Made from premium American steerhide, the 3 Ways Holster (3WH) is made to balance protection of the firearm with comfort. It’s an inside-the-waistband rig that can be used in positions all the way to the small of your back, and it has a rugged steel clip on the left side for open carry. You can also use it on the left side, and its open-top design allows for a rapid draw but has excellent retention qualities. Made with reinforced stitches, it comes with a lifetime warranty. This multi-fit holster has five size options to cover some 32 handgun models.
Since 1976, Alessi has been handcrafting its products one at a time, and its holsters are guaranteed for as long as you own the gun that fits it. One of my favorites is the easy on/off CQC-S. It’s made of top-grade leather with belt snaps on both sides of the holster for fast installation or removal on your belt. Designed to be worn just behind the hip but in front of the rear pocket, it has a leather “stiffener” sewn onto the front face to enable smooth reholstering. Hand-boned to the individual handgun, it’ll fit a 1.5-inch-wide belt and comes in black or brown.
This is the one of the most impressive carry systems I’ve seen thus far in 2017. It’s a modular holster system starting with a “central unit” Kydex holster that has three mounting points on its exterior to fit different (mostly Kydex) components. These transform the holster from a belt-slide version so it can be carried in appendix, IWB, pocket, ankle and even forearm positions. The company will soon offer the ShapeShift in a starter kit with components for four different carry versions, then other components separately.
A lot of distinctive features make this inside-the-waistband holster from Bianchi concealable, fast and comfortable. Made of top-grain leather, it has a laminate synthetic inner liner that gives it traditional looks mated with today’s synthetic performance. The covered triggerguard has a detent to aid in retention, and the inside surface of the holster has anti-bacterial/microbial padding that prevents odors and provides comfort. The belt loop is adjustable for cant wherever it’s positioned on the waistline.
The new BlackHawk Omnivore is a multi-fit holster that accommodates more than 150 styles of semi-auto handguns with an accessory rail. The active retention mechanism doesn’t wear the handgun’s finish, and three variants are available. It locks onto the company’s proprietary Rail Attachment Device in the Non-Light Bearing model, and onto the frame of the light in the Streamlight and SureFire models. A thumb release disengages the locking mechanism when drawing the gun.
This modular, pancake-style Kydex holster is engineered to accommodate multiple handguns with medium-sized lights or laser sights. Three different holster sizes fit some 28 different handguns of various lengths. It comes with three sets of mounting clips to allow for IWB or OWB carry, is open-ended, has a tall sight channel, is tension adjustable for security and comes cut to make it optics ready for most slide-mounted red-dot sights.
CrossBreed is well known for its leather/Kydex hybrid holsters, but the company also makes belts that are well made and functional. Constructed of tanned 7-ounce belt strips, matched with a 7-ounce leather liner and joined with industrial adhesive, each belt is then beveled, burnished and stitched with 277 threading and hand-oiled. Various colors are available to accommodate belts 1.25 or 1.5 inches wide. The belts are also 0.25 inches thick for superior support for your holstered handgun.
There are several action shooting sports today, and Dara Holsters offers a package deal that will provide competitors a great rig with exceptional value. This outfit starts with a 1.5-inch-wide, handmade, double-layered, bull-hide belt with a black buckle and features a Kydex OWB Sport Action holster (with your choice of open top or top/side ejection port cut) that is tension adjustable, plus three single magazine carriers. You get four color choices, and Dara Holster also offers an advanced rig with cant-adjustable magazine carriers for even faster reloads when you’re on the clock.
You could fill a book with an overview of DeSantis products, but one I’d like to feature is the Triple Play. It’s essentially a uniform duty holster, but thanks to Tap Out accessory components, it can become a tactical or plainclothes rig, too. Constructed of Kydex and other reinforced polymers, it’s strong, rustproof and able to endure temperature extremes. This very intuitive system can be fitted with Redi-Locks for additional security, and it’s adjustable for cant, height and tension. It will accommodate pistols with or without reflex sights.
Under the heading of “Why didn’t I think of that?” the SafeCarry Ranger has a thumb-break retention system that is an integral part of the holster. This Kydex rig is molded for specific handgun models, and the retention block is made into the rear portion of the holster and extends over the rear of the pistol slide. Pushing the block inward like you would a thumb-break safety strap releases the gun yet provides excellent retention. It’s made for 17 pistol models at present and has several color options, plus it fits belts ramgomg from 1.24 to 1.5 inches wide.
