The choice of how to carry your firearm is—and has always been—your prerogative. Provided the proper permits and, as state laws allow, you can choose to carry your gun openly or with a holster. Both have their pros and cons, and the debate can get as hot as a gun’s barrel after sustained firing. But that’s a topic for a different time.
If you choose to go for concealed carry, you’ll need a reliable holster—and choosing one shouldn’t be taken lightly. Accidental discharges can inconvenience you and everyone around you. Worse, you may hit yourself or someone else. A holster that can’t prevent such an incident isn’t worth using, let alone considering.
Fortunately, this article will guide you into the best concealed-carry holsters money can buy. With the right holster, you can avoid untoward (and mortifying) incidents and protect yourself from the dangers that absolutely warrant a gun.
IWB Category: Glock Clipdraw
Is a holster still considered one when all it has is a clip attached to the gun? When you own a Glock and want it hidden inside the waistband (IWB), it’s fair game. The Glock Clipdraw takes the cake for its innovative yet straightforward method of concealed carry.
Compatible with a wide variety of Glock handguns of different calibers, this Glock holster involves installing the clip on the side of the gun’s slide facing outward. It eliminates the bulk that typically comes with wearing a holster, not to mention the need to choose your clothes based on the holster’s design. For added personalization, the clip can bear the owner’s engraved name.
But one of its downsides is that the clips are primarily designed for the Glock family of handguns. Then again, seeing that these firearms are pretty popular with civilian and law enforcement users, it’s not much of an inconvenience.
OWB Category: Galco Combat Master Belt Holster
One concern gun owners usually have with outside-the-waistband (OWB) holsters is the bulk that tends to stick out a bit. Although they provide easier access to the gun when needed, OWB holsters are borderline concealed carry. It’s hard to keep them hidden unless you wear a coat.
The Combat Master from Galco solves the bulk issue with its traditional pancake design. It blends with the body better than most OWB holsters while providing plenty of room for semiautomatic pistols and larger revolvers. The combination of steer hide and double-stitched seams makes for a sturdy holster, one that the passage of time would find difficult to wear and tear.
The holster can take belts up to 1.75 inches wide, but any wider, and it may run into issues. Because it’s leather (steer hide comes from male cows), you may need to spend extra on a separate leather care kit to keep it shiny and healthy. It also has difficulty accepting firearms with optics installed, namely red dot sights.
Shoulder Category: Alien Gear ShapeShift
Anyone who’s seen enough detectives on TV and in movies can vouch for the trope that they carry their firearms in shoulder holsters. However, in real life, these types aren’t as widely used as their IWB and OWB cousins (more on this later).
Alien Gear gets most things about shoulder holsters right with their ShapeShift line, starting with comfort. It combines leather and neoprene, giving the holster the best of two traits: support strength and breathability. It also boasts a Level III Retention™, the second-highest out of a four-level scale that determines how well a holster keeps a gun in place.
The problem with shoulder holsters overall is that fitting them can be tricky. You’re talking about a full holster rigging for your upper body, not a compact one for your waist. Hiding them is just as problematic, requiring a full coat to prevent it from sticking out.
Belly Band Category: ComforTac Belly Band Holster
If you fancy keeping your firearm hidden under your clothes, a belly band holster may be your cup of tea. These are popular with women, as they allow concealed carry while keeping their waistline in check. Despite the term, belly bands can be placed anywhere on the torso, making them versatile.
ComforTac’s Belly Band Holster eliminates the need for belt-ready trousers with its one-size-fits-most design. Aside from the gun, it also provides room for an extra magazine to ensure the wearer never gets caught lacking.
Unfortunately, belly bands are a poor choice for a quick draw, which can happen in most situations requiring an armed response. Reholstering the gun can also prove burdensome.
When in the market for the ideal holster, always exercise due diligence. You’d want your firearm to be ready when the situation calls for it, but you also want it to stay hidden to avoid making those around you uncomfortable. But above all else, choose a holster that’ll help you practice excellent gun discipline.