Approximately 20 million American men and women are licensed to carry firearms, and 20 states no longer require concealed-carry permits. If you intend to carry a firearm concealed for self-defense, a suitable holster is an essential accessory.
However, what a woman needs from a concealed carry holster is not necessarily the same as a man due to differences in clothing and anatomy. If you’re looking for a gun holster for women, there are several criteria to consider.
What Should a Holster Have?
To be suitable for self-defense, holsters for women need to meet certain standards regarding quality and functionality.
Security and retention
Your holster must be able to retain your weapon reliably. Retention is necessary for both security and safety. Passive retention, which uses a tight fit between the holster and the gun, is usually the best option for concealed carry because it doesn’t impede your draw.
Every self-defense holster should cover the trigger guard to prevent you from unintentionally firing the weapon as you draw. A covered trigger guard protects the trigger from foreign objects.
Concealed carry holsters for women should not dig into your hip, abdomen, or ribs when you move, lean forward, or sit down. While your carry position (e.g., appendix) and your carry method (e.g., IWB) affect comfort, the holster’s material, design, and construction play a role.
If you can, experiment with different holster designs to find the one that suits you best.
Concealability is affected by several factors, including carry position, choice of firearm, and how you dress, but the holster’s design should also maximize concealment. A low-profile holster that stays close to the body and doesn’t have sharp angles or protrusions contributes to overall concealability.
If you carry IWB, look for a holster that’s also compatible with concealment accessories, such as claws (also known as wings). These are designed to drive the holster into your body to reduce printing.
Since no two women are exactly alike, you should be able to adjust the retention, ride height, and cant to determine the most comfortable, concealable, and accessible combination for your individual needs. Many passive retention holsters allow you to adjust your comfort, concealability, and accessibility using screws.
A high-quality holster needs an equally well-made gun belt to perform. Dress belts are usually not strong or rigid enough to support the holster and the weight of the firearm. A properly designed gun belt works with your holster to evenly distribute the weight and keep the gun close to your body.
Waistband Carry Methods: IWB and OWB
Waistband holsters can be divided into two categories: IWB and OWB. Each holster type is suitable for different carry styles and wardrobe choices.
An inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster fits between your waistband and your body and attaches to your gun belt using one or two clips. If you carry your firearm in a leather IWB holster, you should wear an additional layer of clothing between the holster and your body. While Kydex can glide on wet skin, leather can stick and chafe, especially during the summer months.
IWB Kydex holster
The We The People Holsters Kydex IWB holster is discreet, rigidly constructed, and allows you to adjust the retention, ride height, and cant to ensure you can always conceal and draw your weapon as efficiently as possible. In addition, the holster has a protective sweat guard to reduce contact between your body and the gun, protecting the weapon’s finish. This model is compatible with a 1.5” gun belt, such as the We The People Holsters Falcon.
IWB leather holster
If you’d prefer a leather option, the Independence IWB leather holster offers the same adjustability as the Kydex model but with the traditional look and feel of vegetable-tanned cowhide. Featuring three retention points, tuckable belt clips, and heavy-duty stitching, this holster suits a range of carry needs. The two belt clips evenly distribute the weight of both the holster and the weapon, so your gun remains secure.
An outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster is not as concealable as IWB but offers increased comfort and a comparatively fast draw stroke. OWB holsters may require a covering garment to conceal your weapon, depending on your body type and firearm.
We The People Holsters also carries OWB holsters in both Kydex and leather for the gun owner who prefers the form and function of this carry method. Highly adaptable, these holsters provide twelve adjustment positions for the perfect draw angle and ride height.
OWB Kydex holster
Our Kydex OWB holsters use the paddle design for fast and easy attachment and dismounting. The paddle holster uses a rigid paddle-shaped belt clip on the rear of the holster to attach to your gun belt. This paddle slips between the belt and the outside of your waistband.
OWB leather holster
For a more traditional OWB holster, consider our Independence OWB leather holster. Like the IWB variant, the OWB leather holster is the work of a master craftsman using vegetable-tanned cowhide leather and allows for ride-height and cant adjustability. However, the OWB design uses a reinforced belt loop for a more secure mounting system and a tail fin in the rear for a snug fit against the body.
If you carry IWB, you want to ensure your weapon is as discreet as possible. Our IWB holsters are highly concealable, but concealment accessories, such as our holster claw, reduce printing by rotating the holster and weapon to hold both against your body.
The claw achieves this by pressing against the inside of your weapon to drive the holster away from your belt and toward your abdomen or hip, creating a low-profile shape.
Best Gun Holsters for Women
At We The People Holsters, we supply IWB and OWB holsters suitable for both men and women in your choice of either Kydex or leather. For more information about our products made in the USA, fill out our online contact form.