As a concealed carry instructor, a lot of students ask me what I think is the best concealed carry holster. The answer really isn’t as simple as you might think.
There are a number of viable carry styles and there are holsters specifically designed to accommodate each.
In this guide, I’ll cover the different types holsters, explain the pros and cons of each, then recommend a few of my favorite holsters in each category, so you can find the best holster for you.
For most people just starting to conceal carry, I recommend an inside the waist band holster (IWB holster). They are great for medium to large size handguns. For those of you planning to carry smaller handguns, outside the waist band holsters (OWB holsters) are a great option as well.
I’m going to place a quick navigation menu below for those of you that want to jump right into the holster reviews. If you want to learn more about each type of holster, I will include a guide explaining each directly below the navigation menu.
Quick Navigation: Here Are the best concealed carry holsters of 2019.
- Types of Concealed Carry Holsters
- List of the Best Concealed Carry Holsters in 2020
- 1. Bravo Concealment Torsion (IWB)
- 2. Clinger Holster Comfort Cling (IWB)
- 3. NSR C4 (IWB)
- 4. CYA Supply (IWB) – Best Value
- 5. Phalanx Defense Stealth Operator (OWB)
- 6. Bravo Concealment BCA (OWB)
- 7. Alien Gear Cloak Mod (OWB)
- 8. Gould and Goodrich Gold Line (Shoulder Holster)
- 9. Desantis Nemesis (Pocket Holster)
- 10. The Galco Ankle Glove (Ankle Holster)
Types of Concealed Carry Holsters
If you’re new to concealed carrying it can be really confusing when shopping for holsters. You’ll see a ton of acronyms thrown around like IWB, OWB, Appendix, etc. What do all of these Tacticool acronyms mean? We will cover that in this section!
Inside the Waistband Carry (Best for Concealment)
Inside the Waistband of IWB carry is a great way to carry a gun when it comes to maximizing concealment. The weapon sits between your pants and belt and your body. This means the majority of the gun is hidden inside your pants, making it easy to conceal both small and large guns. IWB carry allows you to carry the firearm in multiple positions, including on the strong side or as an appendix holster.
IWB requires good holsters to be comfortable. You can probably imagine sticking a gun down your pants can be uncomfortable. Those things poke and prod like nobody’s business. A quality holster will make IWB carry significantly more comfortable. IWB does allow for a quick draw and easy concealment at the cost of comfort and possibly needing a size up in your jeans.
That inch of width the gun occupies can be uncomfortable without proper fitting pants. IWB most certainly requires a belt, and you should get a sturdy belt to support the weapon and keep it in place. Inside the waistband is an excellent means to carry a gun for smaller framed people who OWB may create a large bump on. It’s also easier to avoid printing and accidental firearm exposure.
- Easy to conceal
- Reduced printing
- Fast to draw
- Some find it uncomfortable
Outside the Waistband Carry
Outside the waistband, or OWB is one of the most popular forms of concealed carry. As the name suggests the holster and gun ride on the belt outside the waistband. This is a very comfortable form of carry and a wide variety of holsters are available for OWB carry. OWB is the choice of armed professional’s worldwide, so it is essential to distinguish between holsters made for duty and holsters made to be concealed. Get yourself a nice OWB holster, hide that sucker with a long shirt, and you’ll be lock and loaded for any situations that arise.
OWB concealed carry holsters are designed to be held tight to the body to aid in concealment. The famous pancake design tries to flatten the gun against the body, making it easy to conceal with nothing more than a t-shirt. They rarely have retention devices and can be made from nylon, leather and/or Kydex.
OWB holsters offer two significant advantages; they are fast to draw from and comfortable to carry in most positions. There is nothing to get in the way of your draw so it offers uncompromised access to your firepower when you need it the most. Speaking of comfort, they keep the gun from poking prodding and doing other unfun things!
- Quick to draw from
- Comfortable for daily wear
- Large Selection of options available.
