A quality hip holster is a must-have accessory for any modern firearms owner. A great hip holster keeps your weapon secure while you are operating your vehicle or at your desk, and they can also be used for hiking, cycling, and other activities that don’t require a lot of weight.
The best hip holsters come with an adjustable belt and a strap that goes around the lower portion of the rib cage just above the hips. These devices connect to a buckle that sits just above the knee. When you run, the force from gravity pulls the leg forward which gives the appearance of natural gait while significantly lessening the impact on the joints. There are many different styles and sizes of hip holsters available, so it’s important to do some research before purchasing. In this guide, we’ll cover what factors one should consider when shopping for a hip holster and review some top models on the market.
What To Consider When Choosing The Best Hip Holster
Hip holsters are available in a range of sizes, styles, and colors. Before making a purchase, consider how you plan on wearing it and what features would help make it easier to wear.
- Kydex is a rigid plastic material that feels comfortable when worn against the skin. It’s flexible enough to accommodate different shapes and sizes but durable enough to withstand heavy use.
- Leather looks classically attractive, but these pants aren’t just for show. Leather has a soft feel and holds its shape well, even after repeated washing. However, leather can be tricky to clean without rubbing off the surface.
- Nylon mesh is another popular option. This lightweight fabric doesn’t hold up as well as leather or Kydex, but it does provide comfort while still allowing airflow.
The first thing newbies notice about hip holsters is their vast size selection. There are large, burly models made for carrying bulkier items like guns or knives, and small, form-fitting ones designed specifically for concealing smaller objects like phones or keys. Large gun owners tend to prefer these types of belts because they’re built to carry weight, whereas those who don’t want to burden their belt with a firearm may choose a smaller model.
A good hip holster should be able to support the weight of the weapon being carried without overloading it. In general, this means a minimum weight of 10 pounds for handguns and 25 pounds for long rifles and shotguns. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Some manufacturers design heavier duty products, claiming they can handle higher weights. While these products may prove more reliable than lighter versions, they’re often more expensive.
There are several common styles of hip holsters including classic, double, and single cantilever.
- Classic cantilever hip holsters feature two metal loops that attach at the top and bottom of the waistband. These loops sit atop each other and are secured together by a single buckle located in the middle of the waistband.
- Double cantilever hip holsters have four metal loops that fit into two sets of hooks on either side of the waistband. The extra pair of hooks provides stability without adding any weight.
- Single cantilever hip holsters have one loop that sits above and one that sits below the waistline. These straps are attached to each other via a single hook and buckle system.
While black remains the traditional military uniform color, many manufacturers offer additional options such as brown, gray, olive drab, and camouflage patterns. These nonstandard colors not only look great but also help reduce visibility and improve blending in nature. If you’d rather stand out than disappear, opt for a brightly colored version of the standard issue gear.
Not everyone will benefit from the same fit. For instance, someone with a larger frame might find the fit of some hip holsters to be too tight, while others might prefer a looser fit. This is where having an understanding of body measurement systems comes into play. Body mass index (BMI), commonly known as simply “the math”, involves calculating a person’s weight in kilos divided by height in meters squared. Using this formula, a normal BMI ranges between 18.5 and 24.9.
For example, if you weigh 180 pounds and measure 1 meter tall, your BMI would equal 30.0. Because this score falls within the healthy range, no worries about weighing yourself down with a bulky hip holster!
When shopping for a new hip holster, there are three main areas to focus on: stitching, materials used, and design.
- Stitching refers to the sewn seams that connect individual pieces of material together. A quality product will have sturdy seams that won’t tear easily.
- The outer layer of most hip holsters is made of supple leather or nylon mesh. Both fabrics are easy to care for and resist wrinkling and stretching.
- In contrast, Kydex and molded plastics are tougher materials with thicker fibers and denser textures. They require a bit more care to ensure they stay looking new.
As mentioned earlier, hip holsters come in various designs. Here are a few examples:
- Some hip holsters include a front pocket for convenience, others do not.
- Many hip holsters feature adjustable waistbands so the wearer can tailor the fit to their needs.
- Other special features include waterproofing, ventilation, and lights.
Types Of Hip Holsters
Hip holsters are available in a variety of designs. Each has a purpose, but you should always be aware of what you’re getting into before making a purchase.
A shoulder holster is worn around your shoulders and attached via loops at the front and back of your neck. The actual location where it attaches can vary from person to person based on body type and how much support you need in that area. The best-designed shoulder holsters use hook-and-loop fasteners or buttons to adjust tension without compromising comfort or security. Adjustable designs allow for quick access and draw while maintaining a good level of concealment when needed.
Belly Band Holster
A belly band holster wraps around your abdomen and attaches near your belt line with two straps that cross over your abdomen. This design leaves your upper torso open and unsecured, which some people find uncomfortable. However, this style offers excellent concealability because there’s no muzzle flash showing through your shirt.
This also makes belly band holsters great options for women who want to carry concealed firearms due to their increased ability to conceal. Additionally, they offer easy accessibility by simply reaching behind oneself.
A thigh holster is worn between your legs, usually right above your knee. It secures around your leg using Velcro straps and buckles, providing easy access to your firearm. Thigh holsters are typically designed for law enforcement officers needing to respond quickly to situations requiring stealth and surprise attacks. They are not well suited for wearing during extended periods of time due to the fact that most individuals will feel very restricted and uncomfortable having such a large item wrapped around their leg. Also, many people have reported skin rashes after trying to wear a thigh holster for more than five minutes.
Additionally, most thigh holsters require re-drawing your weapon each time you wish to switch from your primary to your secondary firing position. This takes valuable time and causes unnecessary confusion and mistakes.
How We Chose Our Top Picks
We started by looking for the solutions that were well ranked and in demand. Our search was restricted to items made especially for concealed carry.
We then restricted our search to holsters made of sturdy materials like leather or nylon and with heavy-duty construction. The last two criteria slots are set aside for people who might require a more specialized choice, while others will be happy with less expensive “universal” holsters.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hip Holsters
What is the most comfortable way to carry a gun?
The answer depends heavily on what you intend to use it for. For self-defense, I recommend something with a good trigger pull that isn’t too heavy or bulky.
How do I wear a hip holster?
Hip holsters are designed to be worn either “IWB” (in-the-backpack) or “OTW” (over-the-pants). Some can also be used in a front-strapped position, but this requires practice and is not as common.
Can you sit while wearing a hip holster?
Yes, depending on your model of firearm and whether it’s equipped with a proper seat belt. Make sure you practice this before going out. Also, make sure you practice walking normally, not stiffly.
What is a strong side hip holster?
Your strong side is from 3 to 5 o’clock on or just behind the right hip if you shoot right-handed. Your strong side, if you’re a lefty, is on the left hip, from 9 to 7. For law enforcement and concealed carry users, strongside carrying is the preferred waistline holster position.
Which is better: shoulder holster or hip holster?
Heavy handguns perform incredibly well in a well-made, properly sized shoulder holster. They really function more effectively than hip-mounted holsters in my opinion since the weight of the pistol is distributed across a broader region of the body.