What's the best holster for concealed carry?
Choosing the “best” holster for concealed carry is a common challenge among permit-holders. There is no one way that is right or wrong. By definition, concealed carry refers to appropriately hiding a weapon from view.
Different methods of concealed carry can be evaluated on three criteria:
A holster or method of concealment may be strong in one area, but weak in others. Ideally, you want a set-up that is fairly strong in all three areas. Although concealment is the primary function, comfort is a close second. Most shooters will not wear an uncomfortable holster no matter how well it conceals.
Here are some additional factors to consider when choosing a concealed carry holster:
Weapon size - The effectiveness of concealed carry is easily compromised by the size of the weapon that you elect to carry. Carrying a Beretta 92, for example, may limit your available holster options, whereas a Glock 26 will have a broader range of possibilities.
Geography or climate – Climate can play a significant role in your ability to conceal. In hotter climates, people tend to wear fewer layers of clothing, making it more difficult to carry concealed. An effective method that works for customers in Florida or Texas would not necessarily be appropriate for a customer in Canada.
Body type – Certain body types may find challenges with concealed carry. An IWB holster, for example, is often more comfortable on a smaller or thinner frame than on a thicker or sturdier frame.
Here are some of the popular methods of concealed carry:
Inside the waistband (IWB)
In today’s market, IWB holsters are the most common and most popular style of concealed carry. Available in leather, kydex, and nylon, these holsters are easy to use and readily accessible, worn inside the waistband, on the strong side, in the 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00 position. This type of carry has a number of advantages as the bulk of the weapon is concealed inside the pants. Only the butt of the weapon needs to be covered from the outside, and this is easily accomplished with just a T-shirt.
Keep in mind that slight adjustments to your wardrobe might be necessary to accommodate the extra bulk at your waist. Slighter larger pants and shirts will enable you to conceal an IWB holster properly and comfortably.
Outside the waistband (OWB)
An OWB holster is suitable for concealed carry, but may require more consideration when choosing a cover garment. These holsters will ride on the outside of the belt, so a looser fitting shirt or jacket will be required to hide the bulk of the holster and pistol.
Pocket holsters can be worn either in the front pocket or back pocket. More than any other method of concealed carry, the effectiveness of pocket carry is completely dependent on the size of the weapon. With quality pocket guns becoming more prevalent in the handgun industry, pocket carry is increasing in popularity. Be aware that it might be necessary to choose pants, shorts, or slacks with deeper or larger pockets.
Like pocket carry, ankle carry will greatly depend on the size of the weapon, and the unnatural weight on your leg might require a period of adjustment.
As with many aspects of handguns and holsters, the best choice for you will ultimately depend upon your personal preferences. Experiment until you find the best weapon and concealed carry set-up for your needs and comfort.