Ever dream about carrying your Glock with you everywhere?
We get it–your Glock 19 is the go-to concealed carry weapon for many. It’s also the standard sidearm for tons of law enforcement agencies and military organizations around the world.
But if you want to carry your Glock with you, you need a holster.
The Glock 19’s popularity means there’s a huge market of compatible holsters for you to choose from.
Unfortunately, all those options can make it difficult to figure out what’s a good holster at a good price that fits your individual needs.
Fortunately, you’ve got me.
In this guide, I’ll tell you what features any holster needs to have, give you the rundown on the various holster types out there, and finally give you my recommendations for holsters in each category.
Table of Contents
Choosing a Good Holster
Your holster’s most basic job is obviously to hold your firearm when you’re not using it, but it also needs to protect your firearm, both from being dropped and from bumps and scrapes, prevent accidental discharge, and allow you to quickly draw your firearm when the situation calls for it, whether that’s in competition or a defensive situation.
So how do you make sure that a holster can do all that?
Well, look for one with these qualities:
Don’t underestimate how important comfort is.
It may seem secondary compared to the other qualities we’ll discuss, but if you’re not comfortable in your holster, you probably won’t wear it.
If you don’t wear your holster, you’ll still be in the position of needing to buy a holster for your Glock 19, plus you’ll have wasted money on a useless holster that just sits around taking up space. And, if your home is anything like mine, you don’t need any more useless stuff sitting around taking up space.
So, like anything else you wear, try on a potential holster before you buy it–if at all possible. If you can’t try it on before you buy, at least make sure that you can return it after you try it on in case you don’t like it.
When trying on a holster, imitate the normal motions you go through during the day. Make sure the holster doesn’t twist or rub. A little bit of rubbing may seem like it’s not a big deal, but over time it can lead to irritation, bruises, and blisters.
If your holster isn’t comfortable on your skin, you’ll need to wear a barrier between your holster and your skin or opt for a different holster entirely.
Rubbing from holsters made of hard materials will lead to more irritation and an undershirt may not be enough to prevent it, while soft holsters are more forgiving.
You also want to make sure that your holster won’t slip or shift and make sure that it doesn’t feel like it will.
Even if you know your holster won’t fall or move out of place, if it feels like it will, you’ll be tugging on it the entire time you’re wearing it, which is not only uncomfortable but also gives away the position of the firearm that’s supposed to be concealed.
Holsters constructed from durable and protective materials shield your Glock 19 against bumps and abrasion. Most holsters are made of leather, nylon, or a polymer like Kydex, which all offer plenty of protection.
Hard materials, like polymer, offer more protection against impacts, but they can also scuff up your Glock as you holster and draw your handgun.
Some people aren’t too worried about scuffs and therefore don’t need to fuss over this too much, but if you’d like to preserve your Glock’s finish, opt for a holster made of a soft material or a hard holster that has a soft, protective lining.
Retention just means that your holster won’t allow your gun to fall out of it.
The go-to litmus test for retention is simply turning the holster upside down. If your gun stays firmly in place, you’ve got plenty of retention.
Yes, I know most of you probably won’t be doing cartwheels or headstands in your holster, but what if you’re in an altercation and get knocked down? The last thing you want is for your gun to slip out of your holster where your assailant can grab it before you recover.
Even outside of a defensive situation, you don’t want to slip or fall and have your gun fly out of your holster, or even have your gun fall out while doing normal daily activities, like running, getting in and out of a vehicle, or dropping your pants to go to the bathroom.
(And for more help navigating the last situation, check out our guide Using the Bathroom While Carrying Concealed.)
Holsters use an active retention system, a passive retention system, or both at once.
An active retention system means that the user has to take steps to engage and disengage the retention system. Common examples of active retention are thumb breaks or straps that the user must release before they can pull their weapon from the holster.
A passive retention system means the scabbard of the holster (the part that actually holds the gun) fits snugly around the gun and is molded to the shape of the gun to increase surface area contact, which combines to keep the gun firmly in place using friction.
Typically, passive retention holsters have screws that allow you to adjust how tightly the scabbard fits around the gun, allowing the user to adjust the level of friction and, by extension, the level of retention.
The most secure holsters use both a passive retention system and an active retention system
Just remember that while retention is absolutely important, you also need to be able to draw your firearm quickly.
Passive systems typically allow quicker access–though less retention than active systems–but there’s a wide range in active retention systems in terms of how long it takes to disengage them.
