Different Types of Holsters and Their Usage

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Gun holsters are such an innovative and practical solution for situations when you want or need to have your gun on you. Their main purpose is to provide you with a safe and easy to access place to put a gun in when you are on the move.

There are several different types of holsters, and each of them is designed to follow your body constitution, and allow you to comfortably carry a gun. 

Now, not every holster will be suitable for every situation you may find yourself in. Some of them will be great for concealed carry, and some will be adequate for those scenarios when you don’t want to hide the fact that you have a gun on you.

Holster style depends very much on your personal style, when it comes to the way you dress, and the way you want to carry your weapon.

There are five main types of gun holsters:

  • OWB – Outside the waistband holster
  • IWB – Inside the waistband holster
  • Shoulder holster
  • Ankle holster
  • Pocket holster
Different Types of Holsters


Outside the waistband holsters are designed to be worn on your belt, in a way that the gun case goes on its outer side, on your hip. They are the original gun holsters that were developed from old Western gun belts that had incorporated holsters on them.

OWB holsters can be made of leather or high-quality plastic like Kydex. The gun shells are usually custom-moulded to welcome some specific gun models, but they can be generic and suitable for several different guns.

OWB holsters are not recommended if you are looking for a concealed carry option, but they have so many other advantages.


Inside the waistband holster is pretty similar to the previously mentioned one, but unlike OWB holsters that will print on your shirt, IWB will stay hidden and undetected. When it comes to concealed carry, this type of holster is probably the best.

It also needs to be attached to your belt, but on the inside, and it will be placed directly on your skin. Different materials can be used for IWB holsters. However, the most popular option, and the most comfortable one, is based on a combination of synthetic textile and Kydex shell.

You will be able to wear your shirts tucked or untucked, as you wish, and you will have good access to your gun in both cases.

Shoulder Holster

Shoulder Holster

Shoulder holsters are super popular, and they are usually one of the first choices when it comes to everyday weapon carry. Their greatest advantage, besides the fact that they are very comfortable to wear, lies in their structure that doesn’t allow you to feel the weight of your weapon only at one place.

Thanks to the belt system they distribute the weight of the gun equally on your entire upper body, so you won’t feel the burden of it. Other than that, they will allow you to have quick and easy access to the pistol placed in a shell, and they are usually fully adjustable, so you can make them fit you perfectly.

Shoulder holsters are made of leather or soft and stretchy neoprene that’s breathable, so they will be a good solution for a long period of time weapon carry.

Ankle Holster

This type of holster is mostly suitable for people who want to have a backup gun placed on their body, just in case of an emergency. They are custom-moulded or universal, but they are usually suitable for smaller gun types.

These ankle holsters are designed from two parts – from a gun case and a soft adjustable base that goes around your calf. The thumb break retention stripe is a must when it comes to the ankle holster because when you are on the move, it needs to hold your weapon in its place, no matter what.

They are usually designed for military and law enforcement, and they need to be worn on your dominant leg so you can have easy and natural access to the gun.

Ankle Holster

Pocket Holster

Pocket holsters are the least popular ones because they are pretty unreliable. Their design implies you need to place them inside of your pants pocket, and they rarely have any kind of additional security features.

It may happen they fall out of the case, and there’s not even a retention strap that will hold them in their place, safe and secure. But some people are fond of them because of their simplicity.

The experts say that if they are built in a high-quality manner, they can be reliable just like all other pistol holster types. They can be a good choice for concealed carry, and they are usually created from leather or some kind of thick cloth.

Pocket Holster

How to Choose the Right Holster for You?

Choosing the right holster can be a bit tricky because they will all do pretty much the same thing, it’s just the matter of how you feel while wearing them, and how good of access to your weapon you have.

You need to make sure they fit you perfectly and have all the important features you value the most.

Here are some tips you may find handy when the time for the holster purchase comes:

  • You should determine where you wanna place your holster, on what part of your body. The best advice we can give you is to go to the closest gun gear store and try them all on, each type of a holster. That should give you some insight into this matter.
  • Decide whether you want a moulded or universal gun case on your holster. If you own only one gun, then it would be better to buy a holster designed specifically for that model, but if you have more pieces of weapon, and you would like to use one holster for all of them than a generic case is the better option.
  • Make sure to understand there are several levels of retention. The first one will allow you to access your weapon quickly and easily, while others, on level 2 or 3 could make this move a bit more complicated. 
  • When choosing the right holster, bear in mind that it has to meet three main criteria – it needs to be safe, accessible, and secure.

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