Ruger LCP .380 Holsters: How To Carry A Pint Size Pistol

Ruger LCP .380 Holsters

Ruger LCP in IWB holster (courtesy Matt Magliacane)

Picking from the field of Ruger LCP holsters is the next step after committing to a pint-size concealed carry gun like the little .380 ACP pistol. Which type of Ruger LCP holsters are going to be the best way to tote this tiny terror?

This dilemma is something anyone who carries a micro pistol has to deal with, whether it’s a lightweight Ruger LCP, a M&P BODYGUARD 380, the Kel-Tec P3AT or other similar pint-size pistol.

When it comes to the truly small pistols, one is presented with something of a dilemma. On the one hand, an IWB holster can seem excessive. Some Ruger LCP IWB holsters can look like they ask for a lot of real estate to carry such a tiny gun.

Ankle gun holsters, of course, are a time-honored way of packing a mouse gun. However, they’re usually reserved for a backup gun rather than carrying your primary pistol. The ankle position is really only easily and quickly accessible quickly if you’re sitting down or on the flat of your back.

Ruger LCP .380 Holsters

Ruger LCP a DeSantis pocket holster (courtesy Matt Magliacane)

Pocket carry is certainly tenable if done right. But you need a pocket holster, period. Don’t pocket carry without one. You need one that covers the trigger and is grippy enough to stay in place if you need to draw your gun.

Google “movie theater negligent discharge” and you’ll find multiple instances where some putz was fidgeting with his gun during the movie and BANG! It certainly gives new definition to “re-shoots.”

When I worked at a movie theater (oh, so many years ago) one of our frequent customers lost a pistol during a showing because he was pocket-carrying without a holster. It fell out after he sat down. Luckily, we found it prior to the next showing and before someone made off with it.

We were not amused. The guy in question had told us on many occasions that he was a former police officer, so you’d think he’d have known better.

An outside the waistband holster, either a paddle holster or slide design, can also be a viable option. Discreet OWB concealed carry is far easier with a small gun like the LCP. Provided the holster rides high and tight enough, an untucked shirt – even a t-shirt, for some people – will get the job done.

You should also invest in a decent gun belt.

But what to look for in a Ruger LCP holster?

Regardless of how you carry, your concealed carry holster must be comfortable. Yes, I work for a holster company. However, I don’t think anyone is going to disagree with the idea that a holster that isn’t comfortable is one that you won’t use.

Any holster you carry with should also be molded to fit the specific make and model firearm that you carry. That ensures better retention, a surer draw and less chance of an accidental discharge.

Some people favor minimalist Kydex or leather holsters (often with a single metal belt clip) for IWB carry with small guns. However, a larger hybrid holster (such as the ShapeShift Ruger LCP holster that we make) with a backing layer can provide a bit more comfort while carrying.

Simple sheath-style leather holsters are quite popular for this application. However, one drawback many such holsters have is that the holster mouth isn’t reinforced. The holster will collapse a bit upon drawing, requiring you to fiddle with it to re-holster. On the street, re-holstering is going to be the last thing on your mind if you have to use your gun in defense of yourself. However, training with the pistol will be problematic.

Ruger LCP .380 Holsters

courtesy Alien Gear

For ankle holsters, look for models that have horizontal and vertical strapping. The single strap and garter designs of most ankle holsters tend to loosen over the course of a day, leading the gun bouncing a bit as you walk. Additionally, many ankle holsters require a carry strap for retention because of a shoddy “universal” design, which should be avoided.

The same is true of many pocket holsters. Quality pocket holsters – whether leather or polymer – are custom-molded for the make and model pistol you carry, and should feature a pocket catch. This feature snags inside the pocket, allowing a sure draw from concealment. While the “sticky” variety of pocket holster is cheaper, it has some disadvantages. Namely, fitment isn’t great and the thick cloth is liable to snag the sights on the draw.

With pocket holsters, a front pocket is the typical placement, though you may prefer to carry in a back pocket. That’s up to you, but many people find sitting on their gun to be uncomfortable and your chiropractor will discourage it.

That said, you need to make sure that a Ruger LCP 380 (or LCP II) pocket holster will work with the pocket you intend to carry in. Additionally, you should be able to access it with your strong hand. If you use your right hand, you should pocket carry on the right side.

Ultimately, though, the best Ruger LCP .380 holster is going to be the one that’s comfortable and that you like best. You’ll be more likely to use it and to carry your gun that way.

For comfortable, effective concealed carry, just make sure that you’re carrying with a good holster that’s made for your make and model pistol and has adequate retention for a secure carry.

comments

  1. avatar D says:

    How to carry a pint size 380?

    Step 1 – trade it for a pint size 9mm
    Step 2 – buy holster
    Step 3 – carry

    1. avatar binder says:

      Of have both, options are good.