- Harder to conceal
Shoulder Carry Holsters
Shoulder holsters are holster solutions that loop around both arms and position the gun under your armpit. High-quality modern shoulder holsters are mostly made of leather, and these are the standard-bearers for shoulder holsters. A shoulder holster is an excellent choice for road trips, or if you generally sit for long periods of time. Besides being more comfortable than a waist holster, a shoulder holster is more comfortable to draw from while seated. No fumbling around and wrestling the seat belt to exercise your 2nd amendment!
Shoulder holsters also allow you to carry a full-sized pistol with greater ease and comfort than most other styles of carry. Most shoulder holsters will provide a secondary location for additional magazines and tacticool goodies.
The only real downside to shoulder holsters is the fact that you must wear a button-down shirt or jacket of some kind to successfully conceal your firearms. In some geographical locations, this may be too hot to do during large portions of the year.
- Comfortable while seated
- Easy to carry full-size guns
- Easy to carry additional ammunition
- Requires a larger cover garment
- Quality models can be expensive
Pocket carry is a simple and effective way to carry a gun when convenience and concealment is the goal. Some clothes make carrying a firearm hard to do on the waistband, so pocket carry is a viable alternative. You still need a holster for pocket carry due to safety reasons and reliability reasons as well as to protect that new cerakote job from your keys and other pocket goodies! A pocket holster makes it easier to draw the gun, conceals the hammer to avoid accidental discharge.
Pocket holsters should also remain firmly inside the pocket when you draw your gun, or else you’ll be fumbling around with a holster flying out of your pocket going in some direction you probably you won’t like. This means you need a purpose-built holster made by a competent company. Pocket carry does limit you to small guns, but a little gun is much better than no gun at all.
- Easy to carry
- Easy to conceal
- Limits you in gun size
Ankle Carry is a very niche category for conceal carrying a gun. Ankle carry is very tricky, but also commonly used for carrying a backup weapon. Ankle carry is convenient and comfortable when driving or sitting for extended periods, but it’s far from optimum daily carry. It’s hard to reach, restricts you to a small gun, and if you step in a puddle, your weapon is exposed to whatever is in that puddle. Ankle carry can work, and for it to work, you have to have a good holster for it.
- Very well concealed
- Comfortable for sitting positions
- Hard to reach when standing
- Restricted to a smaller gun
- Easily exposed to the elements
Understanding Holster Materials
After you’ve selected the style of holster you’d like to carry with, there are several other things you must consider before you pull the trigger and buy a holster.
Quality holsters are typically found in one of the four main categories of materials: Leather, Kydex, Nylon, or Synthetic. Some holsters can be also be found in a hybrid variant of a combination of the materials listed. It may be a difficult choice for newcomers but before we get started, you must understand that each material has its advantages and disadvantages.
Leather is the ye old tried and true classic material that’s been used to holster guns since guns could be holstered (think cowboys in the wild wild west). High-quality leather holsters are still produced by companies like Galco, Desantis, and a number of smaller manufacturers. Leather is showing its age when compared to strong and more rigid materials like Kydex. Leather holsters tend to be a little softer for concealed carry inside the waistband and are the go-to material for high-quality shoulder holsters, although leather is in just about every type of holster on the market today.
Leather is the old method, however, don’t discount this oldy but goody. Leather holsters have the ability to mold and stay relatively stable with that mold. This means after wearing a new leather holster for a lengthy period of time, the leather will adjust to fit your body and the firearm it encompasses, making it ideal for people who don’t seem to ever fit into standard sizes.
This, of course, comes with a cost. Leather holsters will require a break-in period to fit just right and may be incredibly annoying when not broken in properly, however, a proper break-in will result in top quality personalized comfort and usability. Many firearm enthusiasts live and die by leather due to this very reason. They’ll wear that holster until it turns to dust because the fit it succumbs to is impossible to recreate in other materials.
Speaking of leather turning to dust, you have to live a long time to ever see that happen as leather has incredible longevity. It’s incredibly durable, one of the most durable types of holsters you’ll find. The only downfall here is that they may dry out and crack, especially left in direct sunlight and harsh levels of humidity for long periods of time. Leather holsters are also silent. With other types of materials, you may hear the firearm as it slides in and out and you may even hear the click of their release mechanisms, but you won’t ever hear much, if anything at all, from a trusty old leather holster.
