Pocket holsters have come a long way in the last five years since the explosion of smaller guns coming into the market. These are, from top left clockwise, a Walther PPS in a Double Tap pocket holster, a Smith & Wesson Airweight in a Recluse, a Beretta Px4 Subcompact in a Double Tap, a Diamondback 380 in a Crossbreed, a Para P10 in a Double Tap.
This was hopefully my last pouch holster ever. I bought it online after reading a print magazine article that claimed the holster would stay put because of the rubberized wrap. It did for a while, but now it comes right out of your pocket when you draw.
This article came about after I ran into the Double Tap pocket holster several months ago and ordered this for my S&W. Other than the gun having more of a propensity to rust where it isn’t made of aluminum, the holster is pretty much perfect, for twenty bucks.
This is a Glock holster from Double Tap. It is a simple design, but the front hook and the rear hook make the holster fall from the gun 100% of the time, which is what you need. It also re-holsters very easy when it stays in your pocket, but sometimes it flies out on a very quick draw.
The Crossbreed holster combines the same Kydex form fitting approach, but it rivets the plastic clippy holster to a piece of leather. This can be used in your back pocket to look like a wallet, or in your front pocket to protect the gun from sweat.
Like any new leather holster, the Crossbreed will take some break in, but the combination of leather and plastic looks very promissing. This holster was made for the Diamondback .380 which we will be reviewing soon.
The Recluse holster is much more expensive than most pocket holsters, but they bill it as the perfect pocket holster.
The Recluse design centers on this trigger block made of urethane. You lock the gun onto the trigger block, and when you need to draw it you slip your fingers between the gun and the holster, popping the gun off.
The is the model for the Kel-Tec with extra magazine. Check out their website. There are a lot of different Recluse designs.
We have gotten a several of the Double Taps in preparation for this article. This is the Walther PPS. If you have a gun not on the list, Both Double Tap and Recluse will try to have a holster made for you. Both the Px4 and P-10 holsters from Double Tap were the first of that model for them, but they work perfect and really complete both guns as true pocket pistols.
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I have been at war with pocket holsters since my first concealed carry permit back in New Hampshire in the 80s. Back then the only pocket holsters were leather pouches. They were simple and kept the gun upright in your pocket at first, but eventually even the best of them would slump and buckle, providing little benefit to carrying the gun alone in your pocket. For many years I even carried an AMT Backup 45 with no holster at all in my front pocket, because there was no holster that fit it well and gave me access to the gun. Now, almost 30 years later, due in part to the explosion of micro-pistols in .380, 9mm, and now .45ACP, there are a lot more options to carry a gun in your pocket. Many of them are made from new materials, and a lot more thinking went into making them than back in the day. The pocket holster of today has arrived.
This issue of why you would want to choose a pocket holster as opposed to a belt holster is really about leaving your shirt un-tucked, or having to wear some kind of jacket or vest. With a belt holster of nearly every kind, you have to choose a form of dress that will hide your weapon. This can make you look, well, shlumpy, or kinda like a stalker, no offense to you tactical vest wearers out there.
A concealed carry permit in most states is just that, concealed. It is a violation to expose your firearm in public, because it can upset the sheeple and make them all jittery while they are lining up to have their microchips installed. If you aren’t careful, or if you just simply forget to make sure your gun is covered when you bend over or while you are carrying stuff up the stairs, with a belt holster your gun can become exposed without you realizing it. There are “tuckable” holsters, including some from Crossbreed Holsters, whose pocket holster we are covering here, but even with those the shirt is only a little bit tuckable, and you really have to keep an awareness as to whether your gun has become exposed. With a pocket holster your gun is out of sight out of mind, until you need it. Front pocket or rear pocket, the most plausible form of concealed carry for what I would argue is by far the majority of us is the modern pocket holster.
The most classic of all pocket guns is the .38 Special Smith & Wesson revolver, called the “J-Frame.” They are still popular, and those “in the know” still carry them, despite the dozens of micro-pistol options that have entered the market since the explosion nationwide in concealed carry permits. The main strength of a revolver is that it always goes boom, no matter how dirty or full of pocket lint you get it, and it has no levers, slides, safeties or other gadgetry to get in your way when you need to use it. Pocket guns do pick up lint and get dusty inside and outside. I’d like to say I take my gun out and clean it every couple weeks, or even better, shoot it and clean it, but I don’t. The revolver you see in the pictures is my current pocket gun, and it has seen better days, but I periodically do take it out and fire it, and it has never failed.
