Comfortable Gun Holsters I Really Use, Day In & Day Out

By Tom McHale
Gun writer Tom Mchale, answers the question, what are the most comfortable gun holsters? Ones he really uses for everyday concealed carry or open carry.

Galco's Concealable Belt Holster does a great job of keeping a large gun in close.
Galco's Concealable Belt Holster does a great job of keeping a large gun in close.
Tom McHale headshot low-res square
Tom McHale

USA –-(Ammoland.com)- As part of my job, I’m constantly checking out new gun holsters. Dozens of them are in the holster rotation at any given time – literally.

After accumulating a couple of hundred gun holsters in the unused holster box, which has grown to several boxes, I thought it would be interesting to step back and examine what firearms holsters I’m using over the long haul.

Not which ones I should be using, or which ones the internet says I should be using, but what gets strapped on voluntarily on a regular basis and that I find are the most comfortable gun holsters.

I figured I would do this somewhat objectively as there might be some surprises when I was honest with myself about which ones got the nod more days than not. The super scientific plan was to look at the ones that had migrated to the top of my most commonly used holster drawer in my desk. I figured those were the ones really getting the most frequent use.

Without further ado, here’s what I found in my box as the most comfortable gun holsters that I really use. (in no particular order)

1. Galco King Tuk Gun Holster

2. N82 Tactical Original Gun Holster

3. Galco Side Snap Scabbard Holster

4. Galco Concealable Belt Gun Holster

1. Galco King Tuk Gun Holster

The Galco King Tuk model has longevity in my rotation and has been a frequently used and abused model for a couple of years now. Two of them turned up when I tilled the top layer of the holster pile, one model each for a Sig Sauer P229 and the other for a 1911 Government Model without a rail.

The holster itself has a hybrid design with a large leather back panel and two metal belt mounting clips. The gun pocket is made of Kydex and perfectly fitted to the gun model in question.

The Galco King Tuk shows attention to detail in all the right places.
The Galco King Tuk shows attention to detail in all the right places. : http://goo.gl/YghQA3

There are many hybrid models on the market, and I’ve tried numerous brands. I keep pulling the Galco King Tuk Gun Holster one out of the drawer for two reasons. First, it’s exceptionally well made. All the corners of things are smoothed and rounded, so it doesn’t dig, aggravate, or snag, making it a very comfortable gun holster. Second, the leather has held up to a lot of South Carolina hot and humid sauna weather for years. Other hybrid brands have gotten all limp and wilty.

2. N82 Tactical Original Gun Holster

I was snobby to the poor folks at N82 Tactical at the first couple of times I saw them at trade shows. Walking by a booth, I saw a holster with a flat panel, a band of elastic, and single metal clip. Ho hum – seen plenty of those, right? Then, one time I finally stopped to talked to one of the “Nate’s” about what makes their holster so great.

As a side note, that’s where the N82 name comes from – it’s pronounced Nate Squared. Get it?

Nate 1 patiently explained that, like me, they had never found an effective and durable holster that was comfortable and would hold up for the long haul, so they designed their own. That’s the American way, right?

They make their back panel out of three layers: suede on the body side to distribute weight via friction and provide comfort against sensitive skin parts, neoprene in the middle to serve as a moisture barrier (both ways), and smooth leather on the gun side to make for a slick draw that wouldn’t tear up your gun’s finish. On the original model, the gun was held in place by a wide elastic band. Later models used polycarbonate shells that added nifty “latchless” retention capability. You draw with a twisting motion to detach the gun from the holster shell.

A pair of N82 Tactical Gun Holsters
A pair of N82 Tactical Gun Holsters. On the left is the retention model with polycarbonate shell. On the right is a tuckable Original model.

If I had taken the trouble to count uses over the past several months, this one probably would have won the frequency award. I regularly use two, a smaller model with a Springfield Armory XD-S 9mm and a larger one with a Sig Sauer P229 Legion 9mm.

Both are the most comfortable gun holsters I’ve ever tried.

The neat thing is that the back panel is large enough to cover the gun grip too. This has two ramifications. First, in hot climates, that’s handy because it keeps rough grips away from bare skin and sweat off of the gun. Second, you’ll want to practice your draw with this holster as you need to jam your thumb between the holster back and gun grip. No biggie there, just be aware it's a little different.