Pro tip: Specifically for holsters that are in close proximity to your skin, ensure there is some type of cloth material wicking the sweat away from your holster. This will greatly increase the life of the holster and help maintain its form. Salt found in sweat is the ultimate kryptonite to leather and will degrade the holster quickly.
As a second pro tip building off of the first, if your leather holster becomes water (or sweat) logged, it’ll stay that way for a very long time. If you store your beloved pew pews in a waterlogged holster, your firearms will be susceptible to rust. In short, if you choose a leather holster, make sure you keep that sucker nice and dry!
Kydex / Synthetic
Kydex is the most current and modern holster material that is commonly used by military and law enforcement. It is essentially constructed of rugged and durable polymer solutions that can be heated and molded to a gun’s specific shape. Its water, scratch, and tear-proof. It doesn’t sag or collapse, and it doesn’t break easily. They’re sweat and water-resistant for the most part and won’t likely incur degradation from the sun and humidity nearly as much as their leather and nylon counterparts.
Most modern holsters are being made from Kydex for a reason, it works. They’re tough and they are easily made custom to just about any firearm you could ever own. Kydex holsters tend to also be among the favorites in the world of tacticool and customization. So long as you aren’t into cowboy cosplay, Kydex holsters fit in well with a myriad of uniforms and outfits and can be painted and/or modified to fit your personal style. I’ve seen a lot of people even deck out their holsters with the logos of their favorite firearm brands or attempt to color match their custom firearm paint jobs.
Pro tip: Kydex holsters do not hold or maintain moisture, making these among the best holsters for prolonged holstered storage. This means you can leave your pistol safely tucked inside even if the holster was on your body when you were sweating and you won’t have to worry about your firearm rusting! This also gives Kydex holsters a large advantage when it comes to IWB (inside the waistband) configurations as your sweat will never damage your holster or its goodies inside.
Nylon and Similar Materials
Nylon and similar materials to nylon largely play a budget role in today’s industry. These are typically your mass-produced budget option holsters that are widely available and lowly priced. Although plentiful in versatility, I would never suggest any kind of universal nylon holster for any carry outside of airsoft.
With that said, if you can find a well-constructed nylon holster that is designed for your specific firearm in a carry configuration that you enjoy, these may be a great solution for you and your bank account! Especially if you only carry seldomly, nylon holsters are still a viable option and are enjoyed by many.
Nylon is that awkward middle child that isn’t as good as his older sister at playing guitar and isn’t as athletic as his younger brother in football, although he does attempt both. Nylon offers a durability level that’s a little difficult to describe. It’s certainly more water and sweat resistant than leather but it’s not nearly as durable as a Kydex. Nylon has a tendency to come unwoven after a long period of usage and results in it fraying and falling apart. On the flip side, nylon is also very soft and nice for your firearm to slide in and out of and just like leather, it’s pretty much silent.
Pro tip: Pro’s don’t use nylon, but you still can if you so choose to do so. Some people really like the fact that nylon is cheap and they don’t mind buying a new one every so often.
Hybrid holsters are most commonly used for IWB (inside the waistband) carry and consist of a merger between two of the aforementioned materials. Typically, hybrid holsters attempt at offering superior protection from the outside world while maintaining a relatively comfortable configuration for the user. The best of both worlds? Maybe.
They are constructed in three pieces: Backpad, reinforcement layer, and outer shell.
The back pad is the piece that’ll be snuggling up with you, so it makes sense that the softest part is in contact with your body. This generally consists of leather or a similar soft material such as neoprene.
The reinforcement layer is typically constructed of spring steel (steel that is bendable but retains its shape) or ABS plastic. This layer acts as a buffer for the two main pieces and allows the holster to bend with your body during movement while reverting back to its original shape after you’re done with whatever weird bendy things you’re into.