A small semi-auto pistol generally carries at least one more round than a small revolver, and you can swap out a magazine on them quicker than you can reload a revolver. I have never seen a pocket gun not deteriorate in some way from long term pocket carry, so you have to be much more up on the cleaning and maintenance of a semi-auto pistol than you do a revolver. Even a small amount of lint and dust have hung up my Para P-10, my Beretta Px4 Subcompact, and even the old reliable AMT Backup .45 had firing pin issues, just from sitting my pocket. None of the new pocket pistols in the market are more than a couple years old at this point, so they are unproven under long term carry inside the pocket. If you are carrying a pocket gun, go to the range and pull it out of your pocket and fire it, as if you needed to fire it to protect your life. If it has been in your pocket for a while with no maintenance you may be surprised when it doesn’t reliable chamber the second round. I’m not saying don’t maintain your carry gun. Many people in practical use just don’t, so be aware of it.
As a lifetime pocket gun enthusiasts, I have been through over a dozen pocket holsters in 30 years. My latest I bought online because of a positive review in one of the print gun magazines a couple years back, but it quickly became obvious that the reviewer had written the review because it got him a free holster, not because he had used it and carried it for a long time. This holster has a Rubbermaid anti-slip product (also sold as dish drying mats) sewn into it to keep the holster in your pocket when you draw the gun. It worked for a month or so, then the holster came out with the gun on a quick draw.
A good pocket holster doesn’t just hold your gun upright. It also protects the gun, and it protects you or someone else from firing it accidentally, and it protects your life by allowing you easy, repeatable quick access to your firearm when you need it. In my experience, there is not a leather pouch pocket holster that does all of these things well. But a new era of pocket holsters appears to be changing all of that, and so far I have had good experiences with them.
Double Tap Pocket Holster $20
I decided to write this article because of the pocket holsters from Double Tap you see here in the pictures. If you are a regular reader of GunsAmerica Magazine, you probably remember that Brian Jensen first found this company back when he was reviewing the Glock 21. Checking out their website while ordering a belt holster for myself, I saw these pocket holster and decided to try a couple. A few days later they came and I have carried the pocket holster for my Smith & Wesson for a couple months now. The Double Tap pocket holster looks exactly like the day I bought it, and works like the day I bought it. It is a form fit, Kydex, clip in type holster that sits the gun upright in your pocket. The gun clips in and out, based on pressure on the trigger guard opening.
What makes the Double Tap holster unique, and extremely practical, is the two hooks that are built into the molded Kydex. The rear one is angled in such a way that if you quick draw the gun up and out to the rear, the holster naturally catches and falls away, back into your pocket. In some cases, on a very quick and violent draw, the holster will just fly out of your pocket, but the gun is free and ready. If you want extra security, there is a lanyard ring in the corner to attach to a tether if you want one, though I have seen no need for it. With really light guns you can also use that lanyard as a necklace for summer carry, with the gun upside down, but I have to admit I haven’t tested this yet to any extent. Double Tap does also specifically make neck holsters.
What I like about the Double Tap pocket holster the most is that it completely protects the trigger from accidental discharge. If you have young kids and you carry a gun, you know that they tend to crawl on you and grab things and may even reach into your pocket with no warning. If you carry a revolver, the double action trigger is generally a heavy pull, more than can be accidentally discharged by a child, but these new pocket semi-auto pistols have much lighter triggers. That can be a little scary using a pouch holster where a finger can slip down inside of it. On the Double Tap, with the trigger covered, it requires you to actually remove the pistol from your pocket to fire it. This has its drawbacks, and many people carry revolvers specifically because they can be fired from within the pocket, but if you have young kids it is a worthwhile tradeoff. You also don’t have to worry about dropping your keys into your gun pocket by mistake and pulling them out and shooting yourself in the leg. All of the holsters in this article have this feature. The Double Tap is the only one I have carried for any length of time.
The only downside I have found to the Double Tap is gun rust. There is no leather involved, and the gun is “naked” from about half way up. Leather protects your gun from sweat, and I have never had a gun see so much damage from rust as I have with the Double Tap. If you use one, you really have to be aware of when you sweat or get rained on, and go oil the vulnerable surfaces of your gun. I have had problems with this Smith & Wesson with rust since I got it, so the rust is nothing new, but carrying the Double Tap definitely made the gun more vulnerable. This may not be an issue with polymer guns that have a modern finish on their slides, but beware, sometimes the screws and pins will rust on these guns.
The Double Tap pocket holster is available for the Smith & Wesson J-Frame and now the Shield, as well as the Kahr, Taurus, Ruger, and Glock pocket pistols, as well as the Walther PPS, H&K P2000, and even the Beretta Px4 Subcompact, as you see here in the pictures. As soon as they can get one, Double Tap will also be able to provide pocket holsters for the Springfield XDS. If you have a gun that you want a pocket holster for, or any holster, Double Tap can generally get their hands on one to mold it for you, so contact them at DoubleTapHolsters@Gmail.com.
