Holster Review: New Holsters for Women

Dene Adams Corset
The Dene Adams Corset.

If you’re like me, you’ve struggled to find a comfortable way to carry your pistol. Either I print badly, so it’s extremely obvious that I’m carrying, or I’m just plain uncomfortable. In the hopes that some of the modern holster options would solve my problem, I reached out to several manufacturers, large and small, to see if there was anything new on the market that may solve my dilemma.

To keep my opinions consistent, I made sure to wear the same jeans and belt while testing each of these holsters. I also treated each holster as if we were dating. With my trusty Smith & Wesson M&P Shield as a chaperone, we went to dinner together, we ran errands, took long rides in the truck, and basically spent a lot of quality time getting to know each other. I wore each holster for several hours, on and off over the course of several months, all while going about my daily life.

I tested three popular styles of holsters: IWB (inside the waistband), OWB (outside the waistband), and the bellyband. IWBs are great for concealed carry. OWBs can be used for either concealed or open carry, depending on how you dress. Bellybands fit directly against your body with your clothing over them; they’re great for times when you’re active (running, horseback riding, etc.) or when clothing such as leggings, running tights, or sweat pants doesn’t allow you to wear a gun belt to support a holster. As an added bonus, bellybands require no handling of your firearm when nature calls, because they’re not attached to your pants.

About me: I often struggle with printing. Maybe it’s just my body type (I refer to myself as a “fluffy” size 6). Clothing has a lot to do with concealing, even with the right holster.

The holsters I tested, and my findings, follow. They are listed in alphabetical order:

BLACKHAWK! TECGRIP

MSRP: $19-$25

The BLACKHAWK! TecGrip holster
The BLACKHAWK! TecGrip holster.

Introduced at this year's SHOT Show, this fabric holster contains "microscopic gripping fingers" that hold your pistol securely, whether it's in your pocket or waistband. The fabric is soft to the touch, but super grippy on any surface. It's also ambidextrous.

Pros: Comfort. Because it's made of TecGrip fabric, this holster is very comfortable when worn against the body. Because I don't have man-sized pants, I couldn't attempt to pocket-carry my Shield in this holster, but I suspect security would have been the same. Skeptical by nature, I wasn't sure how a fabric holster with no belt clip would stay put while drawing my firearm, so I gave it a good workout. The holster never moved. Because of the nature of the holster, the cant and depth of carry can be customized to your liking.

Cons: Re-holstering has to be done with care, because the fabric is unsupported and collapses on itself once the firearm is drawn.

The Takeaway: I was surprised how much I liked this little fabric holster. It offers many options for carry location, depending on your preference. Drawing from it was very easy, and the holster never moved. I even carried my cell phone in it a few times when I was unable to carry my firearm. I found it versatile, secure and comfortable, and at a great price point.

BLADE-TECH APPENDIX KLIPT

MSRP: $30

The Blade-Tech Klipt.

The Appendix Klipt IWB holster is an ultra-thin, low profile polymer holster that utilizes the "Klipt" fastening system. It allows you to remove the holster from your belt, without removing your belt at well. Once on, the Klipt clips lock securely to the belt. It is designed to be carried as a front, strong-side/appendix holster. Blade-Tech also claims that because of its design, it can also be carried on the weak side in cross-draw fashion, or even as a straight drop IWB on the strong-side hip. I tried out all of these locations, and even carried it successfully at 4:30.

Pros: Very low profile. There's not a lot of extra material to get in your way. It does have a sweat guard, which I'm a fan of. I found it to be comfortable in each position. The retention, though not adjustable, was perfect. This holster also stayed secure, exactly where I located it, no matter what my activity level.

Cons: I really didn't find much on the downside for this holster. I still printed, depending on where I carried, but that's probably more on me than on the holster. Also, the cant is not adjustable on this holster.

The Takeaway: I actually enjoyed wearing this little holster. Sometimes less is more, and its minimalistic style worked well for me. I was comfortable no matter if I carried it at 12 o'clock or 4:30.

BLADE-TECH TOTAL ECLIPSE HOLSTER

MSRP: $60

Blade-Tech Total Eclipse
The Blade-Tech Total Eclipse holster.

