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Published Dec. 15, 2021

With more than 21 million people concealed carrying in the U.S. (and more if you include those who live in states that don’t require permits), you have a lot of people asking about the best concealed carry holster. But finding the right concealed carry holster is a matter of knowing your preferences. And chances are if you’re reading this article, you might not know that yet.

The best concealed carry holster should not only safely store your firearm, but also fit the design and retain it during activity. While you should also be able to wear it comfortably, you need to above all else be able to conceal it! While you could certainly find a concealed carry holster like that on your own, read on to find the best around and available this year.

The Raven Concealment Eidolon is an IWB holster available for either the Glock 17 or Glock 19 handgun. This IWB holster not only fits two of the most popular pistols out there, but it also comes with a host of features that make it incredibly easy to disappear your Glock into your waistband.

The Eidolon IWB holster provides an incredibly stable and consistent platform for drawing, shooting, and carrying. Although it looks like a fairly simple design, you can actually personalize almost every part of it. The rig is adjustable for height and cant, so you can carry it in multiple positions (I actually preferred appendix style). The kydex design also comes with a concealment claw, clips, and a wedge so you can carry and secure it any way you prefer. And it has adjustable retention, so you can control the smoothness of your draw and reholster.

Overall, the fit of the Ediolon, which means specter or phantom, by the way, is perfect. It’s what you’d expect from the experienced holster makers at Raven Concealment Systems and Kyle Defoor, a Navy SEAL and current firearms instructor.

Product Specs
  • Carry position: IWB
  • Holster material: Kydex
  • Retention: Passive Adjustable
PROS

Makes a Glock disappear

Safe and secure

Slim and lightweight

Customizable

CONS

Glocks only

Expensive

The Phalanx Defense Stealth Operator series are about as simple as you can get when it comes to holsters. Using a generic mold, the polymer design will fit a range of duty pistols. Your options when you buy a Stealth Operator are pistol size, handedness, color, and open or concealed carry.

The differences between them are few, so it’s easy to transition from one to the other if you need to. The most notable difference is that the compact design has an open bottom while the full-size covers the barrel and slide. However, both sizes completely cover the trigger.

As for performance, the OWB models will fit tight to you body, so concealing under a t-shirt is easy. The dual loops accommodate most typical belt sizes, but they aren’t great for big duty belts. The IWB models use dual metal clips that resist bending. Drawing takes little effort, and you can easily and, most importantly, safely reholster your firearm.

The bare-bones budget-friendly holster design has one drawback. You won’t be able to carry a pistol equipped with accessories like a light, optic, or compensator.

Still, the Stealth Operator series provides a quasi-universal design that will lock your firearm in with ease and makes concealment simple. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t get any better than this at this price point.

Specs:
  • Carry position: OWB and IWB
  • Holster material: Kydex
  • Retention: Passive
PROS

Affordable

Quasi universal

Easy to conceal

CONS

No adjustments

Does not accommodate most firearm upgrades

Editor’s Choice

When universal holsters don’t suck, they’re usually considered just ok. However, the Phlster Floodlight defies that stereotype with style. The Floodlight provides a slim and trim IWB or AIWB holster aimed at compact and full-sized pistols. The magic comes from the fact that the holster indexes on a weapon light and from offering an adjustable shock cord to adjust retention.

The Phlster Floodlight comes in three different models, the only difference being the light they are compatible with. These lights include the Streamlight TLR-1, the Surefire X300U, and the Modlite PL350. With the right light attached to the rail, you can carry nearly any compact or full-sized firearm. From the Glock 19 to Government Profile 1911s, you’re covered. Adjust the shock cord as necessary, and boom, you are good to rock and roll.

The Floodlight provides for lefties and righties and is quite customizable. You can use a wide variety of belt clips and loops. You can adjust for ride height and cant with absolute ease. Doing so is encouraged to ensure the holster fits the user. The Phlster Floodlight also works with the modwing, and attaching a wedge is easy enough. You can make this holster your own and carry almost any weapon you desire. When I want to carry something big and decked out to the nines, this is the holster I turn to.

Specs:
  • Carry position: AIWB or IWB
  • Holster material: Kydex
  • Retention: Passive adjustable
PROS

Customizable

Accommodates all modern accessories

Conceals with ease

Fits multiple firearms

CONS

Somewhat bulky

OWB can be notoriously tricky for concealed carry. You’ve got to find just the right holster to ensure you get security, safety, ease of access, and of course, concealment. Concealment is the hardest part of an OWB rig.

The Concealment Express OWB Belt Loop model might not be the most creatively named OWB rig, but it works. Concealment-wise the gun is held tight to the body with a slight outward push to allow for a proper grip on the draw.

You can adjust the ride height, and the holster can be swapped over for those cursed with being wrong-handed. The Concealment Express OWB Belt Loop rig disappears under a t-shirt and makes carrying your firearm of choice quite comfortable and easy. It’s best as a strong side or five o’clock holster and conceals easily in either position.

OWB holsters make drawing quick and easy. Rip, rip, and go with this holster. Just be careful. If you have big fingers, your middle might catch on the unrounded edge near the trigger guard.

