As concealed carry has gained popularity, firearms and related gear manufacturers have stepped up with a widening array of holsters. As most shooters discover, it tends to be necessary to own more than one kind of holster, because there’s absolutely more than one type of scenario calling for concealed carry. And because some situations call for deep concealment or concealment in an extra-secure way, belly band holsters have both become more commonly used and become available in a far greater selection.
A belly band gun holster is basically a wide elasticized length of material with one or more pockets that is fastened in the back by Velcro or clips of some sort. Pockets are often included to hold spare magazines, cell phones, or flashlights. Some find the name off-putting, but not only are these holsters a viable way to carry, in some scenarios, they’re ideal.
For concealed carry, belly band holsters have a variety of uses. They’re popular with many runners because they hold the gun snugly despite the natural jostling of a run and also because they do keep things fairly well hidden even with just a tee shirt. And they’re used by some businessmen who put them on over their undershirt but under their dress shirt. You can use a belly band holster for regular daily carry or for use during specific activities such as the aforementioned running, or biking, hiking, or a multitude of other sports or hobbies. Most do not wick sweat, so you’ll most likely need to wipe off your gun afterwards and also need to keep the holster itself properly laundered, but despite that they’ve gained quite a following.
Choosing the Perfect Belly Band Holster
Concealed carry belly bands are not necessarily the most common type of holster, but they have a place for people who prefer this style for their daily requirements. Because they exist for a specialized market, good ones are often hard to find. We’ve done the hard work by finding the the top 5 belly band holsters on the market below:
Bulldog Medium Deluxe Wrap Holster
Fits 32” to 38” Waist
The Bulldog Medium Deluxe Wrap Holster is a belly band holster made of 6” wide elastic with Velcro closures. It has pockets for two guns and two spare magazines as well as a concealed pocket for cash, so you can quite literally carry everything you need in one accessory. One of the great things about this particular holster is that it’s wider than many others, so it’s able to support and conceal larger handguns, not just pocket pistols. Users report this holster works equally well for full-size 1911’s and sub-compact SIG’s.
It can also be worn quite a few ways, so you can use it for strong-side draw, cross-draw, or even appendix. This holster can be worn high-waist style or worn lower on the body, IWB-style, tucked into the user’s pants. The elastic is substantial enough to hold your gun tightly so you can easily conceal it with a pullover or jacket. If you have a larger gun to conceal or simply prefer a holster capable of exceptional security, this belly band holster is a good choice.
Cons: When banding over parallel to the ground it is possible for some firearms to come loose from the pockets, but that isn’t unheard of for open-top holsters in general. Learning to squat rather than bend at the waist is a normal part of concealed carry, so that alone is not a reason to avoid this holster.
AlphaHolster Belly Gun Holster – Abdominal Band Pistol Holder
Fits 28” to 52” Waists, order S-XL accordingly
The AlphaHolster Belly Gun Holster is made of lightweight material and is also breathable, so it doesn’t create excessive perspiration or body heat during use. It’s designed for ambidextrous use and comes in black, beige, and white, so you can wear the appropriate color for increased concealment. There are two pockets for firearms and also two loops for spare magazines, so you have backup rounds, which is always wise.
Some users have stored small pocket knives or flashlights in the magazines loops as well. The pockets are sized for small-to-medium size guns such as the Springfield XDS or SIG P290. The holster secures with Velcro and there are also Velcro closures over the gun pockets for added security.
Once this holster is in place it’s easy to conceal by pulling a loose-fighting shirt over it. If you have a pocket pistol and want a lightweight belly band for concealed carry, this holster provides the comfort and concealment you need for regular use.
Cons: The magazine loops are snug and do not fit large magazines. Some users say they simply need to be stretched. The firearms pockets offer more security than many belly band holsters do, though, because they have Velcro closures at the top, which is an excellent feature.
The Original Belly Band
Fits 24” to 60” Waists; order XS to 3X accordingly
The Original Belly Band is considered one of the most versatile belly band holsters on the market. This holster is made of fairly thin elastic with a broad Velcro closure at the back and reinforced stitching throughout.
It’s designed to be used by both right and left-handed shooters and two pockets, one designed for a semi-auto and one designed for a revolver. There’s one slot for a spare magazines and also a 6” slot that can be used for important documents, cash, or a variety of other items.
As with most belly band holsters it’s ideal for small-to-medium size guns; users report successful carry with Glock 19’s and M&P Shields. This holster can be work under a loose shirt or a dress shirt can be tucked in around it. The Velcro at the back is large and grips securely, so you know this holster isn’t going to come loose, and the material is durable and long-lasting. This is a good holster for high or low carry methods, and if you’re looking for a simple, no-nonsense belly band holster, you’ve found it.
Cons: As with all belly band holsters this can get hot, so make sure you keep it clean. The heat is worth it for the secure, highly-concealable carry.
Belly Band with 2 Mag Pouches
Fits 28” to 44” Waists
More than just a belly band, this holster also serves as a dual magazine carrier, providing excellent concealment all the way around. It’s Velcro adjustable so you can set it exactly where you want with a typical hook and loop closure.
This will hold your standard pistol, such as a Springfield XDS, safely and securely against your body. Comes in two sizes (small/medium) for less than 34″ inch waist and medium/large for waists up to 44 inches.
Cons: The mag pouches would be make owners feel better if they had retention straps
Desantis Belly Band Holster
Fits 36” to 42” Waist
The Desantis Belly Band Holster is a black 5” elastic band with multiple pockets. It’s exceptionally well made and has three pockets: one for your firearm, one for a spare magazine, and one for an extra item such as a small pocket knife, flashlight, or cash.
The holster is made for small-frame firearms such as the Ruger LCR 38/357 or SIG P238. Desantis has a well-deserved reputation for quality, and this belly band holster is an excellent example of that quality.
The material is thick, thicker than the majority of belly band holsters, so it can stand up to more wear and is also capable of concealing guns more effectively. It’s best worn over an undershirt for comfort’s sake and can be concealed by wearing a loose shirt over it.
This is designed for ambidextrous use. If you’re looking for a high-quality belly band holster to wear over an undershirt, this one from Desantis will keep both you and your small-frame firearms covered.
Cons: The edges are a bit scratchy, which isn’t an uncommon issue with these holsters overall. Wearing them over an undershirt is frequently suggested.
If you’re looking for a concealed carry belly band holster, do your homework. One of the best ways to get an idea which brand is best for you is to read more than one belly band holster review. In reviews, you can find out what kind of guns users carry and get an idea of sizing as well. And, of course, you need to consider what you’ll be using it for, because the best belly band holster for you may not be best for someone else.
These holsters are great both for daily carry and for carry during specific activities. It just isn’t possible to use an IWB holster or paddle holster while riding a bike or running five miles, and dropping your gun in a backpack or fanny pack both slows down draw time and isn’t a remotely secure way to carry. Using a belly band holster is a good way to keep your gun on you and well concealed. If you’ve been looking for a way to carry because the standard methods just aren’t working out, give belly band holsters a try.