DSG Arms has introduced a new OWB holster that is designed for minimal presence yet maximum user comfort. It’s formed for a close-to-the-body fit and is designed to accommodate handguns with threaded barrels. It comes with injection-molded, 1.75-inch-wide belt loops, is adjustable for retention and sports a 15-degree cant. The thermo-resistant Kydex comes in two colors: black and tan. It’s made for most of the popular service pistols and can even be configured for MOLLE compatibility.
This Israeli-based company is synonymous with polymer-made holsters and accessories, and one of the most versatile rigs in its lineup is the Universal IWB. Three variants—the IWBL, IWBM and IWBS—are available to fit large, medium and small pistols. These are low-profile holsters with flexible and ventilated backings that conform to the body of the wearer. The non-collapsing shell covers the pistol, and two belt clips position it at waistband height. The belt and backing assure positive retention.
This new holster design is dedicated to revolvers and has some Old West flavor. It has the appearance of a traditional Mexican-loop holster combined with a form-fitting, covered-triggerguard rig that defines today’s belt holsters. It carries the gun high and close to the body for casual concealment or open carry and can be worn on the strong side or in a cross-draw position. Its innovative belt-slide system allows for carry in four different positions, and a hammer thong helps assure handgun security.
Providing deep concealment for smaller handguns, the Pocket Protector is molded to the specific model, and a tab on the rear sight end of the holster keeps it secure in the pocket when the weapon is drawn. For safety purposes, the trigger, front sight and muzzle are covered, and the clam-shell design minimizes “printing” in the pocket. Left- and right-hand versions cover some 189 handguns in 40 different color and configurations, with and without lights or lasers.
The X-Calibur features an auto-locking Level 2 security mechanism that requires gross motor skills to release the handgun, making the draw highly intuitive. Made of high-impact polymer with a metal skeleton, it’s meant for waist-level carry, and two versions are available for guns with or without a tactical light. It’s available with a plain black or basket-weave finish.
I like having a holster that will fit several guns, and the Multi-Fit fills the bill. For example, the Size 98 can accept a Sig P230, a Makarov and a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless. The Size 99 fits medium- to large-framed pistols. These nylon holsters feature Torsion grip retention to keep your gun in place, and the multi-layer construction conforms to your body shape and eliminates “printing.” It comes in a high-ride, belt-slide configuration, and a raised inner section assists in reholstering and protects clothing.
Thermoplastic holsters have ushered in a new level of versatility. The XC1 Evo can go from an IWB to an OWB or AIWB position just by changing the attachment hardware. With a design that has biased the holster cavity to the outside, the user experiences more comfort and the rig takes up less room on the waist. With this rig, users can adjust the cant and retention. Currently, High Threat Concealment offers the XC1 Evo for nine different Glock pistols with or without a weapon light mounted on the rail.
With its easily interchangeable belt loops, the Defender can be converted from OWB to IWB use in no time at all. It’s an open-top design with adjustable retention, and the Kydex construction makes it comfortable and lightweight on your belt. Some of its features include a full sweat guard, flared edges to aid reholstering, isolated friction for a smooth draw and gun finish protection, an open bottom for drainage and adjustable ride height and cant capabilities. This is an ingenious holster design.
This premium Italian cowhide, pancake-style holster is a high-ride, open-top design that keeps the handgun close to the body for enhanced concealment. It carries the handgun in a forward FBI-style cant and covers the triggerguard for safety. It can be had in left- or right-handed versions, in brown or black, and is currently made for some 136 different pistols and revolvers. The holster will also accommodate a belt up to 1.63 inches in width.
NexBelt, known for its “no-hole” belts, offers many different belt styles, including those for concealed-carry applications. The Titan BD gun belt will fit up to a 50-inch waist, and the inside of the belt has a “tooth” surface extending back from the tip that works with the ratcheting buckle to allow for 0.25-inch adjustments. Made from a super high-density micro-fiber material, it has an inner rubber liner to prevent sweat from penetrating the outer belt surface and makes the belt sufficiently stiff for belt holster use. Four colors are available.
