If you’ve bought a handgun and decided you want to carry it, you’re likely going to need a holster. You can carry a firearm in other ways of course, but let’s assume you want to keep it on your body. This way, it gives you quick access to your gun while keeping it safe and secure.
Your holster is one of the most important pieces of gear you will buy — after your gun. The holster is not something you want to skimp on. You want to make sure the holster is made to fit your specific gun, holds the pistol securely, and is comfortable enough for you to not mind wearing it.
When I hear people say they don’t like carrying their pistol, the reason they most often give is that it’s uncomfortable. If you find the right holster and holster position, comfort will not be a problem. In fact, with a bit of getting used to, you’ll forget you are wearing a sidearm most of the time.
Holsters to Make you Happy
It’s hard to recommend the perfect holster since everyone’s needs are different, but here are several companies that are building quality holsters for a wide variety of setups. Even though I’ll mention specific holster models from each company, be sure to check out their other styles and models to find one that best suits your needs.
Alien Gear is best known for its hybrid “Cloak Tuck” line, which is available for nearly 600 handgun configurations. The Cloak Tuck was my first hybrid holster. As a matter of fact, I still have it today. It’s soft and breathable thanks to the neoprene backing, which also acts as a sweat guard.
You can adjust everything from the cant to the retention to the ride height — all without tools. If for some reason you don’t wind up finding it comfortable, which I highly doubt, Alien Gear offers a “30-Day Test Drive.” This gives you ample time to decide to keep the holster or send it back for a refund.
If you can’t decide whether you want to carry inside the waistband (IWB) or outside the waistband (OWB), Blade-Tech has you covered with its Total Eclipse 2.0. Without tools, you can easily swap the clip orientation to accommodate either an IWB or OWB setup. It also features an ambidextrous design to help with training both strong and weak side, along with adjustable cant. While the Total Eclipse 2.0 doesn’t current have light-bearing configurations, its affordable price and versatility makes it a great option.
Bravo Concealment makes sturdy, no frills holsters at a great price. The Torsion IWB holster is one of its most popular holsters, and it is offered at an affordable price. While the Torsion does not offer adjustable cant (it comes standard at 10 degrees inward), the Kydex holster was designed with a pre-molded curve in the Kydex to hug your waistline and adjustable retention. If cost is one of the more important factors in your holster search, but you don’t want to worry about reliability, Bravo is a nice option to consider. As a bonus, Bravo Concealment offers an unlimited lifetime warranty.
Holster systems or “appendix rigs” have become increasingly popular. They give you the ability to carry an extra magazine side-by-side with your gun. This gives you quick and easy access for reloading. The MOD1 IWB Kydex holster system from C&G is one of my favorites. It features a proprietary locking hinge system, which can be locked and unlocked to suit your flexibility preferences.
The hinge serves as the connection point between the main firearm holster and the spare magazine holster. When you unlock that hinge, it allows for both sides to move with your body. If you’re active while carrying, this feature can make it much more comfortable. Keeping comfort in mind, it also has adjustable ride height and pivot mount clips that move with your body. If you’re in the market for a holster system, I highly suggest checking out C&G.
What do you get when you incorporate a leather backing on your holster system? Owners would respond, “A damn comfortable holster!” The Reckoning holster system does just that — place the consumer’s comfort at the forefront. You also get adjustable cant, ride height, and retention. Another great aspect of this holster is that you can convert it to IWB or OWB by simply switching the clips. I love the versatility of this holster and think you will too.
DeSantis is known for making leather holsters that provide plenty of quality and affordability. DeSantis gets high marks when it comes to Kydex holsters too. The Slim-Tuk IWB holster has quickly become one of DeSantis’ best sellers. It’s minimalistic while remaining versatile. You can easily reverse the hardware to change from right- to left hand and adjust the retention and ride height. The best part is the price. It’s likely to be one of the most affordable holsters on this list.
The Galco Combat Master Belt holster has one of the highest quality feels of any leather holsters I have tested. It’s made from premium steerhide and has double-stitched seams. The retention is surprisingly strong without any “sticking” issues — thanks to the smooth leather. It offers full slide coverage, so it won’t work with a red dot, but otherwise is a nice safety feature. It will accommodate up to a 1.75-inch belt, so you should be set with any of your current gun belts. While on the expensive side, you are buying quality and comfort in a holster you’ll pass down to the next generation.
Safariland’s Model 17T is great for people who want minimal holster visibility. The J-Clip that comes standard with the holster is small but maintains strong retention on your belt. The 17T is constructed out of Boltaron as opposed to Kydex. Boltaron is typically slightly thinner, which adds to the concealability of this holster. There are arguments for and against Boltaron, but many feel it’s stronger than Kydex, especially in colder environments where Kydex can become brittle. The holster also has an adjustable cant to increase carry position possibilities. At a surprisingly low price, this holster is worth checking out.
The Versacarry Comfort Flex Deluxe takes comfort to the next level. First, Versacarry wraps the polymer mold in buffalo leather. Then, there is a foam padded backing stitched to the leather. This not only increases the comfort but acts a sweat barrier as well. It features adjustable retention and easy on/off clips. If you’re looking for something slim and comfortable, this is a great option.
There are too many options on this list, let alone the entire market, to recommend only one model of holster to fit all shooters’ needs. What works well for me, may not be right for you. I can, however, say my personal preference goes to full Kydex IWB holsters. I recommend making a list of your “must have features” and starting there. There are plenty of holster manufacturers and offerings, so there is no need to settle.
Do you prefer to carry inside or outside of the waistband? Let us know what style and brand you like most in the comment section.
Bio: Ryan Domke is a freelance writer, photographer, and social media consultant with a passion for guns and tactical gear. He works with some of the largest manufacturers in the firearms industry, allowing him the opportunity to continuously learn from and knowledge share with the 2A community.
When he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or starting a new DIY project. If you’d like to check out some of his other content, you can find him on Instagram at (@TheGuyGearReview).