Best Holsters of 2024

A good holster should hold your handgun securely, safely, and keep it easy to access
best holsters

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Holsters are critically important accessories for our handguns, but we often don’t give them the attention they deserve. A holster’s job is to hold your gun securely and safely while keeping it at the ready. The best holster for you will depend on your gun, the application, and your own personal preferences. If you’re carrying a big revolver into the backcountry for bear protection, your holster choice will be much different than your holster for concealing a micro-compact 9mm. Holsters can be leather, Kydex, polymer, or fabric, and there’s holsters to wear just about anywhere on your body. So which holster will be useful, durable, and even affordable? Here are some examples of the best holsters and holster styles that you can get.

How We Chose the Best Holsters

Any holster needs to hold your handgun safely and securely, keeping it ready for its intended task. It’s impossible for us to make universally accurate choices on the best holsters for everything, but what we can do is give you some great examples of holsters that can cover just about any task or application. I chose holsters that I’ve used and are good representatives from the most popular categories. There are many custom holster makers out there that produce fantastic products, and if you develop a sense of what will work best for you, you can proceed with purpose and direction. 

Best Holsters: Reviews and Recommendations

These are some of the best holsters and representatives of the best types of holsters for just about any task.

Best Overall: Safariland 6390 RDS

Key Features

  • Durable thermal-molded construction
  • Safariland ALS locking system
  • Red dot sight compatible
  • Suede-lined
  • Price: $146


  • Rugged
  • Secure retention
  • Great optics protection
  • Versatility with other Safariland carry systems


  • Bulky

The quintessential holster is the hip-carried duty holster, and Safariland’s RDS/ALS holsters are some of the very best. They’re used by many agencies and military units because they’re simple, durable, and dependable. The RDS holsters are specifically designed for pistols with red dot sights, and use their popular ALS locking system. The holster secures the pistol with a spring-loaded locking lever that holds the pistol by the ejection port. It’s released by a thumb lever that is easily reached when drawing your pistol naturally. There’s no hard pull to break the pistol free from its retention like on many Kydex holsters. There are a variety of models available, but mine holds a Staccato P with a flashlight.

This model comes with a medium-ride belt loop attachment, but it’s a very versatile holster. It can be set up with Safariland’s modular QLS locking system, or attached to their chest rig for backcountry use. The Kydex is wrapped fully around the sides with the seam on the back. Many other holsters have seams on either edge of the holster that can let dust and debris in. It features a flip-cover that protects the optic from moisture and debris, but drawing the pistol pushes it out of the way. This and other ALS-style Safariland holsters are tough as hell and functional for duty, concealed carry, and competition. It’s one of the best all-around holsters you can buy. 

Best for Appendix Carry: Blackpoint DualPoint AIWB

Key Features

  • Folded single sheet Kydex
  • Steel belt clip
  • Adjustable retention
  • OWB strut loop doubles as concealment claw
  • Price: $99


  • Simple and streamlined
  • Tough and secure-fitting metal clip
  • Can be worn outside the waistband via the strut loop
  • Durable and dependable


  • Carry depth isn’t adjustable

My favorite concealed carry holster is the Blackpoint Dual Point. It’s a simple and effective holster that I’ve been using for several months now. It’s constructed from a single sheet of Kydex that’s folded on the trigger guard side to allow the attachment of a strut loop that acts as a concealment claw. Concealment claws stick out from the holster and apply pressure to your belt in order to hold the grip of your pistol against your body and reduce printing or showing the outline of your gun through clothing. This strut loop allows the holster to be worn on the outside of your waistband (OWB) by running your belt through it if you want.

Although the steel belt clip isn’t adjustable, it’s very durable. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to fine tune a holster clip so that the gun isn’t riding too low or too high in your waistband. The Kydex layers are separated by rubber washers, and when tightened, the screws will tighten the holster’s grip on the pistol. It’s streamlined, simple, and effective. In addition to its simplicity, the ability to use this holster in a variety of carry positions, inside- and outside-the-waistband, makes it my top pick for a concealed carry holster.

