By Brad Fitzpatrick
In most concealed carry courses holster selection feels like an afterthought. That’s understandable considering the amount of critical information that must be imparted in a short amount of time, but choosing the right holster is an essential detail that must not be overlooked.
If you can’t carry your gun comfortably and conceal it where required, there’s a good chance you won’t carry a firearm at all. That defeats the purpose of obtaining a concealed carry permit in the first place. Worse yet, you won’t have your firearm should you be faced with a violent threat.
Choosing the right holster is also essential for legal reasons. If the law requires a firearm to be concealed, a holster that allows it to print clearly through your clothing or hang down below your untucked shirt could put you in violation of the law in your state. Tucking a gun into your waistband like some TV thug is also dangerous and could open you up to liability should the firearm come loose from your clothing or accidentally discharge.
If you carry a firearm, you have the responsibility to secure it, and that starts with the right holster. Here’s a look at 10 great options to consider.
A moldable holster that you can customize to fit your firearm, the outer layer of the TecGrip FormLok is constructed of polymer that clings to fabric, allowing the holster to be carried inside the waistband without a metal clip. The interior is made from Memory-Lok thermoformable plastic, which can be heated and molded in much the same way as an athletic mouthpiece. It’s a minimalist holster that offers the right fit for any pistol. ($46)
The Holster Shirt is made from a polyester/Spandex blend that is form-fitting and features twin shoulder pockets with hook and loop fasteners that allow you to store items close to the body. It’s an ideal solution for off-duty law enforcement professionals and anyone who doesn’t want to carry in a traditional belt-mounted holster. An integrated shoulder yoke helps reduce strain and prevent discomfort. ($29)
The Paragon 2.0 doesn’t offer any groundbreaking advances in inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster design, but it is a premium holster with heavy-duty hardware that can be customized to fit just about any shooter and carry position. Ride height and angle can be adjusted, and this holster can be worn on the strong side, appendix position or cross draw. The Paragon’s holster shell is made from nearly indestructible Kydex that securely fits your firearm. Durable UniClips hold the holster in position on belts up to 1.75 inches, and there’s an optional stabilizer wing to facilitate smooth draws. ($106)
The Insurgent Deluxe hybrid holster blends the look and feel of leather with the durability of a polymer holster shell. It comes with two heavy-duty clips that are removable, allowing it to serve as both an IWB and OWB holster. The backing is made from vegetable-tanned water buffalo hide that is stitched with industrial-grade bonded nylon thread, while the polymer shell is designed to fit your specific firearm. Draw tension is adjustable, and it fits belts up to 1.5 inches wide. The leather backing makes this one of the most comfortable IWB/OWB holsters to wear. ($43)
The Rogue is a Kydex carry holster that offers a high level of customizability and maximum comfort. It comes with a detachable magazine carrier that allows you to hold a spare mag close at hand, and there’s a removable “concealment claw” that prevents the firearm from printing while being carried. A slightly curved design allows the holster to ride close to the body, and there are multiple clip options that allow you to adjust ride height and carry position. Retention and cant are both adjustable. ($100)
Here’s a product that is long overdue for people who carry and who also enjoy outdoor activities such as running, which can make you more vulnerable to attack because you’re alone, preoccupied, tired, and oftentimes far from assistance. Alexo Athletica’s Tuck & Go Joggers (as well as their shorts, bike pants, and other items) offer a viable, functional solution for both men and women who want to carry, while also being active. Appendix and 4/8 o’clock position carry pockets offer storage space for your firearm, spare magazines, phones, and other items, and you can even tuck in your shirt while carrying a gun. ($52)
Here’s a versatile, lightweight IWB holster that doesn’t break the bank. The Covert IWB offers everything shooters want: a lightweight yet durable ambidextrous Kydex holster that’s fully adjustable cant and retention and optics compatible. The trigger bump on the exterior surface presses the butt of the pistol close to the body to aid concealment and the large belt clip is light yet extremely durable. Best of all, the Covert IWB offers all of this in an extremely light and low-bulk design that can be carried under light clothing without printing. This may be one of the best all-around carry holsters offered today, especially under $70. ($66)
Looking for a nylon holster with improved firearm retention, check out DeSantis’s Super Stealth. The body of the Super Stealth is made from 1060D ballistic nylon, which makes this holster lightweight and comfortable to carry, but unlike most nylon holsters that offer minimal firearm security the Super Stealth comes with the DeSantis Gunhide Retention Device, or GRD. The GRD produces an audible click when the gun is secured in place within the holster, offering the right amount of retention to prevent the gun from falling from the holster while providing instant access to your weapon. A reversible 1¾-inch powder-coated spring clip secures the holster on your belt. This holster is light, easy to carry and affordable. The Super Stealth offers a level of security hard to find on other nylon holsters. ($57)
This concealable leather holster is made from premium cowhide that offers the retention of a Kydex holster. The Memory-Lok system forms to the firearm and holds it in position and offers a level of security not found in traditional leather holsters. A soft, hand-crafted cowhide exterior allows this IWB holster to ride comfortably against the body and the steel clip allows you to secure the holster to your belt in a variety of carry positions. Reinforced stitching provides added durability, and the elevated sweat guard protects your firearm from perspiration. Bottom line: If you want the look and feel of leather with added security this is the holster for you. ($100)
This may be quite possibly the best appendix carry holster ever designed. The DualPoint AIWB features a one-piece molded design with a side-mounted strut loop that aids in concealment. Retention, ride height and cant are all adjustable, and this ultra-lightweight holster can be converted to an OWB design using the parts that are included in the box. Appendix carry offers many advantages, namely improved concealment (the gun is in line with the body and not to the side) and easier access, especially from a seated position. The DualPoint AIWB’s adjustable design makes it easy to configure the holster so that it’s comfortable and easy to conceal. ($95)
Improperly carrying a firearm in a way that it could fall loose in public, accidentally discharge, or is visible when it should be concealed can make you vulnerable to criminal and civil liability. Always carry your firearm in a quality holster that keeps the trigger inaccessible and the firearm safely controlled until you need to access it.