If you need an alternative way of holstering your primary or backup handgun, you might want to consider getting a belly band holster. This type of band allows a variety of holster positions and provides much utility in self-defense, personal security, and training applications. Let’s discuss how to pick one, and some of our favorite options out there.
- Bear Armz Tactical Holster
- Active Pro Gear Belly Band Holster
- ProudCarry Ultimate Belly Band Holster
- Concealed Carrier IWB Holster
- BravoBelt Belly Band Holster
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What is a Belly Band Holster?
This type of holster is very different from the traditional policeman’s holster. At the same time, it’s more comfortable in many regards and offers a lot of functionality. The belly band holster wraps around your stomach and should provide very easy access to your firearm, as well as plenty of stability and security when you’re engaged in physical activities.
How to Pick a Belly Band Holster
Unlike other types of holsters, belly band holsters are usually very similar in design. But, the differences in materials and features can affect the level of comfort and functionality. Here are my top tips for finding the best belly band holsters for concealed carry.
Weapon Retention and Durability
These two factors are critical when you compare different holsters. Weapon retention lets you know how well the belly band holster can secure your firearm. A great holster should keep it in place not just when you’re walking but also when running, jumping, or heck, doing a backflip.
The resistance to wear and tear is also essential. Keep in mind that these bands are elastic. Every time you put them on, stretch them, and take them off, you affect their wear. Before buying this kind of holster you may want to measure your stomach.
Overstretching a belly band holster is the last thing you want to do; it might not be comfortable or good for the integrity of the material.
As is the case with any type of holster, you have some options here. But once again, few materials offer the level of comfort and durability as leather. One of the biggest problems with a belly band holster is overheating.
It’s wrapped rather tightly around the stomach such that in hot weather, the right choice of material can make or break the holster for you. Find something softer that won’t cause a rash on your skin.
Elasticity is great, but too much of it, and you may find that the holster doesn’t last as long.
Size and Style
Unlike an ankle holster, a belly band holster can’t come in a one-size-fits-all model. For starters, men and women have different size requirements. Then you have to factor in other things, such as the size of your gun.
Another thing that determines what size you need is whether you want to carry a spare magazine on the holster too. Extra storage capacity may affect your choice of material, as well as the cost. But, note that unlike with an ankle holster, it’s easier to conceal both your handgun and magazine with this type of holster.
Belly Band Holster vs. Waistband Holster
Here is one of the things that made me truly appreciate the belly band holster – the safety. Simply shoving your gun down your pants isn’t ideal. If you have a small caliber weapon, your waistband won’t always provide enough security. The gun can slip, and it’s not that comfortable either.
Is this a fast-drawing holster? I don’t see it as one. However, it can help you forget you even have a gun on you, once you become accustomed to the pressure of a belly band holster. Furthermore, having room for a spare magazine is always nice.
And, as opposed to more complex holsters, this type is considerably easier to put on and take off at a moment’s notice.
Who Can Wear a Belly Band Holster?
In all honesty, I see no reason why this kind of holster should pose a problem for anyone. In my experience, even pregnant women can feel comfortable wearing a belly band holster.
Why, you ask?
It’s simple. A belly band holster only depends on your body type. It’s not dependent on your pants and any waistband provisions for a gun holster. Since sizing is easy and there are plenty of models available, it’s quick to find a belly band holster that will fit you and keep you comfortable for long periods of time.
Is It a Primary or Backup Holster?
You can use it for your main or secondary weapon. Just remember that it won’t let you draw your gun very fast. That said, if you want to use it mostly for concealed carry, then it doesn’t matter.
Given the range of available models, you can carry large caliber handguns in a belly band holster while also having room for a spare magazine or two.
Best Belly Band Holsters
This belly band holster comes in left- and right-handed models. It’s a complex piece that allows you to store your gun, spare magazine, and more. One of the coolest things is the small zippered pocket that can fit cash and credit cards.
The holster is 5” in height and stretchy enough to provide comfort for hours. This can be a good fit for civilian and law enforcement users. Due to its design, the holster fits a wide range of firearms. I recommend it for any Glock, S&W 9mm, and similar weapons.
There is some adjustability with the band, but the maximum accepted circumference for this model is 42”. Anything beyond that won’t provide security while putting undue strain on the belly band.
I also liked the breathability of the neoprene fabric, which should help during the summer. And, physical activity is not an issue with this Bear Armz holster thanks to the retention straps on both the holster and magazine pouch.
