However, with all the false advertisements in the online market, it’s harder than ever to answer this question: do belly band holsters really work?
Belly band holsters actually work and are your legitimate option when you want to wear casual clothes, move around, or avoid carrying bags. However, they are hot in warmer weather and there are some considerations you need to keep in mind.
Here’s everything you need to know about belly band holsters.
What Are Belly Band Holsters?
As the name indicates, a belly band holster is a holster type that helps you hold or conceal your handgun and/or other tools around the belly. It’s a long elastic band that secures around your midsection and provides the ability to retain a weapon underneath your shirt or other clothing.
In the following, we will elaborate on its specific features and compare them with models such as shoulder holsters, waistband holsters, and thigh holsters.
Why People Should Use Belly Band Holsters
Anyone who falls in one or more of the following categories may want to invest in a belly band holster:
- You have to wear clothing that makes other types of carry impossible
- You have issues carrying around the hip line
- You want expanded ability to carry more gear
- You want a increased level of concealment
- You want to be able to carry multips tools/gear in one location
An Honest Review of Belly Band Holsters: Pros and Cons
Belly band holsters are pretty flexible. They’re made of very stretchy material. So, they can typically hold all sizes of firearms, including revolvers, subcompact pistols, and full-size guns.
It also means you don’t have to buy a whole slew of different holsters for each weapon. The downside is the level of retention they offer while accommodating so many weapon types.
Secondly, these holsters allow for a wide range of wardrobe options that are otherwise impossible to wear.
Unlike traditional holsters, they don’t require a belt loop to be secured to your body, which means you don’t necessarily need to wear pants to bring a gun with you.
For women, especially, this is a massive advantage because they have more versatile clothing. So, even if you want to show up in a dress, hip-hugging trousers, or some other form of clothing, belly band holsters are an option to conceal your gun.
Thirdly, these holsters are an option for some for jogging or other similar activities. In some instances, they can provide much more freedom to move.
What really differentiates belly band holsters from other models is their flexibility.
When talking about belly band holsters, we don’t necessarily mean the midsection of your belly. You can position the holster a little lower around the abdominal area or a little higher, right beneath your chest.
What makes these holsters even more flexible is the adjustable closures. The velcro Hook-and-loop fasteners allow you to alter the tightness and personalize its size with your body type. So, no worries if you gain a little weight or feel a bit swollen after Thanksgiving dinner.
Most belly band holsters are made using elastic fiber such as Spandex. Also, since these holsters are placed around your belly, they won’t dig into your legs, groin, or sides while sitting—a common issue with improper waistline holsters.
Despite this, the velcro patches can feel a little itchy. As long as you go for a high-quality brand and attach the closures correctly, this shouldn’t be an issue, and you don’t need to wear an additional cloth layer underneath your holster.
But if it is an issue, you can wear a base layer to avoid skin irritations. This works well in cooler weather.
When it comes to comfort, belly band holsters have other downsides as well. If you wear them for a long time, they can get wet due to perspiration in hot and humid environments. This can increase skin irritation as well.
Fortunately, some manufacturers have addressed the issue and produced belly band holsters with breathable fabrics such as neoprene. This solves the skin irritation issue as well. However, it can increase how hot they feel.
Besides, it’s good to know that belly band holsters don’t offer a one-hand-friendly function. Once you draw out the weapon, the flexible material regains its previous shape. So you won’t be able to holster it back using one hand.
However, some options like the Clutch by Unity Tactical get around this issue by utilizing an “inner” holster inside the slot of the belly band. This offers retention and one-hand holstering ability.
All belly band holsters have fabric structures, so you can easily wash them with soap and water and even put them in the washing machine.
The downside is that it frequently gets dirty. Especially in the hot weather when you’re more likely to sweat, or while exercising, belly band holsters quickly get stinky. So, you may need to wash it after every use.
Besides, when you sweat too much, chances are your gun’s going to get “moist” as well. So, other than washing the holster regularly, you should also pay extra attention to maintaining your weapon.
Misplacing or leaving behind a gun while visiting a public restroom or other location does happen among weapon owners.
When you carry a gun using an off-body method such as a backpack or purse, you’re more likely to leave it where you sit.
Some on-body holsters can also make it easy to forget your gun because they mostly rely on clothes, and you may forget about your gun while getting dressed, changing, or going to the bathroom.
With a belly band holster, though, none of the above scenarios should happen.
The primary purpose of buying a gun and a holster is to protect yourself or a third party, but if you can’t access the gun when needed, there is no point.
While belly bands don’t offer the fastest access, they do offer the ability of your gear being centerline on your body.
A quality belly band holster shouldn’t slip out of place or fall to the floor if made of quality materials and the hook and loop are in good condition.
Make sure you choose a model that offers ample protection to the trigger, and if possible, has some sort of retention.
Belly bands typically feature several pouches or slots to keep your spare magazine, medical supplies, knife, flashlight, cash, etc. This can come in handy, especially when you use the holster while wearing clothing that’s not as accommodating to traditional methods of carry.
Just like other types of holsters, these models come at various prices, and obviously, different qualities.
When buying a belly band holster, remember not to compromise quality over price. Cheap products may seem cost-efficient at first, but after a couple of times of washing, they may show premature signs of wear.
Also, the sweating issue can make it rust, and therefore, contribute to its early damage.
Most importantly, cheaper models can often lack in the area of retention, which is extremely important.
Where Can I Wear Belly Band Holsters on Body?
Where you place your belly band holster depends on what clothes you choose and how you tend to wear them.
For example, if you tuck your shirts inside your pants, position the holster higher near the chest so that you can avoid a bulge at your waistline.
If you wear an untucked shirt, you can wear your belly band lower on your torso with no issues.
The most popular position is at the top of your waistband, right on the belly button. However, you can change the position to whatever you feel more comfortable with.
Watch this video to get an idea of how to wear a belly band holster:
What Is the Best Belly Band Holster?
As mentioned earlier, not all belly band holsters are the same. For example, some manufacturers have upgraded their products to more comfortable options, while others have tried their best to solve the durability issues.
They also may vary in terms of sizing, which is an important factor when buying one.
We recently wrote an article on the 11 Best Concealed Carry Belly Bands. Check it out if you are interested in some great options.
Frequently Asked Questions About Belly Band Holsters
Do I Need a Holster for Concealed Carry?
You need a holster for concealed carry for a couple of reasons, and the most important one is your safety. If you fail to properly cover your trigger you are increasing the risk of a negligent discharge. Having a quality holster mitigates this issue.
Are Belly Band Holsters Safe?
Belly band holsters are safe in many aspects. First of all, they’re well hidden from an observer’s eyes. And even if they notice you’re carrying something, due to its position, they may not recognize what it is.
Belly band holsters also do a decent job at securing your gun. If they are made of quality materials they should keep your weapon secure against your body.
Do You Need a Belt for a Holster?
You need a belt for traditional holsters, but this is not the case with all holsters. Belly band holsters, for example, don’t require a belt or belt loop. They come in self-supporting models and are compatible with all types of clothing.
Whether you “need one” or not is up to you.
While I own the Clutch and use it from time to time (situationally dependent), it’s not my primary method of carry.
Belly band holsters are an option that includes versatility, concealment, and freedom of use, but they may fall short to accommodate your needs as a durable and comfortable holster.
They may come loose after extended wear or start pinching your skin as you wear them. They also may cause excessive sweating in hot weather.
Ultimately, the choice is yours.