6 Best S&W M&P Shield Holsters Reviewed 2023 [Concealed Carry, IWB, OWB]

best smith wesson mp shield holsters reviewed iwb owb concealed carry open carry belly band

My friends sometimes call me “the holster guy”.

I’ve owned more than 45 different holsters in my life. And tried out hundreds.

It’s an industry that I know inside out.

When we started researching the best holsters for S&W M&P Shield, we narrowed our initial list down to 22 holsters.

After testing and evaluation though, only 6 holsters made it to our final list.

I’ll save you the scroll – here they are:

  1. Overall Best: We The People IWB (Concealed)
  2. Premium, Most Comfortable: Hidden Hybrid IWB (Concealed)
  3. Full Leather Pick: We The People Independence (Concealed)
  4. Runner-Up: Tulster IWB (Concealed)
  5. Best Open Carry: Rounded Gear Concealment Express OWB Paddle (Open Carry)
  6. Best Belly-Band: CrossBreed Modular Belly Band (Concealed)

Keep reading for full reviews.

Ready? Let’s get started…

Compare The Best S&W M&P Shield Holsters

HolsterTypeCarryMaterialRetentionAdjustabilityLight/Laser CompatibleRed Dot/Optics Compatible
We The People Sig P365 Concealed Carry IWB Kydex Holster1. We The People IWBIWBConcealed CarryKydexActive ClickRide, Cant, Retention-Yes
Hidden Hybrid Sig P365 Concealed Carry IWB Hybrid Leather Kydex Holster2. Hidden Hybrid IWBIWBConcealed CarryKydex & LeatherPassiveRide, Cant, RetentionYesYes
We The People Independence Sig P365 IWB Leather Concealed Carry Holster3. We The People IndependenceIWBConcealed CarryLeatherPassiveRide, Cant--
Tulster Sig P365 IWB Kydex Holster Concealed Carry4. Tulster IWB
IWBConcealed CarryKydexActive ClickRide, Cant, RetentionYes-

Concealment Express sig sauer p365 xl owb kydex paddle holster5. Rounded Gear Concealment Express OWB
OWBOpen CarryKydexActive ClickRide, Cant, RetentionYesYes
Crossbreed Holsters Modular Belly Band6. CrossBreed Modular Belly BandBelly BandConcealed CarryKydex & NeoprenePassiveRide, Cant, RetentionYes-

6 Best S&W M&P Shield Holsters Reviewed For Concealed Carry & Open Carry

1. We The People IWB – Best S&W M&P Shield Kydex IWB/AIWB Holster [Concealed Carry]

We The People Smith Wesson MP Shield Concealed Carry IWB Kydex Holster.jpg
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  • Affordable & beginner-friendly
  • Good retention
  • Good adjustability & comfort
  • Easy to conceal
  • Good safety & trigger coverage
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Only common optics cuts available

Bottom Line Up Front

We The People IWB (Inside The Waistband) is a beautiful, comfortable kydex holster that is easy to conceal. The holster is custom-built to fit Smith & Wesson M&P Shield and checks all the boxes on safety & protection features.

Out of all the IWB holsters we reviewed, We The People IWB had the best value for money, without compromising on quality. It checks all the boxes and comes at a price that anyone can afford. The Kydex IWB design is the best concealed carry choice for most people.

Note: Last I checked, their prices were still the same as one year ago despite the inflation. I can only recommend getting one before they start raising their prices along with everyone else.

The Nitty Gritty: Features & What’s In It For You

Holster Type: IWBCarry Type: Concealed Carry
Holster Material: Kydex Holster Fit: Custom Fit
Retention Type: Active Click RetentionHolster Adjustability: Ride, Cant, Retention
Light/Laser Compatible: YesRed Dot/Optics Compatible: Yes
Made In: ✅ AmericaSafety: ✅ Trigger & Barrel Protected
Hand Orientation: ✅ Left & Right HandedWarranty: ✅ Lifetime

Looks, Feel & Durability: 5/5

We The People IWB holster looks and feels good in hand. The finish is matte, and it’s made out of 0.08″ kydex that doesn’t bend or give in. The thick plastic clip is durable, and the hardware feels like it’s built to last. I wouldn’t expect any issues with durability.

As for the looks, they’ve got a few dozen colors & prints you can choose from. Some of them are pretty adventurous – bright pink, neon, gatsby flag, etc. I’m not much into loud designs, so I went with the regular black for this review.

Comfort: 4.5/5

Can I wear the holster for hours and almost forget that it’s there? Well, that’s actually happened a few times with this one. For a kydex holster, it wears very well. I didn’t find a single sharp edge or corner on the holster – everything’s buffed down & softened.

The muzzle end is open, but it doesn’t cause any discomfort or prod me anywhere. Also, the height was comfortable from the get-go – not too high and not too low. It’s not as comfortable as Independence & Hidden Hybrid reviewed below. But for a Kydex holster, the comfort is as good as it gets.

Retention: 5/5

The holster passed our retention test – I can turn the holster upside down and my M&P stays secure inside. The gun doesn’t budge. It’s got positive click retention. You’ll hear the holster snapping in around the gun every time you holster it. The click is satisfying to the ear – not mushy and weak like on cheaper holsters.

I liked the retention – it’s tight and snappy. Mine was good out of the box, and did not loosen with time. But the retention is easy to adjust with a tension screw. In case you need to make it tighter.

Safety & Protection: 5/5

Both trigger and barrel are fully covered when my Shield is holstered. It’s impossible to manipulate the trigger when the gun is holstered. The kydex is rigid, doesn’t bend, and protects the gun against bumps, dirt, and drops reasonably well.

