As the number of firearms owners and the number of concealed carry permit holders continues to grow, so does the quest for the perfect holster.
Many times local ranges have a fleet of rental guns that buyers can test drive before they lay down their hard-earned cash for just the right gun. Choosing the gun is fairly easy.
Choosing a one-size-fits-all holster, on the other hand, is nearly impossible. Go ahead and admit it; if you’ve been a firearm owner and someone who carries a firearm concealed, someplace in your closet, shop, or garage you have a box of holsters that seemed like the perfect solution, until they weren’t.
We’ve all been through it and we all have holsters that rarely see daylight these days.
The hard truth is, there is no perfect holster for every occasion. In some cases an OWB (Outside the waistband) strong side holster is perfect. Clothing or social situations may dictate an IWB (Inside the waistband) or appendix carry.
And what about those times you’re headed out for a run with the dog, or hammering the reps doing MURPH at a CrossFit Box or taking the kids to the park…now how do you safely carry and conceal your firearm while you’re wearing shorts, sweats or, for the ladies, leggings?
Enter the Belly band Holster.
While the belly band may not be the perfect holster for everyday carry, it definitely fills a niche that not many other holster types will.
The belly band is usually constructed of a wide elastic band that wraps around your midsection or a little lower. The elastic band is held secure by wide rows of Velcro so you can custom fit the band for your body shape, the gun you are carrying and the clothes you are wearing.
Some belly bands will have sewn in pockets or slots to hold your gun, a magazine, maybe your keys or flashlight.
Some may incorporate a Kydex holster specific to the gun you carry for a more custom fit and, arguably, safer holstering of the gun.
To give you an idea of what’s available in the world of belly band holsters we were able to get our hands on a few really good options to test and wear and provide real world feedback so you can make the best decision for you.
The below review was written without bias or paid advertising from the products listed in the article. Affiliate links were placed in the article after submission from the author. If you found this article helpful, and plan on buying one – you can support us by using the links below prior to checkout, thanks!
Mission First Tactical Belly Band (Click to Shop now for $39.99-$49.99) and Ultralight Belly Band Holster (Click to Shop Now for $39.79)
Mission First Tactical offers their belly band holsters in two configurations.
The Belly Band holster has a hard laminate shield for the trigger guard to reduce the chance that anything can contact or depress the trigger.
There are also two small elastic pockets for items like knives, flashlight, or an extra magazine.
In addition, there are two zippered pockets for ID, cash, or keys.
The material for the Belly Band is 3D Spacer Mesh fabric that allows for a greater movement of air and moisture to keep the wearer comfortable and reduce the chance for bacterial growth.
The Belly Band is sized to fit waists from 26 inches to 52 inches and can be easily trimmed for custom sizing.
The hook and loop fastener on the Belly Band is extremely soft and comfortable and secures the bellyband very securely.
Mission First also has an Ultralight Belly Band holster that is a little more streamlined than the Belly Band holster.
There is a hard laminate shield to prevent any trigger contact and the holster is ambidextrous.
To keep the profile to a minimum there are no extra sewn in pockets or zipper pockets, just an ambidextrous holster.
Like the Belly Band, the holster is designed to fit from 26 inch to 52 inch waists and can easily be trimmed to provide a custom fit.
- Laminate shield provides a safeguard against trigger contact.
- Fits a wide variety of shooters and can be trimmed to customize the fit.
- 3D Spacer Mesh provides good airflow and moisture transfer to maximize comfort.
- Two designs available for choosing the best concealment option.
- The belt may be a little thick for some folks to wear inside the waistband.
- Though there is a laminate shield to protect the trigger, the holster area will collapse when the firearm is removed.
For a more traditional belly band holster set up, the Falco B102 is a great option.
This holster is ideal for guns like the Sig P938 or Sig P365XL sized guns. My wife found it easy to conceal a CZ P10S with a Holosun red dot optic.
This holster can be ordered for right or left hand draw and has an additional nylon strap secured with Velcro to add an extra layer of retention to the firearm.
There are several additional pockets stitched into the belt to carry extra magazines, knives, phone, etc. One of the pockets opposite the gun has a retention strap as well to provide extra security for a phone or slim wallet.
The band secures with wide Velcro strips and is very secure once fastened.
Because the band fits so securely and tightly to the body, the sewn-in holster will collapse and lie flat once the gun is drawn. This will often necessitate using the support hand to open the holster slot to re-holster. I’m not a huge fan of this method simply because the wearer is now flagging their own hand with a loaded firearm, but it is very common with many varieties of belly band holsters.
This belt is slim enough that some may find it comfortable to wear inside the waistband providing even more concealment.
- Extra retention provided with strap and Velcro closure.
- Multiple pockets for additional gear.
- Secure Velcro closures.
- Very slim fit and very concealable
- Holster slot collapses when the firearm is removed; reholstering is difficult without using the support hand.
- While the trigger guard is covered, it is only covered with fabric, not a rigid material like Kydex.
- The belt is four and one quarter inches wide and may be a bit wide for small statured folks.
Many gun owners are familiar with CrossBreed’s lineup of hybrid leather and Kydex holsters. These holsters combine the comfort and flexibility of leather with the security and longevity of Kydex in IWB and OWB models.
The Modular Belly Band Package 2.0 takes Crossbreed’s excellent Modular holster specific to your firearm and combines it with a comfortable, secure belly band.