One more comment on these models – the friction benefit of the suede backing is incredible, which is probably why the single mounting clip works fine. Even when carrying the relatively heavy Sig P229, it just doesn’t move. It’s not one of those holsters that you have to move and fidget with throughout the day.

3. Galco Side Snap Scabbard Holster

I have nothing against Kydex, but I seem to keep picking leather outside the waistband holsters. To me, it's just more comfortable and I like the feel.

Note how the outer leather panel is molded all the way around the front of the gun, rather than half with front leather and half with the rear. This helps tuck the gun in tight.
Note how the outer leather panel is molded all the way around the front of the gun, rather than half with front leather and half with the rear. This helps tuck the gun in tight.

I like the Galco Side Snap Scabbard Holster because like most Galco holsters, it’s exceptionally well made. It fits my Sig Sauer P229 legion perfectly, so friction-only retention is excellent. I choose it frequently because of the snap mount system. If I’m headed to the range and want to wear an OWB rig, I don’t have to unthread my belt to mount it. It’s also easy to place exactly where I want it. Unlike other snap mounted holsters and magazine carriers I’ve tried, this one has never come unsnapped during reasonably vigorous activity – ever.

4. Galco Concealable Belt Gun Holster

Galco Concealable Belt Holster
Galco Concealable Belt Holster : http://goo.gl/pqZs11

When I want to go outside the waistband all day, I generally choose the Galco Concealable Belt Holster for the Smith & Wesson SW1911. Here’s why. It’s tough, made from steer hide and double and triple stitched all over. The sewn-in belt loop holes are for 1 ½-inch gun belts, which is what I generally use. Most importantly, it’s molded in such as way as to draw a full-size 1911 in close – grip included. The hand-molding around the gun is all done with the exterior piece of leather, so the inside of the holster goes right against your body with no gun bulge pressing inwards. This helps make it the outside the waistband holster that conceals best among the ones I’ve tried.

Honorable Comfortable Gun Holsters Mentions

I took a look at the next layer down to see what popped up. Two, in particular, get greater than average use.

First, when carrying a colossal gun, in this case, the FN FNX 45 Tactical with a Trijicon RMR sight, I use the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0. It’s another hybrid design that’s highly configurable, as well as comfy. It’s made well, does a great job of keeping moisture from moving in either direction and most importantly, does a fantastic job of supporting and stabilizing a HUGE handgun. Why do I carry an FNX 45 Tactical?

Got me, I just like it. Don't judge, OK? It’s not a daily thing, but once in a while you just have to go big or go home.

This Alien Gear Cloak Tuck does a nice job of supporting a large gun like this FN FNX 45 tactical.
This Alien Gear Cloak Tuck does a nice job of supporting a large gun like this FN FNX 45 tactical in a comfortable gun holster.

The other one that gets plenty of use is a Galco Pocket Protector Holsters. This one is simple but effective. Made of steer hide with rough side out construction, I carry a Springfield Armory XD-S with it. It’s got a smooth draw and steel reinforced mouth for easy gun insertion. A comfortable gun holsters, the hook and flat based shaped of the leather keep the gun upright and the holster in your pocket, when you draw. It’s simple, but just works. I’ve been using this one forever.

Another worth a look in the comfortable gun holsters list is the CrossBreed Supertuck Deluxe Gun Holster. A comfortable IWB holster when you’re wearing a jacket or sweater.

Galco Pocket Protector Comfortable Gun Holsters
Galco Pocket Protector Holsters : When carrying a Springfield Armory XD-S in the pocket, for a comfortable gun holsters, I almost always use a Galco Pocket Protector holster. : http://goo.gl/shxXJM

Going through this process was kind of enlightening. While the gun holsters that popped up on this list are all high quality, it was interesting to create a “top” list based on what I actually used most frequently as opposed to what is supposedly “the best.” You can develop all sorts of criteria as to what is the “best gun holster” or “most comfortable gun holster” based on retention features, gun fit, materials, clips, torture tests, or whatever else we can dream up.

I guess what really matters in a gun holster is what you use, provided it’s good enough to get the job done.

I would like to see what you find the most comfortable gun holster for everyday carry? What's in the top of your box? Let me know in the comments below.