- Equipped with retention straps
- Magazine pouch and wallet included
- Good breathability
- Compatible with most popular self-defense handguns
- It may ride up when running or jumping
Active Pro Gear did a great job with this holster for a few reasons. It might be the best belly band holster if you want to conceal your weapon while not wearing any clothes on your upper body.
The design allows you to conceal a tiny handgun with nothing but your pants. I don’t have to tell you what advantages this can present in personal security applications.
You can find this in two styles, for left-handed and right-handed draw. It’s also available in four sizes. The smallest circumference is 28” and the largest is 50”. As for the guns that fit, most subcompact and compact pistols fit nicely.
But, you can holster large caliber revolvers too, even though the band may not help you conceal one that well.
The elastic material is breathable, and the Velcro system makes it very easy to strap on and adjust the belly band. The plush finish is a nice touch as it makes the holster comfortable to wear against the skin.
- Tuckable holster
- Soft against the skin
- Suitable for any type of user
- Allows faster drawing
- Doesn’t have the best magazine retention strap system
This design is one-size-fits-all for handguns. It can hold anything from a revolver to a full-size pistol – you probably can’t ask for more. Of course, the larger the firearm, the harder it is to conceal.
But, you can find this model in either hand orientation. The material of choice is neoprene, which has decent elasticity and durability. The interior side is soft and comfortable but there may be some breathability issues during the summer.
Drawing your gun is easy enough and quite fast. The retention strap for the magazine has a reliable design and prevents slipping. Unfortunately, the waistband only comes in two sizes, M and L. So, it doesn’t support any circumference over 47”.
What is good is the 5” height of the band. It makes it harder to bend when moving around and should also prevent rising.
- Supports up to full-sized pistols
- Good strap retention system
- Promotes faster drawing
- Soft interior lining
- The magazine pouch is smaller than expected
This is a simple yet effective and affordable belly band holster. It doesn’t support a broad range of pistols, but it does a good job with anything from a Glock 27 subcompact to a Springfield 1911 full-size gun.
Since it can conceal powerful handguns, you can use this model for your primary weapon. The holster is easy to adjust, and you can even wear it in different ways. My favorite method is with the holster positioned behind the hip, or at the 5 o’clock position.
It may not be the fastest drawing position, but it conceals a subcompact pistol a lot better. The material has superior ventilation, which makes it ideal for summer use.
Although stretchy, the band doesn’t support a circumference of over 44”, and even that’s taking it a bit far, if you ask me. That said, there aren’t as many models available that can. The magazine pouch is big enough to hold a smartphone.
But, the lack of a retention strap doesn’t make it very secure. I wouldn’t recommend this holster design if you plan on running with your sidearm.
- Superior breathability
- Large magazine pouch for extra storage
- Stretchy and durable
- Adjustable for different carry positions
- No retention strap for the magazine pouch
This is perhaps the best belly band holster for training purposes. It fits anything from a small revolver to a full-sized 1911 pistol. Not only that, but it comes with two magazine pouches instead of one. If you’re involved in competitive shooting and training, the extra mag slot is very convenient.
BravoBelt uses a high-quality neoprene fabric that provides ventilation and superior moisture-wicking properties. It’s also comfortable when strapped directly on the skin.
The belly band holster also comes in an ambidextrous design. It’s a cool perk, even though it may cost a bit more. That said, the style and size of the band also allow for multiple wearing positions.
I like the Velcro closure because it’s easy to use and generally reliable. What I didn’t like was the lack of straps for the magazine pouches and phone slot. Truth be told, the BravoBelt is a bulky belly band holster.
Yet most users like it for its utility and extra storage capacity. The snap retention is very good on the holster itself and that’s good enough in most situations.
- Two magazine slots and a phone pocket
- Reliable Velcro system
- Great snap retention
- Ambidextrous design
- No snap retention system for the mag and phone slots
Final Thoughts and Recommendation
No matter how good a belly band holster looks on paper, you can’t buy it until you measure your stomach. If the dimensions align, then you can start comparing specifications and unique features.
All things considered, the ProudCarry Ultimate is a belly band concealment holster that has an ideal combination of features and a reliable design. Even though it may not support all magazines, the retention system is dependable. Also, it’s compatible with a broad range of firearms up to a 1911 pistol. The pricing is also fair, and the degree of comfort compensates for any minor drawbacks.