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        I agree. I like options. If you can afford it, it makes sense to have a variety of handguns. There is nothing wrong with having LCP sized, Shield sized, and Glock 19 sized guns. After that, I’d throw in a 642 or LCR and a GP100 or 686 revolver, and a Mark IV .22 target pistol.

        Then, if you aren’t satisfied, throw in a full sized pistol (like Glock 17, 22, 21, or 20), and a Super Blackhawk in .44 magnum. That should cover the bases as far as handguns go. Well, maybe a 1911 would be nice too.I

        This is how people end up with twenty or more guns isn’t it?

        1. avatar Matt o says:

          So what you’re telling me is that once I pick up a j frame my handgun collection will be complete and I won’t need to buy any more handguns?

          Please don’t tell my wife.

        2. avatar DesertDave says:

          Dreamer!

    2. avatar Art out West says:

      Tiny .380s have their place. My LCP is in my pocket (in pocket holster) as I lounge around the house this lazy Saturday morning. I think pockets and ankles are the place for these guns. IWB seems like overkill for the LAP sized gun.

      Small 9s like the LC9, G43, and Shield as well as .38sp revolvers also work for pockets and ankles. IWB also makes sense with this size of gun.

      Anything bigger (like G19, M&P, XD, SR9) should be IWB or OWB.

    3. avatar Cris W says:

      I can carry my Springfield XDs .45 ACP just about anywhere I can carry my S&W .380BG. The differences come into play when weather and clothing make the extra weight of the .45 pistol print or reveal itself with sagging if worn in a pocket holster. When I can use my IWB holster it’s always my .45 as my primary. My S&W M&P 40C is also a great choice and has night sights. My Ti-Lite .38 SPL +P is my usual backup. If not for carrying it daily for the last 17 years or I might forget I had it with me it’s so light and easy to carry. Whatever you choose…. train properly again and again and again…….

  2. avatar binder says:

    IWB single clip carry for things as small at the LCP can be problematic as is too small and does not provide enough gun behind the belt to support it unless you really tighten up you belt. If you are going to carry IWB single clip it has been my experience that you really need a longer barrel to keep the gun tucked into the body.

    I carry my CW380 OWB. With dark pants, black leather belt and holster with a black T-Shirt it is hard to spot even if my carry garment hikes up.

    Or I carry in a back pocket wallet style holster. Not the one that covers the lower half of the gun, but the typical in the pocket with a peace of rectangle leather on the outside. I like this as it positions the gun and it will not move. Also, if you don’t want to sit on it, you can move it to another pocket even in plain sight as it looks just you are moving your wallet.

  3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    “This dilemma is something anyone who carries a micro pistol has to deal with…”

    “When it comes to the truly small pistols, one is presented with something of a dilemma.”

    greek for “double proposition,” it’s a problem offering two possibilities. even still, having a plethora of options hardly presents one. this is one of the most catered to subcompacts. get a single clip iwb, a good front/ cargo pocket holster and maybe an ankle biter for other situations.

    an embarrasment of choices.

  4. avatar Chadwick says:

    If you are looking for a very slim leather iwb holster that will hold you lcp in tight then I’d suggest the azula. If anything it sits a little low in my opinion but it does conceal the tiny lcp like nobodies business. Unless I pick something up way over my head and someone catches the perfect angle then you’d never know. I actually find myself carrying my lcp iwb even in PJs to let the dog out or waiting for my coffee to brew. So much better than sitting down and having the pocket holster and pistol fall out on the couch when it flops out of loose pj pockets.

    1. avatar binder says:

      I just looked them up. They may fix my issues with my .380. I like that extra leather tab and that they sit so deep. Thanks

    2. avatar Victoriaillinois says:

      Funny, when I googled Azula, I got a bunch of cartoon characters/avatar something. I narrowed my search after 5 pages of Avatar cartoon stuff.

  5. avatar Phil LA says:

    I made my own Kydex back pocket LCP holster with a spare mag port. The gun clicks in place due to the custom molding and the pocket catch and grip tape keep it in the pocket on draw. The whole thing is wallet sized, sits low in the pocket and is has been no problem to sit on in an office environment. It is the best option for ultra-concealment. I have considered selling them.

  6. avatar Kman says:

    LCP in pocket Nemisis mostly. In sof tuck some.
    PPS M2 IWB Kydex or Remora. It can go in a few pockets, but not well.

  7. avatar RonnyRayGunn says:

    I like my Recluse holster. Looks like a wallet in my back pocket. Wearing Wrangler Riggs, I also carry a S&W Shield this way.

