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4 Best Car Holsters: DIY & Specific Purpose

Cars are as American as firearms and we spend a lot of time in them, so make sure your firearm is secure and within reach when you need it!

Wearing your gun while driving is not always the most comfortable thing to do.

Do you have a road trip planned?

1911 in Glove Compartment of Car
1911 in Glove Compartment of Car

In the car for 6 hours with any carry position is going to leave you a bit worse for wear. And you don’t want to leave your gun in the glove box.

So, what’s the solution?

A car holster, of course!

External glove box holster
One example of a car holster

A holster for your car can go by different names and come in many different styles. Some may call them holsters, others call them safes, and others may call them a lockbox. For this article, I will talk about holsters.

Summary of Our Top Picks


    Steel Holster

    Same style of car holsters police units use across the country. It's good for not only the car but your home as well.


    Console Vault

    Fits into the console of the vehicle. Not exactly a holster but serves the same purpose in a car.


    Alien Gear ShapeShift Driver Defense Holster

    Wraps around the seat so the holster can be easy to access.



    Magnetic mount that holds up to 43 lbs. Best of all is the great price point makes this our budget pick.

Table of Contents


Difference Between a Holster and a Safe

What is the difference between a holster and a safe for your car?

Well, a holster is for carrying or transporting your concealed carry weapon, a safe is for storing it for a longer term, like while you are at work.

handgun in safe under drivers seat in jeep
Handgun safe under the driver’s seat

A holster is temporary and allows for easy access in the event you need your gun for protection. This is what we will be talking about; different styles and what people seem to like. Picking a holster for your on-body carry can take several purchases before you find one you like.

Hopefully, this post will help you narrow the choices and find something you like quicker.

Buy or DIY a Holster

A lot of people are pretty handy when it comes to MacGyvering up things to solve a problem. There are a lot of cool tutorials out there telling you how to make something that will work. Usually, this is taking a holster and modifying it for mounting it in your car.

If you DIY, do it safely!
If you DIY, do it safely!

The other option is to buy a gun holster for your car that’s made for that purpose. Sometimes these are more generic and other times you can get a vehicle specific car holster.

Let’s talk about both options and the pros and cons.

DIY Car Holster

A DIY pistol holster is generally a modified holster mounted to your center console or door. Some things to consider if you are going the DIY route.

If you are right-handed and mounting the holster to your center console, you will need a left-handed holster.

This makes sense if you think about it. If you are right-handed and you want to draw the pistol with your right hand. In the US, the driver is on the left side of the vehicle and the console is to your right. To mount the holster, it needs to face the correct way.

On a left-handed draw holster, the mounting screws that would normally hold the holster to the paddle or leather or belt clip are on the correct side to mount it to a console. Still with me?

Holsters need to have good retention so your pistol will not fall out if you hit a pothole or something worse.

Just like when carrying your CCW on-body or in a bag, the holster you choose needs to hold the gun at any angle.

Holster retention is important!
Holster retention is important!

You also want to make sure it’s not too tight that you can’t quickly access your weapon if needed.

Don’t use a level 3 or similar holster with the finger release.

While these holsters can be great for making sure your gun stays in place and they help you maintain good trigger safety on your draw, they fail the car holster test.


Simple anatomy. Your thumb is shorter than your index finger.

If you look closely...you can clearly see that the thumb is shorter...
If you look closely…you can clearly see that the thumb is shorter!

Its placement on your hand makes it difficult to draw your gun in these style holsters when they are mounted to the outside of your console.

4 Best Car Holsters

The application-specific holsters come in many different styles. There are also vehicle specific car holsters. One thing to note with vehicle specific options is you are going to be limited in the placement. In some cases, these holsters have the characteristics of a safe.

1. Steel Holster

Author's Pick
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

This is a little more obvious, but some of the companies who supply police equipment have these style “holsters”. They typically mount through or to the vehicle and offer a secure way to store your handgun. 

They also make great mounting options for securing your firearm in other places also, such as to a bed frame or under a desk.

Steel Holster on Bed

What’s your take on the Steel Holster?

2. Console Vault

at Console Vault

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Console Vault make vehicle specific safes. These attach to the pocket in your console without modification. These vaults are not specific to guns, so you can lock your wallet, or watch or whatever you’d like in there.

Console vault in a Ford F-150
Console vault in a Ford F-150

They have a lot of models, so there is a good chance there is one for your vehicle. After picking the one that fits your car, you need to choose the lock style. There are options for barrel keys and combination locks.

Readers' Ratings

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3. Seat Straps

at Alien Gear Holsters

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The seat strap gives you a way to have a gun easily accessible right between your legs. You’ll see variations of them, but they usually wrap around the seat in some fashion and place the holster in an easy to access spot. 

Since the gun is right in front of you and you’ll have to move your leg over it to get out, you aren’t likely to forget your gun in the car.

Miscellaneous Holster Mounts

Other options are out there if you want to try them. Some manufacturers make holsters where you can take the holster off one mount and use it on another. Alien Gear Holsters and BlackHawk Holsters are two that come to mind.

The holsters are modular so you can have a paddle holster one day then an IWB the next. Having this flexibility also lets you use a mount like this, for your OWB holster, in your vehicle or in your home to attach your holster.

We’ve reviewed Alian Gear holsters before and liked them a lot – check out the Complete Review!

