Concealed Carry

Minimalist Holsters — Balancing Comfort, Security, & Accessibility

Versacarry Underground Leather Belt with a holster carried in the appendix holster

We all want to carry comfortably. However, the firearm must still be able to be drawn and presented quickly. It also needs to be secure throughout the day. A quality holster is essential, but I try to avoid excess bulk when possible, which is why I often turn towards a minimalist design. 

I have to admit, the term minimalist is rather subjective. However, here it is meant to signify a low-profile design that doesn’t add a ton of extra material and thickness. I have written on pocket carry in the past, and that is an excellent option, but I wanted to focus on inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters since I believe they provide the best balance of accessibility and discreteness. 

DeSantis Slim-Tuk
The DeSantis Slim-Tuk is incredibly thin.

DeSantis Slim-Tuk

The DeSantis Slim-Tuk is a go-to minimalist holster design for many, including this author. It’s not too expensive, high quality, and available for plenty of different models in varying size ranges. 

The polymer shell is incredibly thin, adding no more than a millimeter or two to the overall thickness. The clip is offset from the ticker portion of the holster to further keep the package from printing and adding bulk. The tuckable C-Clip accommodates gun belts up to 1.75 inches wide. Additionally, the clip is repositionable to either side of the holster, allowing for left- or right-handed draw. 

The retention is solid and the pistol exhibits a nice click! when inserted. The shell is precision molded to the firearm and does a good job of protecting the trigger guard. There’s even a sight track molded in to prevent your iron sights from snagging and the holster is compatible with red dot optics. 

Galco Stow-N-Go
The Galco Stow-N-Go is made of quality leather that holds up to everyday use.

Galco Stow-N-Go/Tuck-N-Go

Luckily, I skipped the Uncle Mike’s Universal Holster phase and went straight to the Galco Stow-N-Go when I started concealed carrying. The holster is constructed with durable suede leather that offers a good balance of thickness for optimal rigidity and comfort. It does not add too much bulk on the waistline. From the factory, it fits a bit tight, but once the holster breaks in, it molds to the firearm for a custom fit. 

The stitching is done well and holds up to daily use. The leather will smooth and stain with sweat as you wear it. Further, the holster mouth is reinforced with padded wiring to aid in reholstering. This helps, but you will still need to adjust and pay attention as you reholster; it will likely require two hands. 

The wide, polymer clip fits gun belts up to 1.75 inches and provides a firm hold. Depending on your preferred clip style, you may also consider the Tuck-N-Go, a similar holster design with a tuckable clip. This is perfect for those who may dress more formally and tuck in their shirt. 

Raven Concealment Vanguard
The Raven Concealment Vanguard is about as minimalist as it gets.

Raven Concealment Vanguard

The Raven Concealment Vanguard is probably as minimalist as a holster gets. The molded polymer holster only covers the trigger guard, leaving the rest of the firearm exposed. This adds virtually no thickness to the footprint and keeps the trigger protected. The Vanguard is available with different clip sizes, as well as soft loop attachments. Additionally, I recommend you get the additional claw attachment, as this helps tuck the pistol’s grip into your body to decrease printing for greater concealability. 

The ultra-minimal design has its benefits. However, it offers a bit less security compared to other holsters on this list. If the firearm gets a hard bump forward, it can break free of the holster and come loose. If you lead a very active lifestyle, this may not be suitable for some occasions. That being said, it’s a slick solution to running large bulky holsters and rigs — especially for smaller-framed shooters. 

Blackpoint Tactical Mini Wing
The Blackpoint Tactical Mini Wing is a high-quality holster well worth the cost.

Blackpoint Tactical Mini Wing

The Mini Wing from Blackpoint Tactical is one of the highest-quality holsters on the list. Designed to be minimalistic, the Mini Wing uses as little material as possible, without sacrificing performance and durability. The holster consists of a Kydex shell with leather attachment point wings for the tuckable clips. The two offset clips help distribute the weight more evenly over the belt and add an extra level of security. 

The leather “mini wings” are incorporated to allow the holster to wrap around the contours of your waist, allowing for a versatile fit for all body types. The mini wings give the holster flexibility to move with your body, making it comfortable for use all day, every day. 

Blackhawk Stache
The Blackhawk Stache is configurable for different occasions.

