At the same time, more conducive for conceal carry.
Bestseller No. 3
SSIW0601RHXX Agh Ssiw-0601-RH-XXX Shape Shift 4.0 IWB GL17
  • Custom fit to your specific pistol to ensure for proper fitment and retention. Custom fit to: Glock 17
  • Fully Adjustable: From the ride height, to the cant, to the retention, this holster can be adjusted without any tools necessary.
  • Conceal in Comfort: Reduced footprint while the soft neoprene backing is flexible to move and shift with your body throughout the day during everday carry or while at the range. Neoprene works as a sweat-wicking material that is breathable to eliminate irritation when wearing the holster for long periods of time.
  • Change How You Carry: Integrates seamlessly into any of the ShapeShift Line of holsters from Alien Gear meaning you can expand the ways this holster allows you to carry, from open to concealed to shoulder. *This product only comes with the IWB holster option as well as the completed shell for use with other ShapeShift Products*
  • Made right here in the USA, insuring the use of high quality materials and hardworking American craftsmanship where we stand behind our Iron Clad program to insure you have a holster for life after a 30 day test drive!
Bestseller No. 4
2 Pack Universal IWB Gun Holster for Concealed Carry, Inside The Waistband Pistols Holsters, Fits All Firearms S&W M&P Shield 9/40 Taurus PT111 G2 Sig Sauer P320 Glock 17 19 26 27 42 43…
  • ✔ FLEXIBLE CARRY CONCEALED OPTIONS: Universal Holsters is versatile and has different carry options, inside the waistband, outside the waistband, on hip, behind hip, cross draw, appendix. ELVO IWB holster have right hand and left hand. You can choose it according to your habit.
  • ✔ FITS ALL GUN SIZES: ELVO Concealed Carry Holster naturally fit subcompact, compact, FITS GLOCK 17, 19, 26, 27, 29, 30, 39, 28, 33, 36 | M&P Shield in 9mm, .40, and .45 ACP | Ruger LC9 | Taurus Slim Line, PT111 | Springfield XD Series | Beretta | Bersa | Kahr Arms | Colt | Walther | and many more Compact Pistols.
  • ✔ QUICK DRAW AND NO PRINTING: Allows you to flick up the retention strap with the back of thumb to draw the firearm quickly and effectively. Also, you can walk, jump, work out, and even run with this IWB holster's sturdy metal belt clip without any movement of your firearm. The sleek design of this holster allows you to carry concealed discreetly with no possibility of firearm showing through your pants (printing).
  • ✔ COMFORTABLE CARRY: Premium, durable, soft & breathable neoprene inner material help to solve with the muggy issue, soft and breathable allows to wear directly against your skin; 900D nylon wraps the holster inside to prevent tearing with use.
  • ✔ PACKAGE INCLUDEDS: 1 x IWB Holster and 1 x Magazine Holster.

Gun Holster Buyer’s Guide

There are plenty of options for choosing a holster for your gun. Your decision depends on how you want to carry your weapon, your license, and the type of gun your use. There are so many dynamics to consider when selecting your holster that you might start feeling a sense of overwhelming.

In this section, we’ll go over everything you need to know about selecting the right holster. From styles and designs to materials and positioning, consider this your masterclass on gun holsters.

Why Do I Need a Good Firearm Holster?

Every gun needs a holster. Whether it’s a cheap neoprene sleeve or a full leg combat model, your holster makes a significant difference in how you carry and draw your gun. Let’s review some of the critical functions of your gun holster.

  • The holster should securely hold your firearm
  • The holster should prevent discharge of the gun
  • The holster should adapt to your situation for concealed or open carry
  • The holster should prevent loss or theft of your weapon

The most popular form of carrying is the concealed carry. There is less risk attached to this than open-carrying your gun. When you open carry, you might feel like you’re in control, and no-one presents a threat. However, your weapon might be giving you a false sense of security.

Criminals can confront you and strip you. If they catch you by surprise, there’s nothing you can do but surrender your weapon.

With a concealed carry, you don’t have to worry about people taking your gun from you, because it’s out of sight. However, the type of concealed carry holster you choose can leave a “print” through your clothing, alerting people to the presence of your gun.

Some holsters print less than others. If that’s a concern for you, make sure you choose a model with a slimline form factor that prints less. So, what are the characteristics of a good conceal carry holster?

The primary function of your holster is safety. These safety aspects apply to the gun and you. When selecting your holster, and carrying your firearm, always follow these safety tips.

  • Treat every gun as if it’s loaded.
  • Never point your gun at any target; you’re not going to shoot.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
  • Know your targets, and understand your surroundings, think of what’s beyond your target.

All these safety points are valid, and your holster can help you keep your gun out of the way until you’re ready to use it. Whether you’re a sport shooter or just want a firearm for self-defense, think of the holster as an extension of the weapon itself.

What are the Characteristics of a Good Gun Holster?

There are thousands of models available online. Looking through all the concealed carry holsters and the styles on offer can leave your head spinning. When picking out your holster, look for the following features before adding a model to your shortlist of possible holsters.

