I am sure we have all heard the old adage ‘The best gun is the one you have on you.’ There is a lot of truth to this statement and that means, if we really want to keep ourselves safe, that we sometimes need a pistol that is quick and easy. Nothing does this better than the right pistol paired with the best pocket holster.
Is this the best method of carry? Not at all. Are pocket pistols really a good self-defense option? Again, no. A pocket pistol is simply a last resort for those times where carrying a larger pistol represents too many problems to make it worthwhile.
If you are in and out of buildings that do not allow weapons, a pocket pistol is quick and easy. If you are outside in summer clothing that makes concealing a pistol difficult, a pocket pistol may be a good option. If your pistol is light enough, you may choose this option for running or other outdoor exercises. There are a variety of reasons why this option is a good backup to those days we carry a larger pistol.
Pocket Holster - Purchase Considerations
Before we dive into what we need to look at in a pocket holster, we need to define the three jobs all pocket holsters will need to do.
So, all holsters we consider should do at least these three things. With that, let's look at the particulars of some holsters that we may be considering.
Normally I am a proponent of holsters made of either kydex or leather and shaped and fitted to a specific pistol model. With a pocket holster, this is not the case.
Kydex is a particularly bad material because it fails at both rule 2 and rule 3 above. Kydex is slick and will not stay in the pocket when a pistol is drawn. Being rigid, Kydex also does a poor job of masking your firearm.
Leather does better but is still not the best choice in most cases. There are times it can work. Unlike kydex, leather can break up the outline of a handgun well however it often fails at allowing a clean draw. So, it fails rule 2 in most cases.
For a pocket holster, softer materials are often better and many are universal or semi-universal for pocket pistols. Materials like nylon, neoprene and similar are often preferred. You do need to make sure the material is thick and stiff enough to provide protection to the trigger to keep an object to get inside the trigger guard and fire the pistol.
An additional consideration for your pocket holster is to have either the entire holster or a portion of that holster constructed of a material that will grip the pocket. The idea is for the holster to remain in the pocket when you draw. Sometimes the shape of the holster can help but nothing beats a grippy material to ensure you get a clean draw.
Realizing the combination of a soft material with a grippy material will lead your holster to wear quickly.
Before you choose a holster, you do need to ensure that any pocket pistol you choose for concealed carry. Using the pocket method, pistols like the Glock 19 or Sig 365 are just too large. Even pistols like the Springfield XDS, Glock 26 or Glock 27 are too large. You want something subcompact.
Using a small revolver is acceptable if you like those as an EDC option. Something about the size of the of an S&W J frame is often appropriate.
Pocket Carry Tips
Best Pocket Holster on the Market Review
Pocket Holsters For Glock 42 or Glock 43
#1. Desantis Nemesis
The Nemesis series is my all-time favorite pocket holster and Desantis is easily one of the best holster manufacturers around. Not only is this an effective holster but it is far more durable than most pocket holsters, easily lasting three to four times longer than many other models.
The Nemesis satisfies all three rules above for a holster. It stays in the pocket extremely well with its grippy texture and shape that helps. It does a good job of masking the pistol to keep it concealed. And most importantly, it is rigid enough to keep you safe with a pocket carry.
This particular model is made for the Glock 43 and has an extended flange to better balance that pistol in the pocket. There is also a model for the Glock 42 available that is just as effective with that lighter and slightly smaller pistol.
Are there problems with pocket carry? Yes, there are a few but those are easily offset by the convenience when you really can’t carry any other way. This is a perfect choice for those with busy lives or who are required to wear clothing that prevents traditional concealed carry. Its an option everyone should be familiar with. Just pick a good pistol and an appropriate holster.
#2. Sticky MD-4
This is another great holster from a company that specializes in pocket holsters. The Sticky is a little less solid than the Desantis and will wear more readily but it will keep your trigger safe and it stays in the pocket extremely well with a holster body that almost adheres to the inside of your pocket.
The soft style of this holster as well as the overall shape does a good job of keeping the pistol concealed. It may not offer as much support as some of the more rigid holsters with a more contoured bottom but with a light pistol, it offers enough. There should be no issue carrying the Glock 43 in something like this.
In addition to the Glock 43, this particular model will also carry many models of the Bersa Thunder, Kahr CW and P9s, Sig P239, S&W M&P Shield in 9mm and .40, Springfield XDS, and several different Walther pistols. It is quite a versatile holster for small automatics.
Pocket Holsters for S&W Shield 9mm
#1. ComfortTac Ultimate Compact
This is a classic design for a pocket holster and much like many other holsters on the market. The design is overall very effective but it does wear quickly. Luckily this is a very cheap holster to replace and you will need to. You may be better off buying a couple at a time as they will last a year or so with frequent carry.
Though this holster is thinner than most, it does do a decent job at protecting that trigger. Keep an eye on the wear to make sure it's still doing its job. On the other considerations, you shouldn’t have any issues with this holster staying put as you draw and it does a good job of masking your pistol.
This holster fits far more than the Shield. This particular model fits many Glocks and similar sized handguns. You can get a version for Compact, sub-compact, and Micro-compact. They share the same materials and construction. One thing to note about this holster that makes it a good option is the location of the sticky band which covers the trigger guard on most pistols.
