What’s the best holster for the money?
After buying your gun…deciding on which holster you’re going to buy is one of the most important decisions you can make.
There are a lot of different kinds and styles of holsters on the market right now. Sadly, many of them are not ideal for concealed carry.
But no worries…we’ll clear up what makes a good holster, the types of carrying (inside waistband, ankle, etc), and personal recommendations for each type.
Complete with tons of hands-on pics, videos, and even standalone reviews.
THE QUICK LIST
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How We Chose the Best Concealed Carry Holsters
The entire Pew Pew Tactical team contributed to this post with a minimum of one month of hands-on testing of each holster with a variety of firearms, carry styles, and body types.
Not every holster is right for everyone but we’ve included some of the most popular styles, brands, and models that work for us and the vast majority of concealed carriers.
The Different Types of Holsters
There are a many types of holsters out there for men and women. Let’s tackle each of these, along with their pros/cons.
IWB – Inside the Waistband
IWB or Inside the Waistband holsters go between your pants and your underwear by hooking onto a sturdy belt.
Another popular position with a fast draw is the AIWB or Appendix Inside the Waistband location.
OWB – Outside the Waistband
OWB, or Outside the Waistband, is when the gun/holster rests on the outside of your pants.
Belly Band Holsters
These are pretty self-explanatory…it’s a band that goes around your belly. For those times when you’re not wearing a belt…
Shoulder holsters generally wrap around the shoulder and the part that actually holds the gun usually sits on your support side’s rib cage.
This method of carrying a concealed gun is great for when a backup gun is needed.
In this case, there is no printing unless you’re wearing tight pants.
Best Concealed Carry Holsters
There’s tons of different options but here are some of our team’s favorites that we use everyday to personally concealed carry.
Editor’s Overall Holster Pick: Hidden Hybrid Holsters
I’m a fan of “hybrid” holsters for IWB, where the gun shell is Kydex, and the backer is either something synthetic or leather.
My current favorite hybrid IWB (and overall holster) is from Hidden Hybrid Holsters.
They are a small company from OH that uses Amish leather down the road from their shop. Not a very creative name but they work…and are comfy!
The leather they choose and the suede backer make all the difference in comfort.
The thickness/rigidity is Goldilocks right…and the suede feels better than raw leather against your skin.
I’ve tried out a couple of their options and love their single clip Appendix Carry.
Here it is in action during our review of the Springfield EMP.
It keeps things hidden…
And I’d definitely recommend getting the “claw” attachment which pushes the holster more into your body. You can always take it off if you don’t think you need it.
Have something bigger…or a light/laser/RMR?
They got you covered with an option that lets you go both IWB and OWB (with belt holes).
If you’re down with pistol optics for carry…their version completely covers the optic.
However, here’s a regular G19 in the 4/5 o’clock position since I don’t like it too chunky.
IT’S HIDDEN, IT’S HYBRID.
Ok, one more perk…all the holsters I tried give you a full grip.
They also have mag carriers.
I’m not huge, so the double double-stack mag carrier was just way too big for me. However, the single was perfect and really comfy.
And something for the lols…or if you really need to walk tall and carry a big stick…
Newest update…I’ve been wearing an HHH with my Sig P365XL for over 2 years and I wouldn’t change my loadout.
Here’s a quick draw from my full review of the P365XL.
Full review here…but so far, Hidden Hybrid has my vote for the comfiest hybrid holster I’ve tested so far.
What’s your take on HHH? Rate them below!
Runner-Up IWB Holster: Crossbreed Holsters
The Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe was previously our founder Eric’s favorite since it’s comfy with the leather backing (don’t worry, it comes in black, too) and allows for a full grip.
Since it’s pretty large, it’s used best for a 4-5 o’clock location.
The combat cut is slightly less comfy since the grip is more exposed, but it’s what I prefer since I get a nice “high” draw where the web of my hand perfectly meets the beavertail of the pistol.
Here’s the leather backing:
And for smaller guns that you plan on appendix carrying…yea, they have those too.
Here it is in action with a G19, which still fits well.
A great hybrid holster from a reputable company!
Non-Leather IWB Pick: Alien Gear
The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 is a great IWB holster for the money if you’re not a fan of leather.
The lifetime warranty plus a 30-day no-questions-asked trial period can’t be beaten.
Plus, they are comfortable with a neoprene-like backing (“alien skin”).
Check out our full review, where the holster survived months of use and a multi-day CCW course.
And now with some video.
Best Kydex IWB Holster: Rounded Gear
Looking for something AIWB (appendix) that’s super light (less than 3 oz) yet effective and still comfortable.
We’ve been recommending Rounded Gear for years, and they continue to win us over with new updates. The latest is a rebrand to Rounded Gear.
Check out the holster in action with a Glock 19.
They even have tuckable holsters…
And a “claw” accessory to further lower the profile of your CCW…although for them, it was never really a problem.
Check out our full review of them and all their styles and attachment options.
Most Comfortable Kydex Holster: Tenicor
Want the Ferrari of kydex holsters?
Check out Tenicor, which brings a concept that’s so “why didn’t I think of that” to the table…
Molding the holster to what a normal human is like at the…groinal triangle (our term, lol).
They only have a few models for their Velo above, but if you’re packing something popular (Glock, Sig Sauer, or M&P), they’ve got you covered.
So is it comfy?
