3 Holster Types Every Woman Should Own

Last Updated: 5/2018

If you've decided to carry concealed, then selecting a holster is one of the next biggest decisions to make after selecting your firearm. One of the many gun related questions I get the most is, what holster should I get? It’s a common question and with so many manufacturers out there it can leave you a little frustrated and overwhelmed. I'm about to add a bit more fuel to that frustration by letting you know that there isn’t a one-size fits all holster for women just like there isn’t a one-size fits all gun for women. Sure many people will try to “sell” you on what they think is the right gun and holster for you but the problem is, they aren’t you. They don't know your lifestyle, how you dress, or what specific needs you might have when it comes to carrying. Only you can select the right holster for you and what I've learned is that you want to have a variety of holster styles that will work with your life and clothing style.

We all have different requirements when it comes to carrying concealed and more specifically as women we have some unique challenges that men don't have when it comes to concealing a firearm on-body. Our bodies are shaped differently; we have certain assets that can interfere with how and where we conceal and they can sometimes impede our draw. We have an abundance of clothing options that vary in style, fabric, and fit which also provide challenges in their own way to carrying. Additionally, we may have some physical limitations to add to the mix. While I don't want to tell you what holster to buy, I do want to educate you on a variety of holsters that I believe should be within your reach to ensure you can carry without sacrificing your style.

Before you go out and purchase your first holster, it's important to take some time to assess your personal carry needs. The first step in selecting your holster actually starts at home.

Evaluate Your Closet and Clothing Style. By no means do I believe that you need to completely change your wardrobe in order to carry concealed. In fact, I believe the exact opposite. Carrying should fit into your lifestyle and you shouldn't have to sacrifice style to be self-reliant. You should understand though, that adjustments and compromises will need to be made. For instance, if you love your body-con dresses or tight fitting tops then you will need to experiment with different carry positions to determine what works for you. However, this is where having holster options becomes key. It might also mean that you add a few new pieces to your closet; maybe a light layered blazer or a few flowy style tops. You don't need to buy a new wardrobe but adding a new piece or two to work in conjuction with your existing closet might help. You can still maintain your style but you just need to shop with a different eye now taking concealed carry into consideration. 

Determine Any Special Needs. Many of us have special requirements or needs that might impact how we carry. These needs could range from a physical disability, a health requirement, or a situational factor. For instance, if you have a physical limitation that requires you to be in a wheelchair then strong-side or kidney-carry might not be for you. You may want to look into alternate carry locations such as appendix or possible off-body carry. If you use a diabetic pump, this could also change the placement of your waist-carry position. If you happen to be pregnant, there might be a few months where you need to consider off-body carry. Additionally, some jobs require a uniform that could limit where you carry. It's important to look into these types of requirements and personal needs that might restrict certain holsters and carry positions and determine what alternatives you can utilize. If you are stuck on positions, this concealed carry position infographic from ConcealedCarry.com is a great reference. Keep in mind that in the end, the location of where you choose to carry is a personal preference based what is comfortable for you and how you train.

Assess Your Body Type. I'm not going to tell you that based on your body shape you should only carry in a certain position or holster as I don't believe that to be true. Your body type shouldn't inhibit your carry decision as I believe it boils down to experimenting with different carry positions to find the one that works for your body type. Once you've found your position, it's important to train and practice your draw using that position. While carrying will never be 100% comfortable, you can find a balance between comfort and self-defense. 

With so many holster options on the market, it might seem easy to take the recommendation from your local gun store or article from the Internet but it's important that as a responsible gun owner you take this seriously and understand some of the key principles in what you should look for when buying a holster. You want to ensure first and foremost that the holster is designed for your specific firearm. Additionally, you want to ensure that the trigger is covered, the level of retention keeps your firearm secure, and that ultimately you can wear it comfortable enough for concealment. 

For women, carrying concealed requires taking the time and experimenting with different carry positions and finding what works for you. This also means having options when it comes to holsters. I've learned that having a few holster styles at my reach makes being able to carry with my current wardrobe easier, which also means I carry more. These holster options will hopefully help you narrow down the type of holster(s) you might be interested in looking into that will work for your lifestyle and make the decision less daunting so you can carry with confidence. These recommendations are based on holsters I use and what I have found works best with my wardrobe. 