There’s a full sweat guard on the inner side of the holster. It protects the gun from sweat corrosion – and my waist from the rough edges of the gun. The belt clip is solid and very difficult to accidentally unhook from the belt. The holster will be in its place during daily activities.

Ease Of Concealment: 5/5

I didn’t have any issues with printing while carrying. The holster does not protrude while I’m wearing my jeans and a flannel shirt. It hugs my Shield close and does a good job of smoothing out the sharp edges underneath the shirt. It also sits low enough for the gun’s handle to be flush with the body.

As always, ease of concealment will depend on your body type, CCW experience, and clothing. However, this is a holster that will be easy to conceal for most people. I’d also recommend getting the claw addon for appendix carry. The claw will keep the handle of the gun closer to your body, bringing you closer to deep concealment. Not a must-have, but worth the money – I like mine.

Ease Of Draw: 5/5

I had no problems getting a proper, ready-to-shoot grip on my M&P Shield from any position. 2-second speed draws were not an issue, either. The retention doesn’t get in the way of the draw, neither does anything else. In case you need to adjust, you can tweak the holster’s ride height and cant (angle) to find a position that works with your draw style and body.

Customization Support & Adjustability: 4/5

If you need to adjust the holster’s ride (height) or and cant (angle) – you can do so by unscrewing the clip. The holster’s got multiple screw holes for the clip, for different height & cant configurations. It also accommodates threaded barrels (open muzzle) and suppressor-level sights. We The People have the usual optics & laser cuts available for most guns, including M&P Shield.

Warranty & Returns: 5/5

All We The People holsters come with a lifetime warranty, and have a one-year return policy for a refund from the day the order was placed.

Keep In Mind

The available optics cuts & modifications are limited. If you have a more exotic mod on your Shield, take a look at the Hidden Hybrid holsters below. They have more cuts available, although they do come at a higher cost.

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Read our full We The People Holsters review

2. Hidden Hybrid IWB – Most Comfortable S&W M&P Shield Concealed Carry Hybrid IWB Holster

Hidden Hybrid Smith Wesson MP Shield Concealed Carry IWB Hybrid Leather Kydex Holster.jpg
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  • Most comfortable holster we tested
  • Premium build & Hardware
  • Any laser/light/optic combo you can think of
  • Concealment, adjustability, retention all good
  • Safety & trigger coverage
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Slightly bulkier than full Kydex
  • Premium pricing
  • Delivery time (since they’re handmade)

Bottom Line Up Front

Hidden Hybrid’s Single Clip is the most comfortable S&W M&P Shield holster on our list. It’ll be great for you if you’re looking for something more comfortable than a full Kydex holster, and don’t mind the slight increase in overall holster weight & size.

It’s a hybrid IWB holster that combines Kydex shell with a leather backer.

  • The kydex shell is custom-molded after M&P Shield for better retention & protection.
  • The leather backer contours to your body with time, resulting in better comfort.

The Nitty Gritty: Features & What’s In It For You

Holster Type: IWBCarry Type: Concealed Carry
Holster Material: Kydex & LeatherHolster Fit: Custom Fit
Retention Type: Passive RetentionHolster Adjustability: Ride, Cant, Retention
Light/Laser Compatible: YesRed Dot/Optics Compatible: Yes
Made In: ✅ AmericaSafety: ✅ Trigger & Barrel Protected
Hand Orientation: ✅ Left & Right HandedWarranty: ✅ Lifetime

Looks, Feel & Durability: 5/5

When I’m handling a holster from Hidden Hybrid, it always feels like I’m holding something nice, expensive, and well-made. The materials & craftsmanship quality are right there at the top, if not the best on the market.

  • The thick Amish leather is nice and soft, with suede on the back. Thin enough to contour to my body, but thick enough to withstand daily wear without stretching out.
  • Good 0.093″ kydex, thicker than the usual 0.08″ regular kydex for extra durability.
  • Beautiful stainless steel hardware, well-designed durable clip.

I could keep going, but the point is – everything’s just pretty damn perfect about this holster in the “looks, feel, durability” department. It’s objectively the nicest looking and feeling holster on this list.

Comfort: 5/5

Can I wear it for hours and almost forget it’s there? Hell yeah. After the initial few weeks, it took to wear in the leather, my comfort is noticeably better than with full-Kydex holsters. I can especially notice it towards the end of the day. And especially if I’ve been sitting a lot. So when it comes to comfort, this holster just works. Everything’s soft, streamlined, and nothing digs anywhere. Five stars.

Retention: 5/5

Can I turn the holster upside down without the gun falling out? Yes, I can. There is nothing shaking or rattling around when I shake the holster with my M&P Shield in it. The retention loosened a little bit over the first weeks, but then remained at a comfortably tight level. And in case you want it even tighter, the retention is easy to adjust with the tension screw.

Safety & Protection: 5/5

Both trigger & barrel are fully covered while the gun is holstered. It’s impossible to push through both the kydex and the rigid leather to reach the trigger. The leather part also serves as a sweat guard, protecting the gun from corrosion. The holster provides good protection against bumps and scratches. The clip is well executed, tight, and difficult to pull off your belt even in a brawl.

Unlike cheaper hybrid holsters, this one’s safe to use with rapid one-handed reholstering. It’s impossible for the leather backer to fold inside the holster shell (thereby compromising the trigger). It’s thick and rounded without any sharp edges, with zero chance of it getting stuck anywhere.

