For those new to carrying a concealed “pocket pistol,” the myriad choices to be faced can be daunting. What chambering? Do I want a .380 ACP or a .45 ACP? What about handgun type? Do I want to carry a semi-automatic pistol for the advantages of slim width and more ammunition, or do I want a tried-and-true revolver for its simple operation? How about trigger systems? Do I want a single-action auto, a double-action auto, a double-action-only auto, etc.? It can be overwhelming. And, once you have overcome all of these hurdles, you still are not done. How exactly are you going to carry it?

Addressing this, you will be bombarded by an entirely new set of questions. Do I want to carry it in my pocket? How about inside the waistband? How about a good quality outside-the-waistband system? How about non-traditional carry methods like ankle carry? Choosing a holster can be even more important than the admittedly important choice of your carry gun, as this will be your primary means of interaction with your firearm. If you make a poor choice, you can end up with a holster system that is awkward and uncomfortable—one that, as a consequence, discourages you from carrying your defensive firearm.

Written to help you navigate these potentially confusing waters, the following is a breakdown of some of today’s best options for carrying a compact, concealed firearm. They are broken down into individual categories, with an introduction to each that explains the relative merits and benefits of each type of holster system.


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