Concealed carry was historically associated with criminals and in the 19th century, it was prohibited for the general public, although you could continue to openly carry a gun which was permitted on the basis of self-defense.
These days, qualified individuals are legally allowed to carry certain concealed firearms in all 50 states. Individual states will have their own laws regarding who can legally purchase and own certain types of firearms, and only allow it if you have a permit, which is not always easy to obtain.
Provided you do have a permit to conceal carry or your state doesn’t require one, wearing a holster to conceal your weapon is one of the best ways to keep it safe and secure on your person, and there are many reasons why someone may prefer to conceal carry.
Choosing the best concealed carry holster is more than just finding one that’s perfectly crafted, discreet, and keeps your gun secure, however. If you don’t like the way it feels as you’re wearing it, then all the trouble you’ve gone to find the perfect holster will have been for nothing.
With the market expanding and holsters being made to suit every preference, it can be difficult to sort through all that’s available to find the best holster for your needs. To help you decide, we’ve researched and reviewed 5 of the best concealed carry holsters available for you to consider.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, we’ve included some key factors that you’ll want to consider in our buyer’s guide.
Alternatively, if you’re in a rush, keep reading to find out why we chose the Concealment Express IWB holster as our top pick!
Top 5 Best Concealed Carry Holster
OUR TOP PICK
Concealment Express is a reputable brand in the firearms industry, and their holsters are well-known for being a high-quality, effective option without costing a fortune.
As the name suggests, their focus is on holsters that are discreet and will conceal your firearm well.
Designed and manufactured in the U.S.A, this premium yet minimalistic IWB holster sits comfortably inside the waistband, and the optimal claw kit eliminates printing for truly concealed carry.
There’s also a stealth belt clip for further concealment and a full-length sweat guard with a rear sight shield to protect your firearm. It’s easy to draw from as the over-cut open-face easily clears suppressor height.
The .08” KYDEX molded shell is durable and an adjustable ‘posi-click’ setting allows you to carry your weapon without worrying about it coming out. You can change the retention pressure using the oxide steel hardware located in front of the trigger guard safety feature.
- KYDEX precision
- Undercut trigger guard for enhanced safety
- Adjustable ‘posi-click’ retention
- Lifetime warranty
- No inner lining to protect your firearm
Next up we have the ComfortTac belly band gun which is suitable for both men and women.
The large neoprene band can be adjusted to fit your stomach and is comfortable enough that it won’t cause any soreness or discomfort if worn directly against your skin.
It’s extremely versatile and can be worn in a number of ways to suit your preference as well as being compatible with most firearms, including small subcompact, compact, and full-size pistols or revolvers. No matter what you’re packing, the ComfortTac holster can carry it.
There’s a plastic trigger guard for further safety and an accessory pocket is included, as well as a moveable spare magazine pouch.
Whether you prioritize draw speed or retention, you’ll be pleased with the addition of a metal strap to keep your handgun securely in place. If you care more about the former, you can remove this strap by cutting it off which will improve how quickly you can unholster your gun.
- Excellent concealment for men and women
- Great value for money
- Additional safety features
- Versatile use
- The clip isn’t the most durable
- Might have to be worn higher up
One of the best ankle holsters we found was this offering from Topmeet, which features red edging for a unique, attractive design, although you can choose from 4 color options.
Suitable for men and women, you can adjust the breathable neoprene band for a comfortable and secure fit. The material ensures minimal sweating against your leg for improved comfort, even in warmer weather.
The anti-slip nylon belt keeps the holster in place while a thick foam padding protects your ankle. An elasticated retention strap also keeps your gun secure and a metal snap allows for quick release for when you need to draw your firearm with speed.
There’s virtually no sliding down your leg with this holster unlike many other brands and it’s compatible with a variety of firearm types.
- Extremely secure against your leg
- Great retention
- Comfortable to wear for extended use
- Sizing runs slightly small
- Hand wash only
Next on our list is the M-Tac over-the-shoulder holster, great for concealed carry. It features a sling bag with a universal pistol holster inside of the front pocket that makes it easy to draw your firearm quickly.
The 100% polyester canvas it’s made of is covered with PVC so that it can withstand everyday wear and it's water-resistant for enhanced durability.
Designed for tactical use, you can keep your accessories organized using the 5 different compartments that are included on the holster, meaning you can store spare rounds and other small essentials.
There are some reports of the straps being on the smaller side, which can lead to slight discomfort as you’re wearing it, especially after extended use. The strap also lacks any additional padding, therefore it may not be the best option for everyday carry.
- Quick access
- Compatible with most handguns
- Velcro panel for personalization
- Not the best option for women
- Some find the strap too short
- No padding in the strap
Last but not least, we’ve chosen another belly band holster to review. This time, it’s a universal option from AIKATE which fits all pistols and the majority of firearms.
Just like the other belly band holster on our list, it’s made of neoprene for extra breathability to prevent excess sweating or irritation. The CoolVent perforated base is soft against your skin for improved comfort allowing you to wear your holster for extended periods of time.
This is a great option for runners as the 2nd generation ‘easy snap’ retention mechanism keeps your handgun firmly in place.
It’s also great for concealment and can be worn with joggers, yoga pants, even gym shorts, as long as you keep your gun tight to your body.
The versatile holster can be worn in many different ways to ensure versatile use, and it’s easy to access your firearm when you need it.
If you’re not 100% satisfied with the quality of this holster, AIKATE offers a 90-day money-back guarantee.