Ease Of Concealment: 4.5/5

I found the holster easy to conceal – it does not protrude at all under jeans and a plaid flannel shirt. Even though it has that extra layer of leather, the profile is fairly slim and easy to cover up. The height was just right for me, not too high (the grip printing) nor too low. As always the optional claw kit for deeper appendix carry concealment is highly recommended – this one’s also cheap.

Ease Of Draw: 5/5

The leather is cut around the handle, allowing for a proper, ready-to-shoot grip from any position. Sub-2-second draws are not an issue. Both cant & height are adjustable – for me, it was good out of the box. The retention doesn’t get in the way of the draw.

Customization Support: 5/5

The holster does accommodate threaded barrels & suppressor-level sights. Since these are handmade, they can ship out your holster cut specifically to M&P Shield with any possible combination of laser, light, and optic included. If a gun/laser/optic combination exists, they have a holster for it. Great for exotic configurations.

Warranty & Returns: 5/5

All Hidden Hybrid Holsters come with a lifetime warranty. They also have a 30-Day “One Question Return Policy” where you only have to answer how they could have done better.

Keep In Mind

At the time of writing this article, getting a laser/light cut was an extra $10 with red dot optics being $30. Ordering holsters with mods might take extra production time. Hidden Hybrid is pricier than most other holsters but well worth the price.

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Read Our Full Hidden Hybrid Holsters Review

3. We The People Independence – Best Leather Smith & Wesson M&P Shield IWB Holster

we the people independence iwb best full leather sw mp shield holster
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  • Custom-sewn double-layer leather shell
  • Premium build & hardware
  • Adjustable cant & ride height
  • Great comfort
  • All boxes checked on safety, trigger covered


  • Premium pricing
  • Limited optics & light options

Bottom Line Up Front

In my opinion, WTP Independence is the best commercially-available full leather holster you can buy at this moment. It is the only full-leather holster that made it to our M&P Shield list. I reviewed the IWB version, but this holster also comes as OWB.

The Nitty Gritty: Features & What’s In It For You

Holster Type: IWBCarry Type: Concealed Carry
Holster Material: LeatherHolster Fit: Custom Fit
Retention Type: Passive RetentionHolster Adjustability: Ride, Cant
Light/Laser Compatible:Red Dot/Optics Compatible:
Made In: ✅ AmericaSafety: ✅ Trigger & Barrel Protected
Hand Orientation: ✅ Left & Right HandedWarranty: ✅ Lifetime

Looks, Feel & Durability: 5/5

The holster feels good in hand. The leather is thick, and well-made. The adjustable clips are good, don’t bend much. The contouring is the best I’ve been on a leather holster. Almost like Kydex. Attention to detail is everywhere. And the stitching – if you want your leather to last for 10 years, that’s how you’d stitch it. Comes in brown and black leather, with the WTP logo applied.

Comfort: 5/5

I can wear it for hours and almost forget that it’s there. It took the leather about 2 weeks to fully contour to my body. It was smooth sailing from there on out. The comfort’s about the same level as hybrid holsters, and better than full kydex. In other words – as good as it can be. The leather is soft and protects my sides from the gun’s sharp edges. The muzzle is covered well. Rounded edges throughout the holster.

Retention: 4.5/5

Retention test passed – I can turn the holster upside down with my Shield staying inside. This is rare for a leather holster. Passive retention is among the best I’ve tried on one. It fits my shield like a glove. Keep in mind the retention’s very tight out of the box – that’s on purpose. You need to wear it for a bit, and it’ll loosen up.

Safety & Protection: 4.5/5

Trigger, safety mechanism, & barrel are all covered well. Good protection from bumps. The clips are sturdy and tight, very difficult to pull off the belt in case of a brawl. Impossible to get through to the trigger when the gun is holstered.

Both inside and outside of the holster have grain-side leather (not flesh-side/suede leather). This protects the gun from wear & tear that would happen against the rougher suede leather, which leather and hybrid holsters usually use.

Ease Of Concealment: 4.5/5

My Shield did not print/protrude under jeans and a plaid flannel shirt in both side-carry and appendix-carry positions. The holster’s got a small footprint and is slim enough to make for easy concealment (a bit thicker than kydex, though). I’m satisfied. They don’t have a holster claw available for this model.

Ease Of Draw: 5/5

I have no problems getting a full positive, ready-to-shoot grip on my Shield. I also had no trouble getting sub-2-second draws once the leather had worn in. The ride height is about average, but you can adjust that with the clips.

Adjustability & Customization Support: 2/5

The holster works with threaded barrels & suppressor level sights. It’s the only leather holster on the market that lets you adjust ride & cant. Currently, there are no optics/laser cuts available.

Warranty & Returns: 5/5

We The People offers a lifetime warranty, and a one-year return policy for a refund from the day the order was placed.

Keep In Mind

Full leather holsters – this one included – have some downsides that you should be aware of: not waterproof, more maintenance, no click retention, difficult-to-find optics/streamlight/laser cuts, and higher price. But if you want a full leather holster for your M&P Shield, then it’ll be difficult to do better than this one.

