Best Holsters

Best Holsters For Concealed Carry (2019)

If you conceal carry, nothing can make your day more comfortable than a quality holster and gun belt. Not only does this aid in comfort, but it helps to encourage you to carry every day…which should be one of your primary goals.


Like many of you reading this, I too have a drawer full of unused holsters. Some of which I bought early in my concealed carry days because I found it at a low cost. Others, I bought because they ‘looked’ like they would work well.

In this article, I will help you find one that will work for YOU. Nothing was put on this list that did not meet the checklist requirements listed below. 

While I can’t guarantee what is listed here will be perfect for you (I’m not you after all), it will help to shorten your search. My goal is to make sure your holster drawer is much smaller than mine.


A Good Checklist

Before you grab the first holster you see at Wal-Mart...you may want to do a little consideration. Below is a checklist you can use when looking for a holster that will work well for you, and not just one to get you by.

Here are the things I looked for when creating this list:

Safety:

For safety, we want to focus on three things; covering the trigger guard, good retention, and stability in the location you are carrying.

Quality:

For quality, we want to make sure that high quality materials were used as well as the superior build quality by the manufacturers.

Comfort:

For comfort, we want to make sure it feels good in the location you are carrying. After a few days of carrying, you should be able to go about your day and at times even forget you're wearing a holster.

We also want to look at concealability, because knowing that your firearm is staying concealed helps your comfort level…especially if you are new to concealed carry.

Function:

For function, you are looking at the ability to adjust the holster to fit you, as well as the function of being able to draw your firearm. Retention falls under this as well as the safety category.

Holster Checklist

But What About Price?

Notice I didn't even mention price. If price is a major issue for you, then you are going to have to skimp a little on one or more of the above.

While everyone’s situation is different in what they can afford, try to save up if needed to get something that will work rather than buying 4-5 holsters that end up not working out.

While I didn’t really focus on price, there are a few that made the list that do come in at a rather affordable price.


Types of Holsters

Holsters come made for many different carry positions, in different materials, and for many different accessories. Each of these need taken into account. To find the holster that works for you, we must first break these down.

Look at each of these and decide what your needs are in that category. Knowing this ahead of time will help you when viewing your options.


Carry Positions

Civil War

This is the first thing you must decide on when searching for a holster. I have included a holster for every type of the most common carry techniques.

Common Carry Techniques:

  • IWB
  • OWB
  • Pocket
  • Ankle
  • Shoulder
  • Belly Band
  • Off Body Carry

While some of these can be used in more than one carry type, most of the time they are built for one style of carry. If you are not sure where you want to carry then you can talk with other experienced concealed carriers, watch some YouTube videos, or read some articles. However, the decision will come down to you and what fits for you.


Holster Materials

cowboy

In the ‘Old West’ they only had one type of material…leather. Today there are many types. While some people still prefer to use leather, most opt for more modern materials. Sometimes they even opt for a combination of these materials.

Types of Materials:

  • Kydex
  • Leather
  • Injection Molded Plastic
  • Nylon
  • Neoprene
  • Hybrid
  • Other

There is no right or wrong material. They all have their pros and cons. I chose to tackle this choice after we had you decide on carry position because you need to know WHERE you are carrying in order to know WHAT you will carry.

While a Kydex holster may offer great retention and durability, it would be far less superior as a pocket holster. So, make sure you take into consideration your carry position when choosing the material it is made from.


Firearm Accessories

accessories

While you might have an out of the box firearm, you may also have added some accessories. Depending on what you have added (or plan on adding) you may need to take that into consideration.

On more than one occasion, I have bought a holster for a gun and then decided to add a light. Unfortunately, I had to repurchase a new one after adding the accessory.

Types of Handgun Accessories:

  • Lights
  • Reflex Optics
  • Threaded Barrels
  • Lasers
  • Extended Mag Release
  • Suppressor Height Sights

If none of the items listed above are going to be added to your firearm, then you can skip worrying about this step. But if you do have any of these, then make sure the holster you are buying is made to handle them.


Best Holster List

Like any "Best" list...this is can be subjective. However, that is why I have used the good holster checklist from the beginning of this article. These all meet each item on the checklist.

  • Tulster (IWB)
  • StealthGear Ventcore Mini (IWB)
  • Alien Gear ShapeShift 4.0 (IWB)
  • CrossBreed SuperTuck (IWB)
  • CYA Supply Company (IWB)
  • Alien Gear ShapeShift Appendix (IWB)
  • StealthGear Flex (OWB)
  • Bravo Concealment (OWB)
  • Desantis Nemesis (POCKET)
  • ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band (BELLY BAND)

You can't go wrong with any of the 10 listed above. The list below goes beyond this by adding a few extra. 