4. Magnetic Mount

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

When I first saw magnetic gun holders, I was skeptical. I mean, how is a refrigerator magnet going to hold your gun up. But, a guy I worked with had one and let me tell you, it holds the gun tight. IronMount’s magnet system holds up to 43 lbs according to their product specs.

You can mount them anywhere with a few screws and they aren’t obvious like some other holsters are.

Car Holster Placement

Placement is a big consideration. You need to make sure you can draw your gun quickly and easily if you need it. That is first and foremost.

Second, having it somewhat concealed is ideal. If someone walks up to your car and sees you have a holster in plain sight, they could follow you home break in while you aren’t home to try to get your other weapon(s).

Third, a secure mounting location is important. Flimsy plastic may work for a while, but it will crack or let the screws loose after a while. Then, you’ll have to remount it and make more holes.

Car Holster Legality

As with most gun laws, you will want to check the specifics for transporting a handgun in your state. Some are more strict about how you can carry off-body than others. It’s up to you to know the laws in your state or the state you are traveling in…check out our Gun Laws By State section for more.

Final Thoughts

Carrying a gun in off-body in your car will take some getting used to. You will need to for the habit of remembering to take it with you EVERY time you exit the vehicle. If you forget and your vehicle holster is out there in plain sight, it’s an easy smash and grabs for the person who sees it.

You will want to train in your vehicle too. You’ll want to practice your draw and how you will fire your weapon. You’ll have to grab from the right side and pivot to the left to acquire your target. Also, practice drawing and acquiring a target on the passenger side or out the windshield.

Take a look at the Center Axis Relock method of pistol handling, it was designed in part as to be used from a car and is a great tool to have in your training kit.

Level 1 CAR System
You can watch this video for an idea of how the transition works.

Do you have a holster mounted in your vehicle? What did you decide to do? Let us know in the comments! Check out more in our Concealed Carry section when you’re carrying on-body.

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15 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael Edwards

    I carry my Glock 43 in a left handed Vedder paddle holster inside my drivers door pocket. Fits good and tight and being a lefty it draws quick.

    January 24, 2023 11:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    After having read the article it gave me an idea. I’m actually surprised I didn’t have it sooner, but I just totally forgot I even have the extra holster as I’ve never used it. I got an XDM 3.8 Compact, it came with a kydex/plastic OWB holster. I’m just gonna mount that in my car, I’d prefer to not use screws as the car is a lease and I might still return it (I’m still debating on wether to take the buy option at end of lease). It’s a 2020 Honda Civic Si Coupe, I’m 6’2” 275lbs, so space is a little tight in the drivers side of the center console, but I can mount it on the passenger side, and it’ll be like it’s on my hip at the 3 o’clock position. I might just use either a belt or a ratchet strap and wrap it around the center console, and just hang the holster on it like a belt. Either way I’ll figure out a method of mounting it there, but it should work out great, the holster has adjustable tension on it, so I can tune the draw strength required. Thanks for the idea.

    May 8, 2021 12:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Gary Mahaffey

    Thoughts on the Vulcan Arms Quick Draw ?

    June 11, 2020 10:04 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Will Huckette

    I repurposed a nylon holster with a velcro retention strap for my car. It has a vertical "belt loop" feature which allowed me to mount by wrapping a belt strap through the interior trim. I strapped it tightly right under the steering wheel, between my knees. This DIY setup is better than any designated car holster system on the market in my opinion.

    December 29, 2019 1:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I use the magnet type in a not so smooth riding truck. It holds my fully loaded Glock 17 in place very nicely and has never fallen off of it.

    September 19, 2018 5:16 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Kevin Smith

      Does it scratch your gun overtime?

      February 7, 2019 7:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Leighton Elliott

    You guys need to look at Aztec soft with retention and pocketable and Sticky's new soft holsters.

    September 18, 2018 8:29 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I used to pulled my gun out of my pants every chance I got. Nowadays at my age......I have no reason to pull it out and if I do.......I could point it at anyone and noone cares...

    September 18, 2018 8:05 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I carry a XD40 M2, or a G-33, or a 327 LCR, Appendix IWB. I can reach the gun while in the drivers seat, I don't have to worry about weird rules.

    September 18, 2018 7:28 pm
    • Commenter Avatar


      September 15, 2021 2:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I used a generic kydex hybrid shell and used self tapping screws to mount it on the inside of my center console. Works great for me. Pop the center console and I'm in the fight but hidden from plain sight.

    September 18, 2018 6:19 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I like it! I have a Jeep Wrangler and a lot of wasted space in the center console. I think I'm gonna go this route. Thanks!

      September 15, 2021 2:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Silver fox

    Try pants with thigh pocket with snap flaps.

    September 18, 2018 4:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Magnet is a best and easy way to concealed carry. I'm using the rymmes magnet. Any one know this?

    September 12, 2018 8:18 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I tried several DIY options but was not satisfied. I carry right handed cross-draw in my truck. I made an IWB holster with a metal clip but carry it between my belt and pants. The tension from the belt holds the pistol in place and it is not as uncomfortable as carrying inside my pants. The seatbelt does not get in the way of me drawing the pistol. I like this method of carry so much that I carry my Sig that way now. The pistol is always on your side in and out of the truck. No fumbling from vehicle carry to conceal carry when you get out.

    September 11, 2018 10:52 pm
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