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Read Our Full We The People Holsters Review

4. Tulster IWB – Runner-Up Smith & Wesson M&P Shield IWB Holster Pick

Tulster Profile IWB Holster Runner Up Best SW MP Shield Concealed Carry Holster
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  • Good safety, great retention
  • Lightweight & minimalist construction
  • Conceals well & comfortable to carry
  • Compatible with most guns & light/optic/laser mods
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Premium pricing
  • Would be nice to see a metal clip at this price point
  • Ride height not adjustable

Bottom Line Up Front

Tulster’s Profile IWB is a full-kydex holster with all the same features as our #1 pick We The People. Except for adjustable ride height. The main differences that you’ll notice when going with a higher-priced kydex holster – like this one from Tulster – are: 

  • Better quality control
  • Sharper contouring lines & refined edges
  • Clean, neat look both inside & outside the holster

The Nitty Gritty: Features & What’s In It For You

Holster Type: IWBCarry Type: Concealed Carry
Holster Material: Kydex Holster Fit: Custom Fit
Retention Type: Active Click RetentionHolster Adjustability: Cant, Retention
Light/Laser Compatible: YesRed Dot/Optics Compatible: Yes
Made In: ✅ AmericaSafety: ✅ Trigger & Barrel Protected
Hand Orientation: ✅ Left & Right HandedWarranty: ✅ Lifetime

Looks, Feel & Durability: 5/5

From the 0.08″ Kydex to the metal hardware – everything feels smooth, well-designed, and has a small edge over cheaper holsters. The difference is most noticeable when you look at the contoured edges of the holster. Every line and millimeter on the holster has been thought through.

The clip is made from plastic, but it’s thick and doesn’t bend. They have metal clips available for extra on their website. The holster comes in these colors.

Comfort: 4.5/5

The comfort’s good – both sitting down and standing/walking. I can feel the holster on me, but it doesn’t disturb me in any way. The edges are rounded and buffed, so nothing’s digging or prodding anywhere. The muzzle doesn’t extend, and feels comfortable on the thigh. No complaints.

Retention: 5/5

The retention is excellent, with an audible click when you holster your gun. It passes the test – I can turn the holster upside down and the gun stays in. The retention came well-regulated out of the box, and didn’t loosen with time. If you want it tighter or looser, there’s a retention screw you can use to adjust it.

Safety & Protection: 5/5

The trigger guard & barrel are protected when the gun is holstered. There’s no way to access the trigger, and the kydex doesn’t bend. The Profile IWB comes with a full-sized sweat guard that protects the gun from corrosion. The clip’s tension is excellent – it’d be very difficult to pull the entire rig off the belt in a brawl.

Ease Of Concealment: 5/5

I had no issues with the holster printing/showing wearing jeans and a flannel shirt. The design is streamlined, minimalist, and lightweight. They have a holster “sidekick” claw available for extra price, which I recommend getting if you’re planning to carry it in the appendix position.

Ease Of Draw: 5/5

No issues getting a sub-2-second draw. I can get a positive, ready-to-fire grip from any position. While the ride height is not adjustable, the holster sits at a comfortable height that does not impede the ease of draw in any way. The retention doesn’t get in the way of the draw, either.

Adjustability Customization Support: 3.5/5

The holster accommodates threaded barrels and suppressor-level sights. They have the most common optics cuts available on their website. Loses some points here because of the unadjustable ride height.

Warranty & Returns: 5/5

Tulster offers a lifetime warranty on all of their holsters. They have a 30-day no-questions-asked returns policy.

Keep In Mind

The ride height is not adjustable. It doesn’t sit too high or too low, so you’ll probably be fine. But in case you want the adjustable ride height, you should go for the WTP IWB holster over this one.

There are other premium Kydex brands of similar quality on the market – Vedder or Tier 1 Concealment come to mind. We picked Tulster for this list because it’s slightly cheaper than the other two. The quality is roughly the same across the board, you’ll be good going with either one of them.

Check Latest Price

Read Our Full Tulster Holsters Review

5. Rounded Gear Concealment Express OWB – Best Smith & Wesson M&P Shield OWB Paddle Holster

Rounded Gear Best SW MP Shield OWB Paddle Holster
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  • Good retention
  • Safety & trigger coverage
  • Strong paddle, built to last
  • Affordable
  • Fastest delivery times on the market


  • Sweat guard protrudes slightly above the holster, not really an issue

Bottom Line Up Front

Rounded Gear OWB Paddle holster is a simple and durable open carry holster that is custom-molded for the M&P Shield. It made the cut because of its excellent value for money and the fastest shipping in the industry. It’s a good pick if you’re looking for a good & simple open-carry holster that gets the job done.

Note: They used to be Concealment Express before, now rebranded into Rounded Gear.

The Nitty Gritty: Features & What’s In It For You

Holster Type: OWBCarry Type: Open Carry
Holster Material: Kydex Holster Fit: Custom Fit
Retention Type: Active Click RetentionHolster Adjustability: Ride, Cant, Retention
Light/Laser Compatible: YesRed Dot/Optics Compatible: Yes
Made In: ✅ AmericaSafety: ✅ Trigger & Barrel Protected
Hand Orientation: ✅ Left & Right HandedWarranty: ✅ Lifetime

Looks, Feel & Durability: 5/5

The 0.08″ kydex shell is sturdy, everything feels well made. I have this holster in matte black, but they offer different colors on their site. The big, fiber-reinforced paddle is one of the things I liked most about this one – it’s built like a tank. The clip/paddle are always the most vulnerable parts of a kydex holster, so they need to be strong. This one is.

Comfort: 5/5

Comfort’s one of the better things about OWB open carry. The holster’s located outside the waistband, minimizing body contact. It’s easy to forget that it’s there as soon as you get used to the weight. Also worth mentioning – it doesn’t restrict the size of your clothing, meaning that you can wear tight pants or slim shirts if you feel like it. Easy 5/5.

Retention: 5/5

Retention has always been great with Rounded Gear. The fit is snug, the gun doesn’t rattle when holstered. I can turn the holster upside down without the gun falling out. There is an audible click when you holster the gun, letting you know that your Shield is safe and secure. The retention was good from the get-go, but there is a tension screw to adjust if you want it looser/tighter.