  8. avatar OldProf49 says:

    A Ruger LCP with CT Laser Guard is one of my go-to carry choices. Others include a Ruger LCR, S&W 642, or, occasionally, something from NAA. Pocket carry is my first choice, followed by IWB. While I have a couple of leather pocket holsters, my hands down favorite is the DeSantis Nemesis for any of the above handguns. I’ve never had any problem with the holster coming out with the gun. I’ve also used the pocket model from Sticky Holsters for the revolvers, but they seem a bit bulkier than necessary. A couple of things to keep in mind when pants shopping: if you pocket carry in jeans, you may need to adjust the cut and fit to keep the gun from printing. And make sure casual pants pockets are deep enough to conceal the gun butt. Just my two cents…

  9. avatar Matthew says:

    Gotta be honest, I didn’t really find any useful info in this article. It basically says…. “there’s lots of options, pick the one you like best.” Hm.

    That being said, my LCP2 with integrated crimson laser is carried in the pocket holster Ruger supplied with the gun. Works perfect for me.

  10. avatar M1Lou says:

    For my LCP I have an IWB holster, Safari land pocket holster and DeSantis holster.

    The IWB is good for when you are wearing something woth few pockets and you need to still put your keys and wallet into a pocket.

    The Safi land is good for smaller pockets as it is closer to the size of the pistol. It’s outer covering helps grab the fabric inside to keep from covering your gun on a draw. I paid $12 for it on clearance which was a great price.

    The DeSantis is nice as it conceals the shape of the pistol a bit better than the Safari land. It does take a larger pocket but worked great for me.

    Oh and the guys that say just trade for a 9mm, good luck with carrying it in all situations. I can can throw this pistol into anything. My 9mm sub compact is not nearly as flexible and would get left home during a lot of summer outings due to clothing choices.

  11. avatar Enuf says:

    The DeSantis Superfly in your strong side front pocket.
    https://www.desantisholster.com/super-fly/

    The outline is a wallet, does that trick better than any other pocket holster. That’s due to the flap that can be reversed for either right or left side. I have one for a .38 Spcl snubbie and for a .380 mouse gun. Mostly I carry the mouse gun that way. Including when I carry a full size 9mm openly on the belt.

    Back pocket carry makes no sense to me. Easiest pocket for a pick-pocket to steal from. Been carrying my actual wallet in my left front pocket since I first got a wallet for just that reason.

  12. avatar Mark H says:

    If I am carrying a small .380 (LCP, P3AT) then it’s in a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster.

    If I am going to carry IWB then might as well carry a small belt pistol like a Shield.

  13. avatar MB says:

    Vedder pocket locker, I have one for my Sig P365 and one for my LCP2, works great for both guns, depends on type of pants I am wearing. Either way I have 7 rounds of .380 or 11 rounds of 9mm on me at all times.

  14. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Maybe my read was a bit cursory but I don’t think anyone has mention what, to me anyway, is a perfect mouse-gun holster. Now that tablet sized I-phones are so common, I’ve found that a my black nylon LCP holster so perfectly resembles something someone would put a large-screen I-phone in that it is virtually invisible to prying eyes. When I first bought it several years ago (it’s not a Sneaky Pete and I can’t remember the company’s name), I liked the design but felt it’s size was just a little to large to pass the ubiquitous-phone-case test. Now, however, that’s changed. My original lCP (ver.2 with redesigned trigger), fits perfectly and and I can carry this unobtrusive rig virtually anywhere wearing any kind of clothing without attracting attention.

  15. avatar Randy says:

    I am partial to Sticky holsters for pocket carry. S&W .38 J-frame works great and with a more ‘baggy’ pocket my Detonics .45 and Sticky is comfortable.

    1. avatar LazrBeam says:

      Concur with the Sticky pocket holster. My RM 380 is in a Sticky in the right cargo pocket of my pants and a Sticky mag pouch with two spare mags is in the left cargo pocket. Works well, no worries.

  16. avatar Victoriaillinois says:

    Any problem using any holsters with after market grips? Sneaky Pete said a Hogue grip won’t fit in their S & W revolver holsters. Glad I read the ‘small print’.

  17. avatar Lawntread says:

    I’m carrying my lcp2 right now with only a Clipdraw, no holster. Obviously, I don’t have a round in the chamber. I understand the problems with not having a round ready to go, but I accept this knowing how extremely comfortable it is to carry this way. I’d rather have it on me and not-in-ready state then not have it because it was too uncomfortable which is what I was doing, not carrying it.

    1. avatar Joe in San Antonio says:

      dislike the clip draw but if you are not carrying with one in the in the chamber you are at least carrying it safely

  18. avatar possum says:

    , I’m kinda interested in that Urban Carry holster contraption. As for now I just put the little gunn in my left pocket, my right pants pockets always seem to have a hole in them?, I suppose that’s a lint release

    1. avatar Pheardom says:

      I bought an urban carry holster, couldn’t draw my thick handle double sided firearm with any consistency. But later when I got a thinner single firearm I pulled out my urban and found it useful again.

