The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Concealed Weapons Holster

The right holster is essential for concealed carry. It needs to hold your gun securely until you draw it intentionally, and it should be easy to remove.

The ideal choice for you will depend on your needs and way of life, although many possibilities are available.  


A gun holster is the second most important piece of equipment in your CCW arsenal after your weapon. The holster needs to conceal the firearm and make it accessible when required.

The amount of concealment a holster provides depends on its size and location. An ankle holster, for example, requires only boot-cut jeans to hide and is challenging to draw from, but it also limits you to small handguns and may be missed during careless pat-downs.

The competition among concealed weapons holster makers has created many options for every gun and lifestyle. There may be some trial and error involved in selecting the best one. The time-consuming process of searching can be avoided if you know what to look for when choosing a comfortable holster.


A concealment weapon holster that’s comfortable for you can significantly enhance your ability to carry it. It isn’t necessarily something you should compromise on, but it is worth factoring into your decision.

IWB holsters typically sit inside your waistband in the small back or appendix position. Carrying in the latter is generally considered one of the most concealable positions, but it’s also often one of the most uncomfortable. It is due to a large grip and barrel pushing into your body while sitting.

Back-carry is a popular option, often considered the most concealable for those with larger pistols. However, drawing from a back-carry position could be faster and may put you at a disadvantage in a confrontation.

Ease of Draw

The ability to access and present your weapon quickly and efficiently is a must. It depends on your holster and skill set, but you should practice it regularly to ensure it becomes second nature.

Finding a comfortable and reliable holster is the easiest way to improve your draw. The competition among CCW holster makers has made it possible to find a variety of holsters for every position, clothing choice, and lifestyle. Finding the perfect holster for you takes some trial and error. It’s worth the effort since an uncomfortable holster will likely have you leaving your gun at home more often than necessary. A great holster can make your weapon invisible, allowing for a smooth, natural draw.


Retention is the ability to hold your gun in place within your holster. You should be able to stick your weapon in the holster and turn it upside down without falling out. Most quality kydex holsters have adjustable retention, usually by a screw that can be loosened or tightened.

Active retention holsters have one or more locking devices you must activate or deactivate before drawing the weapon. It adds a step to the draw stroke, making it more difficult for an assailant to disarm you with your gun.

Law enforcement officers often use these holsters who face high-risk confrontations where the extra time needed to draw the gun could mean life or death. However, these holsters require a more precise draw stroke and are typically more challenging to re-holster.


Competition among CCW holster makers is stiff, meaning there are thousands of options for every conceivable handgun, clothing choice, and lifestyle. Aside from pockets (which are only for backup guns and aren’t very good even for that), there are IWB holsters for the outside of your waistband, AIWB or appendix in the back of your belt, which can be concealed with the right coat and OWB, which is what people generally mean when they say “concealed carry.” These styles require more of a fit body type to wear comfortably. They also tend to be heavier than Kydex holsters.

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