Safety & Protection: 5/5

The holster has excellent trigger coverage and protection. No way to get to the trigger if the gun is holstered. The shell is durable, and will protect your gun from bumps & scratches if you drop it. The strong plastic paddle is a retention monster, and extremely difficult to pull off the belt in case of a brawl. There’s a full-size sweat guard protecting the gun from corrosion.

Ease Of Concealment: 1/5

OWB holsters are not usually meant for concealed carry. But if you want, you can cover it up with a hoodie or an untucked shirt and rock it like that. It’ll function as a CCW holster – as long as it’s covered. Just be aware of the rules in your state, as it’ll be difficult to keep it covered at all times while going through your day. Might land you in some serious legal trouble.

Ease Of Draw: 5/5

This holster has the fastest draw speed & gun access of all on this list because it’s outside the waistband. Your draw speed is also going to be more consistent. Adjustable ride & cant will allow you to tweak the positioning to better fit your body and drawing pattern.

Adjustability & Customization Support: 4/5

The holster has an open muzzle end that accommodates threaded barrels. It offers suppressor-level sights support. They also have the more common optics/laser cut models available.

Warranty & Returns: 5/5

Rounded Gear Holsters come with a lifetime warranty. They also have a 30-day exchange & return policy.

Keep In Mind

The sweat guard protrudes slightly above the slide of the gun – won’t be an issue for most, but worth noting.

Check Latest Price

Read Our Full Rounded Gear (Concealment Express) Holsters Review

6. CrossBreed Modular Belly Band – Best Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Belly Band Holster

cressbreed belly band 2.0 best belly band holster for sw mp shield
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  • Kydex shell protecting the trigger
  • Pockets for phone & 2 clips
  • Anti-slip, anti-microbial band
  • Comfortable & easy to wear
  • Great for running, sitting, driving
  • Comfortable draw
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Better for smaller guns
  • Takes time to get used to
  • Can get sweaty in warmer states

Bottom Line Up Front

CrossBreed Modular Belly Band is one of the few belly band holsters with proper safety & protection features – your M&P Shield is placed in a hybrid holster shell, that is then attached to the band via velcro. You’re getting all the benefits of a belly band, while still keeping your gun safe from an accidental discharge. This one made the cut because they have some nifty comfort features like anti-slip & adjustable ride/cant that other belly bands have yet to catch up to.

The Nitty Gritty: Features & What’s In It For You

Holster Type: Belly BandCarry Type: Concealed Carry
Holster Material: Kydex & NeopreneHolster Fit: Custom Fit
Retention Type: Passive RetentionHolster Adjustability: Ride, Cant, Retention
Light/Laser Compatible: YesRed Dot/Optics Compatible:
Made In: ✅ AmericaSafety: ✅ Trigger & Barrel Protected
Hand Orientation: ✅ Left & Right HandedWarranty: ✅ 1 Year

Looks, Feel & Durability: 4/5

The hybrid kydex-leather shell attaches to the band via a 3” velcro strap. The Velcro is strong & sticky. You wrap the band over the holster for additional security. Everything sits tight. The durability is good for a belly band, but neoprene will wear out with time. This one’s rated for 25 washes. The shell is made out of thick leather and kydex, it feels good in hand.

Comfort: 4/5

The band is easy to put on and comfortable in most situations. It’s also easy to adjust & reposition on the go. I don’t forget that the band is there, but while wearing it my gun doesn’t poke, prod, or cause pain in any other way. The anti-slip surface keeps the band from moving around sideways while I’m wearing it – works as it should. The band comes in small (29-36 inches), medium (36-42 inches), and large (42-52 inches) sizes.

Safety & Protection: 5/5

The shell is good and keeps the gun safe. Trigger & barrel are both covered, and it’s impossible to pull the shell off the belly band when it’s properly fastened. Safety & protection are both excellent for a belly band holster, on par with waistband holsters.

Ease Of Concealment: 4/5

I had no trouble concealing while wearing this rig. The band wrapping around the holster keeps it closer to the body, which makes it better for deep concealment than most other belly bands. The grip of my M&P Shield does push out a bit, but everything works. I imagine it would be better with a smaller-sized gun.

Ease Of Draw: 5/5

My M&P Shield draws smoothly and re-holsters like a regular holster. It’s easy to get my hand inside the elastic waistband to establish a proper grip before drawing. Pulling up the shirt does not interfere with firearm access. You can adjust the height & angle of the holster shell via velcro, in case you need to customize your angle a little.

Warranty & Returns: 5/5

All CrossBreed holsters come with a lifetime warranty. There is a 30-day exchange & return policy.

Keep In Mind

The belly band will ride up when you sit down. That’s just the way it works – it doesn’t have a clip keeping it in place like a waistband holster does.

Sweating, heat & weight distribution will be your biggest problems with this setup in summer, especially if you live in the southern states.

For most people, I recommend regular IWB holsters for concealed carry over belly bands. They’re more secure, easy to carry & faster to draw from. 

