Holsters

10 Good Concealed Carry Holsters

Woman drawing a revolver from a Galco Combat Master holster in black

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.

woman in front of a horse pen drawing from a Galco Combat Master
You should practice drawing and holstering the handgun. The Combat Master is well designed for all-around use.

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 Sto-N-Go

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.

Two handguns in Galco Sto-N-Go holsters
The Sto-N-Go is offered for a wide variety of handguns. Note strong belt clip and reinforced holster mouth.

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.

Falco gun holster with steel belt clip
Falco’s strong steel belt clip offers secure 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.

DeSantis Speed Scabbard holster
DeSantis’ Speed Scabbard has been adopted by a few Federal agencies after rigorous testing.

DeSantis Slim-Tuk

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.

DeSantis Slim Tuck holster with a Walther PPQ handgun. vertical view
DeSantis offers the Slim-Tuk for several pistols including the Walther PPQ compact.

Crossbreed Reckoning

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.

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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.

Crossbreed Purse holster attached to the wall
The Crossbreed Purse Holster is an innovative design with much versatility.

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 Belt Slide holster
A belt slide holster is ideal for occassion or people who use several different handguns and need a generic holster.

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.

Here are a few of our favorite holsters. Which holsters have you had good success with? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • Leather backing on the Reckoning holster
  • Crossbreed Reckoning holster with a SIG Sauer pistol inserted
  • DeSantis Slim Tuck holster with a Walther PPQ handgun. side view
  • DeSantis Slim Tuck holster with a Walther PPQ handgun. vertical view
  • Crossbreed Purse holster
  • Velcro on the Crossbreed Purse holster
  • Crossbreed Purse holster attached to the wall
  • DeSantis Speed Scabbard holster
  • 3 loop DeSantis Speed Scabbard leather holster with Walther PPQ 9mm pistol
  • 3 handguns in Galco Sto-N-Go holsters
  • Two handguns in Galco Sto-N-Go holsters
  • Falco Crab Hawk brown leather holster
  • stitching on a Falco leather gun holster
  • The Executive Kydex holster with a pistol inserted
  • Cropped image of a woman drawing a pistol from a Crossbreed IWB holster
  • woman in front of a horse pen drawing from a Galco Combat Master
  • Woman drawing a revolver from a Galco Combat Master holster in black
  • Falco IWB holster
  • Falco gun holster with steel belt clip
  • 1791 Belt Slide holster

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (10)

  1. Ira,

    You are lucky to know such a legend in the industry!

    PM Rich- that is a Taurus 605 Defender in .357 Magnum.

    Thanks for reading

    Bob

  2. 38 years ago Gene DeSantis asked me to loan him some of my handguns to develop a new holster called the Speed Scabbard. It was ahead of its time in both concept and reliability. I still use my original holsters with a DeSantis belt for my daily carry conceal. Never stretched, still hugs and I’m an overweight guy. Belt has been replaced once in all these years. Remember, you get what you pay for…

  3. Those aren’t to bad. I’ve had my conceal carry permit for a while now. Carry a pistol on me every day. I was kinda surprised that the Don Hume leather company didn’t make the list. I’ve been working for them since 1989 running a sewing machine and hand cutting now and then. Long line of quality law enforcement leather gear. From security holsters to conceal holsters. The H 715 is a popular conceal holster, also have 001 conceal holsters if you prefer a pocket version. I’ve wore nylon holsters,tydex,and even suede. Myself personally.. leather is the way to go no matter what your type or style of holster is.

  4. While everyone else seems to get a kick out of bad-mouthing it. I prefer the holster I just ordered my second of, the Blackhawk Serpa holster. One thing they are always harping about is that the holster puts the finger too close to the trigger guard. That is a bald-faced lie. The Serpa reinforces proper training, as pressing the release button positions the trigger finger along the slide. not by the guard. The Serpa is nothing like the old CHP clamshell, where you put your finger through the guard to press the button, and then needed both hands to re-holster.

  5. Everybody has unique requirements.

    The IWB full Kydex holsters (Kydex both sides) seem thicker and put a hard convex surface against your skin.

    The IWB half Kydex holsters have a fabric mesh pad against the skin. Much more comfortable.

    Single clip holsters tend to move a lot. Double clip holsters seem more stable.

    My favorite carry is IWB cross draw. Useful if you’re seated a lot. Easier draw IMO. IWB double clip holsters can be adjusted for a somewhat more neutral 10 o’clock position.

    The DeSantis M78-8J was a favorite, but seems to be out of production.

  6. Marcos

    You need a holster that stays put no matter what the physical activity!

    I was once knocked over a chair literally upside down during a domestic call and the
    holstered pistol stayed in place- I was in plainclothes it was a Galco Royal Guard.

    The holster MUST be firmly anchored to the belt.

    Do a couple of jumping jacks or push ups- mild indeed compared to a real fight- and I bet that holster shifts maybe even disgorges the gun.

    Stay safe
    Bob

  7. You should consider the Remora holsters, with the full sweat shield.
    I live in central Florida, and I’m sure many other people in the south, don’t feel like wearing two shirts to carry concealed.
    Have you ever had one of the newer style aggressive grips rub against your skin for a couple of hours? It dies not feel good, and will peel your skin from your side.
    I’ve been using mines for over two years, and they are great.
    I carry a G21, on a full sweat shield with no clip, and it stays in place. Also, I carry a G3C on 2nf gen full sweat shield with clip, and i can carry it with gym shorts, or sweat pants, and it will stay put, as long as I’m not jumping/running.

  8. Lynn

    Glad you like the Super Tuck!

    It is all you said. I simply have covered it before, and I actually like the Reckoning better.

    Thanks for reading. Bob

  9. I have found Crossbreed’s Super Tuck to be the most comfortable holster I have ever used. When I began carrying a handgun for which no Crossbreed holster would fit. I have found SnapRig’s SwapTuck to be virtually as good. I am surprised neither of these were mentioned.

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