What Is a Paddle Holster? A Complete Concealed Carry Guide

A paddle holster is a popular type of holster used to carry handguns. It gets its name from the paddle-like attachment that allows it to be quickly and securely fastened to a belt or waistband without the need to thread a belt through loops. Paddle holsters offer excellent concealment and easy on/off convenience for many gun owners.

What Is a Paddle Holster?

A paddle holster consists of two main parts – the paddle attachment and the holster itself. The paddle is a flat, curved piece of plastic or polymer that is slotted through the belt or waistband. It acts as an anchor, using tension and friction to hold the holster securely in place against the body.

The holster portion itself is often made of leather or kydex and designed to hold a specific make/model of handgun. The gun is held securely in place by molding or retention screws.

Paddle holsters allow you to easily take the gun on and off without removing your belt or pants. To wear it, you simply slide the paddle through your belt or waistband and position the holster at your preferred carry spot. The slight curve of the paddle and tension against the belt/waistband keep the holster planted securely.

When it’s time to remove the holster, you can simply unclip it and slide paddle out from the belt, allowing you to leave the belt fastened. This enables easy on/off accessibility which many gun owners prefer for comfort and convenience.

Benefits of Paddle Holsters

There are several key reasons why paddle holsters are popular concealed carry options:

Easy On/Off – As mentioned above, paddle holsters can be quickly attached and detached from the belt/waistband without unfastening or removing the belt itself. This enables easy accessibility and adjustments.

Comfort – Paddle holsters only have one attachment point to the belt, allowing them to ride close to the body for a snug, comfortable fit. The paddle spreads tension evenly and won’t dig into the body like belt clips.

Concealment – Well-designed paddle holsters carry close to the body, enabling excellent concealment under light clothing. This allows for discreet carry.

Security – Despite having only one attachment point, most paddle holsters grip very securely onto the belt or waistband. Proper tension keeps the gun safely in place during movement and daily activity.

Versatility – Paddle holsters can be positioned freely anywhere along the waistband that is most comfortable for the user. Many can also be adjusted for ride height and angle.

Streamlined – Paddle holsters have a slim, minimalist profile without extra loops or clips. This enables a streamlined carry that won’t dig into the body.

For these reasons, paddle holsters are commonly chosen by both first-time concealed carriers and experienced gun owners alike. They provide a great balance of comfort, concealment, security and ease of use.

Common Types of Paddle Holsters

While all paddle holsters share the same basic design, some variations work better for certain guns or carry positions. Common types include:

IWB (Inside the Waist Band) – These holsters are meant to carry the gun inside the waistband for very deep concealment. Good for small guns.

OWB (Outside the Waist Band) – Designed for open carry or concealment under a cover garment. Better for larger guns.

Pancake – Flatter profile, rides very close to body. Popular for strong-side (4-5 o’clock) carry.

Scoped – Allows room for a small scope or laser sight accessory. Good for tactical use.

Shoulder – Positions the gun upright under the arm for comfortable shoulder holster carry.

Small of Back – Places the gun at the 6 o’clock position at the base of the back. Convenient seating position.

How to Choose the Right Paddle Holster

Choosing the best paddle holster means finding the right fit for your intended carry position, gun model, body type and clothing. Key factors to consider:

  • Gun model – Holster must be designed specifically for your make/model for proper fit.
  • Carry position – IWB, OWB, behind hip, small of back, etc.
  • Body type – Adjustable and curved paddles work better for thicker body types.
  • Clothing – OWB models sit better under looser shirts, IWB offers more discreet carry.
  • Comfort – Try different ride heights and angles during wear to find the best fit.
  • Retention – Level 1 tension is sufficient for secure EDC. Level 2 or 3 offers more retention.
  • Material – Kydex is durable and customizable. Leather is classic and comfortable.

Taking the time to find the right paddle holster for your carry needs will ensure secure, comfortable everyday carry. Be sure to test fitment and draw with an unloaded gun.

Maintaining and Safely Using Your Paddle Holster

Like any holster, proper maintenance and safe practices are key to getting the best performance and security from your paddle holster:

  • Inspect for wear and damage before each use. Replace if any cracks, deformities or excessive wear is found.
  • Confirm proper retention and fit with your gun before carrying it. If improperly fitted, it can become a safety risk.
  • Keep dirt, lint and debris out of the holster, as it can interfere with the draw.
  • Only use a holster designed specifically for your gun model for proper fit. Never try to force a mismatched gun into a holster.
  • Follow basic gun safety rules – always keep your finger off the trigger when holstering/unholstering, and keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • Practice your draw stroke to build solid muscle memory and confidence. Smooth draws avoid fumbling.
  • Never alter or modify the holster design – this can negatively impact safety.

By properly maintaining their paddle holster and practicing safe handling, concealed carriers can enjoy the convenience and comfort of paddle carry for years of daily use.

The Bottom Line

For many concealed carriers, a quality paddle holster offers the perfect combination of quick on/off convenience, excellent concealment, and all-day comfort. Their simple, streamlined design allows paddle holsters to ride securely and undetected against the waistband or belt. With the right selection for your specific pistol and carry position, it’s easy to see why the paddle holster remains a popular go-to choice for daily EDC.

About Author

Leave a Comment