December 20, 2018 4 min read

A concealed holster allows you to safely carry a handgun on your body, keeping it out of sight until you need it. Those new to concealed carry may be surprised to learn there are several different types of holsters available, and each has its pros and cons. The key tochoosing the best concealed holster is finding the type that suits your needs.

The Pros and Cons of Every Type of Concealed Carry

Types of Concealed Carry

There are several different types of holsters available for those who want to conceal a small firearm on their person. The designs vary primarily by the part of the body you wear them on, although they do differ in terms of their functionality as well. We’re going to examine the most popular types of holster and break down the pros and cons of each.

  • Pocket Holsters —Pocket holsters are suitable for smaller handguns. As the name suggests, a pocket holster sits in the wearer’s pants or jacket pocket.
    • More comfortable than some of the other options available
    • Excellent concealment
  • Smaller firearms tend to be less powerful and functional
  • Can be slow to draw depending on pocket size and other clothing
  • Not ideal for people who sit or kneel a lot
  • Debris from your pocket can accumulate in your gun
  • Purse Holsters —Women become victims of harassment and violence every day. Many are now purchasing purses and bags with built-in concealed carry holsters or compartments to store a small firearm.
      • No discomfort, as the weapon isn’t worn on the body
      • A discreet yet stylish way of carrying a firearm
    • Drawing your weapon from a purse may take too long in an emergency
    • If you lose your purse, you lose your gun
    • Others could potentially access the firearm, including children
    • Purses accumulate dust and dirt that can find its way into your gun
    • Belly Band Holsters —Belly band holsters wrap around the body and are secured with Velcro. They are an excellent choice for active individuals who want to carry their weapon when they go running or hiking.
      • Rotates on the body to reposition the firearm as needed
      • Some models feature extra compartments for a knife or spare ammo
    • Excessive sweating could damage your firearm
    • Not the most discreet concealed carry method if worn over clothing
    • Can be slow to draw if worn underneath clothing
    • Ankle Holsters —An ankle holster is an excellent option for a secondary handgun. They’re also perfect for individuals who spend most of their day in a seated position.
      • One of the most discreet methods of concealing a weapon
    • Only really suitable for a backup firearm
    • Slow to draw from a standing position
    • Very tricky to draw while moving
    • Shoulder Holsters —These holsters are essentially a harness worn across the shoulders. Most have a gun holster on one side and an ammunition pouch on the other.
      • One of the most classically stylish options for concealing a firearm
      • Exceptionally comfortable when properly fitted
    • Achieving a good fit can take several adjustments
    • Falling out of favor compared to other holster types
    • Some suggest the angle of the firearm puts bystanders at risk
  • Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) Holsters — These holsters are worn on the waistband of the wearer’s pants. OWB holsters are one of the most popular styles currently available.
      • The quickest draw on the market
      • No pressure on the body for superior comfort
    • Not as discreet as an inside-the-waistband or IWB style
    • Limits the types of garments the user can wear over the top

    Inside-the-Waistband Takes the Gold

    All the concealed carry methods on this list have their pros and cons, and some are more popular than others. However, one style has them all beat— “inside-the-waistband” or IWB.

    hidden gun

    The biggest difference between an OWB and IWB holster is the level of concealment it provides. Because it is worn inside the waistband, closer to the wearer’s body, an IWB holster creates less visible outline compared to an OWB holster. With an IWB holster, garments can also ride higher while continuing to keep the weapon hidden.

    While IWB holsters provide increased concealment, you may need to purchase slightly larger pants to fit over them. Many IWB holsters require about two additional inches of space to avoid uncomfortable tightness around the wearer’s midsection.

    IWB holsters are slightly slower to draw from, and you’ll typically need the free use of both hands to re-holster your weapon, but, for an all-round combination of concealment, comfort, and accessibility, IWB is the best option by far.

    man drawing conceal carry pistol

    Shopping for an IWB Holster

    If you choose an IWB holster, you’ll need to determine which style suits you best. Available styles include standard, tuckable, and hybrid tuckable holsters. The key to finding the best IWB holster for your needs is reviewing the differences between them.

    Standard IWB holsters provide a range of carry options, including appendix carry, hip carry, back carry, and cross draw. They also offer adjustable retention and carry angle for optimal comfort and usability. Meanwhile, tuckable IWB holsters provide symmetrical mounting holes on each side with an added option for customizing the holster depth.

    Hybrid tuckable IWB holsters provide a great mix of comfort and durability. With a full polymer backer coupled with a durable Kydex shell, these holsters are versatile, lightweight, and comfortable. With a similar range of adjustable options for carry angle and ride height, these holsters also offer all-day ventilation.

    Our best IWB holster style in terms of popularity is our standard IWB Kydex range. These holsters are available for handguns of all sizes, including our best-selling Smith & Wesson M&P Shield holster. All our IWB holsters also come with a lifetime warranty.

    There are numerous ways for gun owners to personalize their firearms, but many don’t realize they can alsopurchase custom Kydex holsters with a variety of color and pattern options that allow buyers to create a near-infinite number of different looks.

    The Pros and Cons of Every Type of Concealed Carry

    Final Verdict

    When it comes to carrying a concealed weapon, safety is of paramount importance. The next priority should be the holster’s ability to conceal the weapon. IWB holsters provide all the necessary features to check both these boxes and more.

    The Pros and Cons of Every Type of Concealed Carry

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    The Pros and Cons of Every Type of Concealed Carry