Top 5 Inside-the-Waistband Holsters

Concealed carry permit holders in the U.S. is at an all-time high, and those obtaining them are still flooding through the doors. This creates a boom market for the industry in a number of ways – and one of those is holsters. If you’ve tried to buy a popular holster in the past couple of years and waited weeks or even months to get it… you know what I mean. But with such market frenzy come the inevitable rip-offs, whether intentional or unintentional. Here are my Top 5 holsters for concealed carry inside the waistband (IWB).

[one_half]#1 Crossbreed Mini-Tuck

When it comes to the modern, quintessential IWB hybrid holster – part leather and part Kydex (or similar polymer), Crossbreed Holsters has paved the way. While the concept is commonplace now and variants of this blended materials holster are everywhere, it was not always so.

Among the many styles and designs offered by Crossbreed, my favorite is the Mini-Tuck. For everything from a micro-sized to traditional compact, this holster is perfectly sized to maximize function, concealment, and comfort. With its dual clip construction it balances the load evenly and securely on your belt and makes the gun feel half its weight. The simple but durable polymer shell holds the gun securely while allowing easy draw and one-handed re-holstering. The spring steel clips are strong and efficient, and bear the “cross” logo of the company. The leather slab (available in cow or horse hide) is thin and plain – making a durable foundation for the holster that adds little thickness. You just can’t go wrong with this one. Price: $67.75 – $87.75[/one_half]


The author's Springfield XDS call the Mini Tuck "home."

The author’s Springfield XDS call the Mini Tuck “home.”


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The Stealthgear Onyx makes carrying a sledgehammer like the Glock 30S so comfy you forget it's there.

The Stealthgear Onyx makes carrying a sledgehammer like the Glock 30S so comfy you forget it’s there.

#2 Stealthgear Onyx

The Stealthgear Onyx holster would be just another “me too” IWB hybrid holster, if it weren’t for one little thing – it’s completely different. The folks at Stealthgear have reinvented the hybrid holster to make a unit that is durable, practical, secure, and quite possibly the most comfortable ever. The holster is built on a Kydex sheet that has diamond-shaped holes punched out of it. On the top side is a heavy duty mesh of synthetic material that is almost indestructible, yet does not mark or scratch the gun’s finish.

On the flip side, that all important body side, is another synthetic mesh, but this side is “oh so soft and smooth” to the touch. The result is a holster that truly breathes – allowing air to flow through it completely. This allows comfortable wear all day long, even in the hottest weather. And they didn’t just stop there, the Kydex shell for the gun is precision molded and attached with black stainless steel hardware and rubber grommets. The dual clips are spring steel for strong hold and long life. I really like a dual clip design. I’ve carried the Glock 30S in this holster for months and I can nearly forget it is there. All of this is topped off with excellent quality edge trim and stitching. This is the most expensive holster on the list, but worth every penny. Price: $99.00

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Why add bulk to your subcompact? The Multi Holsters Elite keeps this Glock 42 tiny and slim.

Why add bulk to your subcompact? The Multi Holsters Elite keeps this Glock 42 tiny and slim.

#3 Multi Holsters Elite

At first glance, the Multi Holsters Elite model appears to be an understatement of simplicity. And in many ways it is just that – but closer inspection yields some remarkable details and shows a quality of manufacturing far above the competition. The Elite model is a precision molded Kydex holster for IWB carry. Aside from the hardware that attaches the belt clip (also Kydex), there is no other material.

This is the only non-hybrid in the list. Advantage – no extra thickness from leather or other materials. Your ultra slim carry gun stays slim when you wear it in this holster. The holster is not only perfectly molded to your gun as ordered, but you will find no ragged edges, no excess spaces, no “sort of” fit areas. The gun click into the holster like a hand in a glove, and snaps free at the draw with just the right degree of resistance – which can be adjusted via two screws below the trigger guard. If you have a subcompact or micro pistol and don’t want to carry it in a holster three times its size – this is the one you want. Price: $59.95

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[one_half]#4 Comp-Tac MTAC

Also a dual-clip hybrid, the Comp-Tac MTAC is far more than a ‘me too’ holster. Constructed of top quality leather and Kydex, this holster provides sturdy and secure comfort. It also has a soft leather backing for long-wear comfort. A major feature of the MTAC holster is that the shell – that is the part molded to fit the specific gun – can be replaced. This allows you to have one base system for multiple guns, or just reduce the cost of changing the gun you carry.