You bet…I put on the holster without the clips and wiggled it around until felt very natural. Then I installed the clips and set the height.
Here it is in action before I go into it more:
Now the clips…there are a couple options, but I went with the most aggressive hold with the T1 clips.
They take a little longer to put on since they will snag your belt and pants…but wow, they feel they will never come off, even in a tussle.
Here’s another angle…and you can also see the raised “camming bar” near the top left. That works like the “claw” in other designs that helps rotate the holster more inwards.
There are two other options — snap buckles for your belt or permanent loops where you thread your belt through. Less retention but easier to get on/off, and won’t scratch stuff as easily.
Got a light? They’ve got the Sagax Lux model…
It honestly felt the same in my pants as the regular Velo since it’s not that much bigger. For now, it’s only a G19-sized Glock option with TLR-7, XC1-B, XC2, and APLc lights.
Plus, it doesn’t use the light for retention, so you can use it without one too.
Here’s another angle…just a little more material to disappear into your “groinal triangle.”
For the comfiest appendix pure Kydex option yet…check out Tenicor.
They are definitely at the high end of the price spectrum.
But if you’re a serious appendix carrier who needs comfort and extreme retention…it’s probably worth it.
Most Unique Holster: Urban Carry G3
This holster deserves to be in its own category since it melds IWB & OWB…the Urban Carry 3 offers some distinct advantages over other holsters.
It’s the third generation of holster and has a host of upgrades compared to its previous iterations.
It allows for carrying with your shirt tucked in…plus even if it prints a little it shows up as something in your pocket.
And allows for an easy grip (although slightly higher than other traditional holsters).
Another new feature of the G3 is its “LockLeather” which clicks around the front of the trigger guard…preventing the gun from moving or flying out when pulled.
However, one negative includes having to have your belt a little looser since your gun sits underneath. And potentially some technique modifications for…bigger guys.
Most Custom Holster: 1791 Gunleather
The Ultra Custom takes a unique approach in that it can be custom-fitted to whichever gun you want to carry.
We tested an IWB model and found it to be a great option.
This holster is leather but features a section of thermoplastic within. Users heat the Ultra Custom according to instructions, then mold it to the gun they want to carry.
After it cools, the result is a high-quality leather holster, with Kydex-like retention properties. The gun clicks into place when being holstered.
The Ultra Custom comes with a low-profile clip that can be adjusted for cant angle.
One of the best features of this gun is it can be re-heated and re-formed for a different gun.
There are a few holsters that can carry many different guns, but this one offers a custom fit to each!
See the full review here.
Best OWB Holster: Safariland
Eric’s favorite no-nonsense OWB holster brand if you’re looking for a paddle holster that can also be added to a belt.
Great for carrying or for competition use. And a favorite of law enforcement for their duty belts.
Tons of models, so you’ll be sure to find your pistol, hand, and flashlight combination.
Backing allows the use of a paddle or other belt attachment systems (Tek-Lok, QLS, ELS, etc).
Plus, the paddle is well-designed to hug your hips.
Specific models, we like since they have so many:
- Model 7378 Paddle Holster
Best Value OWB Holster: Rounded Gear
Our favorite no-frills company Rounded Gear has branched out of IWB and into the world of OWB.
First off, with their paddle holsters.
Easy to take on and off, although I would recommend thicker belts to make sure there’s not too much movement.
Here it is in action!
Not digging the paddle style and want a little more security? Belt loop holsters to the rescue.
See the full review of Rounded Gear Holsters.
Best Duty OWB Holster: Alien Gear Rapid Force
Looking for a quality OWB holster that has retention?
Our resident LEO expert reviewed Alien Gear’s Rapid Force Duty Holster and loved it.
It’s built tough and has Level II or Level III retention to keep your handgun safe until needed.
Plus, it’s adjustable for hand size with differently-sized thumb switches.
And, of course, it can accompany popular pistol lights.
Check out our full review to learn more.
Best Leather OWB Holster: 1791 Gunleather
Looking for a simple (and beautiful) leather OWB holster? Look at 1791 Gunleather’s options.
I went with the “vintage” color and wow is it pretty.
I may have to pick up some cowboy shooting soon!
However…I went with a little more modern P320 to try it out. It was tough to get in the first time, but after reading the instructions on how to make it fit better…it’s great.
Easy draw, no fear of it falling out, and not too much effort to get it in there.
Belt attachment is great too…I like the angle of how it conforms to my hip.
One more kicker? It’s reasonably priced for something made out of nice leather. My setup cost around $57.
Best Belly Band Holster: Crossbreed Holsters
The Crossbreed Modular Belly Belly Band adds some extra safety with a Kydex gun-specific shell that covers the trigger.
Way better than other options with a flimsy elastic band you’re trusting to not shift.
They also have a sewn-in magazine/phone/flashlight pouch, plus the ability to add in magazine holsters.
Best Ankle Holster: Sticky
For that extra deep concealment. You can even fit an extra mag or knife next to your gun with this adapter.
Remember to add their holsters which use a rubbery material to stay in place.
Best Shoulder Holster: Galco
For those times when you’re wearing a suit and tie but also feel like being prepared.
Being like James Bond ain’t cheap, though…
Best Holster Accessories
With most of the holsters you’ll likely get…you’ll need a great gun belt.
One that doesn’t scream “look at me” but is sturdy enough to not flex under the weight of a fully loaded gun and even extra mags.