Best Universal Holster: Blackhawk Omnivore Holster

Key Features

  • Polymer construction
  • Compatible with over 150 handguns
  • Available for light-bearing pistols
  • Includes belt loops and paddle
  • Price: $63


  • Adjusts to fit many pistols
  • Level 2 thumb-released retention
  • Good coverage and protection for your pistol
  • Can be used on gun belt or with paddle


  • Not quite as smooth-running as some more specialized holsters

Many universal-fit holsters that you’ll see are shoddy, and don’t fit any particular pistol well. The Blackhawk Omnivore is an exception to that. It’s easily set up to fit a wide variety of pistols, and it’s an affordable, good option for a range belt or OWB EDC carry. The Omnivore is available for light-bearing and non-light-bearing pistols, and features a Level 2 retention system that’s released by the thumb button (which is adjustable for an ideal fit). The Omnivore secures a non-light-bearing pistol by gripping the accessory rail, and for guns with lights, the holster grips the designated light. There’s no friction retention on the trigger guard or other parts of the pistol. 

The omnivore comes with both a belt loop and paddle for a variety of carrying conditions and setups, and includes the parts necessary to fit the holster to your specific handgun. With practice, it’s a smooth-drawing holster that offers good protection and coverage of your pistol. 

Best for the Backcountry: Gunfighters Inc. Kenai Chest Holster

Key Features

  • Kydex holster shell
  • Elastic suspension straps with buckles
  • Adjustable tension
  • Available for both revolvers and autos
  • Price: $139


  • Chest carry is ideal for many backcountry activities
  • Can be used under bino harness or backpack straps
  • Quick access to your firearm
  • Available for many different handguns


  • Adding/removing layers can require you to remove the holster

In recent years, chest holsters have become one of the most popular methods to carry a sidearm in the backcountry. Many hunters, anglers, and hikers find that a pistol or revolver kept on the chest is convenient, easily-accessed, and is generally non-obtrusive for a variety of activities. The usefulness of traditional hip holsters can be nullified when wearing waders or backpacks with waist belts, but chest holsters are less-affected by this. There are many similar chest holsters on the market, but the Kenai from Gunfighters Inc. is one that’s been around for quite awhile, and is often imitated.

The Kenai chest holster is made from two pieces of Kydex, molded and sandwiched together. It’s got adjustable retention, and is held snugly to the chest with wide elastic straps that attach via buckles on the sides. It’s a simple, low-profile holster that can be worn easily under a backpack, personal flotation device, or even under some binocular chest harnesses. They are made for a variety of pistols and revolvers, but the most common pairing is with a Glock G20 10mm auto. You might have to take the holster off to add or remove clothing layers, but generally speaking, holsters like this allow you to do your thing while keeping the handgun out of the way.

Best Value: Safariland Schema IWB

Key Features

  • Skeletonized, injection-molded polymer
  • Minimalist design
  • Concealment claw
  • Adjustable cant and clip height
  • Price: $40


  • Affordable
  • Good adjustability
  • Easy re-holstering
  • Optic-compatible


  • Cookie-cutter, no custom options
  • Only available in right-handed configuration currently

Many good holsters are expensive, and some cost over a hundred bucks, and there’s a sea of cheap holsters that are garbage for anything other than collecting dust. That doesn’t mean you can’t find good, reputable holsters that are more affordable. Safariland makes some of the best holsters on the market, and the Schema is a new generic-but-effective appendix carry holster. It’s a well-designed, good holster that’s very affordable.

It features a skeletonized design and is made from injection molded polymer. The Schema has a concealment claw, trigger guard retention, and a belt clip that’s adjustable for cant and height so you can position your pistol perfectly. It’s available for a variety of guns, and works with most optics, but only comes in right-handed configurations currently. 