  19. avatar GS650G says:

    I have a keltec p3at I carry in one of two rigs. I have a leather IWB holster that works quite well and I have a hip bag that conceals the gun but opens easily allowing me to access easily. There is a secondary pouch that holds a small phone or wallet.
    The gun is the size of a wallet so pocket carry is a good option and the trigger is long action enough to make it safe to do so if you have an insert to shield it.

  20. avatar Ray says:

    I carry my LCP II in a DeSantis IWB holster specifically designed for my Ruger. I question the author’s insistence on the necessity of a “good gun belt.” The Ruger weighs around ten ounces. A decent belt, yes. A “gun specific belt?” No way.

  21. avatar strych9 says:

    IWB works fine for me with this kind of gun. LCPII in a BlackArch ACE Dri-Matrix IWB.

  22. avatar Jay says:

    I am usually wearing jeans or dockers and found that the most comfortable holster to carry the Curveball wallet holster since it fits perfectly in my back pocket. Completely masks the outline and doesnt dig into my waistline like my old holster did.

  23. avatar Billy Bob says:

    I have one 380 and I’m very happy with it. I honestly dont understand folks complaining about not having enough caliber to be a self defense gun. I’d feel comfortable with a 22 if it weren’t for it being rim fire. I guess I just havent been in enough gun battles to know better. Of course a 308 gonna put a lot more hurt on some bad person so actually every thing is sorta a compromise. Oh well, good day.

  24. avatar MITCHELL Drye says:

    Accidental discharge is a misnomer,it is NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE , know your firearm,and know it well training is key,train train train!!!

  25. avatar Bob Donegan says:

    The initial problem I had was finding the proper holster since my LCP has a LaserMax on it. My local gun shop had me go with the Bulldog OWB leather holster for a LC9 so it fit properly. So ask for help from your FFL dealer

  26. avatar Bruce says:

    Pocket carry on my dominant side. Pretty much stays in my pocket 24/7, even when I hang up the pants at night. Works great. Use a pocket holster that stays in the pocket when you draw it. Normally carry something bigger when I go out, so this is usually my backup. I almost forget it is there, except I had to learn not to load up that pocket. The only problem I normally encounter is getting around the knife I have clipped to the other pocket to get my keys.

  27. avatar Charles Perry says:

    I have the Desantis Summer Heat inside the waistband holster for my LCP Custom. It works great. I also have a pocket holster for when that is an option but use the Desantis more often. It simply disappears.

  28. avatar Oldgreyguy says:

    Have carried my LCP with lazer sight since I bought it. As a senior and “heavy set”. I have used an ankle holster most of the time. All were passable but when the Bug Bite came out, I bought one. VERY comfortable. Have had a couple problems but solved them. First it wanted to slide down. Took a strap from another old ankle holster with a hook and loop closer strap and short strap and sewed it on the top. I see new models have some sort of strap. Second is pocket is to large for LCP. I had the weapon pop out when I tripped going into a restaurant. Needle and thread sewing the top a little smaller solved this problem. Zipper has to short a tab. Replaced with a bigger one. Now and then I use pocket holster.

  29. avatar Paul R. says:

    I have a Walther PPK/s and I can’t seem to find a holster that doesn’t print.I do have 2 really great shoulder
    holsters ( 1 made for the PPK/s and 1 for my Kimber Pro Crimson Carry 11.) I live in south Florida and wearing them works for about 9 months a year as wearing a shirt over a tee-shirt is just way to hot here.If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them. I like the wallet types or a good IWB.I wear jeans mostly but I can
    get some cargo style pants or shorts.One of my shooting buddies told me to look for a 9mm that would work.
    I don’t think that would work as I want a fitted holster made for each of my hand guns.I did contact a few
    manufactures, but they weren’t very helpful. I guess I need HELP.
    Thanks in advance .

    1. avatar OldProf49 says:

      “I have a Walther PPK/s and I can’t seem to find a holster that doesn’t print.” Now you know why so many of us have a box of holsters! Before you spend a fortune, look for a shooting school or instructor who can provide you with an assessment of your concealed carry needs. You didn’t mention anything about your size, weight, body type, etc. This is very important when choosing a carry gun/holster combination. For example, if you’re very slender, that PPK/s can pose a problem since the /s meant that it came with the longer PP grip frame, complete with sharp corners that catch on shirts, t-shirts, etc. Also, you may need to adjust the size and/or style of some of your wardrobe in order to “dress around the gun”. Yes, it’s really a thing!

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