Whether you’re going to the shooting range or going to the grocery store, you need to be able to carry your handheld firearms with you without causing too much panic. This is manageable with a good gun holster. Like swords, pistols need sheaths when they aren’t in use.
Thankfully, holsters are like mini sword sheaths.
There are a couple ways you can go about picking your ideal gun holster. Some people like to pick what looks the coolest, but that’s not always the most practical solution. After all, why would you want to pick a cool looking holster when it doesn’t even support your firearm?
We suggest better methods to picking your holsters.
Such methods can include...
- ...By Carry Method?
- ...By Firearm?
- What Is The Best Material For A Holster?
- What Brands Do You Recommend?
...By Carry Method?
There are countless ways you can carry your handgun. If you have an appendage on your body, you have a new place to hold your holster...so long as it’s strong enough to hold it! Some people can’t use any holsters that are used from strapping onto your leg or arm.
But for the most part, holsters can be worn just fine with no problem. But what kinds of holsters are there, exactly?
OWB Carry Holsters:
Well first we have OWB carry holsters, or over-the-waistband. This is the most common type of gun holster, right next to IWBs (inside-the-waistband). You simply clip them onto your pants waistband and wear them comfortably.
What sets OWBs apart from IWBs is obviously the fact that you wear these babies on the outside of your clothes. Our recommendation for those of you wearing an OWB carry holster is to wear a baggy shirt or long coat with it. The aim of the game is concealed carry and it can be hard to do that when everyone can see your gun from the outside of your clothes.
So if you want to be able to achieve sneakiness, you need to wear something that can hide your piece easily. Thankfully, this is the only con to owning a OWB!
IWB Carry Holsters:
Also known as inside-the-waistband holsters, IWB carry holsters are much easier to conceal carry. You do not need to wear a long coat or baggy shirt with one of these, as the firearm can go inside your pants with ease. You just find a good spot to clip the holster, such as near your back pocket or your side, and holster away.
Of course, you may want to reserve these holsters for your small pistols so you have a more comfortable experience. Just be careful with your firearm if you wear an IWB. Some guns, such as revolvers, are easy to accidentally misfire if you shift the wrong way.All it takes is for the hammer to cock and the trigger to pull. Most holsters are built with fail-safes, so this isn’t a problem most of the time. But be ever cautious, just in case!
For those of you that like wearing baggy pants, there’s also ankle holsters. Just clip them onto your ankle and you’re good! Though this may best be reserved for smaller handguns like your Sig Saurs. Think about it, can you imagine walking around with a 1911 strapped to your ankle all day?
That would be a massive pain in the rear! Or, if you want to be technical, a pain in your leg!
When wearing an ankle holster, one must be mindful of the uncomfortable rubbing of your ankle bone. Most ankle holsters are built to protect this sensitive part of your body, but you should still be vigilant about it. If you experience ANY form of uncomfortable rubbing while wearing these holsters, take them off as soon as you are able.
Otherwise, you’ll rub yourself raw!
Shoulder holsters are for some of you more eccentric gun owners out there. These holsters are fairly small and light, as you just strap them over your armpit and get ready to fire when the time comes. Some people don’t really like these types of holsters because of the lack of practicality in wearing them.
Hiding them for concealed carry is tricky because you need to wear a shirt that allows for easy access, such as a tank top or loose-fitted t-shirt. You can also opt to wear the holster on the exterior of your clothes. So long as you have a jacket or coat to cover up your piece, then you’re good as golden.
In fact, a lot of law enforcement wears shoulder holsters when they’re undercover. It’s not just for the noir detectives anymore!
If you don’t want them strapped to your armpits, consider belly bands. You just hide the pistol underneath your shirt! It’s such a practical place to hide a firearm, as you have plenty of room to conceal carry your pistol.
If you wear particularly baggy shirts, then hiding the gun is even easier! Of course, there is still room for error when you use a belly band. You can’t tuck your shirt when you wear a belly band for a few reasons.
One, everyone will be able to see your holster through your clothes. Secondly, the gun can be tricky to get out depending on what kind of shirt you’re wearing. Be mindful of how you dress when you wear belly bands!
The appendix refers to the part of your body that’s just before your hip bone on the dominant side of your body. The holster can work as an IWB or OWB, depending on the brand. Regardless of which, it’s in the same spot on your body each time. And believe us when we say that you can very easily hide a firearm placed in such an area.