For days where I’m already wearing an overshirt, a sweater, or a suit jacket, then I always go with the Concealment Express OWB belt loop model.

Specs:
  • Carry position: OWB
  • Holster material: Kydex
  • Retention: Passive
PROS

Comfortable

Conceals easily

Safe and secure

Works with optics, compensators, and suppressor height sights

CONS

Easy to nick your finger when drawing

Best Shoulder Holster

Shoulder holsters aren’t for everyone. In fact, most people who carry, including myself, don’t like them unless you plan to carry a hand cannon. With that said, there are some who do prefer them and if you want my recommendation, I’d say the Gould and Goodrich Gold Line shoulder holster.

The Gould and Goodrich Gold Line is an all-leather rig with thick straps and the ability to hold both a handgun and two spare magazines. The design offers you plenty of adjustments for proper fit and comfort, which is key for any shoulder holster. And, for concealed carry, a jacket or cover garment is required.

The Gold Line makes things comfortable and keeps things as safe as they could possibly be with a shoulder rig. They’re available for a variety of pistol designs and black or brown leather.

Specs:
  • Carry position: Shoulder
  • Holster material: Leather
  • Retention: Active
PROS

Conceals full sized firearm with ease

Allows you to carry two spare mags

Adjustable

Secure

CONS

Easy to flag yourself or another on the draw

Best Appendix Carry Holster

When it comes to appendix carry holsters, there’s a lot of lousy stuff and it gives appendix carry a bad rap. Maybe the Tulster OATH appendix carry holster will change all that. The minimalist design with modern features keeps things simple, affordable, and capable.

Starting with the name, OATH is actually an acronym. It means “Optics-ready, Ambidextrous, Tuckable Holster” and that should tell you almost everything you need to know about it. You can change it from right- to left-handed using simple tools, it has a raised sight channel for aftermarket sights or an optic, and an open bottom for a compensator. Plus, it’s available for more than 10 duty pistol designs.

As for concealment, the Tulster OATH is equipped with a single metal clip that you can clip to your belt and tuck-in your shirt. The super comfy design will encourage you to carry it daily.

Specs:
  • Carry position: AIWB
  • Holster material: Kydex
  • Retention: Passive
PROS

Accommodates modern accessories

Tuckable

Super slim and comfy

Comes with the modwing

CONS

Very little ride height adjustment

Best OWB Holster

The Blackhawk T-Series L2C OWB holster was designed for concealed carriers with an active life. If you like to carry while you’re hunting, fishing, riding an ATV or dirt bike or anything like that then the L2C is a must have.

The T-Series combines a holster designed for concealed carry with an active retention device. Keep in mind that the bigger the gun, the harder it will be to conceal with the L2C. In other words, you’ll have to wear loose clothing if you want it to be effective. The Blackhawk T-Series L2C uses a thumb-driven passive retention device, which you disengage when you squeeze the device inward while drawing your gun.

Additionally, the L2C makes packing a modern piece quite easy. It will fit a compensator, optic, and suppressor-height sights. Even though it’s a rather big holster, it’s actually super comfy. It doesn’t poke, prod, or rub you wrong. When it’s time to take an adventure, grab a BlackHawk L2C and call it a day.

Specs L
  • Carry position: OWB
  • Holster material: Kydex
  • Retention: Active
PROS

Active retention for physical activities

Super Comfy

Adjustable cant and ride height

Secure, but easy to defeat retention device

CONS

Doesn’t offer the best concealment

Makes offhand draws difficult

Why you should trust us

Picking a concealed carry holster is a big freaking deal. Why trust us to advise you? Well, a good portion of the Task & Purpose gear review team consists of total gun nerds. We carry daily, we instruct others how to carry, and we’ve also spent an embarrassing amount of money on holsters. I started from the bottom with crappy holsters, and through time, training, and carrying daily, I figured out what’s junk and what’s not. I can’t promise you much, but if you follow my advice and spend a little extra on a good holster, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run. Buy once, cry once.

Types of concealed carry holsters

There are four main categories of concealed carry holsters and they’re named after the way in which you wear them. These include Outside the Waistband (OWB), Inside the Waistband (IWB), Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB), and shoulder. 

Outside the waistband (OWB)

Outside the Waistband (OWB) is the most traditional way to carry a firearm. You wear an OWB holster on your belt much like a police officer. Since OWB is the standard for open carry, it may sound counterintuitive to use it for concealed carry. Yet, that problem is easily remedied with a jacket or big shirt. Otherwise, OWB is comfortable and gives you quick access to your firearm. It’s ideal if you want to be active or carry a full-size handgun. 

Inside the waistband (IWB)

Inside the waistband (IWB) sinks a holster below your belt line and inside your pants. IWB carry makes it insanely easy to conceal a firearm. In fact, the only portion of the gun that sits above the beltline is the pistol grip. Not all IWB holster have drawback. Some are built very well. Still, common issues people raise include discomfort as it might wedge between your belt and body; you might have difficulty accessing your firearm (especially if you don’t train); and you might not always be able to reholster. Still, it’s the most popular holster for concealed carry. 