Clips are also replaceable and several variations are available from Comp-Tac. The clips are individually adjustable for ride height and cant (tilt angle) and are constructed of durable and strong polymer. I have used the polymer clips for years, but I always feel nervous that they will break. They never do. It’s just me. At $95, it is not on the bargain shelf either – but it’s an investment in your carry rig that is worth making.[/one_half][one_half_last]

The MTAC is not just a top quality hybrid - it can be converted to fit many different guns.

The MTAC is not just a top quality hybrid – it can be converted to fit many different guns.

[/one_half_last] Buy one:

The N82 Professional model is ultra-comfortable and includes a retention system.

The N82 Professional model is ultra-comfortable and includes a retention system.

#5 N82 Tactical Professional

If look, feel, and overall quality were more important to me than practical use, the N82 (pronounced “Nate squared”, for the two men named Nate that founded the company) would be number one. I own two of them but almost never use them. They live in a cabinet on a shelf with all manner of orphaned accessories. Why? Because this holster has an additional retention system that I find difficult to use, and I don’t like retention systems in an IWB holster. Now – here’s why it IS on the list: The N82 Professional holster is one of the best made, most thoughtfully designed, and comfortable holsters you’ll ever wear. If you don’t have my phobia or klutziness about retention holsters, then I can’t recommend this one highly enough. It deserves to be on this list. The base is a sandwich of supple top leather over a thin layer of neoprene backed by the softest suede you’ve ever felt. The result is a well-padded, soft and comfy holster that prevents 100% of moisture from passing from you to your gun. The gun rides in a semi-clear polymer (not Kydex) shell that is perfectly fitted. The leather ‘sandwich’ insulates the entire gun from touching you. Downside of that is that you must wedge your thumb between the leather and the gun to draw. Ride cant (or angle) is accomplished by adjusting the angle of the single spring steel clip. As I said, I sadly don’t use the two I have… but I do sneak them out and fondle them occasionally! Price: $69.95

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  • concealed carry class November 23, 2017, 6:22 am

    Appreciate this.

  • Grace July 7, 2017, 12:11 am

    I think holsters should be much more handy when using weapons.

  • Shawn Ratcliff November 22, 2016, 9:40 am

    I didn’t see Raw Dog ,I have tried Crossbreed, and N82,and Raw Dog,has them beat,I think a review with all this holsters,should be compared again

  • johnsosnite October 12, 2016, 5:41 pm

    I have 2 now, one for Walther PPQ and one for G43. The Walther one was made fine, but the G43 one is wrong. The beavertail hangs off the side of the raised tab (that’s supposed to keep it from digging into your flesh) but Stealthgear refused to fix it. They said it had been “redesigned” (after the first Onyx I bought a few years ago) and now it’s better. I said no it’s not better, I want the old design. They said no. So I won’t buy their stuff ever again, not cause it sucks but because they do.

  • Canislatrans July 4, 2016, 12:01 pm

    I am very interested in the holster , hope to have more of your presentation .

  • waistband holster April 15, 2015, 5:05 am

    I’m loving this article! And what interest me the most, are the comments. I was just browsing and trying to find out the top 5 IWBs, and I eventually found myself here. And I didn’t expect that this post will be that interactive. I love the post and I love reading the comments as well. It’s when you know that a blog post is working. It is making the readers communicate and interact with each other. How great is that, right? So I commend you for a great post. And thanks for sharing. I was definitely informed and absolutely entertained.