With an appendix holster, just wear a baggy shirt to cover the snap and you’ll be fine. It’s also very comfortable to wear, as these holsters are specifically built to be worn on a part of your body that is cozy and not at all intrusive.
For extra comfort, stick to wearing smaller pistols like Glocks or Beretta .380s. The less obstruction, the better!
: For you ladies, you can buy holsters that strap into your bra. Actually, to be technical, the bra IS the holster. Depending on the brand, you may store your pistol either behind you, beside you, or underneath your bra.
And when any potential baddies least expect it, you whip that sucker out and defend yourself. Talk about a great hiding place, huh? This particular style of holster is one of our favorites for a very big reason.
The answer lies in the number of sexual assaults that happen every year in this country. With these holsters, women can defend themselves from potential attacks. After all, nobody expects to be shot by a gun hiding in a bra holster.
When you don’t want to wear a holster on your body, just store it in the car! Car holsters are placed in a convenient spot where your firearm is very easy to access and hide, i.e. right beside you on your left or right. This is one of the easiest ways to conceal carry, as you don’t have to carry the gun on foot.
It’s the ideal holster for those of you who routinely drive through dangerous neighborhoods. True, you may not be able to walk around while packing heat, but driving safety is just as important sometimes! In fact, it’s arguably more important when you live in a big city.
Crime is at an all-time high in this country and you NEED protection. Why not give car holsters a try?
Why not just put the pistol in your pocket? It’s a simple idea brought to life through the innovative designers of all these holster brands. Depending on the size of your pocket, you can support small handguns to even 1911 sized firearms.
The sizes vary based on your pocket’s size, and each holster can fit into any sized pocket particularly well. People love pocket holsters because of the convenience it brings them. We mean, wouldn’t you want a gun holster that’s simple enough to fit into your pocket?
No uncomfortable clips or snaps! Just the secured feeling of everlasting comfort!
Fanny Pack Holsters:
Another simple idea for all of you fine folks! Now, we know that a lot of you men out there don’t think very fondly of fanny packs. You probably think they’re for sissies or women, right?
Well you’re wrong!
Fanny pack holsters are an ingenious idea brought to fruition by these companies. Think about it, you want to carry your gun with you in public, but you don’t like the feel of most holsters. What do you do in this situation?
We’ll tell you what you do, folks.
You improvise. You hide the gun in plain sight! Just slap it in your fanny pack, zip up, and you’re good as golden!
Drop Thigh/Drop Leg/Tactical Holsters:
These nifty gun holsters come straight out of an action movie, folks. You strap the holster to your thigh and go on about your day. Placing the handgun in your thigh is perfect because you can always reach your piece very easily.
No fumbling and struggle with this method!
Most commonly used by special forces and the military, drop thigh holsters are not suited for concealed carry. There’s no way to practically hide a pistol that is worn on a thigh holster. Trying will just get you in trouble, trust us!
If combat is a regular part of your life, however, these holsters are just what you need.
Paddle holsters are a particularly old style of gun holster for people. They were used all the time up until the 90’s, but were replaced by other styles after that. It’s named after the round, paddle-shaped base that keeps the holster together.
Cute name, if we do say so ourselves.
Paddle holsters are usually OWB designed, but there are a few rare instances of IWB paddle holsters available on the market. Despite being outshined by other styles, nobody is denying the usefulness of these babies. With the wider brace, support is an absolute steal.
But because of the size of most paddle holsters, concealed carry can be hard.
These holsters are interesting in that they are worn on your belts at all times. To wear one of these old-fashioned holsters, you insert your belt through the slits so the holster can flap onto your side like a pancake (hence the name!). These holsters are ALWAYS OWB, so you’ll have to wear a baggy shirt if you want to conceal carry a firearm with one. There are no such thing as IWB pancake holsters (unfortunately).
Pancake holsters are known to be very firm in grip. This is a good thing, as your firearm won’t risk losing any traction when being drawn. No slippery mistakes here! Though they can be a little tedious to remove, due to them being worn on your belt.
Small Of Back Holsters:
Just as the name suggests, you holster your weapon in your lower back. These gun holsters can be built in two ways. First, they can be clip-ons that simply strap onto your waistband and then serve as either an IWB or OWB (depending on the brand).
Secondly, it can be designed as something similar to a belly band, only not as hefty. Small of back holsters, particularly the clip-on types, are best worn when strapped over or under your belt. Either way is easy to conceal carry, but it may not be as comfortable to wear.
