Considerations when Choosing a Concealed Carry Holster

Posted by on Nov 14th 2018

How to Choose a Concealed Carry

The right to bear arms is an integral part of our constitution. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that second only to the gun, the holster is a crucial element for anyone who chooses to carry a firearm. Purchasing a conceal carry holster requires specific consideration of the fact that it is meant to hold a concealed firearm.

Unlike open-carry holsters, concealed holsters must consider safety as well as concealment. Safety not only for the human error of the wearer but also protection against theft or relinquished control.

Let’s look at the important aspects of picking the right concealed carry holster.


Holsters come constructed from a variety of materials, but leather is an excellent choice for many reasons. Leather conforms over time the more you use it. Many find that it is also more comfortable.

Like any other product you purchase, it's important that it's durable and lasts. Invest in a reliable and well-crafted holster just as you did for a reliable and dependable firearm.


Men and women will probably differentiate between what they find comfortable. Men may prefer “high ride,” meaning that the gun should ride even or above the belt loops with half of its weight. The mass of the gun tucks just below the ribs for most people and is more comfortable when seated.

Women may be more comfortable with lower carry since they have broader hips and shorter torsos. However, a smaller framed revolver may be an ideal weapon for women for their smaller hands, and it fits in a “high ride” with its shorter barrel. “High ride” is better for sitting and “low ride” is better for standing. Belt holsters need to sit lower for female shooters to achieve the right draw stroke for their weapon.

For women, there are other things to consider since most guns and accessories are geared towards men. First, women's hands are generally smaller, and this affects the trigger reach and grip size.

There may be a little trial and error here because what feels comfortable to one person might feel awkward for another. If you don’t feel comfortable, you are less likely to carry your weapon regularly, so comfort is paramount.


The ability to draw your gun quickly is crucial. You should be able to gain a complete grip on your weapon while still being able to release any retention devices. Your draw stroke should be a straight line that allows you to acquire your target and line up your sights. The draw stroke will vary based on whether the holster is on the waist, in a cross draw, on your ankle, etc.

IWB versus OWB

IWB refers to inside-the-waistband, and OWB is, as you probably guessed, outside-the-waistband. There are tactical considerations like being able to pull your gun on a threat and re-holstering it. An IWB neoprene holster, for example, is very comfortable, but once you pull your weapon out it collapses.

A word of caution, if you aren’t a cop carrying a badge when your gun is out, and are approached by police officers, you may be considered a threat. Be careful. Follow the instructions of the responding officers carefully and slowly!


Along the same lines as re-holstering, retention is critical to address. Most deadly assaults occur suddenly and up close. Weapon retention is essential in hand-to-hand combat situations. Maintaining control of your weapon could mean the difference between life and death.

Devices vary from simple thumb breaks to internal ones. Lack of retention and poor fitting may result in the weapon falling out during strenuous activity.

A holster fits a gun properly when it's made or formed for a specific weapon. This is important for retention and access.

There are three standard retention levels. Level one retention is single retention like a thumb break or snap. Level two holsters have two devices like an internal device and a strap. Level three retention has three devices, but this level isn't typically used for concealed weapons. The holster may require a strap, snap, and internal device or specific motion like a “pulling in of the grip and twisting simultaneously.”

Safety and Trigger Guard

When shopping for a holster, the trigger guard should be covered. None of the materials that construct the holster should protrude into the trigger guard, or else it may depress the trigger. Also, does the holster design disengage the weapons safety? If it does, you should consider another design. If you are trying to defend yourself in an assault, a fall or hard blow could cause the weapon to fire in the holster.

Is it Removable?

If the holster does not attach and detach easily, you may decide it's not worth carrying your gun and leave it behind. Make sure to keep this in mind since a holster becomes a part of your daily outfit.


Many clothing manufacturers make clothing directed at concealed weapon carriers. They range from casual/tactical to professional/business. Focus on what is required to maintain access and concealment versus what you prefer. The choice will be different for each person.

Local weather also affects what clothing you wear daily. Note, if you carry inside the pants or use a belt carry on the outside of your pants, pick a belt that will support the weight of your gun. Keep in mind drawing and re-holstering it as well. Gun size plays a huge part in this equation.


Probably one of the most important considerations is concealment itself. It helps avoid accidental exposure in uncomfortable situations where other people see your gun and call law enforcement because they see an armed person. Most critical is the fact that concealment allows for the element of surprise when someone threatens you with deadly force.

Final Words

Most people don’t want to have to use a weapon on another person. However, crime occurs and there are dangerous people. The world is not always a safe place.

Carrying a concealed weapon comes with responsibilities. You must always be safety conscious and be aware of your surroundings. Educate your family about the safe handling of firearms.

Stay up-to-date on training and take care of your weapon. It may very well save your life someday.

Meta Title: Considerations when Choosing a Concealed Carry Holster

Meta Description: The right to bear arms is an integral part of our constitution. Purchasing a conceal carry holster requires specific considerations.

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