Broken Down By Carry Position

Below I have broken them down into carry position. I give a brief run down on the holster and give my input. The IWB list may be a little longer than the others. This is due to that being the most popular carry position.


IWB

Here are our recommendations for holsters that are worn Inside The Waistband. These holsters offer a variety of price ranges as well as materials. 

All of them will conceal your firearm, the main differences are comfort and price. You can't go wrong with one from this list, however...make sure you get one that fits what you are looking for in a holster.

Tulster

Tulster Holster

Great materials, adjustable cant, and minimal excess Kydex make Tulster one of my favorite holsters. I own three of these and use it most often at the 4:00 position.

I can't stress how much I like that they trimmed off all the excess Kydex that is not needed. This is my usual carry holster...my tried and true. It just works!

Our readers can now SAVE 15% at tulster.com by using our code: CCS

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StealthGear Ventcore Mini

StealthGear Mini

The StealthGear Ventcore Mini used to be expensive. However, after adjusting the method in which they make them, they have lowered the price to be more competitive.

The padded backing often makes me forget I'm carrying. The vented holes still allow air to flow, which in turn helps prevent sweating. One of the most comfortable holsters you will wear.

The only negative to this holster is that it can be a little more difficult to re-holster your firearm. You are trading comfort for ease of re-holstering.

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Alien Gear ShapeShift 4.0

Alien Gear Shapeshift 4.0

If you want comfort that is close to the StealthGear Mini, but have an easier time re-holstering...go with the Alien Gear ShapeShift 4.0!

Alien Gear is known for making great holsters, and this one is my favorite of theirs. ShapeShift holsters are made to allow the carrier to wear it in a variety of ways. It is very versatile. 

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CrossBreed SuperTuck

CrossBreed Supertuck

The CrossBreed SuperTuck is a leather/Kydex combo holster that is built to allow you to tuck your shirt in while carrying. With CrossBreed, you know you will get good quality materials. 

If you carry behind the hip, and love leather...this is your holster. CrossBreed has many different variations on this holster as well.

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CYA Supply Company

CYA Supply Co

This CYA Supply Company holster is very much like the the Tulster holster...but just a step below. However, you can get it at about half the price of a Tulster holster.

While the price is half, the quality is still very good. If you are on a budget and like the Tulster Holster, but can't swing the price...go with this one.

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Alien Gear ShapeShift Appendix

Alien Gear ShapeShift Appendix

The Alien Gear ShapShift Appendix holster is much like the other ShapeShift holster listed above, however this one is built to be carried at the appendix position.

This is still very comfortable, that is, as long as you are not sporting the tactical love handles like I do. If you are, then any appendix holster may not be that comfortable. 

There is also a ShapeShift starter kit that gives you many options, all with one purchase.

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OWB

The Outside The Waistband holsters are as expected...to be worn on the belt, but outside of the waistband. Since they are not riding as tight up against your body, and pressed in by the belt, they are a little more comfortable than the IWB options.

While some of these holsters can be used to conceal carry, most often you are open carrying with many of them. To carry concealed with these, your shirt/jacket will be much more important.

StealthGear Flex

StealthGear Ventcore Flex

Like the Ventcore Mini, the StealthGear Flex holster is VERY comfortable. The flex design also allows this holster to be more easily concealed while worn OWB (provided you have the correct clothing).

Also, like the Ventcore, this holster is a little more difficult to re-holster. However, being an OWB option, it is easier than the IWB Ventcore when re-holstering your firearm.

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Bravo Concealment

Bravo Concealment

Talk about hugging the body! The Bravo Concealment OWB holster does its job by keeping the firearm up snug against the body which allows you to also conceal OWB if desired. 

If you are looking for an IWB and OWB holster, Bravo Concealment has a combo package that comes with both this holster and their IWB version. This is a great option if you are not sure how you want to carry, or if you carry both IWB and OWB.

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Alien Gear ShapeShift Slide

AlienGear ShapeShift OWB Slide

What do you know, another Alien Gear ShapeShift holster. The Alien Gear ShapeShift Slide offers all the great features of the IWB ShapeShift holsters. 

If you are interested in the ShapeShift series, you might as well get the ShapeShift starter kit so that you have many holsters in one.