You’d have to be careful to not press your back too hard against any surface, lest you accidentally damage your firearm. This can be avoided if you wear a leather holster instead of nylon.
Running and Workout Holsters:
Ideal for those of you who frequently work-out and jog, running and workout holsters are very similar to belly bands and appendix holsters. You always strap them over some part of your torso (this can vary, depending on the model and make). You’ll never need to strap the holster onto your appendages like your arms or legs, though you may find one that straps onto your upper torso.
You do not need a belt to wear these holsters, as they are normally IWB.
In buying the right running and workout holster for you, you got to make sure you have a few things straight. Firstly, you want to make sure you are a proper fit for the holster, as some can be too small or too large for you. Secondly, make sure the holster is strong enough to support your body as it makes fast movements.
The best part about most gun holsters is that they can be worn with just about any kind of firearm. There is no firearm that is strictly used with a particular brand of holster. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re either trying to sell you something or they’re just flat out wrong.
With this in mind, there are a few types of holsters that are ideal to use for some of your favorite firearms. Glocks are good to use in just about any kind of holsters, as they are naturally easier to use and are ideal for concealed carry. That means you can easily put them in leather holsters and still be a fast-firing badass.
The same can be said about Rugers, but you may want to get holsters that are a little bigger since Ruger pistols can be really hefty. Beretta’s need thinner holsters because of how thick and hard to cock they already are. Trust us, we have wives that struggle with these bad-boys--we know from experience!
Sig Sauers are interesting guns, as they can be very tiny for those with big hands. You can honestly get away with using something cheap and comfortable for these bad-boys, such as a nylon holster. Now for your Smith & Wesson M&P and your Springfields, you need something heavier duty.
Any leather holster will do the trick--especially if you’re upgrading to a 1911 model. The stronger, the better!
What Is The Best Material For A Holster?
When choosing the best holster for yourself, you really need to consider the material it’s made out of. After all, you AND your gun will be wearing it all day long. You want something that is comfortable and provides a service that you are in need of.
What we mean by that, of course, is that each gun holster material has a different practicality to it. For instance, polymers like Kydex are really good because they maintain their shape for years on end. However, they aren’t that great for concealed carry.
The reason for this is because they are a little louder to pull a gun out of than other holsters. Of course, if you’re fast enough of a shot, then the noise won’t matter!
If you ask us for our personal favorite material, we always go with leather. Leather holsters are quiet, which is perfect for concealed carry. They are also very comfortable and flexible, despite being rough and tough.
But because they’re thick, it may take a second longer to get the gun out of the holster due to the leather’s friction. If you’re a skilled marksman, this won’t be a problem, but newbies beware.
Nylon, on the other hand, is much cheaper than leather. They are also friendly with just about every kind of firearm, as they are universally made. But keep in mind that leather holsters are still stronger than nylon.
It’s all about the rough and toughness and leather holsters got that.
What Brands Do You Recommend?
There are a number of brands that we can recommend you, but you’d be here all day if we listed off every single one. Instead, we’re going to simplify things by only listing a couple of our choice favorites. We do this because we love each and every one of you and want you to have an understanding of the top brands. Without further ado, here we go!
First, we have Urban Carry holsters. They are the harmonious marriage between OWB and IWB holsters. If you like tucking in your shirts (or you’re required to because of formal obligations), then this holster is just what you need. You can tuck your shirt in and still get your gun out with no problem. Nobody will ever know you were packing heat!
The state of the art REVO line is what Urban Carry is mostly known for. The REVO Modular holster is a one of a kind system that allows you to speed up for draw time by a fraction of a second with the improved positioning of the holster build. By replacing your “shells” with “rigs”, you improve your speed tremendously with REVO line wear. Why not check it out sometime?
Alien Gear is the ideal brand for those who are looking for OWB holsters, though they sell IWBs as well. Like the name suggests, these holsters are always made out of hybrid materials (aka the mixture of leather and polymer). In recent years, the company has upgraded to using more modular designs for their products. But you can still find their older products hanging around shops both in real life and on the internet.
Alien Gear holsters are well known for being incredibly affordable and handy. Especially with their ongoing Shapeshifter series, you’re bound to get the holster of your dreams. Say what you want, how you want it, and WHEN you want it. Guess what? That sucker will come to you faster than you can say “Shapeshifter Alien Gear”!