Best Leather Holster: Bianchi Black Widow Snaplock OWB Holster

Key Features

  • Slender leather construction
  • Snap-lock retention strap
  • Close-fitting profile
  • High-ride carry for quick access
  • Price: $75


  • Functional and good-looking
  • Helps conceal full-size 1911’s under long shirt or jacket
  • Thumb-break retention is secure, but easy to access
  • Leather is soft and quieter than Kydex


  • No adjustability

Despite the overwhelming popularity of Kydex and polymer holsters, there are lots of excellent all-leather holsters. The basic design of the Bianchi Black Widow Snaplock and holsters like it is the quintessential 1911 concealed carry holster—but works well with other pistols too. This OWB holster is worn on the belt, and can be worn with the belt passing inside or around the outside. The half-length shell grasps the gun, covering the trigger guard and ejection port, with the barrel extending below. The snaplock retention is favorable since the less rigid leather can’t be tightened down to hold the pistol’s trigger guard like a Kydex holster can. It can be quickly opened with the thumb as part of a smooth draw.

These holsters fit tight to the body and make it easy to carry a full-size pistol under a loose shirt or jacket. The pistol rides high so that the muzzle doesn’t peek out from underneath your outerwear. The holster isn’t adjustable, but typically, the slight forward cant allows a secure grip and fast draw. The Black Widow marries utility and nostalgia, and it’s an excellent choice for anyone wanting a leather EDC holster. 

Galco Fastrax Pac

Key Features

  • Fanny pack design with elastic waist belt
  • Carry pouch and accessory pouch with headphone port
  • Mesh backing for comfort
  • Pull-cord for rapid drawing
  • Price: $84


  • Comfortable and low-profile
  • Can be worn with any clothing
  • Allows quick access to your handgun
  • Adjustable to fit your particular model


  • No extra magazine carriers

The renewed acceptance of fanny packs as a somewhat normal clothing accessory coincides nicely with the irritation of carrying a handgun in an IWB holster when jogging, hiking, walking your dog, or simply wearing light clothing. It can be sweaty, uncomfortable, and easier to print or reveal your firearm unknowingly. The Fastrax Pac from Galco is a plain-looking, slender fanny pack with a rapid-access holster built into it. It incorporates a concealed carry holster that keeps your pistol at the ready, but in a more comfortable manner. They’ll fit a variety of concealed carry guns, and are an appealing option.

The pouch itself is made in the USA. It’s got a mesh-padded cordura backer, and a neoprene front accessory pouch to hold your phone, keys, whatever. The main compartment is zippered and houses a fit-adjustable leather holster that rotates 90 degrees upward when the activation cord is pulled. Mine fits Glock G19-sized pistols like the affordable PSA Dagger, and fits my Staccato CS wonderfully. To draw, simply pull the zipper back with your draw hand, pull on the activation cord with the other, then draw the pistol.

Mission First Tactical Minimalist holster

Key Features

  • Ultra Slim design covers trigger guard and part of frame
  • Safe retention 
  • Concealment claw
  • Single belt clip
  • Price: $28


  • Great for someone who wants the most streamlined fit
  • Good, safe retention and trigger protection
  • Convenient to use
  • Available for some revolvers
  • Affordable


  • Doesn’t keep lint off your gun
  • Clip isn’t the most durable

In the movies, everyone has always just stuffed their loaded blaster into their waistband and proceeded to kick ass. Reality is, that’s not a safe or smart way to carry a handgun. These minimalist holsters, however, provide a good balance between secure retention and the free-balling feel of not using a full-coverage holster. This holster is simple. It’s a couple molded sheets of Kydex that are pancaked together and grip the trigger guard and the middle portion of your pistol’s frame securely. It’s got a single thin belt clip that allows the pistol to ride low and out of sight. The concealment claw helps keep the butt of the pistol pressed against your flank so as not to show through your screen-print t-shirt. These really are cheap and effective holsters for some applications. 

I’ve used them with Micro 9mm pistols as well as a full-size 10mm, and they’re a great option for someone that wants a safe, but minimally obtrusive holster. Most people will carry them in the appendix carry position, but you could also carry them on your strong side, tucked under a shirt. 

Northwest Retention Systems Outlaw IWB

Key Features

  • Kydex outer shell, leather inner shell
  • Positive click retention and fully-covered trigger guard
  • Single belt clip
  • Concealment claw optional
  • Price: $110


  • Leather inner shell is very comfortable
  • Adjustable cant 
  • Can use with or without concealment claw
  • Adjustable retention


  • Custom-order only

Most appendix carry holsters are made of Kydex, which is a durable material. However, it’s not always the most comfortable, and sometimes a better barrier between the pistol and your skin is ideal. I’ve used an Outlaw IWB holster from NW Retention systems for a few years for my Kimber Micro 9, and have found it to be ideal when carrying against my skin under a t-shirt. The trigger guard has complete Kydex coverage and a solid-click, adjustable retention—it’s not simply sandwiched between Kydex and leather. You have to custom order it, but you’ll have your choice of color patterns and other bonus options.