Standard Kydex Holster

This style of holster is probably what you are most familiar with. These can be worn inside the waistband (IWB) or outside the waistband (OWB) and are most often used for waist-carry. Kydex is basically a polymer composite material that can be formed into the shape of your gun or knife. Some manufactures of kydex holsters will use a combination of kydex and either a leather backing or fabric backing to help with the comfort level of the holster. Most Kydex holsters use a clip that goes over a belt to help hold it in place or a loop that the belt gets threaded through. It also requires a good strong sturdy belt. It's a pretty versatile style holster as you can play around with the cant and the carry position to find something that is comfortable and works for your lifestyle. 

{Shown Below: Blacksmith Tactical IWB Holster | StealthGear USA Ventcore AIWB Holster | StealthGear USA Ventcore AIWB Plus Holster}
{Other Brands To Consider: Alpha Concealment | G-Code Holsters | Ultimate Holsters}

Belly Band / Body Wrap Style Holster

These style holsters are sometimes referred to as soft-holsters. They are made of a durable and heavy fabric that either zip, velcro, or hook closed. These types of bands can either wrap around your torso, hips, thigh, or ankle. They have slip pockets that can hold your firearm, pepper spray, knife, spare mag, or even cell phone. You can even pair some of these with your kydex holsters for an added level of secureness. These soft-style holsters are a great option because the position isn't limited to where your belt sits on your waist. They can be adjusted higher or lower on the body to a position that is most comfortable for you. One of the downsides to these soft-style holsters is that they can limit your ability to get a good full grip on your firearm. However, playing around with placement and practicing your draw will help alleviate some of these obstacles. Additionally, since these are made from a soft-fabric, the trigger is only covered with fabric of the holster so you will want take extra precauation with this style holster. As mentioned, some of these holster can be paired with a kydex holster if you prefer a hard-cover trigger guard.

{Shown Below: Can Can Concealment Hip Hugger | Can Can Concealment Garter Holster}
{Other Brands To Consider: Dene Adams Corset Holster| Fancy Pants Holster | Lethal Lace Universal Holster | CrossBreed Modular Belly Band Holster }

Clip Attachments & Slip Hoslters (No Belt Required)

There are two options here that I want to talk about. One is the option to change out the standard clips that come with your kydex holsters. These clip attachments from UtliClip and Fabriclip allow you to change out the clip on your kydex holster to allow you to carry without wearing a belt. The retention level on both these clips are extremely good. You have the option of buying the clips separately or already part of a kydex system. These offer up great options for women especially when belts can't be worn. Personally, I've found these style holsters work the best with more structured or fitted garments like jeans or leggings that are more taught around the waist and are a bit heavier in fabric. An elastic waistband skirt or pant doesn't work well these types of holsters because typically the fabric of these elastic waistband bottoms can't support the weight of the firearm so I would opt for a belly band style holster in this case. The second holster option is a slip holster where your firearm just slips into a pocket style holster. It doesn't have any clips to attach to your waistband or belt. What makes this holster stay in place is that the outer fabric is a tacky non-stick material. So when the holster is positioned snug between two items (pants and body) it won't move. One of my main issues with this style holster is that because it doesn't secure to a piece of clothing, you run the risk of forgetting it if you set it down.

{Shown Below: PHLster Holster w/ UltiClip | Sticky Holster | Fabriclip 

Other Holster Types To Consider

There are a range of other holster types that you might find useful for your wardrobe from leggings, tank tops, to bra holsters. I have only tried the Alexo Athletica leggings (you can see how I've worn them here and here). I haven't given any of the others a try yet but I know a lot of women use these as viable options for making their current wardrobe work and still be able to carry with confidence.

{Shown Below: Alexo Atheletica {athleisure & lifestyle leggings} | Dene Adams {tank tops to wear under shirts} | Flashbang Holster {bra holster} | Undertech Undercover {shorts to wear under skirts, dresses, and pants}

Holster Options for Women; Holster Leggings for Women

There are numerous options for women and many variables that determine the right holster for you. Hopefully this helps you getting started in sifting through your holster options and that I've introduced you to something new. You'll find that it's all about striking a balance between comfort, style, and concealability.  Remember that what works for you may not work for other women and vice versa. It's important to know that selecting a holster is just one step in your concealed carry journey. Concealing a firearm isn't just about being able to hide it; you need to ensure that it's easily accessible. There are pros and cons to every carry method and holster choice but just remember to experiment with your options, practice safely, and continue to train for your method of carry.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is based on my opinions and for informational use only. I am not an expert in this field and any items/services/products/advice mentioned in these posts should be used at your own discretion, in accordance with your local & state laws, and you should follow applicable manufacturer’s instructions. You can read more about my privacy & disclosure policies here.