This is exactly what it sounds like: how visible is the holster when you wear it?
It’s difficult to talk about concealability briefly since holster type, shape, and material–in addition to the wearer’s build and clothing choices–all affect it.
I will, however, mention how concealable each holster type is when I talk about them below, but for a more complete discussion, check out our concealed carry resources.
You’ll also want to try a variety of different holster types to get an idea of what’s most easily concealed on your unique body type and under the clothes that you like to wear.
If you only plan on carrying openly, you may not need to worry about concealability. Still, it’s nice to know that you already have a concealable holster should you ever decide that you want to carry concealed after all.
On the other hand, I don’t want to rob you of an excuse to buy another holster. You do you.
This is another factor that’s pretty self-explanatory: your holster needs to cover your Glock 19’s trigger to stop the accidental discharge.
Not all holsters do this, but there’s no reason to risk it.
This simply means that you should be able to draw your gun with one hand with a ready to shoot combat grip regardless of position and even in close quarters.
The holster needs to make this as easy as possible, but you can’t expect it to carry the full burden here. You also need to consistently drill to make sure that you can do this reliably.
Now you know what you need from a holster, so let’s move on to holster types.
Outside the Waistband
Once again, we have something that is exactly what it sounds like.
Outside the waistband (OWB) holsters attach to your waistband or belt and are carried on the outside of it.
This is a very visible style, so it’s usually what people think of when they think of a holster, but it’s actually not a particularly popular holster, precisely because it’s so visible. Their positioning makes them difficult to hide under clothing because they either peek out from under them or print (show a visible bulge).
On the other hand, OWB holsters tend to be quite comfortable and position your firearm where it can be quickly and easily accessed.
Inside the Waistband
And inside the waistband (IWB) holsters are similar, but they sit–you guessed it–inside of your waistband.
They’re probably the most popular holster type for concealed carry since they are easily hidden under clothing.
The cost is that they can be uncomfortable (though an undershirt goes a long way in helping this), your gun isn’t as easily accessible, and establishing a positive grip is more difficult.
If you’ve seen just about any movie about spies or law enforcement, then you’ve almost certainly seen a shoulder holster.
They’re actually a popular choice among plainclothes law enforcement in real life, too–but not so much among civilians.
They’re easily concealed under a jacket, but that obviously means that you have to keep your jacket on as long as you want to keep your firearm concealed. They also conceal well under loose shirts, but this makes it more difficult to access your gun, especially if your shirt is tucked in.
Finally, muzzling is also a problem, since in most shoulder holsters the gun is positioned facing behind the wearer, plus it’s virtually impossible to draw and aim from a shoulder holster without muzzling people around you.
Ankle holsters aren’t usually the first choice for concealed carry, since they can be uncomfortable (especially if you have hairy legs) and they don’t position the gun ideally for quick, easy access, but they are popular for carrying backup guns.
Now, women can wear any of the holster types we’ve discussed, but unless indicated otherwise, the vast majority of holsters are designed with men’s bodies in mind–which means that they may not be as comfortable on functional when worn by a woman.
You may not have encountered any problems with non-women specific holsters, but if you do, you can find holsters of all of the above types that are actually designed for women.
There are also holsters types that are generally women-specific, like thigh holsters, carry purses and purse holsters.
Best Glock 19 Holsters
You asked for it, and we listened–here’s our rundown of the best holsters for your Glock 19–whether you carry concealed or not. We’ve rounded up a few of each type, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
Now, without further ado, our favorite Glock 19 holsters!
The Fobus Tactical GLT19 has a low profile for an OWB holster, so it’s a great option if you want to practice concealed carry but aren’t a fan of IWB holsters.
It’s made of Kydex to offer complete protection and trigger coverage and has a paddle style back to keep the holster in place while rubbing backing keeps the holster comfortable.
The GLT19 has a blended retention system with a safety strap and fits Glock 19s with laser sights as well.
For a more classic look, go with the G&G B803 Three Slot Pancake Holster.
It’s made of genuine, vegetable dyed leather, but is also molded to more securely fit your Glock.
The B803 is available in both left and right-handed versions and can be positioned straight up or canted.
It’s no secret that Concealment Express holsters are popular here at Pew Pew Tactical.
This one, in particular, is lightweight, comfortable, and secure, both in how it attaches to your waistband and in how it retains your gun. The durable Kydex provides excellent protection.
It’s great for a variety of carry positions, but does especially well for appendix carry.
Check out Eric’s more complete review of Concealment Express holsters for more info.
