Top Five Pocket Carry Holsters

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Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.

Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:

If you carry a small handgun as a concealed carry weapon, it’s difficult to beat carrying it in your pocket. What’s really great about pocket carry is that — depending on a few variables — you can put your hand in your pocket, around the stocks of your gun and be ready to draw… And, to the unsuspecting, it looks like you’re just standing there with your hand in your pocket. To those who might know better, such as a thug checking you out and wondering if you’re an easy target, you might look like you’re willing and able to defend yourself should the situation degenerate to that level.

With pocket carry, there may be some issues with printing, yes, but with the right holster, it’s just a bulge in your pocket perhaps caused by a phone or a wallet or whatever. It might be more difficult to draw when seated, yes, but you could move your gun to a more accessible pocket. As with any form of concealed carry, there are pros and cons you’ll have to work through.

A couple pointers about pocket carry:

1. Don’t carry a gun in your pocket without a holster. It’s unsafe and the gun will print easily, defeating the whole purpose of pocket carry.

2. If you carry a holstered gun in your pocket, don’t carry anything else in that same pocket as it will get in the way when you need to draw your gun.

3. Wear a gun belt. Even though the pocket holster is not attached to your belt, it will be attached to your pants or shorts and will put weight on it. Besides, your other pockets will likely be holding a folding knife, wallet, phone and, of course, a reload. All that stuff can get heavy!

Pocket carry is not for every gun and it’s not for everyone. But if you’ve got a small gun and the right pockets, carry it in a high-quality holster such as one of these — my Top 5 Pocket Holsters.

1. DeSantis Nemesis

At first glance, the Nemesis sized for a J-frame revolver looks too big. While it does take up some space, that’s the whole point of the design — to be the item in your pocket holding your gun in a way that you can grab and easily draw it.

The inside of the holster is pack cloth, which protects your gun and allows for a smooth draw. The outside of the holster is a tacky material that sticks to the inside of your pocket, keeping the holster steady and in place.

Nemesis is stiff at first but conforms to your gun and your pocket over time. I’ve only carried the Nemesis sized for the revolver and, while I’ve had it in the pockets of numerous pants, it excels as a cargo pocket holster or a winter coat pocket holster, as long as said pockets have a top flap.

The Nemesis retails for around $25.

2. Don Hume Pocket 001

Several of the pocket holsters you see here employ a sort of hook in the design — a means of making sure the holster stays in your pocket when your draw your gun.

The Don Hume’s hook is the most pronounced and, in conjunction with the holster’s overall stiffness, indeed serves the purpose for which it is intended — and you can use it right- or left-handed.

The Don Hume holster does break in a bit over time, but its stiff leather construction and design do a great job of keeping a J-frame safely and securely stored in a pocket. It’s a versatile, all-around type of pocket holster that does well in jeans, dress pants, shorts or jacket pockets.

Don Hume’s pricing depends on what style you choose. Visit the website to learn more.

3. Galco Front Pocket Horsehide

Similar to the Don Hume, the Galco sports a stiff and durable leather construction. This horsehide unit will likely outlast you and is a great match for a small gun, allowing just enough space to get a couple fingers wrapped around the stocks prior to drawing.

In addition to a pronounced pocket hook at the bottom of the holster, the Galco also sports a smaller hook at the top of the holster. On the occasion that the first hook doesn’t keep the holster in place, the top hook will engage the top of your pocket and help the holster off your gun. Similar to the Don Hume, the Galco does very well in most pockets.

The Galco Font Pocket Horsehide retails for $65.95.

4. Recluse Two-Sided

Recluse Holsters offers a one-sided (OS) holster and a two-sided (TS) holster. Pictured here is the TS. Like the other holsters here, the Recluse holster and gun combo drops into your pocket.

Two panels of leather on either side of your gun do the job of breaking up the outline of the gun and creating a barrier between your thigh and the weapon.

This is a stable rig because of its width and custom fit, though depending on the gun and the style of shorts or pants you’re wearing, the pocket bulge can be significant. As such, Recluse excels in winter jacket pockets and pants with heavier, baggier construction.

Recluse two-sided holsters retail for approximately $60.

5. Uncle Mike’s Inside the Pocket

Uncle Mike’s pocket holsters are easily the softest and most conforming of all these holsters. They wrap nicely around whatever gun you’re carrying but really do well with a J-frame-sized revolver.

While the picture shows pointed corners at the bottom of the holster, it doesn’t take long before these round off as they form to your pocket. Not only does the holster conform nicely to your gun and pocket, it is also very comfortable but still holds a gun upright, securely, and stays in your pocket when drawing thanks to a fabric-grabbing band.

The Uncle Mike’s holster performs best in a pair of jeans (not tight!) or other cotton outerwear where the pocket is skinnier or taller as opposed to wider.

You can pick up an Uncle Mike’s holster for $10-15, depending on the retailer.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that holsters like these change over time, conforming to your pocket shape, leg shape and gun shape, so they’ll generally get more comfortable. As with any carry gun and holstering system, be sure to safely practice drawing and be sure to understand both your and your gun’s limitations.