- Quick-release features
- Protects your handgun
- Limited use
Best Concealed Carry Holster Buying Guide
After purchasing a new gun or firearm, choosing the right holster to carry is the next big decision you’ll have to make.
Concealment is arguably going to be the most important factor in your decision, but there are plenty of other things that could influence your decision.
Just to reiterate before we go any further, you should only carry a licensed gun, and if your state requires a permit to conceal carry you’ll need to obtain one.
Why Do You Need a Good Carry Holster?
There are many reasons why a good carry holster is an essential for any handgun-owner.
Some of the benefits that a concealed carry holster can provide include:
- Protect the firearm: A carry holster will prevent any damage or scratches to your handgun’s finish and keep it looking in good condition for longer.
- Prevents accidental discharge: Your holster will keep the trigger from catching on something and being accidentally pulled which is a huge health and safety risk otherwise.
- Grants quick access to your weapon: you can draw your firearm with relative speed rather than scrambling around in your bag or pockets should you need it.
- Reduces the chances of theft or loss: Keeping your firearm close to your person will make it harder for anyone to get close enough to steal it or even know it’s there in the first place.
There are multiple factors that will influence your decision when it comes to choosing the best concealed carry holster, but aside from concealment, one of the most important things you’ll need to consider is the safety elements it has to offer.
When it comes to gun safety, most people will know that you should never have anything resting against the trigger. This leaves you at major risk of it pulling or catching on something and being accidentally discharged, which is the last thing you want while it’s holstered.
Next to safety, retention grip is one of the other most important things to consider when you’re choosing a concealed carry holster. Your gun should be securely and firmly kept in place while it’s holstered, otherwise, it may slip out of its case.
The majority of holsters will allow you to adjust the retention, often via a screw. Your gun should only be released from its case when you make the conscious decision to unholster it, otherwise, it should stay put. If it doesn’t, you may need an alternative carrying method.
If you’re looking for a concealed carry holster, you probably want it to do a good job of concealing your gun. This requires keeping it in a discreet location where it isn’t obviously visible.
Different types of holsters suit different types of clothing, so it’s important to consider what you usually dress like when choosing a concealed carry holster. There’s no point buying an ankle holster if it’s summer and you live exclusively in shorts, for example.
Your body type will also come into play slightly, as the way the gun sits against your skin in its holster can vary depending on your body shape. You’ll have to try and find the best option for you, without worrying about what works for anyone else.
Another reason someone may choose a concealed carry holster for their weapon is to protect the handgun’s overall look.
You’ll want to avoid materials that are harder or could scratch the finish, and a sweat guard is a useful feature that prevents sweat from damaging your firearm.
You’ll also want to think about protecting yourself, as your skin can rub or blister if you’re wearing your holster for everyday use, especially on warmer days.
Try to minimize discomfort and potential skin irritation by choosing a holster that is comfortable to wear and doesn’t dig into you.
Types of Holsters
As we mentioned before, there are many different types of carry holsters that each suit different needs.
A lot of it will also come down to preference, and what you find most comfortable as well as practical to use.
Some of the most popular and commonly used types of holsters include the following:
Worn beneath your pants and over your underwear, inside the waistband holsters are one of the most discreet holsters to conceal your gun.
There are a few different types, and the close proximity to your body means it’s harder to notice, and they “print” less than certain others.
The only downside to this type of holster is that it can hinder your combat grip as you draw your weapon, meaning it will require a lot of practice to master it.
The opposite of the one we just looked at, OWB holsters sit outside the waistband so that your gun is carried above your pants in the style of a belt.
The way you attach them varies, and it’s a more comfortable way of carrying your firearm as you avoid feeling it dig into your side as you move around.
Unless you attempt to cover it with a jacket, it’s not the most discreet option, but it does allow you to draw the gun with an improved grip thanks to its positioning.
Just like the name suggests, a belly band holster sits on your stomach and doesn't require a belt to attach to. This can get a little warm over time which can lead to discomfort, and you’ll need to ensure the trigger is entirely covered for safety reasons.
Next to IWB holsters, ankle holsters are one of the best holsters to use if you want to conceal your weapon. They make a great backup gun carry option and they’re highly effective at hiding your gun, as long as your trousers are rolled down and they’re not tight enough for “printing” to show.
They make it slightly more difficult to reach your gun, however, and anyone watching will see it coming. Plus, if your legs are on the hairier side, the holster can be quite uncomfortable.
This is the type of holster you’ve probably seen policemen or undercover officers wearing or old-school cop shows. They tend to strap around your shoulder with the gun sitting near your rib cage.
Where exactly will depend on which is your supporting side, which is whichever side you don’t use to reach for the trigger.
Wearing a jacket or coat will improve the concealment of your firearm, but they’ll be obviously visible without one. They also leave sweat marks on your shirt from the straps, and the guns can fall from their position which can lead to damage or even be dangerous.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is printing?
This is when the outline or your gun or the holster itself is visible through your clothing which will give away that you’re carrying a firearm, which defeats the whole point.
Is it better to conceal carry or open carry?
There’s a huge debate over whether it’s better to conceal or open carry, but the truth is that it comes down to your own preference.
Some people believe that open carrying will be off-putting for potential criminals and can reduce the chances of a crime being committed, whereas others argue that you could be targeted and that concealed carry gives you the element of surprise.
Can I conceal carry in my jacket pocket?
You can carry a concealed handgun inside your coat or jacket pocket, but you’ll be limited to smaller firearms and it will still need to be holstered whilst it’s in your pocket.
Pocket carrying is an alternative option in the summer when you’re wearing fewer layers of clothing to conceal your firearm.