The #1 Holster for Concealed Carry?

The #1 Holster for Concealed Carry?
The #1 Holster for Concealed Carry?

Finding a good holster for concealed carry is not an easy task and one that should not be treated lightly. For instance, I know plenty of folks who will spend hours upon hours researching a gun and trying it out at the range, yet they’ll spend 10 minutes picking up a holster for it at the local gun shop.

The fact is, a holster is just as important as the gun, because if you can’t get your gun out of the holster or if your gun falls out of a cheap holster, then it’s not going to do you much good and could even cost you your life.

So what should you look for in a quality holster and what’s the best holster to buy? Well, as I just mentioned, it needs to keep the gun in place. If you turn the holster upside down with the gun in it, does the gun immediately fall out? If so, get a new holster. Also, if you’re running, does it slide all around as if it’s going to pop out at a moments notice? If the gun is sliding all around, get a better holster and also get a gun belt (either 1½ inches or 1¾ inches thick) to keep it in place.

Perhaps, most importantly, you need a holster that provides quick access to the gun. I’m sure you’ve seen the “cell phone” or “pager” type holsters or the holsters built into underwear and other “neat” looking holsters that in my opinion are terrible ideas.

I realize these holsters are fun to market and look cool…

But tactically they are a bad idea all around. If the time ever comes that you have to draw your gun to defend your life, you need that gun as quickly as possible. Two seconds could be the difference between life or death and you don’t want to be fishing around in your underwear or trying to get a grip on some cell phone holster.

If the gimmicky holsters are out the window, then what should you look for? Simply put, if you’re going to carry a concealed firearm, get an inside the waistband holster. You don’t want an outside the waistband holster unless you plan on wearing a winter coat all year round. You don’t want a shoulder holster because they’re too slow on the draw and you’ll end up muzzling yourself and everyone near you. And you definitely don’t want an ankle holster, unless it’s for a backup gun. If you use an ankle holster for your primary weapon, you’ll likely be dead by the time you bend over and try to draw the gun.

So if the best type of holster is an inside the waistband, which one should you get?

I’m a fan of the leather holsters with a reinforced mouth. It is extremely important that any holster you purchase is reinforced at the top to allow one handed re-holstering. If you have to use two hands to re-holster then you’ll end up taking your eyes off the threat and that’s a situation you don’t want to be in.

My two favorite inside the waistband leather holsters with reinforced mouths are the DL Clipper and the Milt Sparks Summer Special. Neither of them is cheap and they’ll cost you around $80-$90, but its well worth the price. Just like you don’t ever want to be cheap with a gun, you never want to be cheap with a holster since you might be betting your life on this equipment one day.

The holster that I personally use is the DL Clipper because it felt a little better and I felt I could get a better firing grip on the gun. However, before you go out and purchase this holster or the Milt Sparks Summer Special, make sure and find out the company’s return policy that you buy it from.

You could spend a small fortune trying to find the perfect holster, so make sure you can return a holster within 30 days if you don’t like it and get all of your money back. If a company says they don’t allow returns, move on to someone else because most of them do.

So right now, if you’re staring at your box full of 10 million holsters that you don’t like (and you still don’t like the one you’ve got on now) try out one of the holsters above and I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And for heaven’s sake stop using the “gimmicky” holsters that are going to get you killed one day.

Photo Credit: The Hickman Group

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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How does one do concealed carry when wearing suspenders, rather than a belt, for medical reasons and working in an professional office setting where no coat, sweater or other similar over-garment is ever worn?  The author refers to “trick holsters”, but isn’t one man’s trick holster another man’s last resort holster? 

How can you do concealed IWB carry with only a shirt and no belt?  You might say, put it under the shirt, but dress shirts have l-o-n-g tails.  Pulling up the tail of a dress shirt would take longer than accessing one of those trick holsters, seems to me.  And the weight of even a .380 can really tug your pants down when you’re not using a belt. 

My question isn’t just rhetorical.  I’m facing that very question while waiting for my new Sig P238 to get shipped.  I chose a .380 because a larger pistol would further aggravate the problem.  I’ll carry in a wallet holster or a SmartCarry holster if nobody has a better idea, but neither approach really appeals to me much.

Bayou Castine

Check out the “SmartCarry”, I live in South Louisiana and I’ve used one for 2 years as an alternative to my High Noon IWB and like it.  The “SmartCarry” system is sometimes called the “Belly Band”.  It fitts over your underware and under your trowsers/shorts.  The ONLY thing I don’t like is that the holster opening is NOT reinforced and it is difficult to reholster.  However, if neccessary to ‘reholster’ to hide it I tuck my HK P30 in the small of my back or in a pocket. “SmartCarry” works for me.


Good information, but delivered in a somewhat simplistic manner. For example, I just tried turning my Sparks upside down and my Frank Paris Special 1911 fell right out. But with the additional support of the belt etc., it, of course, stayed in place. That wasn’t mentioned. 

I’ve had this Sparks for twenty years and it’s been great all during this time. ‘Sliding around’ just doesn’t happen. But I got it in the first place because the clip on I was using stayed on the gun one time. If it had been an emergency draw, that might have killed me.