Among other tactical products, On Your 6 offers custom Kydex holsters for 20 different makes of handguns. You can choose between IWB and OWB models. These holsters are hand-molded for each specific type of pistol, and the IWB style comes with a sweat guard and an adjustable cant system built right in. The IWB model is slim and streamlined with the bare minimum of bulk and weighs only 2 ounces. The OWB holsters are some of the slimmest on the market and sit high and tight to the body.
Safariland’s popular 7TS series holsters can now be had to accommodate G17, G19, G22 and G23 pistols as well as 4.25-inch-barreled S&W M&P models with an attached SureFire XC1 light. Later this year, a version for the Sig P320 Compact will also be rolling out. The 7TS holster is an injection-molded design fashioned from SafariSeven material, a nylon blend from DuPont that preserves your weapon’s finish. They are almost impervious to temperature extremes, and the new 7TS series is available in standard and tactical versions.
Made of medical-grade spacer fabric, the GoBand includes a BodyBand holster in two stretch-to-fit sizes, a snap-down 2-inch strap, two MOLLE-style pouches and plenty of MOLLE webbing so you can add whatever gear you might need. Sil-Air silicon foam and Slip Not material on the back of the holster provide for lasting comfort and prevent the rig from sliding up, down or around. The whole outfit is machine washable and rolls up for easy storage.
The G2, the second generation of the original Urban Carry inside-the-waistband holster, is made of 100-percent saddle-grade leather in Tennessee. Developed with user input, the G2 rides below the waistband for comfort and requires a lift-and-draw technique for security. It also has a custom steel clip to withstand pulling in stressful situations. Two styles for different guns/mounting options and a laser-compatible version are also available.
The Quick Draw is a leather/Kydex hybrid holster that’s handmade to fit your gun to perfection. The backing/sweat guard is made of premium 10- to 12-ounce leather that disperses gun pressure points to aid in comfort. The holster’s durable pre-cut belt loops are designed for sturdy belts up to 1.75 inches wide to secure the holster close to your body. The Kydex portion of the rig is molded to precisely fit the specific handgun, and a sight channel ensures clearance with all front sights. The Vedder Quick Draw is currently made to fit 13 different handgun models and comes in black leather with 16 colors of Kydex.
In addition to its minimalist polymer inside-the-waistband carry devices, VersaCarry is now offering premium leather holster rigs. One of the newest is the Quick Slide, which can be worn IWB or OWB, is tuckable and will fit 90 percent of all handguns. It has FlexVent technology that allows the holster to mold to your gun more quickly and increases airflow for moisture dissipation. It’s ambidextrous, has tension and ride-height adjustments, and comes in black or distressed water buffalo leather.
The gun belt and holster that you wear are almost as important as the handgun you carry. The selection of carry gear must be made with deliberation and not merely dictated by the figures on a price tag. Good products can still be had at good prices, but belts and holsters must conform to the gun you plan to carry and the mode you intend to carry it in, be it concealed for self-defense, out in the open for field use or in a duty-type rig for occupations requiring a handgun. Whatever the need or intent, there are plenty of suppliers out there, so without further ado, let’s take a look at a number of top-quality designs—some new and some old favorites—to help you find the best setup for your needs.
- RELATED STORY: 13 New Guns We’re Really Excited About for 2017
For more information about the new holsters and belts featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
1791 Gunleather 3WH
Alessi Holsters CQC-S
Alien Gear ShapeShift
Bianchi Model 155 Subversion
Comp-Tac L Line
CrossBreed Executive Gun Belt
Dara Action Sports Package
DeSantis Triple Play
DoubleClick SafeCarry Ranger
DSG HR Holster
Fobus Universal IWB
Gold Star Pocket Protector
Gould & Goodrich X-Calibur
High Threat Concealment XC1 Evo
L.A.G. Tactical Defender
Master’s 3-Slot Pancake Holster
NexBelt Titan BD
On Your 6 Designs
Safariland 7TS Series
Telor Tactical Comfort-Air GoBand
Urban Carry G2
Vedder Quick Draw
VersaCarry Quick Slide
This article was originally published in ‘Concealed Carry Handguns’ Spring 2017. To subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
Kahr has announced that the popular Kryptek finish will be offered on four of...
by Personal Defense World / May 18, 2017