If you’re going to be carrying a small semi-automatic handgun or double-action revolver, you have a lot of options for a holster. These can range from your standard on-the-belt open carry leather models to the more esoteric IWB appendix carry or MOLLE vest style attachment. However, splitting the difference between utility and practicality would definitely be a paddle holster. Finding the best paddle holster is a chore but we’ve made your research project a bit easier.
- 1 Explanation of a Paddle Holster
- 2 The Perfect Paddle Holster
Explanation of a Paddle Holster
If you’re not familiar, a paddle holster looks and feels like a traditional on-the-belt holster, yet it secures itself with a paddle that slides inside your waistband. Once inside, it presses against your holster, creating a seal that’s entirely independent of your belt.
Naturally, a holster that doesn’t have to be on your belt gives you a lot of options, particularly in comfort and attaching and removing your handgun; because it isn’t stuck to your belt, you can easily slide it around your body until you find a comfortable position, and you can remove your holster without having to undo your belt.
The Perfect Paddle Holster
Below, we’ve got a few good examples of the best paddle holsters, all from companies that cover a wide range of handgun models. Take a look down below and see if any of them could be your answer to no-fuss handgun carry.
1. Fobus Standard Paddle Holster
- Maintenance Free - No need to oil, doesn't breath or sweat. Stands up to the most severe elements and can be washed out with soap and water.
- Lifetime Warranty - All Fobus products carry a 100% Customer Satisfaction "no questions asked" policy.
- For a Right Handed Shooter
- Steel reinforced rivet attachment system
- Paddle Version- Attaches using a rubberized Paddle
For your M&P 9mm or .40 handgun, you might consider an option that’s been developed for the Israeli military, the Fobus Standard Holster. A full injection polymer model that weighs in only two ounces, this model cleans and breathes easily; unlike leather or other holster materials, the Fobus doesn’t require any cleaning tools besides soap and water.
Aside from being light and cleanable, this holster is also built to be comfortable, keeping your M&P close to your body and attaching to your pants with a rubber paddle; everything close to your body is designed to give and move, while your holster (and your handgun) remain solidly in place.
Of course, comfort isn’t much if paddle holsters aren’t going to perform. Fortunately, the Fobus Standard Holster is designed to be as tough as possible without hampering your draw. The one-piece polymer body is designed to stand up to punishment and keep its rigidity better than either leather or nylon models; even falling on your holster isn’t going to damage it or your handgun.
In addition, you know your paddle holster will keep your handgun just as secure as you need, thanks to two important factors in its design. Just by virtue of its shape, the Fobus Paddle Holster only grips your M&P where the trigger guard meets the frame, so there are very few points of contact, and thus, less friction when you draw.
When you’re not drawing, the adjustable tension screw makes sure your passive retention strikes the perfect balance between security and ease of use. If the Fobus Paddle Holster review is to be believed, you’re getting a quality holster.
- Glock 17, 19, 22, 23, 31, 32, 34, 35 , Walther PK 380
1911 Style-All Models / S&W 945
Beretta Vertec, Taurus 92, 99 w rail
Springfield Armory XD/XDM / HS 2000 9/357/40 5″ 4″ / Sig 2022 / H&K P2000
Taurus 85 (Gen 1 only), 605, 905 / Rossi R351, R352, Interarms Model 68
Beretta PX4 Storm (compact & full size), Browning Pro 9, 40, FN/FNX P9/P40
All Kimber 3″, 4″, 5″ All 1911’s
Smith & Wesson All 38/357 J Frame / Rossi 88 / Charter Arms U.C. Lite .38
Ruger P85P/89 Lg. Auto 9mm/.40 cal
2. Blackhawk! Paddle Holster – CQC Serpa
- SERPA Auto Lock release and passive retention detent adjustment screw
- Speed-cut design for rapid draw, target acquisition and re-holster
- Includes belt loop platform and paddle platform
- Holster size 02
- Left-hand orientation
Much like the rest of Blackhawk’s Serpa line, their CQC paddle platform is designed to maximize retention and functionality for your handgun. Designed as a level 2 holster, the CQC doesn’t let its security get in the way of your draw, thanks in large part to the Auto Lock retention system. When sliding your handgun into the holster, the Auto Lock immediately snaps down, while drawing is a natural extension of your index finger and pressing a button.
For added security, this model also comes with an adjustable passive retention screw so you can easily find the most comfortable draw for you. This model really shines for people who aren’t quite sure if they want a paddle or a belt holster; with Blackhawk’s Serpa system, the CQC holster can be configured to any number of positions.
Not only can it be angled, thanks to the three screw mounting system, or moved anywhere on your belt like any other paddle holster, but the holster itself can be screwed onto a different mounting system altogether. You can turn the CQC into a shoulder holster, a drop-leg model, or simply something to fit on a MOLLE vest, all without buying (and learning) a new holster setup.