The outer shell usually consists of something like Kydex or a hard polymer which acts as the primary protective barrier between the harsh elements and your trusty hand cannons.
Hybrids also tend to be more expensive and more limited in which models they are manufactured for. If you have a highly popular firearm, you should have no problem finding one, but if you have some custom doohickey, you may have to custom order one.
Pro tip: Hybrid holsters are among the best in performance for firearm retention, which is discussed later in this article.
Functions, Features, and Terminology
Retention: in reference to holsters is the mechanism in which the holster keeps the gun from falling out. There are two main retention methods; active and passive retention.
Active retention means action must be taken to defeat the retention device. This can be pushing a button, slide a lock downward, or unsnapping a button. On most law enforcement you’ll find active retention mechanisms to prevent the bad guys from whipping out the officer’s own firearm and using it against him. With active retention, it’s much more difficult for someone to gun jack you!
Passive retention means the retention is overcome by simply yanking that bad boy out of its hiding place and drawing the firearm. This style or retention is most commonly produced from either the design of the holster or the way the holster is used. Passive retention is meant for you daredevils that like to live on the edge and have firepower always at the ready. No straps, no buttons, no special slides. Just pull and pew!
For concealed carry, I personally prefer passive retention when carrying on the belt. Active retention is better suited for duty use as a cop or soldier or in situations where you must undergo strenuous activity such as jumping, crawling, etc. Some concealed carry holster designs do require retention devices, for example, shoulder carry required a retention device, as does ankle carry.
It would be utterly irresponsible of me not to discuss safety regarding holsters. Safety is the absolute number one in anything related to firearms and holsters are most certainly not an exception. There are a number of things that can go wrong with carrying a firearm. It’s not always as fun and tacticool to carry as many people think. If you do plan to concealed carry you must accept the tradeoffs that come with it and train until you are very comfortable operating your firearm. Accidental discharges, gun jackings, loss of firearms, etc can and do happen all the time. Most of the time is because the person carrying didn’t take the time to train or made a careless mistake. Don’t let that be you!
Why Invest in a Quality Holster?
First and foremost, I think it’s quite obvious that cheap and flimsy holsters come with more than a discounted price tag. They come with security shortfalls, fear, and damage to your firearms. Spending the extra money on a holster that will, without a doubt, keep your firepower in its place until needed is always recommended so please, do not elect to cheap out on a holster, especially if you plan on carrying in public. A good holster will last decades if taken care of properly, so don’t be afraid to make a long-term investment on a high-end holster.
Secondly, when choosing your holster, double triple quadruple check that it will fit your specific model of firearm. Make sure that it fits the trim and every extra piece you customize or add on as well. Firearms can be confusing and holster manufacturers aren’t always as descriptive and specific as we would like them to be. If you’ve found a holster that you absolutely love but you don’t know if it fits, you can always call the manufacturer and simply ask. If the fit isn’t perfect, the holster won’t work for you. Keep looking.
I mentioned gun jackings and loss of firearms earlier, but I’d like to discuss this briefly. A holster that allows your firearm to easily slip out of its hold is a holster that may cost a life. Of course, guns hitting the floor doesn’t always result in accidental discharge like Hollywood may have you believe, however, there’s absolutely no reason to take this type of risk. To add to this, your holster should provide some level of security from other people, ensuring it doesn’t snag on there fingers or worse, intentionally be grasped by their fingers.
Holsters will fit everyone differently and will likely vary in the experience it offers. A holster should be comfortable but sturdy and offer you quick, uninterrupted access to your firearm should you be in need of its services. Quickness and accessibility should be at the forefront of your purchasing decision. If you can’t draw your firearm because your holster is all jammed up or crammed somewhere it doesn’t belong, your firearm isn’t going to do you much good. Should you be in a situation that requires you to draw a weapon, every second counts, so don’t mess around with a holster that you are unable to draw from efficiently. You should practice drawing correctly when you get a new holster and if things don’t work out, try a different holster!