Radial Innovations Coreflex AIWB Holster

Key Features

  • Attached spare magazine pouch
  • Concealment claw and wedge
  • Adjustable for depth of carry
  • Flexible cordage joint between holster and mag pouch
  • Price: $99


  • Carries extra magazine
  • Thin adjustable clips can help with positioning
  • Optic-compatible
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Less flexible for carry position with mag pouch

One common type of AIWB holster includes an attached extra magazine pouch. It’s never a bad idea to carry an extra magazine, and although many folks carry an individual mag pouch, it can sometimes be easier to conceal these combined-style holsters. They’re designed to be worn with the clips on either side of your belt buckle, and position the extra magazine across the buckle from your pistol. The thin clips on the Coreflex allow you to adjust the height and fine-tune your left-right carry position better than wider clips. The magazine carrier and holster are separate pieces connected by flexible cordage that allows some movement and isn’t as rigid and uncomfortable as some similarly-styled holsters. The holster side features a concealment claw, and the mag pouch has a molded-in wedge to press the magazine against your body and aid with concealment.

Sticky Holsters Ankle Biter Wrap and Concealed Carry Holster

Key Features

  • Grippy fabric construction
  • Multi-position holster
  • Friction retention
  • Price: $38 for ankle wrap, $28 for holster


  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable


  • Less secure retention
  • Requires more careful holstering and use

Hard-shelled holsters get most of the attention, but if you look on store shelves, the soft fabric pocket holsters are big sellers—and have been for years. It’s what I started carrying my old Kahr CW 40 with. There are many brands of these holsters, but Sticky Holsters builds them with a grippy outer layer that keeps them from moving or slipping around. It’s a simple fabric holster that has specific models for specific firearms, but fits tightly and securely. 

You can use these holsters in a number of positions. They fit securely in the waistband of your pants, or in a coat pocket. They also make an ankle wrap that allows you to strap your pistol to your ankle. You have to have the gun holstered before installing it on your carry location, but it holds the gun securely, and it’s an easygoing fit.

Blackhawk Stache IWB

Key Features

  • Molded polymer construction
  • Left- or right-handed modularity
  • Polymer belt clip adjustable for height
  • Price: $29


  • Affordable
  • Available for common handguns
  • Lefty-friendly
  • Works with threaded muzzle


  • No concealment claw
  • Not as durable as Kydex

The Stache series appendix carry holsters from Blackhawk are affordable, user-friendly holsters that are made for a variety of pistols. The basic model doesn’t come with the magazine holder, and is pancaked molde sheets of polymer with adjustable retention via two tension screws that pass through rubber spacers. The premium Stache kit comes with a concealment claw and optional magazine carrier. The belt clip can be attached to either side for left- or right-handed shooters to use, and its easy to set the height as well. This is a simple and affordable holster that pairs well with affordable guns like the PSA Dagger, or if you are looking to try out this style of holster without breaking the bank. 

JC Custom Kydex Bino Harness Holster

Key Features

  • Kydex construction
  • Attaches to the bottom of any binocular pouch with MOLLE webbing
  • Adjustable Friction retention
  • Available with optics cut
  • Price: $95


  • Integrates holster and binocular pouch
  • Excellent for bowhunters
  • Simple horizontal draw
  • Minimally obtrusive


  • Very specialized to use only with binocular harness

Backcountry carry has evolved dramatically in the past several years, moving away from the traditional revolver-on-the-hip, and to more streamlined carry methods. Many hunters, especially bowhunters, find value in carrying a sidearm in bear country, but many holsters just don’t work well with a backpack, and hunters need a holster that will be worn constantly, but won’t get in the way. Chest rigs are a great option, but if you wear a compatible binocular harness, holsters that attach to the harness itself are even more favorable for some folks. They keep the pistol at the ready, and have been employed to stop attacking grizzly bears

There are several good options out there, but JC Custom Kydex makes a great bino harness holster. It’s your standard Kydex, adjustable friction fit holster, but it attaches to the bottom of any binocular harness that has MOLLE webbing. This allows it to ride tight against the body, but stay ready for use. It’s available with an optics cut, and for a variety of guns—though you’ll have to custom order it. The holster features an additional stabilizing strap to keep it from flopping around or moving excessively while you’re wearing it. 