Blackhawk Stache

Designed by concealed carriers for concealed carriers, the Blackhawk Stache IWB holster system is the ultimate solution for everyday carry. Through meticulous engineering, the Stache holster delivers an optimal combination of comfort, rigidity, and modularity. 

The injected-molded polymer holster is compatible with most red dot sights and the clip positioning can be adjusted for ride height as well as cant angle. Further, the holster features adjustable retention so you can achieve that exact fit you’re looking for. A low-profile shirt guard adds comfort and prevents snagging on the draw stroke. 

Blackhawk also offers a premium kit with an attachable magazine carrier accessory. This allows you to arrange your holster in different configurations depending on your needs. Further, the holster is designed to accept popular Discreet Carry Concepts Gear clips and includes an adjustable concealment claw to reduce printing. 

Sticky Holsters
Sticky Holsters are basic, but functional.

Sticky Holsters

Are you tired of bulky holsters with annoying clips or stubborn loops that require a belt just to carry your firearm? The people at Sticky Holsters were too, so they decided to do something about it. The result is a slim, low-profile holster that provides comfort and peace of mind to concealed carriers.

The exterior is made from a non-slip material that sticks to nearly anything with just a little pressure, thus eliminating the need for belt clips or loops. The inner portion of the holster is constructed of closed-cell foam that keeps your pistol secure. Pressure and consistent use form the holster to your firearm, meaning the fit only gets better over time. 

These lightweight holsters weigh next to nothing and allow you to draw your firearm in seconds. Sticky Holsters come in varying sizes for a number of different firearms and are incredibly affordable compared to standard holster options. 

Mission First Tactical Minimalist
The Mission First Tactical Minimalist was designed with simplicity in mind.

Mission First Tactical Minimalist

Mission First Tactical designed the Minimalist to give you a low-profile IWB holster while still providing you with the performance and reliability of a full-size holster. The Boltaron holster is designed with a tall sight channel and open muzzle for a fast draw. It incorporates an abbreviated sweat guard and is sculpted for reflex red dot sights.

The tuckable clip can be reversed for both left- and right-handed shooters. The cant is adjustable from 0–20 degrees and will accommodate a 1 to 1.5-inch belt. Further, the holster features a claw attachment, which keeps the heel of the firearm pressed into your side, minimizing its print. 

Alien Gear Photon Light
The Alien Gear Photon carries both IWB and OWB.

Alien Gear Photon 

Designed to fit both right- and left-handed shooters, while carrying outside the waistband or appendix inside the waistband, the Alien Gear Photon holster lets you carry without limits. Constructed of a durable injection-molded polymer, the Photon is compatible with pistols with micro red dot sights, suppressor height sights, and threaded barrels. 

Shooters can adjust the retention for an easier draw or increased security. The ride height and cant angle are adjustable for a comfortable, custom fit. Additionally, the Photon is compatible with the optional Alien Gear Sidecar Magazine Carrier, should you want to upgrade your concealed carry setup. 

What’s your favorite inside-the-waistband holster for concealed carry? Have you tried any of these minimalist options? Share your preferences and lessons learned in the Comment section.

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a younger firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting since he was a kid. He loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding, and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related and he tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills.

His primary focus is on handguns, but he loves all types of firearms. He enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn. He’s not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
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 (6)

  1. Urban Carry leather/polymer combo with locking mechanism. Has full coverage plus tab for hammer area-no body contact.

  2. The most iconic minimalist holster is the yaqui slide. That said that only material that forms to an individual’s body is leather. Old School is sometimes tried and true.

  3. Call me “old fashioned”, but noticeably absent from this list are holsters that employ a leather “loop and snap” design, such as those offered by Milt Sparks and others ( http://www.miltsparks.com ). Col. Cooper was an advocate of Spark’s holsters. Arguably, the leather loop and snap design offers a more secure attachment to the belt, as some “C clip” and other types can shift out of position through body movement, leaving the holster unsecured. And the leather loop can be more comfortable to wear for extended periods, as well as causing less abrasion to surrounding surfaces than a hard Kydex clip.

  4. Nice list. I know there are lots of small holsters. But I have to mention the Glock Store’ s $35.00 holster. I have been through several prior to finding this one. I have nothing to do withe the Glock Store. It is just a great holster

  5. I have found that an elastic waist band to be the best available for concealed carry.
    The downside is it needs to be changed with another waist band every other day.

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