Gun holsters are a necessity for anyone who plans on taking their gun with them outside the house. Failure to use a gun holster can result in accidental firing of the gun or damage to it. There are 10 main types of gun holsters to choose from for safely carrying your firearm. We have briefly explained the main types of gun holsters below to help you find the one best for your needs.

1. IWB (Inside the Waistband)

IWB holsters position your gun inside the pants. This type of holster is good for concealed carry. It also reduces the chance of someone stealing your weapon. Inside the waistband holsters clip to your belt to stay secure inside your pants. A drawback of the IWB holster is you may have to buy pants a size larger to comfortably holster your weapon.

Alien Gear Cloak Tuck IWB Holster

2. OWB (Outside the Waistband)

OWB holsters attach to your belt outside of the waistband. They are usually positioned on the gun carrier’s dominant side, but some can be worn on the opposite side for a cross draw. How the holster attaches to your waistband varies. Some have loops that slide onto your belt. Others have a paddle backing that slip between your body and the outer layer of your pants.

Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB Holster

3. Pocket

Pocket holsters hide your gun inside of your pocket. If you are buying for concealed carry, make sure the pocket holster you buy is the concealment type. Otherwise, the gun print will show through your pants. Concealed carry pocket holsters are one of the best options for concealed carry. A drawback of pocket holsters is you should only use the pocket holster in the chosen pocket. Other items stuffed in the pocket can interfere with draw or jam the trigger.

Pocket Rocket holster

4. Purse

Some holster manufacturers design purses that have holsters built inside of them. They are a form of concealed carry. Purse carry is a good option for people whose wardrobes vary often. IWB and OWB holsters may not work for certain outfits. Choosing purse carry can offer some form of consistency. Similar to pocket holsters, the gun should have a compartment to itself in the purse. Not only does it allow faster draw but it’s safer as well.

Gals With Guns holster

5. Ankle

One of the types of gun holsters that are ideal for people who work closely with others is the ankle holster. In professions where one must work in close contact with people, a holster at the waist is at higher risk of being stolen. Most people don’t think to look at your feet. And attempting to steal a gun on someone’s ankle is more difficult as it involves kneeling. Ankle holsters are good for backup weapons as well. Just keep in mind they’re designed for carrying small firearms.

dark blue BugBite ankle Holster

6. Small of Back

A small of back holster sits at the small of your back. They’re good for concealed carry. However, you can’t position the holster at the center of your spine because it increases your risk of injury. It must sit just to the right or left of your spine. SOB holsters aren’t comfortable to wear in general, especially if you sit for long periods.

ActiveProGear Small of the Back (SOB) Concealment Holster

7. Leg

Leg holsters often position a weapon on your inner thigh. One of the strengths of these types of gun holsters is they’re accessible from almost every position. The downside is they’re difficult to conceal.

OneTigris adjustable leg holster

8. Shoulder

Shoulder holsters are good for people who have back problems. They distribute the weight of your firearm across your upper body. Shoulder holsters carry your weapon either vertically or horizontally. Holsters for long guns are usually vertical. Shoulder holsters provide fast draw but reholstering the weapon isn’t as easy.

Man wearing a Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder System, one of the best shoulder holsters

9. Hip

Hip holsters are one of the most common types of gun holsters. They have been around since the pistol’s invention. A hip holster can be inside the waistband or outside the waistband, depending on the carrier’s preference. One downside of gun carry on your hip is an awkward draw while seated. You’ll also need to wear a gun belt to correctly support the gun’s weight. Regular belts are thinner and weaker than gun belts.

RangeMaxx hip holster, black

10. Clothing Holsters

Just as gun holster manufacturers make purses with a concealment compartment for guns, they offer clothing holsters too. A clothing holster has a gun concealment compartment built into the fabric. Examples of clothing you can buy with a built in holster are undershirts, shorts, jackets, vests, and pants. The downside of jacket and vest concealment clothing is the garment isn’t on your body at all times. And for undershirt holsters, they slow down draw time.

White Tactical S/S Holster Shirt


You conceal a gun on nearly any part of your body, including ankle, leg, hip, and shoulder. A person can even carry a gun in their pocket, but they will need a pocket holster to safely do so. The holsters outlined above are the ten main types of gun holsters on the market. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. The choice you make depends on your lifestyle and preference.