Firearm manufacturers in the arms race of concealed carry are always trying to make pistols more compact and concealable without sacrificing comfort and reliability. It’s a knife’s edge to tread and one that many manufacturers have fallen off. In the quest for ever smaller they have made handguns that were difficult to control and uncomfortable to shoot. What good is a gun if you can’t control it and don’t enjoy practicing with it? At best no good, at worst dangerous.
Thankfully it looks like the team at Springfield Armory has put an end to this quest with the XD-S. A concealable pistol that’s comfortable to shoot and comes in the major self-defense calibers: 9MM, .40SW and .45ACP. This pistol gives you need power and a grip with at least three fingers for control at the range and in the worst case scenario. The two barrel lengths of 3.3” and 4.0” keep the pistol’s low profile shape, giving overall lengths of 6.3” and 7.0”. With the ability to select the caliber and barrel length you need, this pistol can surely meet your concealed carry needs. So, now with the perfect pistol for concealed carry which holster should you choose?
Best 3 IWB holsters by brand
Blackhawk 420565BK-R Spingfield XDS holster
The Blackhawk team has a good reputation for making high quality holsters and they did not hurt that reputation here. This holster is designed for the .45 caliber with the 3.3” barrel. Now, onto the more interesting facts about this holster. It is compatible with belt loop and paddle platforms, so whichever you prefer. The cant is adjustable for you to set it to your preferred carry position. You can also adjust the retention, which lets you get the perfect draw for your needs. The speed-cut also makes the draw and re-holster quicker and easier. What a lot of people like about this holster is the Sherpa auto lock release. The gun locks into place and is easy for you to draw and difficult for others to get out. It also forces you to use your index finger to depress the button to draw, keeping your finger off the trigger, increasing the safety of the draw.
Galco Stow-N-Go holster for Springfield XDS
This is a no frills holster. It is a basic holster that comes with a belt clip. The light weight and low profile of the holster make it very comfortable to wear and leaves virtually no printing. Even while wearing dress clothes the only noticeable part of the holster is the belt clip. All versions of the XDS will fit this holster, but be warned it relies on friction to hold the pistol in place so the pistol can ride up a little bit. The sturdy construction does allow for a quick and easy draw, although some have mentioned a difficult re-holster. What makes up for that, a budget friendly price. Overall if you’re interested in concealed carry for self-defense this is a good holster for you. It’s unnoticeable, reliable and easy to use. Even if it isn’t the best holster for range use, it’ll keep your pistol ready to be drawn in the worst case scenario when re-holstering will be an afterthought.
Crossbreed Supertuck Holster
Another company with a stellar reputation. Crossbreed has produced another highly concealable and comfortable IWB holster. The holster is custom fit to the XDS series, being made from molded Kydex. The molded fit allows for a quick draw and re-holster with no fear of getting snagged on anything. It’s held in place securely with two corrosion-proof clips, so no worries about it sliding out of position. It isn’t as adjustable as some other holsters but it does have an A+ for comfort. The backing is made from leather, so as the leather gets broken in over time it only becomes more comfortable to wear. A holster that you only want to wear more as you wear it? Sounds good to me. Overall, this holster gives you quality construction, comfortable wear and an easy draw and re-holster. What more could you ask for?
Best holsters by XDS caliber
For 9mm: Concealment Express holster
This holster fits the 9MM and .45ACP calibers with the 3.3” barrel. The cant allows for adjusting from 0 to 15 degrees and gives you different carry options. The weight of the holster itself is just over 2 ounces. The adjustable, lightweight nature makes this a great holster for every day use. The holster also protects the pistol from sweat, preventing corrosion and less time spent cleaning. You all know people who love to shoot and love to carry, but do you know anyone who loves to clean? It attaches with a plastic belt clip, so it’s easy to put on and take off. The retention is adjustable, so you can set it to your preference. This holster comes in both right and left handed models, so it’s perfect for everyone. An added bonus to this is it covers the magazine release for both sides. No worries about accidently releasing it.
For .40 SW: Galco Triton holster for XDS
This is a right handed holster for the 4.0” barrel. The holster is care free, being made from Kydex. It comes with a raised sweat guard which is nice, it protects the pistol from sweat and keeps the steel off your skin. Definitely a plus for people living in areas that have a hot and humid climate. The thin build of the holster makes it easy to conceal and comfortable to wear. Whether you’re sitting or standing for long periods this holster continues to ride comfortably. You can wear it with any outfit since it comes with a belt clip. You don’t need to worry about the draw and re-holster since the belt clip holds the holster firmly in place and the adjustable retention lets you get the perfect draw. The retention is so adjustable that you can shake it upside down and it’ll hold the pistol, but once you draw it easily comes out.
For .45 ASP: Talon holster
This holster was designed by law enforcement professionals who need to carry every day, and they back it with a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with the product. That should already inspire faith in their product. It was designed for an easy draw and with a top that holds it shape for an easy one handed re-holster. The leather won’t wear off your pistol’s finish and is rough on the pants side and smooth on the inside. This helps the holster stay in place and still have a snag free draw. The belt clip hooks onto the belt from the bottom. It’ll hold the holster in the position you want and keep it from coming out on the draw, a common problem with belt clips. If you’re looking for a minimalist holster with all the essentials and no filler, you’ve found it. After all, this was designed by professionals for people who want the best.