The Total Eclipse can be worn either IWB or OWB, depending on how you set it up, and can be changed in about two minutes if your carry needs change. I carried my Eclipse IWB, at about 4:30. The contour made it comfortable. The Eclipse has a sweat guard on both sides of the pistol. There are also attachments to adjust the holster, from an FBI cant to a straight drop. Everything you need is right in the package, making this an extremely versatile option for carry. Newly redesigned, this holster now sports the new Klipt attachment system, which allows you to remove the holster without removing your belt.

Pros: Extremely versatile. Very thin, making it sit very closely to the body with no bulk. The retention was excellent. One purchase gets you two styles of carry so you really get a lot of bang for your buck. I am a fan of the sweat guards next to the body. The more I wore this, the more it would contour to my body, and the more comfortable it became.

Cons: Adding the wings to make it an IWB made it a little long for my frame. I still found it comfortable despite having to adjust the holster around my belt loops.

The Takeaway: The Total Eclipse Holster is like getting two holsters in one, and both IWB and OWB modes ride very close to the body and are very comfortable.

CAN CAN CONCEALMENT SPORT BELT CLASSIC

MSRP: $89

Can Can Concealment
The Can Can Concealment holster.

This bellyband style holster is as cute as it is functional. The Sport Belt Classic offers three choices of location for your pistol, or alternately the option to carry three different pistols at the same time. There is also a standard two magazine pocket and a spot for your cell phone. Can Can lists this holster as "gender neutral."

Pros: Extremely comfortable directly against the body. Multiple options to carry one, two, or three pistols at the appendix, 4:30, and/or 6:30 positions, with extra pockets for more gear, including my cell phone. The Velcro closure was very secure even while jogging. It concealed well and never moved whether I was sitting, standing or out and about. I actually forgot I was carrying.

Cons: Because this holster is made of fabric, there is nothing other than the elastic fabric protecting the trigger area. While it is fully covered, there isn't anything rigid covering the trigger.

The Takeaway: I really liked this holster. It's very comfortable, it never moved during any activity, and it concealed very well. I wouldn't hesitate to use this to carry using this while riding a horse; it really stayed put when I put it through its paces.

CROSSBREED MODULAR BELLY BAND

MSRP: $70

Newly redesigned in conjunction with I.C.E. Firearm Training Services, the CrossBreed Modular Belly Band now incorporates an additional length of elastic that extends over the modular holster, which attaches to the bellyband using heavy duty Velcro. This not only adds additional support, it also ensures that the firearm is securely secured to the band. The holster itself is a hard plastic that attaches via Velcro to the band, allowing you to place the holster (or additional accessories which are available from Cross Breed) at your desired location. The fabric portion of the band has sewn-in pockets that can hold a magazine, flashlight, or other items.

Pros: Worn low on the waist, just under your pants, this is an adjustable, comfortable way to carry. Because it's modular, the pistol itself can be set at your desired carry spot and changed if necessary. The sewn-in pockets are handy for a spare magazine or flashlight, and because it's modular, you can also pick up modules for accessories that can be Velcroed to the belt and secured.

Cons: While very functional, I found the material to be a little scratchy at first, especially where the Velcro attached. Once I wore it for a little while, this really didn't bother me.

The Takeaway: I found the Crossbreed Modular Belly Band to be a functional, comfortable way to carry. Because it's worn under your pants, low on the waist, a gun belt is not necessary; making it a great option for when you're in active wear. I really liked the hard plastic holster itself because it offers excellent protection in the trigger area.

DENE ADAMS "SLIM BLONDIE" CORSET

MSRP: $120

The "SLIM Blondie" is part of Dene Adams' classic collection. Constructed from a breathable, moisture wicking fabric and detailed in lace, this corset closes with a Velcro system that holds the corset securely on your body. Per the manufacturer's website, the SLIM can accommodate pistols up to 7.5 inches in length, making it great for ladies who have several options when it comes to which pistol to carry. I'm always concerned about fabric holsters offering enough trigger protection. While this does completely cover the trigger area, it's still soft where the trigger sits. However, to their credit, Dene Adams offers trigger guards for several popular pistols, and recommends using one with their holsters. As a bonus, Dene Adams is offering Range365 readers a special discount if you use the code Range365 when you order. My holster came with a safety card as well as instructional information.