The Modular holster is designed to be used with several of CrossBreed’s platforms as well as anything that has Velcro to mount the holster to. This allows you to use the same holster regardless your needs or requirements for the day.
In this case the Modular Holster mounts with Velcro to the Belly Band 2.0. The holster can be positioned for the most comfort and concealment for the current environment. There are two slots for extra magazines or other accessories on the outside surface of the belly band as well as a large pocket on the inside for a phone or other small items.
The belly band is constructed of a smooth polyester jersey outer shell for comfort and breathability. The material is antimicrobial to help combat odor over time.
The inside layer has two anti-slip strips to keep the band in place.
Once the holster is positioned to your liking, the band is pulled snugly around your midsection and a Velcro panel secures the band on each side of the holster. The end of the band is pulled over the top of the holster to provide additional security and retention.
You can wear the belly band above the waistband of your jeans or leggings, or slightly inside the waistband to position the gun a little lower. Regardless, what you will find with a little practice with this belly band is the ability to execute an extremely fast draw from concealment.
- Modular Holster allows multiple uses as well as allows you to add holsters to the belly band for additional guns you may carry.
- Very soft and comfortable against the skin.
- Conceals firearm very well under a variety of clothing options.
- Very secure retention of firearm.
- Additional pockets for magazines and other small accessories.
- Crossbreed two week trial period to ensure you have the perfect carry solution.
- Be sure to measure carefully and follow the instructions to get the size you need. Belly band holsters are a different fit than other styles of carry.
- Belly bands are made to fit very snugly, it may take awhile to get used to.
While not a true belly band holster with a wide elastic belt, the Phlster Enigma holsters might be considered a super low-profile concealment holster option.
Phlster’s tagline is “dress around your life, not your gun”, meaning you can conceal your handgun with just about any style of clothing in any situation with the Phlster Express.
The Express is a ready-to-wear holster set up, no assembly required. Simply adjust the belt and the leg retention strap and you’re ready to go. The holster is designed to be worn anywhere between 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock so you can choose the most comfortable spot for your clothing and activity.
The Express is designed to wear inside the waistband and provide concealment with little or no printing of the firearm.
The standard belt included with the express is one and one half inches wide nylon web and fits very well under jeans or workout clothing. The belt buckle closure has a unique quick-release magnetic buckle by Fidlock. The buckle literally snaps closed and releases with a quick pull on the cord.
The Phlster also has a Sport Belt option that provides a three inch wide elastic belt in the back that spreads the weight of the holster across a wider section as well as providing several sewn-in pockets for small items like extra magazines, a flashlight, or ID or small documents. The Sport Belt does take up a little more room inside the waistband, so the wearer may not find it the right fit for some clothing choices.
- Very concealable and comfortable.
- Available for a wide variety of compact carry firearms.
- Comes fully assembled, just needs to be adjusted for personalized fit.
- The Phlster is a little more expensive than some options out there.
- Set up is a little more involved, but the Phlster website has lots of very clear instructional videos on setting up the holster and making adjustments.
Best known for their fine hand-crafted leather holsters, Falco also has several belly band holsters in their line up.
The B105 is my favorite. This model has the typical wide elastic band, but is coupled with a Kydex holster specifically molded for the gun you carry. For this evaluation I chose a holster built for the Sig P938.
The Kydex holster was a perfect fit for the gun and provided great retention and security. I really like this holster design because the gun can be holstered without having to use the support hand to open the holster.
The belt itself offered plenty of adjustability and fastened very securely via the wide velcro strips.
The front side of the belt has multiple pockets sewn to the elastic to provide secure and concealed carry for extra magazines, a knife, cell phone, keys, or wallet and ID.
One of the pockets has a stretchy security band with a velcro closure to ensure your phone or wallet is stored securely and can’t slip out.
- Multiple sizes available depending on torso size.
- Kydex molded holster provides safe, secure holstering.
- Multiple sewn pockets to carry accessories.
- Wide velcro strips are very secure.
- B115 model available for handguns with weapon-mounted lights.
- A different bellyband is needed for each different gun you carry due to the molded Kydex holster.
- The Velcro hook panel on the belt was a little scratchy against the skin along the top edge. It was easily remedied by overlapping the loop portion above the top edge by about 1/8 inch.
- The four and one quarter inch wide belt may be a little wide for those with a short torso.
After spending some time with each of these holsters and trying them with different guns, I don’t know that there is a ‘best’ choice.
All of them are well made, fit a wide range of body types, and offer concealment for a variety of different clothing types. Not to mention, all of the companies represented here offer superior customer service and support and went out of their way to assist with these evaluations.
If I was in the market to buy a belly band holster for my personal concealed carry needs, I would gravitate toward the Falco Kydex Reinforced Bellyband, or the Crossbreed Modular Belly Band 2.0 strictly for the hard Kydex holster component and ease and safety of reholstering the firearm.
My wife was really drawn to the Phlster Enigma because as a very petite lady she was able to carry and conceal her favorite EDC handgun with ease.
All of these holsters are great. It’s like the opening paragraph says, choosing the gun is fairly simple because we get to test-drive guns in many cases. Choosing just the right holster for just the right situation is a challenging and ever-changing task.
You will not go wrong with any of these belly band options. Give them a try and let us know what you think.