Check Latest Price

Read Our Full CrossBreed Modular Belly Band Review

Competition & Honorary Mentions: Other Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Holsters We Tested

Holster Brands
  • Vedder LightTuck – Very similar to Tulster. Because we could only pick one, we picked Tulster. But Vedder makes great holsters and you won’t go wrong with them.
  • Tier 1 Concealed Xiphos V2 – T1C is another premium kydex holster maker and we only had space for one premium kydex pick in the list. They’re a little bit too expensive for what they offer. But they’re good holsters.
  • Dara Holsters – DARA is a well-known premium kydex holster manufacturer that we couldn’t include because of limited space in this review at this time.
  • Craft Holsters IWB Concealed – Their leather holsters are good, but not as good as WTP’s Independence. We only had one spot on our list for a leather holster, so we decided to include the better one.
  • Versacarry – Versacarry have different models both kydex and leather, but the lackluster trigger guard on some of them and a dubious reputation (them recommending you to carry your gun unloaded) make this brand difficult to recommend.
  • Sneaky Pete – Sneaky Pete makes small holster “boxes” or “bags” that you put your gun into. They can’t compete with IWB holsters for draw speed and convenience/concealability which is why we didn’t include them in this list.
  • Galco Gunleather – Probably the most well-known leather holster manufacturer on this side of the ocean. WTP independence and Hidden Hybrid are simply better for most people.
  • Urban Carry – Urban Carry G3 is a BWB – below the waistband – holster with the gun being located below your waistline. Slow & dangerous draw is the main reason why we can’t recommend it.
  • Boraii – Boraii makes minimalist kydex pocket holsters. Unfortunately, they print, because of the unusual holster design. It actually makes your gun bigger, instead of staying the same shape as the gun.
  • JM4 Tactical – JM4 has done some innovations with their magnetic holsters, but because of the contradictory reviews, we chose to not include them in this list at the time.
  • Bravo Concealment – Known for affordable kydex OWB & IWB holsters, we can’t recommend them at this time because our research revealed durability issues on certain models.
  • Alien Gear ShapeShift Rig – It’s a good rig that does everything you want. We chose not to include it because you’ll get better value for money going with individual holsters.

Side Note: We’re also building the biggest list of holster brands on the internet, if you’re interested in learning more.

How To Choose A Good S&W M&P Shield Holster: Buyer’s Guide

Side note: We tried to write in an easy way, but if there’s still something that you find difficult to understand, here’s a quick list of holster terminology for beginners.

We Know Holsters

To learn more about how we work and earn our living, read more about who we are or take a look at our editorial guidelines (work in progress!)

When it comes to guns and concealed carry, I know a thing or two. I’ve been in and around the gun industry and community for about six years. I’ve been concealed carrying for the past nine. I have a solid grasp of the fundamentals, and have used & tested countless pieces of gear while concealed carrying.

I’ve attended multiple courses covering advanced concealed carry, home defense, and advanced handgun immersion. I stay on top of the latest trends and changes in the industry – both legal and new gear coming out.

And I’ve probably carried around 40 different holsters throughout my life with different firearms (that’s a lot of money spent, I know). Not to mention different clothes, carry positions, and the various add-ons that I’ve tried (most didn’t work). My friends even call me “the holster guy”.

So, I know what works for me, and I’ve developed a good sense of what works for people in general with open and concealed carry. I’m more than happy to help you avoid the mistakes that I’ve made in my journey by writing for Looserounds.

How We Picked & Tested Holsters

Here’s how we narrowed down our search for the best M&P Shield holster.  

  • We narrowed down the initial selection using our (1) staff’s experience (we already know which holsters are good), and (2) trusted YouTube channels, online magazines, and Reddit concealed carry communities that follow the latest holster releases.
  • We limited our selection to holsters made out of hard plastic, hybrid models, and an occasional full leather model if we could see that it punches above its weight. We excluded full nylon designs, small of back holsters, and Blackhawk SERPA holsters. We also decided to include one belly band pick because many folks are looking for those.
  • The holsters we picked had to be custom-molded for the M&P Shield handgun, and hit all the safety features the most important of which is full trigger guard coverage.

With that list narrowed down, we were left with 22 holsters.

  • For this review guide, I tested those holsters wearing them as I would normally. I wore the holsters with a variety of outfits. I wore them around home & outside. I drove to work with them. I worked out with some of them.
  • Each M&P Shield holster we reviewed was tested & rated on: comfort, safety, retention, ease of concealment, ease of draw, build quality & durability, customization & adjustability, warranty, price & value for money.

Our M&P Shield Holster Evaluation Criteria: What To Look For In A Holster

Holster Comfort

A good holster is comfortable enough that you can wear it for hours and almost forget it’s there. If your holster is not comfortable, you’ll be tempted to leave the entire rig at home. Any handgun worn on your person is better than the one you left in the gun safe.

My holster comfort testing included holsters at my desk for hours, driving long distances, going on runs and exercising, going for groceries, etc. I wore different clothing, but most of the time jeans with a flannel or jeans shirt over them.

Bodies are different, so in addition to carrying them myself (six foot three, average build), I let Dave from marketing have a quick go with them as well. Dave’s on the bigger side at 240 pounds, and conveniently carries an M&P Shield as well. If either me or Dave found any significant comfort issues with the holsters – we scrapped them from the list.

Safety & Protection

Most important when it comes to holster safety – the holster should cover your M&P Shield’s entire trigger at all times to prevent accidental discharge. It also needs to be rigid – you should not be able to push through the material with your finger to manipulate the trigger. Every holster we reviewed provides full trigger coverage.

Because your M&P Shield will spend most of its life riding around in your holster, the holster should also offer good protection from bumps, falls, dirt, and sweat. All of the holsters we included provide a snug, customized fit for M&P Shield and good coverage against all of the above.

For the hybrid holsters we reviewed, we made sure that it was impossible for the leather backer to bend & slide inside the kydex shell with rapid reholstering.