Crossbreed Pocket Rocket $32.95
The Crossbreed holster concept is to employ a Kydex front with a leather back, two “breeds” of holster in one, bringing strengths from both sides. They make all sizes of belt holsters, both tuckable and un-tuckable, and though we haven’t gotten any but this pocket holster to test yet, they look to have a great concept. Kydexa lone is nifty stuff and it has become very popular in holsters. It can be molded to clip a gun perfectly, but it isn’t comfortable to wear and it tends to cut into you. Crossbreed has engineered a hybrid holster with the clip in part bolstered to comfortable and durable leather, so you get the nice, clippy, in and out with a Kydex, and the bendable, durable, comfort of leather.
For this article Crossbreed sent us their pocket holster called the “Pocket Rocket” for the Diamondback .380. We have a review of the Diamondback Firearms pocket pistols coming up and Diamondback just sent us two guns, so it was a perfect chance to try the Crossbreed “Pocket Rocket.” The Diamondback guns just came the other day so I haven’t had a chance to carry this or even break it in, but it looks to be a great product.
Like the Double Tap pocket holster, the Crossbreed completely covers the trigger guard with a clip on Kydex sheath. But instead of being all plastic and not really hiding the outline of the gun, the Crossbreed has a leather backer, riveted to the Kydex. This makes it look just like a wallet in your back pocket, and completely conceals the outline of the gun. To access your weapon, you draw out with your fingers while pushing down on the the leather lip of the holster with your thumb. It is a little sticky at first, like all fitted leather holsters, but once it wears in the holster should work very good. You can also use this holster in the front pocket, and the leather will protect the gun from sweat damage.
The Pocket Rocket can be ordered for left or right handed draw, and it is available for the Beretta 21A Bobcat, Colt Mustang 380, CZ/IMI Micro Desert Eagle 380,Diamondback 380, HellCat .380, Kahr PM, MK, CM Series (will not fit with laser), Kahr P380 (with or without laserguard), KelTec P3AT / P32 (with or without LG-431 laser), Rohrbaugh R-9, Ruger LCP (with or without laser), Sig 238 (No Laser), Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 Semi Auto (NOT revolver) and the Taurus PT738. They start at $32.95.
Recluse Holsters $59.99
The other holster company that responded to my inquiry is called Recluse Holsters, and they are the most unique of the bunch. The Recluse holster revolves around a rubberized trigger clamping block in the middle of the holster. This is a patent pending feature and unique to Recluse Holsters. They make both front pocket and rear pocket models, in both black and natural leather, and they are extremely high quality pieces of work. I switched from my Double Tap to the front pocket natural leather version of the Recluse a couple weeks ago for this article, and so far I like the holster a lot.
If you are concerned that your gun will “print” in your pants, the Recluse is a good option. It completely hides the outline on both sides, while securing the trigger from accidental discharge. To access your gun, you slip your hand into the side of the holster and the gun pops off the foam lock so you can draw it. This is almost a half way solution to being able to fire the gun in your pocket I find, and when you carry the Recluse and break it in, you will find that it lends itself to a quick draw. It also stays in your pocket by design, because you separate the gun from it on the draw.
A side benefit of the design that the Recluse is like half of a pouch holster, so it isn’t a pouch. From what I have seen so far, it doesn’t seem to collect and hold dust and lint. That is a big deal for a pocket semi-auto pistol. I don’t know how it will be with rust as compared to the Double Tap, but having that leather there I think tends to draw moisture away from the gun. A lot of thought went into the Recluse and I think it is sound. The only question I have, long term, is whether that foam insert for the trigger will physically break down from the trigger going in and out, or chemically break down from exposure to sweat and body oils. It is made from urethane, not rubber, so it may outlast all of us, who knows. They also have a horsehide option for $18 more.
Re-holstering is definitely an issue for the Recluse. You won’t be able to re-position the gun back in the holster with the trigger block on it without removing the holster from your pocket and re-setting the gun. But in a threatening situation, where you had to draw your weapon, or even fire your weapon, you can always just drop the gun into your pocket and get the heck out of there. Then re-set the gun later. Armchair internet mavens may make something out of it but in practical daily carry use it isn’t a big deal.
There are Recluse Holster designs that include an extra place for a spare magazine as well, so check through their website. Right now, the Recluse is available for the Kahr P380, PM9 & PM40; Kel-Tech P3-AT & P32; Ruger LCP, S&W BG380 and Taurus TCP, and now the Diamondback DB380. If you have another model that you would like to have a Recluse holster for please email your requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org