Pro: It's cute and comfortable; wearing it actually offers a lot of back support. I especially like the idea of using a trigger guard with this holster to make sure nothing accidentally connects with the trigger while wearing. It's hand-washable. This holster has Velcro straps that will secure your firearm to the holster, but release quickly should you need to draw. It also has little tabs to aid re-holstering.

Cons: Fabric in the trigger area, as I mentioned above. They do offer a solution, but it costs extra. Also, this may get warm as the weather heats up, but that wouldn't necessarily stop me from using it.

The Takeaway: I really liked this bellyband corset style holster. The support that it offers while wearing it was an added bonus I didn't expect. It concealed well, and because the pistol is carried in the front, sitting wasn't an issue, nor was bending or stretching to reach something. It was secure and comfortable, and if your shirt accidentally rode up a bit, only lacy fabric would be exposed.

GALCO GUNLEATHER STINGER

MSRP $63

The Galco Stinger
The Galco Leather Stinger holster.

Fairly new to the Galco Gunleather lineup is their Stinger Holster. Beautifully crafted with premium saddle leather, this holster can accommodate belts up to 1-1/2 inches wide. The holster is made in several sizes to accommodate small semiautomatic pistols, as well as double-action revolvers

Pros: This minimalistic OWB holster, which has a leather belt loop, has a slim profile and rides close to body. It's very comfortable when carrying at the 4:30 position. It's not bulky and has a nice cant to it, making for a smooth draw.

Cons: Because of the single loop through which you put a your belt, this holster seems to slide around (at least it did on my belt). Some may find this a benefit, because you can adjust the carry position as necessary. Also, at least for the holster designed for the Shield, a small section of the trigger area is not covered.

The Takeaway: This is a beautifully crafted, very attractive leather holster. I liked how it rode close to my body for an OWB. My Shield was easy to conceal carry wearing The Stinger covered with a shirt or jacket. I would like to see a little more coverage in the trigger area.

MILLER TACTICAL IWB STRONGSIDE HOLSTER

MSRP: $55-$65

Custom made in Texas, Miller Tactical's Kydex holsters were recently redesigned using a vacuum press system to improve fit and comfort. Each order is custom made with multiple options for the Kydex color, belt attachment, IWB or OWB style, and other features. Options are also available for matching magazine holders, knife sheaths, and other items. They also appear to be very receptive to custom orders if you have something special in mind. The appendix rig I tried was intended for wearing strongside or from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock, making it a versatile option. Several options are available on the website or by speaking with them on the phone.

Pros: I found this to be very comfortable. I liked the versatility of wearing it either at 2 o'clock or 4:30, depending on what my plans for the day were. The retention was perfect right out of the box, and the clip was extremely secure on my belt.

Cons: I really didn't find any downside to this holster. I did prefer it at 4:30, but that's more my preference than a reflection on the holster.

The Takeaway: The Miller Tactical is a really comfortable option. If you're looking for a holster with exceptional quality made by a company with wonderful customer service, I highly recommend MTG. Sometimes it's nice to deal with a smaller outfit that put their heart and soul into everything they make, and can make you something different than the regular stock options that larger companies offer.

To help compare, I scored the features of each holster from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest category. Categories are comfort, the trigger being completely covered, retention, fit, ease of access to firearm, concealment and the security of the holster itself. Here are my findings:

Belly Bands

Holster Comfort Trigger Completely Covered Retention Fit Ease of Access Concealability Security
Can Can Concealment 5 5 4 5 4 5 5
CrossBreed 4 5 5 5 5 5 5
Dene Adams Corset 5 5 4 5 4 5 5

OWB Holsters

Holster Comfort Trigger Completely Covered Retention Fit Ease of Access Concealability Security
Blade-Tech Total Eclipse 5 5 5 5 5 3 5
Galco Gunleather Stinger 5 3 4 4 5 3 2

IWB Holsters

Holster Comfort Trigger Completely Covered Retention Fit Ease of Access Concealability Security
Blackhawk! TecGrip 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Blade-Tech Klipt 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Blade-Tech Total Eclipse 4 5 5 3 4 4 5
Miller Tactical 5 5 5 5 5 5 5