Any gun owner can tell you the importance of choosing the right holster. There are several important factors in choosing a holster, but comfort and retention are the two most important. There are many different types of holsters such as IWB (inside the waistband), OWB (outside the waistband), pocket holsters, ankle holsters, and shoulder holsters. In this review, I will give you the top five IWB and the top five OWB holsters on the market today.
Inside The Waistband (IWB)
1. UBG Canute
UBG stands for “Ugly Bald Guy”, a self-deprecating jab at the looks of owner and founder Nate Gable. Nate produces all of his custom leather holsters by hand from his Utah facility, built to exact specifications for each gun model. With his holsters, you will pay a premium for their handmade quality. There are cheaper holsters in this review, but you won’t find one of better quality. His holsters can be accented with exotic animal skin for a unique look. Mine is sharkskin, but he has new skins available all the time such as ostrich, alligator, and elephant.
2. Concealment Express IWB
Concealment Express offers quality holsters at very reasonable prices. In fact, they are the least expensive holsters in this review but remain at the top of the list. Their products are made of Kydex, a popular alternative to leather. Kydex is a hard plastic that retains its shape and can be custom formed to each gun model. This holster includes a single belt clip that is adjustable to 5° cant and adjustable Posi-click retention screws. It’s also offered in solid black or carbon fiber (pictured above). Weight is another important factor to consider when choosing a concealed carry holster. The Concealment Express IWB holster is one of the lightest in this review at only 3 oz. The lighter the holster, the more comfortable you will feel wearing it, and in turn the more often you will end up wearing it.
3. Galco Tuck-N-Go 2.0
Galco is a brand that’s been around for a long time. They are one of the better-known holster companies and all of their products are made in the USA. They gained fame in the 1980s when Don Johnson wore their “Jackass” model of shoulder holster in the hit TV series “Miami Vice”. The Galco Tuck-N-Go is one of their current best selling IWB holsters, and they recently came out with an updated 2.0 version. It has an adjustable clip so you can adjust the cant. This makes it ideal for multiple carry locations, such as 5 o’clock carry or appendix carry.
4. DeSantis Cozy Partner
The Cozy Partner has a classic IWB holster look. DeSantis makes holsters that are custom fit for hundreds of different models of handguns. The Cozy Partner has an adjustable tension device to adjust the retention as well as a stiffened opening for easy one-handed reholstering. If you’re looking for a quality leather holster for a decent price, the Cozy Partner from DeSantis is a great choice. The wide “paddle” style that goes inside the waistband is designed to spread out the pattern of the gun and holster inside of your pants and reduce the possibility of printing.
5. The Reckoning By Crossbreed Holsters
Crossbreed is a very popular newer brand of holsters. Their target market is a younger gun owner, Millenials and Gen-Xers. Their holsters are all about adjustability and customization. They feature multiple retention adjustment points to customize the perfect fit for each wearer. The Reckoning is a new “Hybrid” type holster that is a combination of Kydex and leather. These offer the rigidity of Kydex with the feel and look of leather. The leather backing of The Reckoning is available in a variety of colors and hides.
Outside The Waistband
1. Galco Combat Master
The Galco Combat Master is the holster I think of when I think of OWB hip holsters. My dad wore one when I was a kid. It comes in black or brown leather, with very clean double-stitched lines. It can be ordered to fit nearly any gun in production today.
2. UGB Regulator
The UBG Regulator is the number one holster that I wear on a daily basis during the winter. OWB holsters are worn outside of the waistband on the belt, and that usually means greater comfort over IWB holsters. The Regulator doesn’t disappoint, it sits comfortably on my hip even with a heavy full-sized pistol. A thin tee shirt will hide the holster unless you bend over forward. Then you will get some printing through your tee shirt. That’s why I wear this holster almost exclusively during the winter when thicker coats are usually worn. It conceals the printing if you bend over. This holster is a beautiful combination of brown and black, so it would be eye-catching for open carrying as well. I have gotten compliments on it several times.
3. Versacarry Commander
The number one feature of Versacarry holsters is the extra magazine holder built into the holster. How to carry extra ammo is a consideration that every gun owner things about. Do you carry it in your pocket? A mag pouch? Versacarry takes the decision making out of it. The Commander line of holsters is the best selling of Versacarry holsters. It looks great in distressed brown, like the picture above.
4. Bravo Concealment OWB Holster
Bravo Concealment is another of the “New School” holster manufacturers. They specialize in Kydex holsters for concealment purposes. They offer both IWB and OWB holsters. The BCA OWB holster is one of their best sellers.
5. Blackhawk Serpa CQC
The Blackhawk Serpa CQC has one thing that none of the other holsters in this review have. It features positive retention so that it’s impossible for the weapon to come out without pressing the release button. The Serpa CQC has been used by military and law enforcement for years, and have recently become popular for civilian application as well. The positive retention aspect of the Serpa CQC is one of its best features. The only drawback of this holster is that it’s a little bit thicker than most concealed carry holsters. This makes it stick out a little bit further on your belt than other holsters.
There are some great holsters available for concealed carry on the market today. Both IWB and OWB serve specific purposes and have advantages and disadvantages. OWB is better for comfort, while IWB is generally better at concealment. Here is my opinion on which are the best of the best.
Best Overall IWB: UBG Canute
The UBG Canute is my favorite holster that I own. I own Canutes for four different guns that I carry, depending on the situation. The combination of comfort and concealability is what sets it apart from the rest.
Most Affordable IWB: Concealment Express IWB
The Concealment Express IWB in Kydex is a great holster. Kydex is a great material for holding form and looks amazing. The single clip and small profile of the Concealment Express make it extremely concealable. And at just 3 oz. its the lightest holster in this review. At under $40 it’s also the most affordable.
Best Overall OWB: Galco Combat Master
The Galco Combat Master is the classic OWB holster. A design that has been little changed for decades, with classic styling and beautiful craftsmanship. I love the standout double-stitching.
Most Affordable OWB: Versacarry Commander
If you’re looking for an affordable, stylish OWB holster, the Versacarry Commander has got you covered. Its beautiful distressed leather look is a refreshing change from most holsters, while the addition of the attached magazine holder is a bonus that most holsters don’t have.