  • Coverage for the entire trigger
  • Design and construction with sturdy material (Kydex, nylon, leather)
  • Good gun retention for non-slip functionality
  • Good concealment
  • Additional magazine storage
  • Positive grip displacement
  • Skin protection from sweat buildup
  • Protection for your gun against knocks

Let’s unpack these characteristics in further detail.

Materials and Trigger Guards

The trigger guard is an essential safety feature on your gun holster. There is plenty of models out there that don’t offer sufficient trigger coverage, and that can lead to severe injury. Some guns, like Glock’s, don’t come with rea safety, and an accidental trigger pull can result in a discharge of your weapon.

When it comes to selecting the material for your holster, you have the following options.

  • Leather – This material is comfortable, versatile, and durable. However, it’s no longer the superior choice for holster materials. Advances in polymer science led to the development of lightweight, durable materials that outlast leather. Old leather holsters tend to droop or curl at the top of the holster, slowing your draw.
  • Kydex – This material is the most popular choice for modern holsters. Kydex is malleable, allowing holster manufacturers to mold it and custom-fit holsters to guns. Kydex models also come with excellent retention, securely holding your weapon in place until you draw. Kydex is an excellent choice for sport shooters that rely on speed on the draw.
  • Nylon – This material is soft and comfortable to wear, but it’s the last choice for gun owners. While these holsters are generally affordable, they don’t offer the same draw. In a self-defense situation, saving a few bucks on your holster could end up costing you your life. Stick with a Kydex holster, and you’ll always have a fast and efficient draw.
  • Hybrid – A hybrid holster combines materials. For instance, some models feature a leather backstrap for your waist, with a Kydex holster attached to the leather. As a result, you get the best of both worlds in comfort and performance. You get good gun retention, and it’s suitable for professional shooters, law enforcement, and self-defense.

Does the Holster Offer Your Gun Good Retention?

The retention aspect refers to the way the gun seats and secures in the holster. Most top models featuring Kydex construction will produce an audible “click” as you engage the weapon in the holster correctly.

Test your holster by positioning your weapon and then turning the holster upside down to see if the gun falls out. Remember to remove the mag and ammo from the chamber before doing this exercise. If your gun falls out of the holster, check to see if there is a retention screw, you can adjust to improve the fit.

The holster should provide good retention, and quick-release when you tug on your gun to draw. If the retention is overly tight, then it may affect the speed of your draw as well. Spend some time adjusting the retention until you find the sweet spot for secure fit and fast draw.

Does the Holster have Good Concealability?

Most people will be buying a holster for concealed carry. Therefore, your model should offer a concealed look, with as little printing as possible. It’s also vital that you choose a comfortable holster that doesn’t cause you to shift it all the time under your shirt, giving you away.

Some models provide better printing resistance than others. An inner-waistband holster is the best choice for concealed carry, but they come in many variations. Most of the holsters in this review are suitable for concealed carry, with minimal printing, good retention, and a comfortable fit.

Holsters and Gun Protection

The most critical feature of your holster is to protect both you and your gun. It’s important to note that materials like Kydex and other solid polymers might also cause wear and tear on the finish of your weapon.

Your holster should be comfortable to wear for extended periods, and some of the stiff plastic polymer materials may cause some mild irritation. For that reason, a hybrid holster with a leather back and a Kydex gun frame is an excellent option for enhanced user comfort.

If your carry holster isn’t comfortable, then the chances are that you’re going to leave your gun at home because you don’t want the hassle of wearing the holster.

Your holster will attach to your casual belt, gun belt, or the inside seam of your pants via two or three clips. Look for holsters that have plastic clips. Plastic clips are less damaging to your clothes and furniture around the home than metal options.

Holsters and Gun Grip

The holster needs to provide you with the best cant angle for a fast and effective draw of your weapon in a crisis. If you find that you can’t get a full combat grip on your pistol when removing it from the holster – it’s time to get another holster. Shifting your grip after your draw before you fire can end up costing you your life.

Your holster needs to provide you with complete control over all parts of the gun. After drawing, you should have a high grip with your hand wedged into the beavertail of the firearm. You should also be able to deactivate the safety and shoot one-handed if needed.

The combat grip is the most critical part of drawing your gun. If your holster impairs this grip position, then look for another model that works. Remember, hesitating for a fraction of a second in a gunfight can cost you your life – choose a holster that allows for a combat grip straight out of the gates.

What are the Different Kinds of Gun Holsters?

When selecting the best gun holster for your firearm, you have a few different options on how you will wear the gun. The most common types of holsters for men and women include the following designs.

  • IWB – Inside the Waistband holsters
  • OWB – Outside the Waistband holsters
  • Belly Band holsters
  • Ankle holsters
  • Shoulder holsters

Let’s unpack the features of each of these types in more detail.

Inside the Waistband – IWB

IWB or “inside the waistband” holsters are the most popular design for concealed carry. These holsters attach to the inside waistband of your pants or shorts. You secure the holster to your clothing using clips to secure the holster to your belt or waistband.

These holsters are an excellent choice for concealed carry because they hug your gun close to your body. IWB holsters have a slimline form factor that produces less printing of your weapon on your clothing. IWB holsters excel at concealing your weapon, but it’s hard to find an option that allows for a full combat grip when drawing the gun from the holster.

