When it comes to holsters there are a few approaches that can be taken. In my lengthy experience of carrying concealed, over 20 years of 8-12 hours a day, I hesitate to promote comfort. The reality is with concealed carry holsters you want a few very important things.
A holster must cover the trigger and it must fit your specific gun. Additionally, it must be solid and able to retain shape to promote a safe holstering or draw for use!
While I cannot tell you what will be the most comfortable for you specifically, I can give you a list of what has worked best for myself and others over the years. Take the following list with a grain of salt and we can get started on the list! Each holster will be linked in the first sentence, follow the links for the best purchase approaches.
You have three choices for concealed carry, hybrid (leather and kydex), formed leather or formed kydex. I do not recommend Uncle Mikes or Blackhawk holsters due to their relatively poor construction and the accompanying safety issues. Each holster listed and recommended has been tested personally by the author, I have tested on average 2 per manufacture and have also recorded others experiences with them.
It should be noted that most comfortable does not equal best, I want serious retention and ease of draw with my holsters. Not all of these holsters offer this though all are well made, some are made better than others. This can and does affect the comfortable nature of the holster and handgun combination.
All builders mentioned below make multiple types of holsters, I am only listing those I find to be most comfortable, not what is best overall!
When it comes to comfort, Crossbreed Supertuck is the single most comfortable holster on the market for daily long term carry. What this means is that if you carry concealed for more than 4 or 5 hours a day this holster is really the most comfortable. When new it holds shape well and maintains a solid grip on your handgun.
It should be noted that over time if not maintained and sometimes when maintained the leather portion of the holster will droop which can cause issues holstering.
Leather droop is a definite safety issue, however, this generally only occurs after long amounts of time and wear. Replacing a holster is like replacing shoes, unwanted but necessary with time. These run $60-85 depending on your firearm and setup. The crossbreed setup is best with larger handguns, though it works well with all, it offers better comfort and concealment with medium framed handguns.
Next on the list is the Galco Skyops setup it is easily the second most comfortable holster on the market today. This approach was designed specifically for federal air marshals use. It was designed to be extremely comfortable and for added retention of the firearm.
What this holster fails to do is promote ease of draw, this said it is extremely concealable and safe to wear. With practice, you can become quite smooth drawing with it. Remember the safety rules and use dry fire practice time to practice drawing and presentation.
Also remember, cover is life! This is a holster that you draw from as you find and maintain cover. I have long been a fan of Galco leather rigs and for those of you who cherish the finish on your firearms, this is where it is at! These run $90-100 apiece and are well worth every penny spent. This holster setup works very well with small to medium framed handguns.
My personal favorite holster is the 77Solutions setup, designed and created by one person in Texas, these holsters have proven themselves several times over to me personally. My first-person account of the amazing solidity of these holsters follows.
Recently I was in Montana visiting some amazing friends. During the trip we decided to kayak a local river, now while we are not absolute beginners, we are however not advanced either. Both myself and my friend were, of course, carrying using our 77Solutions holsters and Glock 19s. This river is a snowmelt stream and can be very quick at times, more importantly, it is full of downed trees that can be very hazardous at times.
As anyone who has floated, canoed, boated or kayaked a river with rapids knows, the rivers are not straight naturally. This one has several crazy bends that disallow a good view if what is ahead. We ended up in a chute headed directly into a mixture of tree jam and somewhat crazy whirlpool.
I capsized and my friend also ended up in the water. During the eternity or so it took us to get ourselves back up and on our way the handguns never budged! In fact, they were the only things still secure inside our belts, this is something not many other holsters can do minus retention straps. While these are not as comfortable as the supertuck or the skyops I have worn mine for a little over a year now and have no complaints.
These holsters have retention screws and are made with top of the line thick long lasting kydex ensuring a long life and solid retention over the course of it. I can highly recommend these! I would use these with any of my handguns. Because the builder is a single person there is a waiting list that runs from 2-4 weeks on average. If he tells you when it should be ready, if it ends up being late, ask him! He is really good with communication and is a great builder.
If you do not plan on carrying a lot or being very physical with your firearm the Concealment Express setup works quite well. This holster is made well for the money spent and runs around $34-40 apiece.
These holsters are not as comfortable as the leather setups, however, you will in many cases get more life out of them before needing to replace them. Some of the better features of these holsters are the easy to use belt clip and the tension screw which allows you to apply more or less friction to retain the firearm.
One downside with this holster is that it has a shorter lifespan than the above-mentioned holsters. The company uses a thinner material which, while enhancing comfort does not wear well over time! Understand that you will need to replace this holster after around 200 hours of wear or so depending on frequency and length of wear time.
Last on the list is the holster lineup from CYA Supply Holsters. These are solid well made and relatively inexpensive holsters that will absolutely do the job required. With a price point between $35 and 40 dollars shipped from Amazon, they are cost-effective.
I will say that like the Concealment Express holsters above, the lifespan is more limited than the Galco holster or the 77solutions holsters though it is about the same as the Crossbreed setup. While straight kydex holsters like these are not as comfortable as the hybrid holster from Crossbreed or the all leather ones from Galco they are still quite comfortable when worn with a solid gun belt! This part is essential and for gun belts, I can only recommend one manufacture with confidence.
The Daltech Force SuperBio belt, formerly the Indestructibelt I have now had mine for over 4 years and it has never hesitated, rolled or needed extreme care. Water, oil, towing trailers and more this belt continues to function very well!
The following holster is not on the list because it is not for daily carry, in my opinion, it does, however, have a place and I enjoy mine! This one is specifically for carrying small framed handguns, Glock 43/26 or S&W Shield 2.0 (with an Apex trigger) would be the Dont Tread on Me Deep Concealment crotch pouch, I absolutely love this when I am home and dressed down- it works very well for this approach.
Under basketball shorts or sweatpants, this is really where it is at! That said, I have tried to use this for other applications and found that it falls short. I have used mine for the Glock 19 though it makes it a bit more uncomfortable and difficult to present when needed.
There are some honorable mentions for those who may need more than the belt carry approach. These take the form of belly bands, bra holsters, purse holsters, carryalls and shoulder holsters. Each of these works decently with solid practice!
For solid concealed carry I do not recommend ankle holsters except as a true backup, in which case I am a fan of carrying a second firearm on my weak side. I have tested and used several of the above holster types and cannot recommend any specific brands.
Holsters are like shoes and while you may know your size, it is essential to test wear the product whenever possible. If you are not allowed to do this at least with your initial purchases, then pick from those above mentioned. Be aware that you will end up with a few holsters for each handgun you own over time. I have boxes full, it is not abnormal for this to occur.
As with all articles please comment and let me know what you think and if you notice anything needing changes let me know!
Free the mind and the body will follow…