- Fits: Beretta Storm PX-4, 92/96
FN 5.7 MK I
Ruger SR9 with Applique
S&W M&P 9/40 & Sigma, S&W 5900/4000 9/40 Series
H&K USP Full Size 9/40, H&K P-30, H&K P-2000
Taurus 24/7 OSS
Sig 220/225/226 w or w/o rail, Sig 228/229/250DC
1911 Commander & Clones, 1911 Govt & Clones
Sig Pro 2022
Springfield XD Compact, Sub Compact
3. Fobus 1911 Paddle Holster
For fans of 1911 style handguns, Fobus has tailored a holster to your needs as well. Made of their standard injection-molded polymer, this design comfortably fits all full size 1911 handguns, as well as Kimber’s 3, 4, and 5 inch 1911‘s as well, giving you the same low-profile and close body design as any of Fobus’s other models.
Much like their M&P model, this holster is designed for comfort, ease of use, and ease of maintenence. The paddle part of your holster is made completely of rubber and secured to the rigid outer paddle by steel rivets, so there’s no uncomfortable digging into your skin with this paddle holster, nor any loss of strength where it matters.
When you need to draw your 1911 style handgun, you’ll find you can tailor it to your specifications, thanks to the adjustable passive retention screw; this way, you can find your perfect balance between holding your handgun in place and a comfortable amount of retention on your draw. It’s an all-around solid design that takes abuse where it has to and gives you comfort everywhere else.
Reviews on the Fobus 1911 holster have been generally positive, with most reviewers echoing everything that was listed here. In general, they say the holster is comfortable, affordable, and offers a great amount of retention for a passive retention only holster.
Of course, there were a few minor complaints about the larger 1911 models feeling uncomfortable; the combination of a larger handgun and a high-sitting holster made the draw slightly awkward. However, for anything that was a 4 inch barrel or smaller works absolutely perfect for this model, making this Fobus a great concealed-carry holster.
4. Galco Speed Paddle Holster
- S&W J Frame 640 CENT 2 1/8-Inch .357
If you prefer a full-grain leather paddle holster, then you will find that Galco’s Speed Paddle Holster is much more to your liking.
Made of real saddle leather, this holster works as a great level 1 design, securing your handgun with only a passive retention screw that can be dialed up or down, depending on your preferences.
Thanks to the open-top design and passive retention system, the Galco Leather Paddle Holster is one of the quickest ways possible to draw and ready your firearm available on the market today.
Of course, a good draw doesn’t mean much if your holster won’t stay in place; fortunately, the Galco Speed Paddle Holster’s polymer injected belt lock means that you can use both your paddle and your belt to keep your holster securely in place.
- Ruger SP101, LCR
S&W J Fram 640 Cent, M&P Compact 9/40, L FR 686
1911 5-inch Colt, Kimber, Para, Springfield
Glock 19, 26, 27, 33
5. Uncle Mike’s Tactical Kydex Paddle Holster
- Sturdy Polymer construction
- Drawing is easier because the body's lead edge is cut down
- Features an ultra-adjustable design, adjusting for rake and height to match your torso height and body shape
- Rides close to the body at mid-level height; near-vertical rake for conventional behind-the-hip carry
- Holster is soft, pliable, and features air vents for comfort and wearing ease; an excellent choice for both men and women
A big name in holsters and tactical gear, the Kydex Open Top Hip Holster from Uncle Mike’s is definitely worth considering. In addition to its Kydex body and straight-drop cant (both great for quickly drawing your firearm), the team at Uncle Mike’s decided to improve on the design by cutting down the lead edge.
What this means is that the front of your holster is going to be a little more open than on other holsters, allowing you to move the muzzle of your handgun forward even before you’ve completely cleared the holster, shaving time off your draw and allowing you to get your muzzle on target even quicker.
In addition to that, you’ve got all the basics of the best Kydex paddle holster, perfect for the range or for personal protection.
Refer to the sizing chart to find the proper one for your handgun.
6. Comp-Tac Paddle Holster – Straight Drop
If you’re a competitive shooter, wouldn’t it feel better to use the same holster for both competing and personal protection? With the Comp-Tac Paddle holster, you can have the best of both, a waterproof, scratch proof, and low-friction Kydex paddle holster that’s also approved for IDPA and IPSC competition.
This straight drop model is designed to make drawing as quick as possible, due to the combination of open-top design, straight drop cant, and passive retention, making it perfect for drawing when seconds count.
Of course, when you need to make quick draws, your Comp-Tac holster will stay in place, thanks to its two forward curving tabs that stabilize your holster around your belt, giving you all the benefits of a belt-hooked holster combined with the easy on/off capability of a paddle holster.
Whether you’re shooting competitively or defensively, you can count on the Comp-Tac Straight Drop Holster to give you one of the quickest draws you’ve ever had in a handgun.
7. Comp-Tac International Paddle Holster
Of course, if you’re more of a fan of a customized setup, you may find the Comp-Tac International Holster more to your liking. Made of the same low-friction Kydex as the straight drop holster, this model allows for a more customized approach for the discerning customer, allowing you to adjust the cant to either a straight drop or an FBI cant, even possibly setting up your holster for a cross-draw rearward cant.
In addition, the pack comes with a handful of other mounting options including your basic belt mount, a paddle holster mount, and even a drop offset to make your draws feel more natural.