Best 4 holsters by material
Kydex: Vedder LightTuck holster
You can expect comfort and ease of care out of this Kydex holster. The kydex provides durability with no excess bulk, keeping the holster concealable. It’s been formed exactly to the 3.3” barrel so it gives a perfect fit with a snag free draw and easy re-holster. The adjustable retention lets you get the perfect draw time and again. Since the Kydex doesn’t absorb moisture, it’s perfect for humid weather, it’ll keep corrosion from sweat and humidity to a minimum. And don’t worry about not being able to use your favorite carry position. You can adjust the ride height and cant angle up to 30 degrees. Most models only allow for 15 degrees. The tuckable clip makes this holster easier to conceal no matter what clothes you’re wearing. If you want to and can carry at work but have a strict dress code, most holsters could be problematic, but this one will blend right in.
Leather: OutBags LOB2S-XDS33 holster
This goal of the OutBags team is to balance quality and price. And honestly, it seems as if they just give you more quality at less price, pretty awesome. It’s made from hardened leather, so it fits the pistol nicely and allows for an easy draw and re-holster. It comes with a non-adjustable belt clip, meaning it can’t be worn in the small of the back. Keep that in mind if that’s your preferred/required carry position. If you’re worried about comfort since you can’t adjust it, don’t worry. The leather breaks in over time, becoming more comfortable but retaining its shape. The clip is high quality though, very strong and no worries of the holster coming off during the draw. The holster does come in a right and left handed models. Overall, if you have very specific requirements for a holster, this may not be for you, but for the price and quality make it a great holster for most people.
Hybrid: SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 holster
This holster provides the best of leather and Kydex. The Kydex is durable and care free. It protects the pistol from corrosion and keeps cold steel off your skin. The holster was molded to provide a perfect secure fit for the 3.3” barrel. Between the molding and the opening this holster gives an easy draw and re-holstering. The leather has an Exclusive Comfort Curve Design. The SHTF Gear ACE team really did their homework and came up with this great design to provide extra comfort. If you have to wear for long periods of time it makes a world of difference. And, the more you wear it the more the leather breaks in, making it even comfier. The ride and cant can be adjusted, and it comes in right handed and left handed models, so everyone can get the perfect carry out of this holster.
Nylon: OutBags OB-30S holster
This is the bare bones holster. If you want something cheap and easy for occasional carry with no hassle, this is it. It attaches with a belt clip and comes in right and left handed models. It’s not adjustable but the nylon is so light and comfortable that it isn’t a big deal.
The nylon isn’t molded but it does provide a snug fit. It is also extremely thin, leaving virtually no print on your clothes.
The draw may require some practice but for a price less than half of the next least expensive holster on this list, it’s perfect for those on a budget or looking for the occasional carry.
Top holsters by feature
For XD Subcompact with Crimson Trace Ig-469: Barsony holster
This holster has all the standard features that you’d expect from a holster. It comes with a belt clip that holds the holster in place while you draw and keeps it in position. It’s made from nylon and keeps moisture (i.e corrosion) off the pistol.
The ride and cant are not adjustable, but you can order it in a right or left handed model. It can also be worn strong side, cross draw or on the small of the back. That gives you a variety of options for the most comfortable carry. What makes this holster special is it’s made for a XDS with a laser attachment.
If a holster is molded for a pistol without a laser, a pistol with a laser won’t fit. Period. This provides a snug fit for a laser attachment so no worries about it being too tight or having extra space.
Tuckable: Talon holster for Springfield Subcompact
The second Talon holster on my list. These guys just make high quality holsters. As stated before Talon is designed by law enforcement professionals, being able to effective conceal a firearm is tantamount for them. So it’s no surprise they have a tuckable holster that lets you wear it with dress clothes, a uniform, more than a baggy t-shirt and oversized jeans basically.
The ride and cant are not adjustable, but it does come in right and left handed models, so you do have some options of positioning. It also comes for pistols with and without a laser sight. Overall, it’s a high quality holster that’s highly concealable. The options offered by the right and left handed models and being fitted for pistols with or without a laser sight make it a versatile holster that’d work great for most people.
Left-handed: Blackhawk 410565BK-L holster
Like it’s right handed twin that we started our list with, this is a great holster. What sets these holsters apart from others is the Sherpa auto lock. It offers unrivaled security while carrying. There is no chance of the pistol sliding out, falling out, or being taken from you. The need to depress a button while drawing encourages safety as it keeps your finger off the trigger while drawing.
Obviously, this holster is meant for left handers. Sure, there are a lot of models for left handers on this list, what makes this one special? This one can’t be worn left or right handed, it was designed specifically for left handers. This is the only model for left handers that offers such a secure locking system meant to be worn on the left side.
What to take away from all this
That was a lot of information to sift through. How to make sense of it to pick the holster that’s right for you. You need to consider your personal needs. What’s a perfect holster for a Navy SEAL, undercover officer or someone looking for self-defense varies greatly. Things I would consider:
- Are you going to be standing, sitting, driving or walking with it? For how long?
- How do you want it secured?
- How do you prefer to wear it and the material?
- Any future modifications. If you’re putting a flashlight or laser sight on it next week, order a holster that fits a laser sight.
These are just a few of the things to consider, don’t be afraid to order a holster, try it awhile and take advantage of the manufacturer refund. A holster is only good if it’s something you will actually wear. If you want to do more research, Amazon is a great resource. You can find all the manufacturers, customer reviews, compare all sorts of specs. It’s a great resource. Also, there are a lot of discounts and it means less time in the store and more time on the range!