Diamond D Custom Leather Guide’s Choice Chest Holster

Key Features

  • Leather construction
  • Adjustable fit
  • Available in a variety of configurations
  • Holds handgun against chest
  • Price: $181


  • Comfortable and convenient
  • Great option for big revolvers
  • Not as loud as Kydex
  • Good option for bowhunters


  • Leather can absorb moisture
  • Snap over or hammer spur loop retention requires extra movement to release

Before the wave of high-tech, high-speed Kydex holsters and Glock G20’s hit the field, the Diamond D Guide’s Choice chest holster was as good as you could get. It was designed and is still fielded by many here in Alaska—especially those who prefer big revolvers for bear defense. These leather holsters are well-crafted and comfortable. They’re adjustable for fit, and available in a variety of configurations for different handguns. You can get them with ammunition loops or a magazine pouch to keep an extra reload handy, and even with a protective snap-over flap. I’m not a huge fan of the snap-over or hammer-claw-loop retention because it takes an extra movement to draw the gun from the holster, but many folks find that it works just fine for them. Even in a synthetic world, this is an excellent holster for the backcountry. 

Choosing the Best Holster for You

There are thousands of options when it comes to holsters, but to choose the best one for you, you need to consider several factors:

  • What gun is the holster for?
  • Where on your body do you want to carry the gun?
  • What shooting activity or carry application are you using the holster for?
  • Do you have a light on your handgun?
  • What kind of holster material would you prefer?

Answering these questions will give you some direction in picking the best holster for you. If you need a concealed carry holster, it will exclude many holsters that aren’t meant for concealed carry. As you consider more in-depth questions, it will narrow the field further. If you want to use an appendix carry holster, you’ll have more precise options to consider. Ultimately, you’ll have to try holsters for your intended application to see which ones meet your needs. It’s not a bad idea to try an affordable holster of a certain style, to see if it will work for you, before buying an expensive custom holster.

Read Next: 30 Super Carry vs 9mm: Which is the Better Self-Defense Cartridge?


What holster do most police use?

Law enforcement personnel use a variety of holsters, and it really depends on the department, but Safariland duty holsters are very common among professionals.

What type of holster is safest?

Most holsters are perfectly safe if used properly, but it’s important to have a holster that completely covers the trigger guard and holds the gun firmly so it cannot fall out accidentally. Holsters with additional levels of retention like the Blackhawk Omnivore are good for this.

What is the best type of holster?

The best holster for you will depend on the gun you have, and what you’re doing with it. If you need a concealed carry holster, your choice will be different than if you need a holster for the range, which will differ from the best holsters for the backcountry.

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Final Thoughts on the Best Holsters

Holsters are often overlooked. When we get a new handgun, a holster is usually an afterthought. If you only intend to use your handgun at the range, that’s fine, but if you will use it for concealed carry, competition, or hunting in the backcountry, you need to make an informed choice. Your handgun won’t do you any good if you can’t keep it securely on your person and easily accessible. It’s often worth investing in a quality holster, but it’s never a bad idea to try out more affordable holsters in a certain style. Ultimately, finding the one that works best for you and your application is what’s most important. 


Tyler Freel Avatar

Tyler Freel

Staff Writer

Tyler Freel is a Staff Writer for Outdoor Life. He lives in Fairbanks, Alaska and has been covering a variety of topics for OL for more than a decade. From backpack sheep hunting adventure stories to DIY tips to gear and gun reviews, he covers it all with a perspective that’s based in experience. Freel is never one to shy away from controversial topics. He’s responsive to readers on OL’s social channels and happy to answer questions, debate opinions, and squash trolls.