When is a holster not a holster? I guess I do not know, but these minimal holster systems probably bend the definition a little. At the very least, they are ultrathin, using either minimal or no holster material in places where we are used to a decent amount of plastic, leather or fabric.
The innovation that spurred these designs into existence likely came about during the concealed carry boom we’ve witnessed over the last decade or so, where millions of Americans took it upon themselves to exercise their 2A rights. With that, here are my top five minimal inside-the-waistband holsters. You decide whether they are actually holsters or something else.
Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:
- Top Five Autoloading Pocket Pistols
- Top Five Materials for 1911 Grips
- The Top Five Keychain Tools, Part II
- Top Five Non-Electronic Hearing Protectors
- Top Five Concealable Blades
1. Trigger Guard
A trigger-guard holster protects the trigger by encasing it on both sides. The plastic snaps over the trigger guard just enough to hold on but not so much that you cannot get it by firmly tugging an attached lanyard. Some trigger-guard holsters (such as the one you see here) have a fin or tail that is meant to be caught by your weak hand as you draw and bring the gun up. A deft movement under the muzzle of the gun catches the plastic fin or tail, swiping it off and exposing the trigger for your strong hand. You can also loop the lanyard through a belt loop, attach the trigger guard to your gun and carry the gun IWB. The lanyard prevents the gun from slipping down your pants and pulls the trigger guard off upon drawing.
It is a clever system that seems to cover the bare minimum for safety by protecting only the trigger until it is time to deploy the gun. There is zero protection for any other part of the gun and no retention. Your gun could slip out of your waistband if you got into a wrestling match. It would still be attached to your belt loop, but it would be in a precarious position, and so would you. There are several manufacturers for this type of holster, and if you are comfortable with these risks, there is not a more minimal holster out there which provides any kind of serviceable trigger protection.
Shop for Trigger Guard Holsters on GunsAmerica
2. Falco Breathable Bellyband
Bellyband holsters have been around for a long time, but I mention Falco’s Breathable here because it is exceptionally thin — thinner than virtually any other bellyband I have found. It is comfortable too, and yes, it is breathable. As such, it takes the concept of minimal to a whole new level. Even though it is the only holster in this bunch to put material on both sides of the slide, the amount is negligible.
Whatever gun you are carrying slips into the bellyband, and a retention strap goes over the back of the slide. As such, the trigger is protected on both sides, and the gun is held firmly in place by all the elastic. The retention will keep it in place even if you get into a wrestling match. It will take an extra pull to undo the gun from the retention strap, but I think it is worth it.
Retail is around $30. For more information visit FalcoHolsters.com
The Versacarry gun-carrying system uses a precisely sized post that goes into the barrel of the gun from the muzzle side. The post is actually just a fraction wider than the barrel and ensures a snug fit. Attached to the rest of the plastic carrier, the post pulls the side of the gun snug to the carrier (or vice versa), and a plastic guard covers one side of the trigger. The carrier system culminates in a loop that goes over a gun belt. The plastic all rides on the outer half of the gun, and your body covers the inner half of the gun.
Versacarry is minimal and decently comfortable, but you have to attach the carrier to your gun (carefully and safely, please) and then install it inside your waistband. Do not try to put the gun in the carrier while wearing it. To draw, just draw like you would from a regular holster. The post will yield the gun, and it is ready to go.
Retail for the Versacarry is around $20. For more info visit Versacarry.com.
ZeroCarry holsters work on a principle similar to Versacarry. Basically, it is a two-sided, plastic trigger guard with a belt loop and a post that goes into the barrel. The trigger guard can be adjusted to accommodate guns of varying sizes and lengths. As such, you get a bit of leeway in the whole system until you install it inside your waistband, where your gun stabilizes the entire rig. ZeroCarry allows the ride height to be adjusted. An adjustable ride height is a useful feature if you have different gun designs that need to ride higher or lower.
Retail for the ZeroCarry holster is $24.95. For more information visit ZeroCarry.com.
5. Metal Clip
Similar to the trigger-guard style of holster, there are multiple versions of metal clips that physically attach to your gun in order to carry it inside your waistband. Shown here is a Kel-Tec P-3AT with the factory metal clip installed. As you can see, it is a simple metal clip with an attachment point way back on the frame. This allows for deep carry inside the waistband or in the right kind of pocket.
There is no protection for the trigger save for the fabric of your clothing. There is no retention other than the tension of the clip on the frame of the gun, but in this case, the gun is so small and lightweight that it is held in place fairly well. Since the metal clip stays on the gun, you will have to get used to how it feels when shooting the gun, but this is easy to overcome.
Shop for a Kel-Tec P-3AT on GunsAmerica.
About the Author: Mark Kakkuri is 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.
Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.