Appendix (AIWB)

Appendix carry (AIWB) is another form of inside the waistband carry, but it’s so popular that it deserves its own category. It’s when the rig sits at the front of your body, often on the left or right of your belt buckle, depending on which is your dominant side. Many prefer appendix carry because it provides more space for a full-size firearm or firearm with accessories. On top of that, it allows you to draw from a very natural position. The drawback, for many, is discomfort, especially if you have a belly. Still, many like it, including your humble author.  

Shoulder holsters

Shoulder holsters sure seem cool and will certainly give you that Miami Vice vibe. They mostly come in handy when you’re packing a large handgun. However, they do have several drawbacks. First, it places your firearm just below your armpit, so it’s more susceptible to sweat and stink. Second, if you’re unaccustomed to wearing a shoulder rig, it can be uncomfortable. And perhaps most importantly, there’s a safety concern if you don’t train, which is flagging your non-dominant arm when you draw. Still, this niche works well in situations where you’re driving for long periods of time or up to your waist in, well, anything. 

Key features of concealed carry holsters 

When you’re shopping for a concealed carry holster, you should look for these seven qualities in particular: safety, fit, concealment, retention, ease of reholster, stability, and comfort. 

Safety 

When it comes to a safe holster, the main concern is unintentional trigger manipulation. Therefore, the design should completely cover the trigger when your gun is holstered, and it should also protect the trigger from accidental exposure. 

Fit

A holster should be purpose-built to fit your firearm. Many designs are molded after a specific model while others use a universal mold generic enough to fit multiple firearm models. Either way, the gun should fit firmly inside the holster. In other words, the gun should not move excessively when holstered. 

Concealment 

Concealed carry holsters are their own separate thing for a reason. These designs use minimal materials to cut out any bulk and reduce printing. A concealed carry holster should fit gracefully with your everyday clothes. 

Retention 

Retention is a term to describe how well your holster grips your firearm. Proper retention ensures the weapon will not leave the holster during normal, everyday activities. A good holster will hold the weapon in place and prevent it from leaving until the user intends it to.  

Ease of reholster 

Reholstering your weapon shouldn’t be difficult or take both hands. You should be able to safely slide the weapon back into your holster with absolute ease. 

Stability 

Stability mostly ties to how the holster connects to your pants or body. The holster should attach and hold in a single position through daily activities as well as drawing. No matter what you do, the holster should stay in one spot. 

Comfort 

A good holster should be decently comfortable. A comfortable holster has rounded edges and plenty of adjustable features that allow you to customize it to your liking. Although comfort is an important factor in selecting a concealed carry holster, it’s also a question of what do you gain and what do you lose? Oftentimes, more comfort is at the expense of another key feature. So, it’s best to find a holster that’s the right balance of comfort and the qualities mentioned above. 

Pricing considerations for concealed carry holsters

Budget 

When I say budget, I don’t mean cheap. It will be totally functional, but a no-frills design. A budget holster usually won’t be molded for firearm accessories and probably won’t offer adjustable features. 

Mid-Tier 

Mid-Tier holsters are where we start getting into holsters that accommodate most modern accessories, albeit light-bearing holsters are rare at this price point. We start to see more customization and adjustments made for users, as well as greater compatibility with aftermarket holster accessories. 

Premium 

Premium rigs give you everything! Mostly light-bearing options, all the accessories you could ever want. Lights, lasers, optics, different height sights, heck, maybe cup holders if you look hard enough. You’ll often see holsters in the premium level include various attachments, including different clips, loops, and wedges with the holster. Expect maximum customization with premium tier holsters. 

How we chose our top picks

First and foremost, we allowed our experience to inform what holsters we listed in this article. We allowed that experience to guide our research and hands-on testing. We also solicited advice from holster designers, professional firearm handlers and instructors, and seasoned users. We took careful consideration of the construction of the holster by looking at everything from the safety mechanisms to the materials used to the design as a whole. 

FAQs on concealed carry holsters

You’ve got questions, Task & Purpose has answers.

Q; What is the most comfortable holster for concealed carry?

A: It’s a matter of preference, but most people agree OWB rigs are the most comfortable option. 

Q; What should I look for in a holster?

A: In order of most important to least: safety, fit, concealment, access, easy reholstering, and then comfort. 

Q: What is the most comfortable concealed carry position?

A: Strongside OWB or IWB is often considered the most comfortable position. 

Q: What makes a great concealed carry holster?

A: A form-fitting and thoughtful design makes a great holster. Without one, you have a pocket, not a holster. 

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Travis Pike is a former Marine machine gunner who served with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines for five years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army. He plays in the great outdoors of Northwest Florida and enjoys good beer, sharp knives, and long walks in the woods.

Task & Purpose and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. We independently evaluate gear by putting products in the hands of subject matter experts. The products we test may be purchased by Task & Purpose, our staff, or provided for review by a manufacturer. No matter the source, our testing procedures and our assessments remain free from third-party influence. Learn more about our product review process.

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