#2. UTG Pocket Holster
On the surface, this holster is much like the ComfortTac and many other of a similar design. While this is true there are a few notable differences. Whether you choose this holster or the ComfortTac will depend mostly on these features.
The UTG satisfies all three goals above. In addition to this, this holster covers the pistol more effectively and rides higher. This breaks up the pistol better. The holster has a deeper cut below the trigger of the pistol. This allows you to get a better grip on the pistol but does slightly increase the chance a key could find its way to the trigger.
The third difference is the pocket around this holster that can hold cash or a credit card. This is a novel feature which increases the protection around the trigger. Just be cautious that you don’t pull your pistol every time you want your ID.
Like the ComfortTac, this holster can hold a number of pistols of a similar size to the Shield and even a few larger ones.
Pocket Holsters for Ruger LCP
#1. Ace Case
This holster has that ubiquitous design common to pocket holsters but with a few notable, and very welcome differences. The construction is quite good, especially on the grippy welt, and the overall design is very well thought out.
The holster uses a thick nylon band as a part of the grip section of this holster. It is much wider than most bands and does a great job of keeping the holster in place and also protecting the trigger. Otherwise the holster is fairly soft and is likely to wear quickly.
This is a very small holster that is cut deeply around the back to support a pistol better. It will fit a decent variety of micro-compact pistols but is too small for something like the Glock 42. If you rely on one of these ultra-small pistols like the S&W Bodyguard .380 or Taurus TCP 738, this is an all-around good holster.
#2. Garrison Grip OrGUNizer
If you prefer something more rigid, the Garrison Grip for a sub-compact is a good choice. You will need to be a bit more careful with this holster as it is cut deeper around the trigger and this increases the chances of something going wrong.
That said, the deeper cut does allow a better grip on the pistol and the extra-textured holster sticks in the pocket as well as any made. The stiffer holster does protect the trigger well if you are mindful of the deep cut. It even does a great job of breaking up the appearance of the pistol with its larger flange and more rigid structure.
Unlike most pocket holsters, these are fitted to the gun. Though they have a variety of models, you should not try to carry a pistol in one of these that the holster was not specifically designed for. The tolerances on the Garrison Grip are much smaller than most holsters. This does mean a better fit but less versatility.
Pocket Holsters for Ruger LCP 2
#1. Desantis Nemesis
For the LCP, I think the best bet is to go back to where we first started with the Nemesis. The reason for this is the overall size and weight of the pistol which has its upside but a few negatives. The small size means the pistol can get turned in the pocket more easily. The Desantis prevents his.
The same grippy texture that keeps the holster in your pocket when you draw will prevent your pistol unduly shifting. You always want to know where your pistol is and how it is oriented and that means keeping it in a specific place in your pocket.
Like the previous Nemesis model, this holster will fit several other pistols. Not as many as the above holster but enough to make the holster more versatile. This includes Keltec and similar sized micro-compact pistols.
#2. Kevin’s Concealment Wallet
Because of the small size of the LCP, there is a novel way of carrying it. In a specially made gun wallet. It is important to note that this holster can be very hard to draw from. It does allow you to shoot without completely removing the pistol but this is also awkward.
That aside, this holster does a great job of protecting the trigger and breaking up the outline of the pistol. The design of the holster is not to stay in the pocket when drawn. While this is breaking the rules above, for this pistol this isn’t a wholly bad carry method.
Overall, this carry method is better for when you are likely to have time to plan. When you can take that few seconds to get your pistol out. If you have to draw and shoot, the holster will likely prevent control over the pistol and make both drawing and shooting quite difficult.
Pocket Holsters for Smith & Wesson J-Frame
#1. Uncle Mike’s Off-Duty Size 3
The Uncle Mike’s pocket holster has been around for ages, is dirt cheap, and very effective. It does wear rather quickly, especially with a pistol the size of a J-Frame so you will be replacing it every year or so. Or you can get a few up front with such a low price.
This is the holster that most others are designed from but they lack one feature that makes a difference, the laminated construction. This provides better trigger protection and prevents the gun from printing better than similar holsters. The rubberized band does a wonderful job of holding the pistol steady and ensuring a good draw.
There are several models of this holster for different sized pistols. You will need to do a little research to determine what size is the best fit for any other pistol. This is one case where you definitely want a good fit or this holster goes from being great to being a safety issue.
#2. Galco Front Pocket Holster
This holster goes against some advice above being made of leather but Galco does such a great job, this holster is worth a mention at least. While it is leather, the holster is made inside out so the rougher leather rides against your pocket for a better draw but that is just the beginning.
The design of the holster is to ride perfectly in the pocket so the pistol stays put. There is also a hook shape below the trigger that is intended to grab the pocket and prevent the holster from coming out with the pistol. This holster will take more practice to draw correctly. While this is a downside, there are sufficient good points to make this holster a good choice.
The main good points of this holster are durability and rigidity. There is no pocket holster that will outlast this leather model. There is also no holster that will protect the trigger better or break up a gun to prevent printing. There is a balance but this holster could be worth looking into.
Are there problems with pocket carry? Yes, there are a few but those are easily offset by the convenience when you really can’t carry any other way. The best pocket holster is a perfect choice for those with busy lives or who are required to wear clothing that prevents traditional concealed carry. Its an option everyone should be familiar with. Just pick a good pistol and an appropriate holster.