Best Pocket Holster for Concealed Carry of Small Pistol

Looking for an option to conceal and carry a small pistol without spending a small fortune? It doesn’t take much shopping to find that holster options for concealed carry range […]
Sticky holster IWB pocket concealed carry holster review

Sticky holster IWB pocket concealed carry holster review

Looking for an option to conceal and carry a small pistol without spending a small fortune? It doesn’t take much shopping to find that holster options for concealed carry range from cheap, but functionally questionable to exotic and rather expensive. Budget options for a quality concealment holster are hard to find. This leaves many “thrifty” concealed carry types with the obvious solution of just stashing their small pistol in their front pocket. I suppose that simply putting a pistol in your pocket can work, but:

  • usually makes the outline of the gun very visible through the thin cloth,
  • allows the stuff found in pockets (lint, wrappers, and various other little bits) to jam the moving parts of the gun,
  • is usually pretty uncomfortable, since guns are hard and usually have sharp and/or pointy bits,
  • exposes the gun to the high-humidity of your pocket with no protection,
  • makes it easy for the sharp and /or pointy bits to snag on stuff easily

The concept of a “pocket holster” is nothing new. A well designed pocket holster:

  • pads the gun to improve comfort and reduce printing of a pocketed pistol,
  • wraps the gun to keep out pocket lint and it’s gun-fouling neighbors,
  • offers the gun some protection from moisture
  • helps cover the sharp and/or pointy bits when the gun is drawn so that they are less likely to snag on the inside of the pocket
Best pocket holster

Uncle Mikes size 3 pocket holster with Taurus 85

As great as that sounds, pocket holsters can still have issues. One problem with pocket holsters is that it can be hard to find one that offers sufficient padding and protection for the gun, yet still allows quick and easy draw of the weapon. Since most pocket holsters just sit in the pocket (ie. are not fastened in place), selecting the wrong one can leave you with a gun that is too difficult to get out of your pocket, or one that comes out very easy… but still has the holster wrapped around it. Neither is ideal. Two common methods of keeping the pocket holster in the pocket when the gun is drawn are

  1. an abrasive or sticky outer shell on the holster to increase friction on the walls of the pocket
  2. protrusions from the holster to physically lodge it in the pocket as the gun is withdrawn

We have tested pocket holsters on multiple small pistols and found that the combination of shape and a tacky outer surface are needed for repeatable clean draws. Of the 2 pocket holsters pictured here, we find that the Sticky Holsters pocket holster, with the additional material extending under the barrel tends to stay in the pocket better when the gun is drawn than the straight-sided Uncle Mikes Pocket holster.

Who Should Consider a Pocket Holster? The easy answer is simply anyone that wants a convenient way to carry a small pistol without spending a lot. However, on a tactical level, there are bigger considerations like:

  • what is the appropriate weapon for your tactical needs, and is THAT weapon well suited to pocket carry?
  • can you access your weapon quickly enough from a pocket holster?
  • is your weapon sufficiently secure in a pocket holster?

Lets be honest here… most folks won’t be able to carry a full sized 1911 in .45 ACP in a pocket holster. If your tactical goals require something bigger than will fit in your pocket, then a pocket holster likely isn’t going to work for you… for your primary weapon. If you carry a pocket sized gun, as primary, backup, or tertiary weapon, then a pocket holster could be in our future.

What is the BEST pocket holster? As usual, “it depends”.  Try a few different styles and see which works best for you. While this discussion is focused more on a the best budget pocket holster, some folks prefer other styles that cost much more, like custom leather pocket holsters.

pocket holster in right front pants pocket

pocket holster in right front pants pocket

The best pocket holster for a Taurus 738 may be different than the best pocket holster for a Taurus model 85.

The best pocket holster for a Smith & Wesson J frame may be different than the best pocket holster for a Beretta Nano.

Get the picture? As much as we hate to say it, subtle nuances of each gun’s design, the users wardrobe and physical characteristics influence which pocket holster is the best choice for each individual.

However, we can safely say that of the pocket holsters that we have tested, the Sticky Holster brand holsters have been our favorite. We also routinely use pocket holsters by Uncle Mike’s holsters.

What guns fit in a pocket holster? There are pocket holsters made for most every pistol. However, that doesn’t mean that ever pistol is well suited to pocket carry.

Some of our favorite guns for pocket carry include:

  • Glock 42 .380 ACP
  • Glock 26 9mm luger
  • Taurus 738 .380 ACP
  • Beretta Nano 9mm luger
  • Kahr CM9 9mm luger
  • Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm luger
  • Kimber Solo Carry 9mm luger
  • Ruger LC 9 9mm luger
  • Sig P938 9mm luger
  • Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield 9mm luger
  • Taurus PT709 Slim 9mm luger
  • Walther PPS 9mm luger

Please leave a comment with questions or to let us know if this review was helpful to you.

For a primer on pocket holsters, check out our article “UPDATED: Best Pocket Holster for concealed carry of Pocket Pistol
For an overview of pocket pistols, check out our article “UPDATED: Best Pocket Pistols for concealed carry

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About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.