Outside the Waistband – OWB

Outside the waistband, holsters are easier on the combat grip draw but far more visible. They’re a good choice if you’re going to wear a jacket out and want to carry. Some models are slimline enough to fit under t-shirts.

However, the OWB model is better for sport shooters or those individuals that want to open carry. With an OWB holster, the holster clips to the outside of your waistband. It’s essentially the opposite of the IWB model.

OWB models are more comfortable than IWB models, and you won’t experience any sweat buildup on your keg un the holster as you do with IWB holsters. However, the OWB holster does excel in the draw. You get much more space between the gun and your body.

However, OWB holsters also expose you to having someone surprise you and disarm you. Unless you’re going to be out with friends or you’re going to the range, we suggest you leave the OWB holster at home and take your IWB instead.

Appendix Inside Waistband – AIWB

The AWIB holster is a similar concept to the traditional IWB model. However, with IWB holsters, you carry them on the hip at your side, and many people choose to carry them in a cross-draw fashion. With an AIWB model, you get all the same features as the IWB, including the clips. However, the clips attach to the waistband at the 2-o’clock position, between your hip and navel.

The shooter draws with their dominant hand, as opposed to the cross-draw with the IWB model. The appendix model is good for carrying spare mags, and many of them come with an option for one or two mags.

Belly Band Gun Holsters

These models are popular with women, and it fits like a girdle across your abdomen. Most models come with adjustable Velcro straps to help you position the holster comfortably. Belly band holsters also accommodate other accessories like spare mags or less-lethal options like pepper spray, tasers, and knives.

Check that the holster comes with a breathable fabric band, as they can get sweaty during extended wear.

Shoulder Gun Holsters

Shoulder holsters are the same holsters you see the cops wearing in your favorite episode of Miami Vice. These holsters secure the gun under your arm, allowing for cross-draw.

Shoulder holsters can come in options with two guns, or with accessory storage for additional mags. The Shoulder holster does offer some degree of concealment if you’re wearing a jacket.

Ankle Gun Holster

Many people that want to carry a backup gun, or a small piece for self-defense, will choose an ankle holster. This option is a good choice for deep concealment, and there is little chance of printing unless you’re wearing tight-fitting pants.

Ankle holsters only suit small guns and knives, but they can be effective in a combat situation. However, in some cases, the ankle holster might make for a slower draw.

Gun Holster FAQ

By now, you should have a good understanding of the types of holsters, and which model will suit your gun, and your draw. Read through these frequently asked questions for a few final pointers about your concealed carry holster.

What’s the most comfortable concealed carry position?

The best carry position is the “strong side hip,” on both IWB and OWB holsters. This method is the most popular conceal-carry style and makes it easy to draw your weapon quickly when you need it.

On which side of my body should I carry my gun?

When drawing your gun from your concealed carry holster, you’ll use your left hand to lift your shirt, and then draw your weapon from the holster on the left side of your body using your right hand. If you’re a lefty, then you draw from the right.

Is it safe to use a Kydex holster?

Kydex holsters last forever and are practically maintenance-free. If your holster looks dirty or traps some debris, just wipe it down with a damp cloth. Your Kydex holster is ready for peak performance from day one and doesn’t require a “Break-in” period like leather holsters. Kydex allows for friction-free, fast draws.

Will Kydex holsters scratch my gun?

Yes, a Kydex holster will rub at your guns finish, leaving subtle wearing marks where it contacts the holster. However, even leather holsters will eventually wear away at the finish of your weapon. With Kydex, the holster will never deform.

Leather or Kydex – which is better for my holster?

We recommend going with Kydex over leather. Over time, leather holsters wear, and the top of the holster will start to curl inward or collapse over itself. As a result, it slows your draw time, and in a self-defense situation, this delay could cost you your life.


Are you ready to choose your gun holster? We hope the information in our reviews and buyer’s guide helped you find the holster that’s the right fit for your firearm. In case you’re still sitting on the fence, why not go with one of our top picks?

The Tulster holster is our top overall choice, and it’s a great holster for quickdraws. This holster is great for most makes and models of guns, but Sig Owners will have to look at another model instead. Tulster is a fantastic holster, and the undercut trigger guard with adjustable cant allows for fast and efficient draws.

For sport shooters, law enforcement officers, and security personnel, a quickdraw holster on the hip is the best choice for your new holster. The eFluky Universal is a top choice for all makes and models of guns. You get a secure setup, which minimizes feedback from the holster when you draw.

If you’re looking for an affordable holster, the CYA Supply Company makes a budget model that will suit your budget. This model might not have all the functionality of the top models in this review. However, it’s a practical and affordable holster that suits most makes and models of guns.

Choose the best gun holster that suits your gun, draw style, and concealed carry requirements.

Jake is an explorer, he loves all types of outdoor pursuits such as hunting, fishing & hiking. Jake has been a full-time writer & blogger for many years now and he's here to share his passions with the BeActiveOutdoors readers. Contact Jake@beactiveoutdoors.com

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