Choosing a concealed carry holster is an important step. You need to get the handgun out of your pocket or waistband and into a holster. But not just any generic holster. You must choose a holster that keeps the pistol secure and does not move on the waistband. A balance of speed and retention is important for safety and self-defense. Choose a holster that offers good concealment.
Having a covering garment that drapes over the holster allows for a strong-side holster. When these are not feasible, an inside-the-waistband holster is needed. Choose quality. To be honest, it is difficult to wean the list down to 10 holsters. However, these are 10 of the best holsters I have used over the years. Let them be your baseline for choosing quality gear.
Galco Combat Master
The strong-side holster is the default first choice for concealed carry. The strong-side holster offers a sharp draw and real comfort. The Galco Combat Master is among the finest American designs. This holster keeps the pistol high and ready for a sharp draw.
The Combat master may be concealed by a light covering garment. The Combat Master is also a good all-around field holster. This is one holster all concealed carry shooters should be familiar with.
Galco offers a wide range of inside-the-waistband holsters including Kydex holsters and hybrid Kydex/Leather holsters, as well as the classic Summer Companion. Among my favorite inside-the-waistband holsters is the affordable Sto-N-Go. The Sto-N-Go may be inexpensive, but the holstering welt is reinforced and the stitching is good.
The Sto-N-Go features a strong plastic belt clip that takes a good bite on the belt. When a covering garment cannot be worn, a pulled-out sport shirt or T-shirt will conceal the pistol when using an inside-the-waistband holster. I own and use more of this type than any other single holster design.
FALCO Crab Hawk
The Crab Hawk is a strong-side holster that demands a covering garment. The balance of speed and retention is good. The Crab Hawk features a good design, sweat guard, excellent stitching, and a strong reinforced spine as well as a retention screw. The Crab Hawk is in some ways a true speed holster with good retention. Secured to the belt by a single tunnel loop, this is a strong choice for personal defense.
FALCO Fabric IWB
FALCO has changed my opinion on fabric holsters. This is not a cheap floppy holster. Those types are worse than no holster at all. The FALCO design features rugged fabric and nylon that would be at home on a hiking boot. The steel belt clip is wedded to the holster by a strongly stitched attachment.
These holsters are forgiving enough to fit several handguns in the proper size. As an example, the holster illustrated will fit the Walther PDP and Glock 17. Body compression keeps the holster secure between the trousers and body. The strong steel clip does the rest.
Edging is a term that doesn’t usually apply to fabric holsters. This is the edge that mates the front and back of the holster. The work is well done on this affordable and useful holster.
DeSantis Speed Scabbard
The DeSantis Speed Scabbard is technically a modified three-slot pancake-style holster. The pancake type was developed to provide concealed carry shooters with a holster that hugs the outline of the body. The three belt loops are used to adjust the cant or draw angle of the holster from neutral to butt forward. The holster features a retention screw. This is a good design that hugs close for concealment as designed but offers a sharp draw.
Kydex holsters are sometimes uncomfortable. The balance of robustness and comfort isn’t easy to find. The Slim-Tuk is thin enough, and quite comfortable, but doesn’t flex too much. The belt clip is mounted near the rear of the holster allowing the holster to be cinched tight against the belt.
The Kydex body doesn’t collapse after the pistol is drawn allowing easy re-holstering. The tuckable is designed to be worn under the shirt and between the trousers and the shirt. I prefer IWB carry, and this is how I carry the Slim-Tuk. This is a top-rated concealment holster.
Crossbreed pioneered the original Kydex holster with leather backing that so many find comfortable and comforting. The original design features wings that extend from the holster body spreading out the weight of the pistol. I prefer the Reckoning.
The Reckoning is a slimmed-down Crossbreed with a smaller footprint. Many will prefer the original, it is good to have a choice. This holster is tuckable and also an appendix holster or may be used as a standard IWB if preferred.
The Reckoning features two steel belt clips that are easily among the best designed in the business. Each offers good adjustment for both cant and ride above or below the belt. The Reckoning is a good design that offers excellent concealment.
Crossbreed Purse Holster
The Purse holster is among the few genuine innovations of late. The holster backing plate neatly solves the problem of keeping the holster stabilized in a purse. I would add that a briefcase or desk drawer are also likely homes for the Purse Holster.
The holster is a rugged Kydex type molded for the individual handgun. The rear of the holster features a Velcro attachment. The mounting plate is covered in Velcro on one side. The result is a tremendous number of combinations for mounting the holster.
N8 Tactical IWB Executive
The Executive is a well-designed inside-the-waistband holster. Among the features I like is a belt clip that rides relatively high on the holster. This allows the user to wear the holster deeper in the trousers.
Featuring an IWB design, the body of a larger handgun is easily concealed under a light covering garment. The Executive features tension screws. The design offers a sharp draw and will not collapse when drawn.
1791 Gunleather Belt Slide
1791 Gunleather offers a wide range of strong-side holsters, inside the waistband, and other designs as well as concealed carry belts. I use belt slides primarily for range work. The 1791 design, however, has much merit.
This belt slide firmly attaches to the belt. It is fully ambidextrous. A strong belt clip offers firm attachment and allows the holster to be used as an inside-the-waistband holster. The 1791 holster is a great design for those of us who use several different firearms. Large and small sizes are offered. For handguns that are difficult to find a proper holster for, the 1791 Gunleather belt slide is a useful option.