For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Charles S. August 4, 2017, 7:09 am

    I carry in-the-pocket a-lot, there are other pocket holsters not listed, how about high lighting the 99 other brands just to show whats out there. Holster are like shoes, if it fits and comfortable you’ll use it, if not, it goes in the box, also, how about up dating some of the other stories from (2) two years ago to try and stay more current. These are “gun times” not “old times”.

  • John L July 14, 2017, 6:26 pm

    Forgot Clinger. $20. Carry pocket or waist. Will not move. Excellent draw. Not for LCP size. Will work with S&w shield or Glock 43 up to 1911 due to open end. I’m happy with mine. Very versatile.

  • Ray S. July 14, 2017, 6:23 pm

    I have been using the Uncle Mikes for about 8 months now, and I like it. I carry my Charter Bulldog in it and I have no problem with it in any of the pants that I wear including shorts. I know some have argued that it is harder to conceal a revolver than a semi-auto, but I have carried my Ruger P94 double stack 9 off and on at times and it is my experience that my Bulldog is no harder to conceal than the Ruger. It seems to me that they are about equal, but that is me.

  • rezarf July 14, 2017, 12:57 pm

    Don’t like the Uncle Mike’s — the material on the outside (pocket side) disintegrates over time, and leaves all sorts of fuzzies on the gun and in the pocket. Not what you want on a precision firearm.

    • OCAZAllDay July 14, 2017, 5:37 pm

      I carry a SCCY CPX2 in the uncle mikes. Ive carried it for 3 years now, and yes the outside did wear. However no fuzzies from the holster. From my pocket yes but not from the holster.

  • Lee Elliott July 14, 2017, 11:17 am

    Ahh! You missed one of the most popular, 100% printless holsters on the market! The venerable \’Sticky\’ with multiple uses outside the pocket. (between my driver\’s seat and console) What I like best about them is you can grab the grip of your gun without having to waste time re-gripping. I can reach inside with my trigger finger off the trigger and full proper grip and at the ready. The trade offs to ALL these is no retention but that can be mitigated with bringing the leg up or while sitting, a straight leg for easy access. With my G-43 with a CTC Green Laser Guard, my MD-4 Sticky is form fitted for it. All your suggestions talk of revolver use without any mention of the single stack semi autos. It\’s so comfortable I sometimes forget it\’s there. I also use it for my bed stand as it\’s quiet, gentle, and it grabs the wood just laying there without slippage allowing a one handed draw out in the open. The Sticky is my favorite and are relatively inexpensive at around $30.00.

    • Larry Brickey July 14, 2017, 9:39 pm

      I agree. I have a sticky for my Chiappa 357 that does great. I have another for my 380.

  • Greg July 14, 2017, 10:20 am

    I carry the Desantis. After it breaks in it’s great. I also use the Blackhawk inside the waist band when wearing a shirt untucked.
    I carry a J frame and with either holster it is very comfortable. Sometimes I carry the Blackhawk in my pocket in an open carry fashion. I have a belly band, a Kangaroo carry and 511 concealed undershirt as well but the Desantis and the Blackhawk are the most comfortable.
    If I could only have one it would be the Desantis but I would really miss the Blackhawk.

  • Rangemaster11 July 14, 2017, 9:50 am

    I have 2, for different purposes. I won’t use DeSantis, because of a past incident in which they wouldn’t replace a defective product. Mt preference is the TUFF Products version, which also carries a speed strip reload.

    The other is the Kramer horsehide & kydex. More than 20 years old, looks and works like the day I got it.

  • obi-wan July 14, 2017, 8:24 am

    Not a fan of the soft fabric holsters such as the Uncle Mikes. After using one of these for awhile they tend to conform to the gun too much, wrapping around them making it hard or impossible to pull the gun loose. I’ve seen this on friends guns when they use this style holster, stick with a stiffer holster & this won’t be a concern. All the others are excellent choices.

  • Griffendad July 14, 2017, 7:32 am

    Try the “Stickey” holster. You’ll be stuck on it too.

    • Benny B July 14, 2017, 8:20 am

      I have one I use for my little Beretta all the time

  • roger July 14, 2017, 5:07 am

    I can’t see carrying a revolver in ones pocket. Too big. I just carry OTB on my right side. Have for years summer or winter. A T shirt hides it enough. as i have a had a CCW for 44 years. Just me.

    • Cyrus July 14, 2017, 8:13 am

      I couldn’t agree more . . .

    • Benny B July 14, 2017, 8:22 am

      I’m with you, I carry my compact 9 in a belted holster because it keeps my weapon close to the body better than a Paddle.

    • Mister Ronald July 14, 2017, 8:36 am

      I’m with you, Mine is on on my right hip at about 3:0clock. Trying to get a gun out of a pocket when you are sitting down is a chore. I use a OWB Tagua high riding holster for my G-43 and cover with my T-shirt.I can get to it very easy while sitting down if a car jacker is opening my car door.( It happened while I was sitting at a railroad crossing one night) When he seen the gun ,He ran away. No, I did not shoot him because he was running away but I sure wanted to.
      It happened very fast. I seen him walking up so I had my gun out before he opened the car door.
      If the gun was in my pocket, “””DOOM FOR ME”””

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