~ Tom McHale

About

Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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Kristofer PoliksTom MartinJeffEdward R BurtonTom RKBA Recent comment authors
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Kristofer Poliks
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Kristofer Poliks

It’s rare knowledgeable folks within this topic, nevertheless, you seem like there’s more you’re talking about! Thanks

Tom Martin
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Tom Martin

I love my GALCO OWB concealable holsters; However, I find that they “print” the receiver unless I wear exceptionally loose fitting shirts/jackets (I have one for both of my Kimber .45’s — Ultra Carry II and Crimson Carry II) I usually use a I currently use a Wright Leather Works “Predator” hoilster for my Ultra Carry II and am very satisfied with the fit and comfort. I also sometimes use a Galco “Slide” (vertical draw) for my S&W M&P .40 Compact, even though I have a Galco OWB (canted) for it, which also doubles for my standard M&P .40.

Jeff
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Jeff

Hoffner holsters in Katy, Texas makes an extremely comfortable, secure, (and fast), owb, “Ultrux Latch Holster” aka “MinimalES Pistol holster”, which works well for pistols, such as the Glock-30 .45acp, and,G21, etc… Also, the use of a stiff, quality belt, like the, “Wilderness Tactical 5-stitch” shouldn’t be overlooked, as it really makes a difference, regardless of what holster you use. Just my 2-cents worth…

Tom RKBA
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Tom RKBA

Ick…Galco!

Milt Sparks, Huckleberry Tactical and Raven Concealment are far better!

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

I like my Don Hume(s).

Larry
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Larry

I make my own holsters. They are molded perfectly to the firearm, cant forward, ride high and tight owb. I don’t like iwb at all. Mine are invisible and comfortable. I forget they are there.

Clark Kent
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Clark Kent

Fuggitttabout ANY holster that does not have a retention strap over the rear of the slide/hammer. Unless you like picking your handgun off of the ground. Friction fit holsters do not offer a secure place for your sidearm to live.

Larry
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Larry

I am not sure what you have been wearing that gives you this problem. I am wearing a leather holster right now that has no hammer or retention strap and is perfectly molded to the pistol. I have worn it every day for two years and you can still turn it upside down and shake it — the pistol will NOT fall out, yet it draws smoothly. Of course, it is constructed of two pieces of 8-9 oz leather that is properly stitched, glued, cased, and boned. It is hand dyed and the edges nicely burnished and finished with none… Read more »

SuperG
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SuperG

I got mine from some guy off eBay. It isn’t the prettiest, but this guy encloses the muzzle, which keeps lint and stuff out of the barrel. But it has to be one of the most comfortable I’ve worn.

Wayne
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Wayne

Not new to pistols but new to carrying. So far, I have a Beretta PX4 Storm & a S&W model 66 .357 magnum to buy gifts for. Probably won’t be carrying the .357 too much but if I want to, I plan on doing it with a Fobus OWB high ride, as the monster is not really an IWB type of gun…but I would like to carry it…some. Maybe a shoulder rig. On a fixed income so I can’t get carried away & create a “holster drawer”, its just not feasable. The Beretta on the other hand, needs a comfy,… Read more »

Rick Pilon
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Rick Pilon

I almost always carry IWB and when at work it has to be tuckable. I tried Cross Breed Supertuck for awhile but found the holster just too bulky and heavy. Then I found Vedder holsters and now carry almost exclusively with the Vedder Light Tuck. I carry a Springfield XD subcompact and it is awesome. Stable, comfortable, lightweight and very concealable. Whether I wear a dress shirt or a golf shirt I can tuck it in and no one knows.

GomeznSA
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GomeznSA

“a couple of hundred gun holsters” – and I thought I was a holster ‘whore’ with (maybe) a couple of dozen! I make no claim of being an ‘expert’ but in 42+ years of duty/off duty and Citizen concealed carry, a couple of observations. 1) pick one gun for concealed carry and stick with it. Make it the same function as your duty gun – ie if you carry a Glock 17/19, use the 26 for off duty; makes the ‘mental’ transition lots easier. 2) there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ holster that will do it all for… Read more »

HankB
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HankB

Right now I’m wearing an E-series S&W 1911 Sc in a Milt Sparks Versa-Max II holster which I’ve found to be the most comfortable IWB holster I’ve tried. It’s not the cheapest on the market, nor is it a mass market holster you can pick up at any sporting goods store, but it works very well for me.