Final point about safety – stay away from fabric nylon holsters, Blackhawk SERPA holsters, and small of back holsters. Blackhawk SERPA holsters are notorious for accidental discharges, in addition to having a shabby build quality. It’s so bad that The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center has banned the holster. Nylon and fabric holsters can be dangerous as well, usually the trigger is not protected well. We don’t recommend them unless you need a pocket holster. Small of back holsters have a high back injury risk in case you fall on it, the drawing movement is heavily compromised as well.

Holster Retention

Your holster’s retention is simply the holster’s ability to hold on to your M&P Shield. The base test for retention is holstering your gun and flipping the holster upside down. If the gun falls out, the holster has failed the retention test. All holsters on our list passed the retention test.

Defensive situations are dynamic. You might fall, run, crawl, bend over, or climb a fence to evade danger. With good retention, even if you get knocked over, your gun stays safe.

As for the levels of retention, here’s all you need to know:

  • Passive Retention & Click Retention (level 1): This applies to concealed carry, and is the friction between the holster and your gun. The tightness of passive retention is adjustable on most holsters. On kydex holsters, it’s the “click” that comes from the holster shape snapping in place when your gun is inserted.
  • Duty Holster Retention (level 2, level 3, and level 4): These are holsters that come with retention devices, such as manual straps, covers, and thumb breaks for extra security. Holsters with retention straps are used mainly by police and law enforcement, which is why they’re called duty holsters. They slow your draw speed but keep someone from using your gun against you. 

Too much retention can be a bad thing – you don’t want to fight the holster to draw your weapon when you need it. We made sure that it was not an issue on any of the holsters we reviewed.

Ease Of Concealment

A good concealed carry holster will virtually disappear under your clothing. However, whether your gun prints or not will depend on your body type, clothes, holster type, and the activities that you do during your day. Anything works with baggy clothes. For tighter clothes, a minimal IWB holster carried in the appendix (AIWB) position is your best bet.

When testing for ease of concealment, we tried to keep it as simple as possible. We monitored the printing (showing) of each holster under a pair of jeans, and a plain regular-fit flannel shirt. If the holster had any issues with showing through that set of clothing, it got eliminated.

If you’re considering AIWB (appendix-inside-waistband) carry, consider getting a holster claw for deeper concealment. Here’s a quick rundown on holster claw pros & cons and when it’s best to use one.

Ease Of Draw

The best M&P Shield concealed carry holster will you to efficiently and smoothly draw your firearm with a proper, ready-to-shoot grip (also called positive grip) from any position with one hand.

I did speed draws on all of the holsters we tested and noted if anything hindered my ability to get my gun out quickly.

The more concealed your holster is, the slower your speed of draw will be. If you have a jacket that you need to unzip before drawing, for example. No matter how good your new holster is, you’ll need to practice your speed draws and threat focusing to make everything work efficiently.

Holster Build Quality & Material

Hard plastic holsters – made from Kydex, Boltaron, or Polymer – are currently the best choice for most M&P Shield users. They are more durable, affordable, and customizable than leather & fabric. They’re usually custom-molded to the gun, and have the most features & adjustability. We checked the Kydex thickness on each hard holster included, as well as its clip quality.

Leather holsters are softer than plastic and shape themselves to your body with time. A good quality leather holster – made out of thick leather – can be just as good as kydex for M&P Shield, but expect to pay more. Leather holsters have downsides: not waterproof, less adjustable & customizable, no click retention, need more maintenance and cleaning, expensive. You’ll need to make 100-150 draws to fully break in a leather holster. With that being said, a good expensive leather holster will also last you for years.

Hybrid holsters are made with 2 different materials. Usually, it’s a kydex shell to safely house your gun with a leather backer for comfort. We evaluated the thickness of kydex & leather, quality of hardware, and quality of clips for hybrid holsters reviewed to make sure they’re solid.

Full fabric holsters are made out of nylon or polymer. They’re cheap, but unless you’re going for pocket carry, we don’t recommend them for S&W M&P Shield (or any other gun, for that matter). The trigger can often be compromised through the material, and they tend to have lousy retention.

Holster clips & attachment system – one thing that online reviews don’t discuss enough is the holster’s attachment system – usually the clip. If the clip is weak, your entire holster will fall off when you bend to pick up your kid or pet a dog. That’s happened to me before. So I tested all clips for durability & holding strength, to make sure that it was extremely difficult for the rig to come off the belt.

Side note: See also our complete guide on holster materials, with in-depth comparisons and pros & cons.

Holster Adjustability & Customization

Differences in body size, hand size, and personal preferences can make or break how well a holster works for you. Holster adjustability allows you to customize the cant, ride height, and retention to suit your individual needs. Most holsters need some tweaking to get a really good fit – and we prioritized choosing adjustable models for our list. We also rated the manufacturers who have optics & laser cuts available higher in our scoring system.

Warranty & Returns

We only included holsters that are made in the USA with a lifetime warranty in our list. Fortunately, most companies fit the bill these days. Most also offer 30-day no-questions-asked returns.

Price & Value For Money

We tried to keep our picks at a manageable price point – most land somewhere between $50 and $150 — and offer different types of carry. Value for money was an important factor in the final inclusion to the list. As a rough rule of thumb, I don’t recommend holsters cheaper than $50 for M&P Shield or any other gun. All premium-priced holsters included in the list did justify their price with build quality & materials.