  • John March 29, 2015, 10:26 pm

    For IWB, the Multi Elite. The best fit and finish of anything I’ve tried. Even though it’s a production holster, a quick call to them and they can modify it to your liking. I take mine without a sweat shield. They don’t even charge extra for that service.

  • Jeff March 29, 2015, 1:49 pm

    Its to bad that Tucker Gun Leather Answer is not on this list. Tucker to my knowledge was the first build and offer a kydex/leather IWB holster. I have owned one for numerous years and I love it.

    • Brett June 28, 2016, 4:19 pm

      By far the best hybrid out there is Tucker Gun Leather/Locked and loaded. I’ve had The Answer for 6 months and it is the best! They are running a 4th of July special on The Answer for 15% off. If you need the best- they got it! NO DEBATE!

  • Scott March 28, 2015, 10:16 pm

    Crossbreed? No. Alessi, hands down. Someone didn’t do enough research.

    • Clarence Klekar March 29, 2015, 11:07 pm

      Agreed, especially the ones made by Lou himself…not to take away anything that Tom is doing to carry on the tradition of Alessi Holsters. Good stuff!

  • Will Drider March 28, 2015, 12:33 am

    There are many great holsters out there but I go a different direction. Florida is HOT, you get sweaty fast so any type of leather will smell like horse butt in short order and that moisture goes against your gun. Holster must cover all areas so there is no skin contact. I want a specific draw angle AND pistol depth relative to belt line. I want thin, sturdy materials. Why do people go with a single stack gun then shove it in a holster that add 7/16th thickness? Nobody made a IWB for a SIG1911railed and T/B (5.5 inches).

    I have mine custom made (only $50) kyrodex by the guy at the local gun show. My guy is Dead Eye Luke out of Tallahassee. I have four from him. My 1911 carried condition one, his holster will flick the safety on if I don’t. He adjusts the retention tension to what you want, not some lawyer proof anchor. Colors and patterns too. Take a look at this style and have it your way. Stock configurations run about $35 your Craftsman may be + or -.

  • Gary March 27, 2015, 12:15 pm

    I would second the vote for the N82 Tactical Professional, the most comfortable 4-5 o’clock holster I have ever had. You will forget you have it on it is that comfortable. I would also add to the list the Keepers Concealment the “Errand” again the best, most comfortable appendix carry holster.

    • Jason Sullivan March 28, 2015, 2:19 pm

      Alien gear cloak tuck 2.0 should be at the top of this list. The company gives the best lifetime guarantee out there, they are half the price of anything else out there, and it’s by far the most comfortable holster I’ve ever owned.

      • Cam March 29, 2015, 1:17 am

        Not impressed with the Alien Gear 2.0 at all. I have tried one on and not even close in quality to Stealthgear Onyx hybrid holster. Sure AG works fine for 30 dollars. Was your firearm also the cheapest of the pile? I’ll invest in a quality holster and belt for my quality firearm.

        • KelTech77 April 1, 2015, 10:49 am

          You put your gun in alien gear and it falls out. GREAT RIG… not

      • Ron March 29, 2015, 1:18 am

        Agreed. Alien Gear cannot be beat for the price.

      • Bryan March 29, 2015, 12:14 pm

        You also swap holster she’ll for different guns. 100% free with the company

      • Bryan March 29, 2015, 12:17 pm

        Alien Gear. You can also swap holster shells for different guns. 100% free with the company.

    • Barrelltwisted April 2, 2015, 4:06 pm

      There are several holsters that may comfortable to you, but until you try the Stealthgear Onyx, you won’t experience the ultimate in comfort! Added to the fact that it is the first breathable manmade holster (no leather to get sweaty or form to your weapon), with a lifetime warranty, you will have a new ‘bar’ level in holsters. They are a new, growing company and just getting known, but as soon as their comfort, breathability and light weight gets around, all leather holsters will be obsolete! Find the article in Guns and Ammo magazine, that’s where I got mine. Me and my S&W love it!

      • BS June 9, 2017, 4:36 pm

        More comfortable than a N82 Tactical Professional? Give me a break.

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