As a final safety note, you should be carrying your firearm for one reason and one reason only. Safety of yourself and those around you. That’s it. You aren’t carrying to show off your piece. You aren’t carrying to scare other people. You aren’t carrying to show people how manly you are. You are carrying because it is your right to protect yourself. Please do all of us a favor and carry responsibly. Having a holster that sucks is not carrying responsibly, so make good purchasing decisions!
The truth is, carrying a firearm on your body is never truly going to be comfortable. Of course, most of us dismiss the uncomfortable metal objects protruding from our waist and into our beer bellies when we sit down by drowning those feelings out with how tacticool and/or protected we are when packing heat. With this said, however, all good things must come to an end and after a while, those feelings wear off and you’ll join us back in reality.
Just like a fancy watch or a new sports car, it becomes less exciting. The exhilaration wears off and we trade it in for a comfortable sedan or SUV. That’s kind of how I see most entry-level holsters go down. People buy them because they look cool or they have fancy features but after the aura wears off, they begin desperately searching for a more comfortable solution.
List of the Best Concealed Carry Holsters in 2020
My IWB Picks
1. Bravo Concealment Torsion (IWB)
My Review: You’ll see Bravo Concealment holsters on the list multiple times, and for a good reason. They make holsters that work. The Torsion is an IWB holster that functions as both a strongside or appendix carry design. It comes in standard and light-bearing designs. The Torsion IWB is custom molded for a wide variety of guns and lights with the ability to customize it to a tuckable design. The holster uses two clips and removing the smaller clip leaves the weapon with a single clip to make it tuckable.
The Torsion IWB holster made to make concealing full sized guns in an IWB position possible and comfortable. The Torsion’s design gives an internal fit that almost mimics the classic OWB pancake. It tugs the firearm and holster a little closer to the body, but at an angle that still makes the gun easy to draw. If the grip was held too tight to the body getting your hand around your weapon would be a significant hassle.
I used the Torsion quite a bit during the summer when I want my gun to drop out of sight and to only wear the minimal clothes necessary to conceal it. A pair of shorts and a light t-shirt made it possible for me to hide a Glock 17 equipped with a miniature red dot with ease. It’s a very comfortable holster that supports the weight of a full sized gun. It’s one of my personal favorite IWB holsters.
Drawing from the Torsion can be quite rapid, and with enough practice, I can almost match my OWB in both speed and comfort. The Torsion holster is an impressive concealment option and one that will stand up to the rigors of day to day carry. When it comes to maximizing concealment and reducing draw time the Torsion is my IWB holster of choice.
2. Clinger Holster Comfort Cling (IWB)
My Review: This is one of the few non-leather and non-Kydex holsters I like for waist carry. The Clinger Holsters Comfort Cling honestly had me skeptical when I first received it and thought there was no way a holster without a clip would be a good IWB rig. Boy was I wrong. I found the Comfort Cling to be extremely comfortable, easy to carry, and easy to conceal. It does work best for smaller guns, and my Walther PPS disappears into it and into my waistband. It’s made from an ultra-soft neoprene material that doesn’t rub or chafe and is quite cool concerning temperature.
You’ll naturally sweat a little extra where the gun sits, and that’s okay because the material doesn’t absorb the sweat and the holster encases the gun so it’s well protected from the sweat. I was shocked at how just friction could carry the weapon and keep it in place all day every day. It works, and it does remain comfortable throughout the day. The design makes it easy to take off and on convenient to store when not carried. I know a lot of folks hate IWB because leather and Kydex rubs them the wrong way, and they think hybrid designs are too bulky. The Comfort Cling may be the solution to their problem.
It’ superbly comfortable, easy to carry and does stay in place. I recommend a belt when carrying this kind of holster to ensure the friction is at its max. The downside is the fact that once you draw your gun, the holster collapses. This makes it nearly impossible to reholster. The good news is you can remove the holster, put the gun back in, and then re-secure it inside your waistband. The Comfort Cling is a good choice if you want the concealment of IWB with maximized comfort.