Holster Types Suitable For M&P Shield

IWB/AIWB (Inside The Waistband / Appendix) Holsters are the best holster type for M&P Shield concealed carry. You usually carry them strong side (4 o’clock, also known as hip carry) or appendix (1 o’clock, front of your body where the appendix is located). They’re reliable, easy to conceal, lightweight, and easier to access than other concealed carry holster types. See also the pros & cons of IWB vs AIWB carry

OWB (Outside The Waistband) Holsters are carried outside of the waistband mounted on your belt, or between your belt and your body. You usually carry OWB openly, although you can conceal one under a long shirt or a jacket. The pros of OWB holsters are better durability (made out of thicker material) and a faster draw speed for your M&P Shield. Types of OWB holsters include belt, paddle, & pancake holsters. See also the pros & cons of IWB vs OWB carry

Belly band holster is a wide neoprene belt that you attach your gun to that goes around your body. They’re good with M&P Shield for certain situations – running, gym, and situations when you can’t carry a belt on you. Or if you have a specific uniform that you have to wear at work that doesn’t allow you to easily carry an IWB holster.

Shoulder holsters are usually made of leather and can be difficult to set up right. They’re difficult to get right and aren’t a good concealed carry option for most people. For this reason, we chose not to include a shoulder holster for M&P Shield at this time.

Chest holsters are located on your chest instead of under your shoulder. A chest holster is easier to set up than a shoulder holster, but more difficult to conceal. It’s good for having access to your gun without it obstructing your movement – while motorcycling or hiking, for example.

Thigh / Drop Leg Holsters are open carry holsters with the M&P Shield being located on your thigh. The gun is easy to access, and the draw speed is good. The weight of the gun is also moved away from your waist to your thigh. Drop-leg holsters are preferred by law enforcement and the military.

Ankle holsters are not good for M&P Shield because of its size. They’re good for carrying a smaller backup gun, if you think that you might need one. Ankle holsters come with many downsides: slow draw speed, impossible to draw while moving, dust & dirt, need to wear long pants at all times.

Related: We made a list of literally every single holster type you can buy right now (even the ones you shouldn’t!)

S&W M&P Shield Concealed Carry Tips

Concealed carry is not easy. You will need an adjustment period unless you want your license to get revoked for some stupid stuff.

You’ll need to:

  • Review the clothing that you wear day-to-day
  • Find a holster that works for you and your lifestyle (IWB for most)
  • Pick a concealed carry position that works for you (usually IWB or AIWB)
  • Get used to having your gun on you in public places
  • Review the activities you do while carrying

Note: Here’s a short list of F.A.Q.s to give you the rundown on concealed carry, and our list of concealed carry tips as well.

Then there’s practice. To use your gun effectively when the need arises. That includes:

  • Regular maintenance of your gun and ammunition. Many folks carry the same magazine for 2 years, not realizing that primers and powder are susceptible to extreme heat, cold, and moisture. Changing carry ammo every 6 months is a good rule of thumb.
  • Proper grip while drawing
  • Practicing basic extraction and reholstering
  • One-shot drills
  • Accuracy practice
  • Speed draws
  • Threat focusing


Is S&W M&P Shield Good For Concealed Carry Gun?

Yes, it is. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is a popular compact handgun designed for concealed carry. It is a striker-fired pistol that features a polymer frame and a stainless steel slide. The M&P Shield comes in both 9mm and .40 S&W calibers and has a slim, single-stack design that makes it easy to conceal.

The 9mm version of the M&P Shield has a standard capacity of 7+1 rounds, while the .40 S&W version has a standard capacity of 6+1 rounds. However, there are extended magazines available that increase the capacity to 8+1 and 7+1, respectively.

The M&P Shield has a number of safety features, including trigger safety, a firing pin block, and a loaded chamber indicator. It also has an optional manual thumb safety. These safety features make the M&P Shield a reliable choice for personal protection.

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is available in several different models, each with their own unique features:

  1. M&P Shield: This is the standard model of the M&P Shield and is available in 9mm and .40 S&W calibers. It has a 3.1-inch barrel and a slim, single-stack design.
  2. M&P Shield EZ: The M&P Shield EZ is designed for easy operation and is available in both 9mm and .380 ACP calibers. It features a lighter recoil spring, an easy-to-rack slide, and a tactile loaded chamber indicator.
  3. M&P Shield M2.0: The M&P Shield M2.0 is an upgraded version of the standard M&P Shield. It features an improved trigger, aggressive grip texture, and enhanced sights.
  4. M&P Shield Plus: The M&P Shield Plus is a model that features an extended magazine for increased capacity. The 9mm version has a standard capacity of 10+1 rounds, while the .40 S&W version has a standard capacity of 8+1 rounds.

What Are A Holster’s Ride & Cant? Which Cant Is Best?

Holster ride height cant chart
Chart source
  • The holster’s cant is the holster’s angle.
  • Holsters’ ride is the holster’s height.

There are 3 main cant types and 2 main ride types you can use on most waistband holsters:

  • Neutral Cant: The top of the holster is directly above the bottom of the holster. This cant is great for carrying on the side of your hip and on your strong side. Drawing from this position is a natural movement and is comfortable.
  • Positive/Forward Cant (also known as the FBI cant): The grip of the holster is angled forward. This is best used on your strong side, usually in the 4 o’clock or kidney position.
  • Negative/Reverse Cant: The grip of the holster is angled backward. This position makes gripping your gun easier when carrying cross-draw or appendix. The grip will be shifted toward your hand for easier drawing.
  • A higher ride will usually give you a faster draw. The downside is that it potentially compromises on comfort & concealment.
  • A lower ride can be better for concealment and comfort. Especially with appendix carry.

Parting Shots & Loose Rounds


We really went overboard with this one.

So I’ll be brief here.

Hope we helped you find the best holster for your S&W M&P Shield. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

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