This is another excellent Kydex IWB holster, but this one is a “hybrid” with a soft leather backing for improved comfort.
It can be comfortably worn with a tucked or untucked shirt and is supposed to be positioned towards the rear of your draw side.
Another one of our favorites.
Plus, the belt clips are powder coated to protect your belt and allow for adjustable cant and ride height.
What’s your take on the Crossbreed?
As the name might tell you, this is a holster with a lot of iteration and development behind it.
We have a complete hands-on review of the 3.0 version and we liked it a LOT and use it daily.
The 3.5 version is even better with improved retention options and better connections to the belt.
Plus, all of the awesome things we loved in the 3.0 such as a cooling neoprene backing, hard shell holster front, high backing to prevent the handgun from digging into your side, and it’s available for a HUGE range of guns – not JUST the Glock 19.
The Classic Lite Shoulder Holster is exactly what you imagine when you think of a shoulder holster.
It’s made of soft leather for a classic look and comfortable fit and is available for either left or right handed draw. A mag holster and gear loop are on the side opposite your gun holster to add utility and keep the holster balanced.
A snap closure keeps your gun securely in place.
KCarry Holsters aren’t as pretty, but they’re incredibly comfortable and are designed to fit just about anyone.
These holsters are made out of breathable microfiber and come in versions for both men and women, so you know it’s designed to fit your body, and each comes in two different sizes and right and left-handed options.
The adjustable chest strap on the extra small/small size can fit chest dimensions ranging from 30” in circumference all the way up to 48”, while the medium/large size fits chests from 41” to 60”. The shoulder straps are also adjustable.
The gun fits in an elastic pocket, but a Kydex trigger guard offers plenty of trigger protection.
This is probably one of the most widely recommended ankle holsters.
It’s comfortable, with an adjustable velcro wrap that allows it to fit on a variety of leg sizes, while a breathable elastic calf garter keeps the holster securely in place. The holster is also padded to make it even more comfortable.
A velcro closure retention strap keeps your gun secure.
Despite the name, Femme Fatale Ankle SoxXx are elastic fabric sleeves with a 5” pocket to hold your gun rather than actual socks, and they’re available in versions for both women and men.
The fabric is very breathable and very comfortable. A plastic shield lining the inside of the pocket prevents uncomfortable rubbing from your gun, and the holster is available in nude, black, and white, so it blends nicely with just about anything that you could wear it with.
The holster can be purchased with or without a retention strap.
Women Specific Holsters
I don’t like keeping up with a purse in the first place, so placing the added responsibility of a firearm to one sounds like actual hell to me. But if you’re not like me and do like purse carry, this is the holster you have to get.
Don’t bother with expensive, ugly concealed carry purses, because the CrossBreed Purse Defender fits in almost any bag and easily transfers between them, so you can safely carry in all of your favorite purses and easily switch it over to your diaper bag or work bag as needed.
I’ve put this holster in this section because it’s definitely marketed to women and women are much more likely to carry purses, but men who want to carry in a pack or briefcase can also benefit from the Purse Defender.
Garter holsters aren’t my favorite option for concealed carry, but I have been known to wear one when I’m in a dress or a skirt that doesn’t have a strong enough waistband to support a firearm.
I’ve tried a few different ones, but the Can Can Concealment Garter Holster is the best I’ve used by far.
It’s made from a 6” tall band of military grade elastic and has hypoallergenic Non-Slip Tacti-Grip to hold itself in place, but for even more security, you can use it with the Can Can Concealment Garter Belt and that holster won’t move at all.
The holster also comes in four sizes, each with three rows of hook and eye closures, so you’ll be able to get a secure fit for your particular leg size.
The holster also has tabs on either side of the gun pocket to make it easier to re-holster your weapon, and rare earth metal magnets keep up to two Glock 19s and a spare mag in place, each in its own respective pocket.
You can’t go wrong with any of these holsters, but to find the one that works best for you, you’ll need to try on and handle a variety of different ones to figure out what you like and need from your holster.
Whichever holster or holsters you go with, you’ll also need to be sure to drill to get yourself familiar with the holster and to continue to practice those drills as long as you continue to use the holster to keep up your muscle memory. Include drills that practice both drawing and holstering your Glock 19 and, if applicable, your spare magazine or magazines.
So what holster did you choose to carry your Glock 19? Do you use one on our list, or have another favorite? Tell us in the comments below. Considering a CCW? Learn what we wished we knew before we started carrying concealed.