Rocking the hybrid and kydex makes, Crossbreed holsters are very well-formed and sturdy. They do make leather holsters as well, but their specialty is hybrid wears like Alien Gear. Crossbreed also makes a couple other useful products that can go hand-in-hand with your shooting needs. Be it mag pouches or gun belts or ammo tins, they’ve got you covered!
Crossbreed first became a fan favorite with the creation of the Supertuck selection of holsters. These holsters have since lost popularity in the race to finding the best holster, but fear not. Crossbreed still has amazing belly bands and IWBs that sell for cheap. It’s actually quite the steal, if you ask us!
Alessi, much like another brand that will be mentioned later on this list, specializes in leather holsters. Not only do they specialize it in, they’re quite the masters of leatherwork. Some people have called Alessi holsters the equivalent of a fast sports car, and we can see why! They’re strong, thick, and work remarkably well for their size.
This company, like some of the others on this list, specialize in kydex and hybrid materials. It may not be much different from the other brands on this list, but Vedder is always known to make great quality products. How do we know this? Because we read the reviews and see how everyone else loves these brands. Spoiler alert, Vedder often gets top marks!
Vedder is especially good at making OWB holsters, as they can support some of your bigger firearms. Need a heavy duty holster for your 1911? Look no further than Vedder! They’ve got just what you need!
Fobus holsters are often some of the cheapest options you can make when shopping on a budget. We all need a gun holster and sometimes you just can’t afford those top brands like Alessi. This can sometimes mean that Fobus holsters aren’t as great as other holsters out there, but don’t let that stray you away from the affordable allure of Fobus. You can still get some great quality out of cheap wares, our fine ladies and gentlemen!
Don’t be steered away from their reputation for creating the SERPA line of holsters, folks. This is a line that was considered terrible by many around the country, but don’t let that paint your full picture of Blackhawk holsters. They have some of the best leather and kydex holsters on the market, as they as strictly built to support you and your firearm. They work for you and you--the people’s gun holster!
Tulster doesn’t stray very far from the design that they think works best. And, to our and everyone else’s great surprise, that design works fairly well! That’s because that design is specifically made to support many types of firearms. Think of it as a one size fits all kind of thing!
So what is this design, you ask? Well folks, Tulster makes kydex holsters and only kydex holsters. This ain’t a big deal, as kydex material is still a good resource for holster making. It’s well-formed and sturdy, which is perfect for any firearm needing a place to sit and be concealed.
Brave Response only knows how to make two holsters, but by god do they make them well! Their first design is an IWB belly band. Their second design is an appendix holster. Both are simple designs, but their simplicity makes them all the better to buy.
When you think about it, it’s actually a good thing that this brand only makes two styles of holsters. The reason for this is that it narrows down your options much easier. No more scratching your head over which style you want, since both appendix holsters and belly bands are completely different from each other. Therefore, your buying takes far less time!
Uncle Mike knows that money doesn’t grow on trees. So to help you out, he sells all his holsters as according to the needs of people living on a budget. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that the quality of the holster isn’t as great as it could be. But that’s what you get when you shop cheap.
But Uncle Mike sure does know his way around kydex, folks. Do let us mistake you, Uncle Mike’s holsters are still the bomb. They may not be as top-notch as Alien Gear or Crossbreed, but they can hold their own just fine. Don’t believe us? Read the reviews!
Galco Gun Leather:
This brand is a particular favorite of ours, as you already know our preference for leather holsters. Heck, a LOT of people love this brand for that very same reason! Galco is very good at refining and detailing leather and they aren’t about to let you forget it, either. After all, they’re one of the most popular brands out there!
Galco Gun Leather is the king of OWB holsters such as pancakes and paddles. Their quality is top-tier and cannot be contested against by anyone. If there’s any lackluster quality to a Galco holster, it’s most likely some foreign rip-off that’s trying to make an extra dollar. As we say, it ain’t Galco if it’s not good!
There you have it, folks! You now have the ultimate guide to gun holsters right at your fingertips. With this guide, you can go into your shopping with the best idea of where to find the ideal gun holster for you and your pistols. And we’ve narrowed down your options for purchasing for you!
You can buy a gun holster based on what your particular pistol needs, which thankfully most handheld guns can use the same kind of holster. You can buy by how you want to wear the holster, or you can buy according to the material used in the holster. You options will all get you to the same place, friends. And that’s to a happier predicament in which you need a holster.
Why not help that need and grab a gun holster today?
We sure ain’t gonna stop you anytime soon!