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Safariland 7TS ALS

Safariland 7377 7TS ALS

Bonus Holster: I know this is a "concealed carry holster" article...but everyone needs a good OWB holster for the times you are open carrying. Sometimes at the range, or around your property, it just makes things much easier. 

The Safariland 7TS ALS holster is 'the holster' for open carry in my opinion. I LOVE the ALS system. If you don't have an open carry holster...get this one, you will thank me later! It is also VERY affordable. 

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POCKET

Pocket holsters are pretty popular. A poll ran on our Facebook page showed that nearly 60% of concealed carriers carry at least sometimes in their pocket.

Desantis Nemesis Pocket Holster

Desantis Nemesis Pocket Holster

Pocket holsters come in very handy...especially in warm weather. The Desantis Nemesis Pocket Holster is designed to stick in the pocket when you draw. It won't move unless you want it to move. This allows you a good draw from the pocket, as opposed to pulling the holster out with the gun.

At such a low price, you should always have one of these for any of your slimline, single stack guns at the least.

If you love pocket holsters, but this one is not for you, check out our article on the Best Pocket Holsters.

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ANKLE

Ankle holsters are not as common as some of the others on the list, however they do serve a good purpose. They are a great option for a backup pistol, as well as much more comfortable on long car rides.

Concealed Carrier Ankle Holster

Concealed Carrier Ankle Holster

For an ankle holster you want stability. You don't want it to slide. You also want to be able to easily take the firearm out. The Concealed Carrier Ankle Holster accomplishes both...and at a VERY affordable price. 

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SHOULDER

Like ankle holsters, the shoulder variety are more rare than the rest on the list. However, also like ankle holsters, they serve a purpose.

It is not only undercover police or federal agents that use these. Anyone who has trouble, or dislikes other forms of carry gravitate toward shoulder carry. They are perfect for suit jackets.

Gould & Goodrich Gold Line Shoulder Holster

Gould & Goodrich Gold Line Shoulder Holster

I don't wear shoulder holsters. So this one is not from personal experience. However, if I was to buy one it would be the Gould & Goodrich Gold Line Shoulder Holster. If I had to wear a suit for my job, then I'm sure this would be purchased pretty quickly.

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BELLY BAND

Belly Bands are not for me, they get in the way of my tactical love handles. However, they are very popular...especially with women. These work great if you are wearing sweat pants, yoga pants, or just not wearing a belt.

ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band

ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band​

While I have not personally worn the ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band, I have had a couple ladies I know tell me that they love wearing them...especially when they go jogging. The extra compartments allow for the carrying of a cell phone or extra magazine.

There are a lot of belly band holsters on the market. Most are also very affordable. Just make sure you get one that you know won't get too hot, as they tend to cause sweating.

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OFF BODY

I know Off Body carry is sometimes frowned upon in the concealed carry community, but it does serve a purpose. Carrying a backup firearm is easily done in a backpack or purse.

There are also instances where carrying off body allows you to be more discreet, such as at the office.

5.11 Velcro Holster

511 Velcro Holster

While it doesn't show it in the picture, the 5.11 Velcro Holster does come with securing straps that hold the firearm in place. The Velcro backing allows this to be placed inside any concealed carry backpack or purse that has Velcro backing. 

If you are looking for a concealed carry backpack, check out our Best Concealed Carry Backpacks article. I use this exact one in my backpack.

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Universal Purse Holster

Universal Purse Holster

If you carry in your purse, and it doesn't have a designated spot for a handgun...get the Universal Purse Holster. It is made to adjust to any size purse.

Like a couple of the above items, I don't have this item. I'm not much of a purse carrier. But I would not hesitate to drop $20 to get it for my wife or daughter.

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Conclusion

5 Stars

There you have it, a comprehensive guide to picking out a holster for concealed carry. While every one on the list might not reach the 5 stars, when compared to each other, they are all pretty close. These all do wonderful for the amount of money they cost.

Now I wish you the best of luck and I hope you don’t end up with as many unused holsters as I have. Learn from my mistakes!

Like I said at the beginning, a good holster and gun belt will make your days carrying much more satisfying. Be sure to check out our article covering what to look for in a good gun belt listed below.

Don't forget to check out our Best Gun Belts and Best Ammo articles as well!

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2 thoughts on “Best Holsters For Concealed Carry (2019)”

  1. I like a Blackhawk CQC Serpa for OWB carry, particularly with their paddle option. Comfortable, great retention with easy draw. Excellent quality.

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