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:
- Top Five Deep Cover Carry Options
- Top Five Pieces of Everyday Carry Gear to Give Away (and Get) in 2018
- And Top Five Handgun Accessories
- Top Five Pieces of Cold-Weather Gear
- Top Five Tactical Pens
There’s probably no more basic accessory for the concealed carry of a handgun than an inside-the-waistband holster. And, while there are some objective qualifications for any holster – such as stability, security and safety – we can expect some subjectivity, especially when it comes to fit and comfort.
So, as with many things in the category of personal defense, what’s right for me might not be right for you. With that, here are my top five inside-the-waistband holsters; the ones that are right for me.
Combining a leather backer and a plastic carrier to form a single holster system, the CrossBreed SuperTuck looks too big to be comfortable at first. But after you get it on, it proves to be remarkably comfortable and secure. And stable. And simply amazing for all-day carry comfort.
Two steel belt clips hook on to your gun belt, distributing the weight of your carry gun across the leather backer. A form-fitting plastic carrier, custom fit to your gun, receives your gun with a sure “thwack” as the plastic form bends over and then into the crevices of your gun. Much of the retention occurs via plastic around your gun’s trigger guard (and other places) and your gun belt does its part too.
After installed, you can pull your shirt over your gun and holster and tuck it in, although I virtually never do this, preferring instead for a covering garment to simply drape over the gun and holster.
SuperTuck is tuckable – as the name implies – but its strength is its unbelievable comfort. The most difficult aspect of this holster is actually installing it on your person. Don’t worry though. You’ll master it in minutes and wear it for hours. Retail: $69.75.
Here’s an all-plastic holster built on the premise of simple equals good. And good it is. Multi-Holsters has more than one IWB holster model and all them pretty much share the same attributes: perfect fit, strong clip to grab your gun belt and easy in and out of your waistband.
Despite being made from strong – and therefore hard – plastic, these holsters aren’t uncomfortable. Worn between 3 o’clock and 5 o’clock (locations on the waist for righties) the holster is well-hidden by a covering garment but puts your gun’s stock in a perfect position for a fast draw.
If you don’t wear your gun all day but take it on and off when running errands or other duties around house or town, the Multi-Holsters IWB makes it easy. This is the holster you choose when you prefer convenience over all-day comfort for your medium-sized pistol. Retail: $59.95.
For just a little more installation hassle, a Galco Royal Guard will do everything the Multi-Holsters IWB will do but more comfortably.
Made from ultra-durable horsehide, the Royal Guard is custom-fit to your gun and puts the rough side of the leather out and the smooth side in. This seemingly backwards leather design allows for terrific retention of whatever gun you order it for while keeping the rig stable as you wear it with a slight forward cant.
The mouth of the holster stays open for re-holstering via a metal lining and the leather belt loops go around your gun belt and snap in place. There are two loops because you’re supposed to put a pants belt loop between them; this helps keep the Royal Guard from sliding fore or aft.
Due to its durability and fantastic comfort, not to mention good looks, Galco’s Royal Guard is a good holster for the gun you’ll never get rid of. Retail: $150.
Here’s the value holster that’s so good you’ll want one for each handgun you carry concealed, especially the smaller ones.
Shown bearing a S&W 638 J-frame, Klipt’s precision manufacturing holds this gun securely, relinquishing it only with a firm, straight up tug. I’ve also used a Klipt to carry a Ruger LC9 and it’s the same story. Simple, thin, tough and easy on/off. There’s nothing to adjust or change on the Klipt – no screws to tighten. Just insert your gun and clip it on your gun belt.
To get it off, just pull the belt clip away enough so that it clears the bottom of your belt. Do this 1,000 more times – the Klipt can handle it and keep hanging on.
The other significant benefit to the Klipt is its weight – or lack thereof. If you’re into saving fractions of ounces in your concealed carry rig, Klipt will help you lighten up. Retail: $29.99
The Public Secret is packed with features and unbeatable durability and strength. Like the Royal Guard, it’s made from horsehide, rough-side-out. Unlike the Royal Guard, the Public Secret carries guns in a straight drop and attaches to your gun belt via one of the strongest J-clips I’ve ever experienced.
Offering an excellent sweat shield and a stitched-in sight track, the Public Secret takes care of you and your gun. A reinforced holster mouth allows for one-handed re-holstering and the smooth leather lining offers great retention and a smooth draw.
Best for subcompact guns, the Public Secret makes appendix carry a breeze, although you can wear it in other locations on your waist too. Looking at the Public Secret makes you wonder if it’s just too thick for the comfortable concealed carry of a gun. Wearing the Public Secret proves it’s not. Retail: $106.95
There. My Top Five IWB’s. Did you notice what other accessory I mentioned with each holster? That’s right – a gun belt. Granted, these are great holsters that can function with a standard belt, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t use them with a real gun belt. It makes a significant difference in the quality of carry so be sure to get one.
OK, your turn. What other IWB holsters should be on this list and why?
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