3. NSR C4 (IWB)
My Review: The NSR C4 represents everything good about appendix carry. Its lightweight, thin, compact and trimmed the fat down to a small and compact package. The NSR C4 is an appendix design that does offer a light bearing model on top of the standard model. I’m a very picky guy when it comes to holsters. One small discomfort sends me running to the hills for a new holster, and on top of that, I don’t like appendix carry in general. However, the NSR C4 surprised me. Its thin nature means it doesn’t look like I’m having to see you all the time, the low and rounded cuts keep things from poking me. It was also very supportive of my Glock 17 and had an option for a red dot cut. I like my red dot equipped pistols so when I grabbed one of these I knew what I wanted.
The NSR C4 makes it easy to conceal a big gun like the Glock 17. This isn’t just a piece of plastic you shove down your pants and get on with your day. The C4 is equipped with two pull the snap belt loops that wrap around the belt. The use of two pull the dot snaps is a great idea for security, but additionally, this allows NSR to add an adjustable cant feature. This will enable it to fit different bodies better, which is a big issue I typically have with appendix holster, they don’t fit me just right. The adjustable cant allows me to adjust the cant to keep the gun from digging into me.
You can also adjust the retention of the holster to as lose or as tight as you want it to be. I prefer slightly looser retention for a more natural draw, but maybe you want to tighten that gun down. That’s up to you with the C4. Drawing from the C4 holster is rapid and extremely fast for most shooters, and this is a significant advantage of appendix carry. Getting the gun from holster to on target is fast, as quick, if not faster than my beloved OWB carry.
The NSR C4 is one of my favorite appendix carry holsters, but it can be moved for strong side carry as well. It does work best as an appendix carry design so keep that in mind.
4. CYA Supply (IWB) – Best Value
My review: CYA is a top rated under the radar holster manufacturer that truly doesn’t get the praise it deserves. The CYA company is owned by a veteran who had years of experience using frustrating and lackluster designed holsters. Immediately after getting your CYA holster you’ll notice it has similar characteristics to those coveted “custom designed” holsters that you’d find out of the garage of true firearm enthusiasts. They have everything you want somehow compacted into a slim and easy to wear configuration.
Kydex holsters from CYA come in five different color options and use a single 1.5” stainless steel belt clip design that sits seemingly loose on the belt but still manages to provide a firm grasp when drawing. Retention pressure is easily adjusted and the angle of carry has a range of roughly 15 degrees. This adjustability offers a great deal of comfort not found in more rigid holsters and really speaks to the build quality CYA offers. I’ve always felt that no matter how I am sitting or walking that the CYA holster is firmly in place without firmly stabbing my organs. The Posi-Click lock system also gives off a distinct snap sound that I actually really enjoy.
All in all, the CYA Kydex holsters are incredibly strong and very versatile while still maintaining excellent value. Considering their price tag, these holsters are a definite go to for a first time Kydex buyer. If you need another reason to buy one, the company is owned by a former Marine who hires veterans!
My OWB picks
5. Phalanx Defense Stealth Operator (OWB)
My review: Phalanx Defense is a small company doing big things. They’ve revolutionized body armor, carriers, helmets and more. One of their smaller projects has been one of their more successful in the form of the Stealth operator Holster system. Now that the term Operator has been played out in both the media and gun community the name is a bit dated, but the holsters aren’t.
The Phalanx Defense Holster system is truly exciting and one of the few times that the universal rule of universal holsters suck isn’t true is with the Phalanx Defense holster. This is a Kydex holster that is somewhat universal. It accommodates over 150 guns, with all of them being automatics. It works with most Glocks, polymer frame CZs, most Walthers and many more. It’s the only holster I’ve ever seen that can accommodate both a CZ P09 and a Walther PPS without modification.
They produce the holster both an OWB and an IWB design in both full size and compact models. The Phalanx Defense Stealth operator is also a very well made holster and I own four different designs in both IWB and OWB configurations. The oldest one I have is three years old, and it has had zero issues, even when used for daily carry. Even the OWB design is made for concealed carry. It clings tight to the body and conceals easily, even with a full sized gun, under a simple T-Shirt.
