Holsters for Self Defense: A Guide to Carrying Concealed

You’ve made the decision to carry a firearm. Maybe you’ve already picked out your gun, and maybe you’ve already shot it. Now, it’s time to wear it. But it can be confusing knowing where to start.

After all, there are holsters that clip on the outside of your pants, ones that fit on the inside of your ankle, and even ones that go in your pocket. How are you supposed to know which one is right for you and your gun?

This guide will walk you through the benefits of wearing a holster and how to choose which ones will best fit your lifestyle and weapon.

What’s Your Carry Purpose?

People carry guns for different reasons, and the holster you choose depends on your purpose for having the gun in the first place. That means while the man living on a 5,000-acre ranch may not care about concealing his 9mm when he rides to check the fence, the woman who lives in Detroit and walks home from work in the dark does care about concealment.

Keep this in mind as you talk about concealed carry with your friends and family. When you’re looking for a holster to be used for self defense, it’s going to be different than the ones people wear at the range or shooting club. It’s going to be different than what police and security guards use, and it very well may be different than what your next door neighbor wears. And that’s okay – as long as it works for you and your gun.

Characteristics of Good Self-Defense Holsters

When carrying your self-defense firearm, there are a few things that all good holsters have in common. Regardless of whether you’re carrying a Beretta Pico at your hip or a 9mm Glock under your arm, these are the traits you want to look for in a self-defense holster:

  • It fits snug against your body. Not only will an ill-fitting holster be uncomfortable, but it can draw attention if it’s bouncing around, which is not what you want.
  • It holds the firearm tight. If your gun isn’t tight in its holster, it becomes a risk during a physical altercation. If you’re fighting someone, thrown to the floor, or even running away, you need to be sure your firearm is going to stay put.
  • It’s able to be carried concealed. If you want to use a gun for self defense, it’s always best to wear it concealed. You don’t want to draw unwanted trouble or make people feel uncomfortable because they can see your weapon.
  • It has a smooth presentation. A good holster allows you to easily draw your gun out of the holster and return it without issue. If you have to fumble with the straps or it takes two hands to remove it, it’s no good for self defense (where every second counts). The quicker you can get it out and ready to aim, the better.
  • It protects your gun. Your holster should offer a level of protection from both the outside elements and your body. Rain and sweat can do damage to a firearm, but with the right holster, both can easily be avoided.

Comfort and Function

Along these same lines, a holster needs to be comfortable and functionable. If it’s not, there’s no way you’re going to wear it on a regular basis. Here are some of the things to keep in mind as you determine what kind of holster you should choose.

  • Using a holster that’s on your body is always better than one off the body. That means an in-the-waistband holster should be chosen over a concealed-carry purse, and a hip holster over a specialized concealed-carry jacket. When your firearm is on your body, it’s safer, easier to reach, and has less chance of falling into the wrong hands.
  • For most people, a holster at the waist or hip tends to be the most efficient. It’s always within reach of your dominate hand and makes it more difficult for someone to remove it from your person.
  • Don’t just buy a holster, try it on. Wear it around the store. Do some jumping jacks. Bend down like you’re grabbing something off the bottom shelf at the grocery store. Do what you do every day and see how it feels. Does it stay in place? Does it jab you in the ribs? Does the holster print on your back every time you bend over? These are things you can only know by trying one on and moving around.
  • One may not be enough. This is especially true for those who wear a variety of clothing. There are men who need something that can be worn with a business suit, a pair of jeans, and clothes from the gym, and women who need a holster for dresses, work clothes, and going out with friends. That’s okay – you don’t wear the same pair of shoes for every occasion, and you don’t need to wear the same holster either.
  • One made specifically for your gun is best. While there’s thousands of universal holsters out there, the fact remains that the best-fitting holster is one that is made for your specific make and model of gun. It’s going to firmly hold it, keep it snug, and fit like a glove.

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Holsters for self defense i got a drawer full. It depends once which one matches my outfit. I guy has got to accessorize.


Mine’s so beat to hell it still has teeth marks from the mice that chewed on it in my grandpa’s basement. But if it ain’t broke…