Choosing a Concealed Carry Holster – Important Form Factors to Consider

concealed carry holsters form factors

It's a big step in choosing a concealed carry holster. Taking that time in the morning or evening to put on that holster and gun is taking personal responsibility for that day. Part of that decision should include the sort of holster you'd trust your life to.

No matter what concealed carry holster configuration you end up deciding on, the first step is constantly training with it. Whether that's dry firing to reduce the time from draw to first shot or ideally going to the range and practicing different scenarios – there is no substitute for muscle memory.

We have previously discussed the most important form factors for concealed carry handguns so let's go over and review some of the most important form factors that should go in to selecting concealed carry holsters:

Safety and Holster Retention

The first job a concealed carry holster has to do is secure the firearm. That's why we don't use ccw purses, open coat pockets, or between the pants and undergarments. On the lower end of the scale are the leather clip holsters that do a decent enough job keeping the pistol or revolver in place and little else. The best end is a molded polymer grip. One holster – one firearm. This keeps it easy for the concealed carrier.

Because each situation may dictate a different firearm, no? Why limit yourself to a one size “fits” all when you can choose to secure your firearm discretely and securely with a molded polymer cast?

A pistol's scabbard has to hold that pistol in place no matter what angle the shooter stands or sits. A holster is no good if it ejects the pistol when a person bends down to pick an object. The only reason that firearm should leave the holster is because you, the concealed carrier, have drawn it willingly. Anything less is arguably negligent.

concealed carry holsters form factors


Open carry is fine, well, and good. There shouldn't be anything wrong with someone legally walking down the street with a firearm strapped to his or her hip. It's a civil and armed society we live in. That said, some situations require discretion. CCW permits allow for those situations. And what's the point of getting the permit if that person isn't going to conceal his or her firearm?

A good concealed carry holster begins with usually a clip-mounted assembly that slides right into the waistline. This keeps the pistol from breaking the symmetry of a concealed carrier's hips. The best part? It means being able to go out into public without worrying.


A holster is only good if you're willing to wear it. An uncomfortable inside the waistline holster that juts into the back or kidneys is no good. Likewise, one that doesn't conform with your own body's shape is just as bad. That's why it's important to find one that bends with your body but keeps the firearm secure.

Draw Ease and Ease of Reholster

If you draw your pistol and have to tug hard, it's not helping you. Conversely, if it's already out of the holster before your hand goes to draw it – that's no good, either. A case of Goldilocks if we've ever heard of it. Drawing ease is both a product of training with a concealed carry holster and the holster's solid engineering.

After training or an incident is over, the last thing anyone wants to do is fumble with putting the firearm back in the holster. A good concealed carry holster will “click” into place once the pistol is placed back and secure.

iwb concealed carry holsters form factors


The concealed carry holster has to stand up to the test of time. Parts that break (and can't be replaced) or parts that wear down too soon are signs that your concealed carry holster isn't serving you. Find a concealed carry holster that is made from thick, durable parts that CAN be replaced once that time comes – but won't need to be replaced often.


We all shoot different and each one of us has a comfortable position for a pistol for drawing. The best part about a handgun holster that's adjustable is it allows the shooter to experiment at the range. While some may like the 15° FBI standard cant, others may prefer different setups. Try them all out and decide what works best for you.


One firearm – one holster. There's costs associated with making a great product but if the costs don't represent the worth for the concealed carrier – it's worthless. Find a concealed carry holster that meets your standards of quality and a price point you're willing to work with.

Take a look at Alien Gear Concealed Carry Holsters

What are some factors you look for when shopping for a concealed carry holster? Tell us about it in the comments section below.


About The Author

James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.