Sid Pits
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Sid Pits

I carry a full size(5″) Kimber,and here in Florida a holster has to be comfortable in the heat.OWB my Milt Sparks is tough to beat,but IWB concealed was always a problem.I have a drawer full of holsters I was sure would do the trick,but every time,sooner or later,I would start looking for a comfortable holster.Then I found the Onyx made by Stealth Gear.Daily wear for over two years and I love it.Not a cheap holster to my way of thinking,but I have fallen asleep on the couch wearing a 1911 and forgot I had it on.The attention to detail is… Read more »

Doc
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Doc

I’ve been wearing a StealthGear IWB for over a year. It is superior to any of these holster. I hardly notice that I’m carrying a 45. It’s super comfortable and keeps moisture away from your firearm and you. Pricy? Yep, 100 bucks. Is it worth it? It’s worth every penny.

Charlie Sunderlin
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Charlie Sunderlin

I use the Cross Breed IWB holsters on a variety of guns and they have been comfortable and easy to draw and reholster for years of use. I like the interchangeble types of belt clips which can be changed with wardrobe variations. I use these holsters on a full size 1911, S&W Shield, S&W M&P, Glock 22, Glock 19, and a few others occasionally.

Neil
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Neil

I live in southern Florida, and it gets a bit warm occasionally. I’ve been carrying my Colt Defender .45 ACP in a Galco SOB for many years whenever wearing shorts or jeans and a t-shirt with one one of my many Hawaiian shirts over all. At work wearing only slacks and a polo at the desk, I’ve got a Glock 22 .40S&W close at hand with a Keltec P3AT in an Uncle Mike’s in my back pocket for walking around. When dressed for the theater/opera in a suit, I rely on a traditional jackass shoulder rig.

John
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John

First point I am a big fat man so I pocket carry one of my two favorite guns, Bersa BP40CC or it’s daddy a Thunder 40 pro. To pull off this feet I use the Sticky brand holsters, these holsters completely cover the metal of my firearms protecting them from me leaving the grips exposed for a quick draw out of my pocket.

Mike11C
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Mike11C

I live in Texas and, it gets really hot here. Most of the time, it’s shorts and T-shirt weather. Carrying OWB, while definitely more comfortable, is not a viable option if you want your gun to be “concealed”. I’ve tried several IWB holsters, including the Alien Ware, which I absolutely hate. Since I feel the need to practice drawing and firing my carry gun, the Alien Ware holster is a bad choice because it’s too difficult to reholster. I did use a DeSantis mini tuck with a S&W Shield for quite a while but the lack of a sweat shield… Read more »

mark
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mark

a +2 floor plate would cost 1/2 what a full glock 17 mag would cost but you would have another full mag.

Edward R Burton
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Edward R Burton

The new Alien Gear 3.0 model has a stainless steel band that holds the mouth open for reholstering. Looks like a lot of people shared your complaint. I’ve heard good things about the 3.0.

MIKE RAY
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MIKE RAY

I USE FORBUS CHEAP LITE CLEAN UP EASY QUICK DRAW HIGHLY CONCEALABLE USE EVERYDAY ON RUGER S&W GUNS .NOTHING FANCY JUST WORKS .THANK YOU AN GOD BLESS

Danny Willard
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Danny Willard

Totally different than what you used/like, I use an Uncle Mike’s inside the belt #12 flexible holster to conceal carry a Ruger LC9s. Works well in my pocket instead of inside the belt. It really comes down to what an individual person likes and which gun they happen to be carrying at the time.
Good and interesting article.

Robert
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Robert

I personally carry a CZ 75 P-01 in an Alien Gear 3.0 for all my IWB carry. I’m a commando man so kydex or leather backed holsters irritate a LOT ( I carry just forward of 3 o’clock with both inside and outside the waistband carry). The neoprene of the Alien Gear makes the holster an exceptionally comfortable ride all day long… though I did find my particular style of carry put the forward belt clip nut right on the crease of hip and thigh, this caused the flat nut to be exposed and dig in to the skin a… Read more »

Clark
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Clark

I also like a Hybrid like the King Tuck.
I carry my M&P 9mm FS in a Comp-Tac MTAC IWB
Very comfortable and well made.

Joe Bania
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Joe Bania

I have the N82 tactical holster for my S&W Shield. It was my first significant holster purchase and it is a comfortable holster to wear, and as you state it takes practice to twist and draw the firearm. I also wear a concealable belt holster VERY similar to the Galco holster pictured above made by braidsholsters.com for less $$$$, and it is Quality +++.

James M
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James M

I’ve worn many different ways, with a lot of different pistols. And for a large pistol my favorite holster has been a Tagua 3 slot with IWB clip. Hard to beat simplicity.