A retaining strap will keep a gun from falling out, but can also get you killed

The article left too many stones unturned



The tone of the article is authoritative, but certainly is opinion. Almost everyone has one, just like navels.  When a writer says “you don’t want a…” the warning buzzer goes off for me, especially when the writer is endorsing two different makers of IWB’s. Sorry Jason, I live in Florida, and I carry OWB, without bulges or printing, and I am trained to uncover, draw and fire two rounds to the center mass and one to the oculo-cranial area, in 1.5 seconds or better, at reasonably utilitarian distances. “You don’t want” a winter coat in Florida!! 


Too bad you didn’t mention the Crossbreed Holsters SuperTuck Deluxe, since it is better than all the ones you mentioned and is significantly cheaper, not to mention Crossbreed Holsters offers the best lifetime warranty and customer service.


I open carry every opportunity for the quickness of the draw, the deterrent, and how more comfortable it is compared to carrying concealed. When I have to carry conceal, I do it with a Desantis Pocket holster for my little Kel-Tec P3AT and a Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe for my Glock 36

Class VI

In my humble opinion as a former LE. You forgot to mention the importance of a good quality belt.
I was wearing those cheap JC Penny belts made from who knows what. Then I tried a DiSantis belt and WOW what a difference.
A good belt make a cheap holster good and a good holster great.
I wear an Alessi Holster and I love it.


While the article was well-written, I have to agree that this was an opinion piece.  The writer obviously likes IWB holsters, and I don’t,  That does not make either of us wrong, but we each have our own preferences.  Wouldn’t the world be a dreary place if we all liked the exact same thing?  Imagine what it would be like if there was one carmaker, one cereal producer, one bakery, etc..For myslef, I wear a Blackhawk Serpa holster, and am very satisfied with it,  It is quick, and the positive retention device indexes the finger alongside the slide when I draw.  I live in Washington state, and sometimes carry concealed and sometimes open.  I have confience that should i need it, my weapon is ready to go.


I carry a comp-tac holster, I looked at the crossbred but felt the comp-tac minotaur was built better. I carry a compact tactical XD 45 and it leaves no imprint at all and is comfortable. I have posted a pic.. give it a try.

Duane Owen NRA Certified Firearms Instructor Herndon VA


While reading this article I thought it seemed the author was well versed in concealed carry. My opinion changed when I read,  “It is extremely important that any holster you purchase is reinforced at
the top to allow one handed re-holstering. If you have to use two hands
to re-holster then you’ll end up taking your eyes off the threat and
that’s a situation you don’t want to be in.” In what situation would you be holstering your weapon while there is still a threat?
At that point I stopped reading.

Bill King


Why is it
that “experts” have such rigid ideas? It amazes me that the
“expert” thinks that the gun/holster they use is perfect and exactly
what everyone else should wear.

Yes, spend
some time making an informed decision.

Yes, be
prepared to spend 80-100 dollars.

Yes, buy a
gun belt.

BELT HOLSTER. I live in Phoenix AZ. I have often gone out in July August with a
belt holster. Surprisingly I did not wear a winter jacket. An aloha or short
sleeve Dickies style shirt conceals a belt holster well on many people.

SHOULDER HOLSTER. The above mentioned shirts hide them well. With the proper
training, adherence to the 4 rules and PRACTICE, they are not slow and you will
not cover people during the draw.

ANKLE HOLSTER. Some clothing doesn’t drape properly for carrying concealed.
This leaves you with pocket holsters and ankle holsters. Once again, training
and practice turns this int a good method of carry.

I have
carried a gun in excess of 20 years. I have taken a lot of professional training.
I work in the gun industry for a holster maker. I grudgingly acknowledge that I
to am one of the “experts”.

Here is my
expert advice. Wear what is comfortable and conceals well for you. Buy a
QUALITY belt and holster, don’t be cheap. Develop a holster wardrobe. Holsters
are like shoes, different situations call for different methods of carry.


well ,, what a biased article!! only inside the waist band?? unless jacketed??  80-90 dollars on average, only waist band type holsters?? well i really feel what ever holster properly fits your body , is comfortable and allows you to carry  securely and in confidence ,is the type and placement of a good quality holster should be, unfortunately buying several different styles may be necessay to find which holster is best for you, so buy cheap ones to do a wear test, if you like how it feels and where it sets comfortably, then replace it with a nice quality one, after trying several varities , i found i liked  a fobus paddle, for outside wear, like under 20 bucks and a cross breed for in side wear like under 60 dollars,, i wear a s&w ~m&p c in 40 cal and also like my taurus ultra lite, 38,revolver ,also a holster of mention has to be  bianchi”s  accu mold series, well built,reasonably priced and easly cared for…. thanx and good luck!!! PFFLYER   


N82 tactical professional holster…enough said

Doug Earl

I have an Alien Gear Cloak IWB and love it. Comfortable and holds guns well. Also it’s adjustable to fit your preference for how you carry.

Richard Dunckel

I own an alien gear Tuckable iwb absolutely love it. Very comfortable don’t even know I’m wearing it at times

Some Rabbit

I was never a fan of Kydex IWB holsters until I got one. Light, thin and rigid enough to stay open (unlike leather). And the gun is retained by a positive grip on the trigger guard, so there is no wear on the gun’s finish. You can hear it click into place.