I live in Florida, so a T-shirt is worn for 90% of the year. The design uses passive retention and has a nice click every time you holster the gun. The full sized model has a full-sized sweat guard that protects you from the gun and the gun form you. Ultimately this is an extremely comfortable OWB design that’s perfect for the guy who likes to carry a variety of firearms. The Phalanx Defense holster is a well-made design that’s affordable and comfortable. It’s simple, but it works, and you can’t hate something that works.
6. Bravo Concealment BCA (OWB)
My review: What’s the point of having a Glock if I don’t trick it out? Furthermore, what’s the point of a tricked out Glock if I can’t carry it? Bravo Concealment opens a lot of doors for Glock owners, as well as multiple other companies. They produce this holster for more than a dozen different guns, and my personal model is used for my Glock Gen 4 MOS. If you don’t know that model is cut to accommodate an optic and some holster are not cut low enough to do so.
The Bravo Concealment BCA OWB holster is cut to accommodate an optic, as well as a threaded barrel. They also have models designed to house weapons with lights. Outside of just letting carry an optic’s enhanced Glock the Bravo Concealment OWB holsters are fantastic. Bravo Concealment has a long history of producing outstanding holsters made from the latest and greatest in materials.
The Bravo Concealment BCA OWB model is made from Kydex and is designed to fit snug against the body to aid in concealment. At the same time, the holster has a slight forward cant that makes it even easier to conceal. Bravo Concealment rounds all the edges of their holster to reduce any poking and prodding while carrying it concealed. The BCA OWB holster uses adjustable belt loops to allow the holster to ride lower or higher depending on your options.
The comfort level is off the charts. The key to comfortable concealed carry is a combination of both a good belt and a good holster. The BCA OWB is that good holster, and it supports my Glock 17 with a Streamlight TLR-1 and Burris Fastfire 3 brilliantly. It’s supportive, comfortable and easy to holster and draw from.
The design has a positive locking retention that is passive in nature. The retention clicks in place right at the trigger guard, or around the light. The gun stays in place and doesn’t shift, move, or jump around. The Bravo Company holster is the design I used while shooting the Collateral drill, which you can see here.
7. Alien Gear Cloak Mod (OWB)
My review: The Alien Gear Cloak Mod holster was the first purpose-built OWB holster from Alien Gear. They’ve experimented with OWB holsters before, but this was their first built from the ground up OWB holster. The Cloak Mod can be either a paddle or belt holster. Some folks won’t like the paddle, and I’d agree if this were a duty holster. Paddle holsters are excellent for concealed carry though.
With a paddle holster, you can work around your belt and belt loops will ease and position the holster exactly where you want it. That being said I’m a creature of habit and like my belt loops. You aren’t stuck with one option or another, and you can swap between the paddle and the belt loop. The Alien Gear Cloak Mod holster is a passive retention holster that can be tightened down to an extreme degree, which makes it perfect for guaranteed retention. The holster is super strong, and Alien Gear does a number when it comes to testing these holsters. The spring flex plate is incredibly strong and made from steel.
The holster is held tight to the body and is easy to conceal. I use it to carry my massive CZ P09 concealed, and it conceals well. The open top design makes it easy to draw the gun and quick to reholster. The gun is held tight to the body to help concealment, but far enough from the body to avoid the weapon contacting the skin and absorbing sweat or causing chafing.
Outside of concealment, the Cloak mod has a docking system that allows you to remove the holster and stash it somewhere safe and hidden. This could be under a desk, in your car, or wherever you can attach the dock. It’s a neat system that makes it convenient to store the gun and holster. The Cloak Mod is also a very affordable option from a reputable manufacturer.
Shoulder Holster Picks (OWB)
8. Gould and Goodrich Gold Line (Shoulder Holster)
My review: Gould and Goodrich is a company that isn’t as well-known as they should be. Call them the underdogs in holster accessories if you will. In all fairness, if you’ve been around guns for a few years you know they make some of the most beautiful leather goods on the market. They do more than just holsters and produce duty gear commonly used by uniform law enforcement. Outside of duty gear, they do make many excellent concealed carry holsters, one being the Gould and Goodrich Gold Line Shoulder holster. The Gold Line is a high-quality leather shoulder holster for a wide variety of different guns.
