The Ultimate Guide to Types of Concealed Carry Holsters

Types of Concealed Carry Holsters

Concealed carry holsters are specially designed holsters that allow individuals to discreetly carry firearms on their person while maintaining comfort, accessibility, and firearm security. There are various types of concealed carry holsters available, each offering different features and benefits. Here are some common types of concealed carry holsters:

1. Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) Holster

Inside-the-waistband holsters are worn inside the waistband of the pants, allowing the firearm to be concealed under clothing. They typically feature a clip or belt loops to secure the holster to the waistband. IWB holsters offer excellent concealment and can be positioned at various positions, such as appendix, hip, or small of the back. They provide a close and secure fit to the body, enhancing comfort and minimizing printing (the visible outline of the firearm through clothing).

2. Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) Holster

Outside-the-waistband holsters are worn on the outside of the waistband, typically attached to a belt. OWB holsters are popular among open carry enthusiasts but can also be concealed with the right clothing choices. They offer easy access to the firearm, provide good weight distribution, and allow for a quick and smooth draw. OWB holsters come in various styles, including pancake holsters, paddle holsters, and duty holsters.

3. Pocket Holster

Pocket holsters are specifically designed for carrying small firearms, typically compact or subcompact pistols, in the front or back pocket of pants or jackets. They provide a secure and stable fit, ensuring the firearm remains in place and oriented correctly for a quick draw. Pocket holsters often have a non-slip exterior and a soft lining to protect the firearm and minimize printing.

4. Ankle Holster

Ankle holsters are worn around the ankle, allowing for concealed carry of smaller firearms. They are commonly used as backup holsters or for individuals who need to carry a firearm in a secondary location. Ankle holsters typically have adjustable straps to ensure a snug fit and often feature a calf strap for added stability. They allow for a discreet carry method and easy access to the firearm when needed.

5. Shoulder Holster

Shoulder holsters are worn under the arm, with the firearm positioned horizontally or vertically on the opposite side of the dominant hand. They consist of a harness that goes over the shoulders and across the back, providing a secure and comfortable carry option. Shoulder holsters are popular among individuals who need to carry larger firearms or prefer a cross-draw configuration. They offer good accessibility and distribute the weight of the firearm across the shoulders.

6. Appendix Carry Holster

Appendix carry holsters are positioned in the front of the body, typically around the appendix area (between the belly button and hip bone). They allow for a comfortable and easily accessible carry position, particularly for smaller firearms. Appendix carry holsters often feature a clip or belt loop and are designed to be worn with the firearm’s grip positioned toward the centerline of the body.


Choosing the right concealed carry holster is essential for comfortable and discreet firearm carry. Whether it’s an inside-the-waistband holster, outside-the-waistband holster, pocket holster, ankle holster, shoulder holster, or appendix carry holster, each type offers unique features and benefits.