Your firearm should be accessible in case of an emergency, but you don’t want anyone else knowing that you have it on your person (concealed carry). This can make things difficult when choosing the best way to carry your gun around town, but luckily there are multiple options available that make concealing your gun easy and comfortable. Here are some of the more popular gun holsters on the market, along with their pros and cons so you can find the one that’s right for you.
Inside the Waistband (IWB)
The most common type of concealed carry holster is an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. They come in many different styles and materials, from leather to Kydex and beyond. The idea behind IWB is that you’ll be able to easily conceal your firearm without printing, keep it secure (it won’t fall out), and be comfortable throughout your daily routine as you wear it. That said, there are a few things you should know about IWB holsters. Some IWB holsters have Kydex or leather that provide a layer of protection between the pistol and your skin. This can be important if you frequently don’t wear an undershirt. There are a multitude of design features, belt attachment methods, and materials. It is critical to find a model that is comfortable to wear all day, you can consistently draw from accurately, and that doesn’t print (show). If it doesn’t work for you, discard it and try another model. There are literally hundreds of IWB holsters on the market but I am partial to the Crossbreed Super Tuck.
Outside the Waistband (OWB)
OWB holsters are positioned on and around your waistband secured by a belt. People frequently wear a vest or jacket for concealment. This is also the type of holster used for “open carry” where the firearm is not concealed. This style holster provides easy access to your weapon. Most OWB holsters have an adjustable retention system that lets you keep control over how tightly or loosely your gun is held in place. Some OWB holsters come with extra features like magazine pouches or knife sheaths so you can carry everything in one place. If you’re looking for a comfortable way to carry your firearm, then an OWB holster might be just what you need. For a classic leather holster, check out the top-notch products manufactured by Galco or DeSantis.
A shoulder holster is a type of holster that is placed over one shoulder, with a strap going diagonally across your body. Shoulder holsters can be worn under or over clothing and they are popular among people who need quick access to their gun. It’s important to note, however, that using a shoulder holster can greatly limit your movement when you carry it on your body. These work really well with a business suit or sportscoat. The Galco Miami is the quintessential shoulder rig!
Many women prefer to carry a small handgun in their purse. Some purses come with internal holsters, which can be very convenient; but if yours doesn’t have a holster built in, don’t worry—there are still plenty of options out there. Another option is a fanny pack or waist pack designed specifically for concealed carry. I would strongly discourage simply dropping a pistol into your handbag due to the risk of negligent discharge (such as a set of car keys jammed in the trigger). One option is to place the pistol in a simple, cheap pocket holster inside the handbag. Better yet, purchase a handbag designed for concealed carry like the ones from Montana West.
An ankle holster is typically worn on your non-dominant ankle, which is your left if you are right-handed and vice versa. These holsters are great as they allow you to carry a gun without having a noticeable bulge in your clothing or an awkward shape. However, they do not work well in all situations and can become uncomfortable if you’re sitting down. An ankle holster also puts weight on your foot and can lead to injuries over time. It is important to choose a good quality ankle holster that fits snugly and comfortably around your leg. It should be able to hold your gun securely while still allowing easy access when needed. Uncle Mike’s is a good budget level choice while the Galco Ankle Glove provides a premium choice.
Of course, there are other holster options as well, such as belly bands, cross-draw, pocket, and deep concealment. However, these are much less popular than the IWB or OWB choices. Ultimately, the primary consideration is which holster is comfortable enough that you will actually wear it.
You will also need a great gun belt. Gun belts are specifically designed to carry the weight of a holster and gun. Some feature two layers of leather or a Kydex insert. The Comp-Tac gun belt is reinforced with Kydex and is excellent. I just picked up the Galco SB6 Fancy Stitched Belt and it is outstanding.
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