The Gold Line comes in left and right-handed configurations and features a holster and a double magazine pouch on the opposite side. The Gold Line is made from beautiful leather and is buffed and shined for a nice glossy look. Part of leather is just how good it looks, and the Gold Line does its job in looking great. It doesn’t just look good but is an incredibly comfortable holster overall. The Gold Line has very wide shoulder straps that help mitigate the weapon’s weight and avoid having the straps dig into you.
The Gold Line uses a simple leather thumb snap to keep the weapon in place and is easy to defeat when drawing the gun. As soon as you grip the gun, you can use your thumb to beat the strap effortlessly. The Gold Line Shoulder holster is an excellent setup and one that is well designed for both fashion and function.
Pocket Carry Holster Picks
9. Desantis Nemesis (Pocket Holster)
My review: The Desantis Nemesis is the standard for pocket holsters, and their famed Nemesis series covers just about each and every weapon you could conceal when it comes to pocket carry. Pocket Carry is tricky, but the Nemesis makes it work. The outside of the holster is textured, and the holster sports a wing. Both this texture and the wing keep the holster in the pocket when the gun is drawn. The Nemesis is also padded and keeps the gun from rubbing through either side of your pants.
The holster also angles the gun in your pocket to make it easy to draw and easy to holster. The Nemesis lines up everything perfectly for a safe, quick, and easy drawing gun. The Nemesis even comes in two distinct models. The first is your standard pocket holster that fits into the front pocket. They also produce a cargo pocket holster that is much wider and features an enlarged wing that will also provide a spare magazine. Additionally, Desantis produces something known as the Mag-Pack, which is a Desantis Nemesis that is adapted to fit just a spare magazine in your pocket.
The Desantis Nemesis is an outstanding holster and its one designed for day to day carry. I’ve used one for years without issue, and it just seems to work.
Ankle Holster Picks
10. The Galco Ankle Glove (Ankle Holster)
My review: Galco is a well-known company that produces a wide variety of holsters. They also create one of the only ankle holsters I’ve ever found comfortable, secure, and durable. The Galco Ankle Glove uses a formed leather holster to fit and accommodate your gun. Galco is well known for producing some fantastic leather holsters, and the Ankle Glove is no different. The Galco Ankle Glove wraps around the ankle with a large neoprene wrap.
This large wrap is comfortable across the ankle and supports the weapon. Its an excellent compromise between comfort and support. The holster itself has a leather thumb snap that is easy to undo and quite secure for carry. The Galco Ankle Glove comes with an optional calf support strap that helps even more with comfort. The Galco Ankle Glove is an excellent solution to a niche form of carrying.
A gun, a holster, and proper training and mindset are the keys to successfully carrying a weapon concealed. Each is just as critical as the other, and without one the rest fall apart. A proper holster maybe 1% more important than the other two. The majority of your concealed carry experience and I mean vast majority, will be carrying the gun. The selection of a robust and reliable holster is critical. Choose one that will work for your life, and it’s a personal decision you have to make in terms of what works best for you. Hopefully, after this article, it’s a decision you can make with a little more information.
Finding a one size fits all just doesn’t quite work very well in the world of holsters. It’s difficult to consider what scenarios you may face when carrying a handgun, however, with this guide and its recommendations, I wish you the best in choosing a holster or a set of holsters that fits you well and protects your precious boomsticks.
As always, it’s absolutely impossible to review every single holster out there so if you think I’ve missed a flagship, let us know in the comments section! I’d love to hear about what you use and maybe I’ll even be able to get my hands on one and add it to the list!
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea.
Pike has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. More experience added to the long list of accolades, he serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.
He prides himself on his insatiable supporter of the second amendment and enjoys helping others find the right gear to excersize their freedom at the highest capacity!