Holster Claw: To Use Or Not To Use [Claw vs No Claw]

claw vs no claw on holsters pros cons when to use when to avoid

In this post claw vs no claw post, we’ll: 

  • Explain in simple terms what a holster claw is and how it works
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a holster claw
  • And outline the situations where you should probably be using one

We’ll also take a look at some alternatives to using a holster claw. 

In case you want that extra concealment but don’t want to or can’t use a claw. 

Ready? Let’s get started…

What Is a Holster Claw and How Does It Work?

A holster claw is a small attachment that goes on your concealed carry holster. Its main purpose is to improve concealment by keeping the grip of your firearm close to your body. 

The magic happens when the claw pushes against the inside of your waistband or belt, angling the grip inwards.

Here’s how it works: 

  • The claw sits just below the trigger guard area on your holster.
  • When you’re wearing a holster with a claw, pressure is applied to both sides – one side from the belt/waistband and another from that nifty little claw.
  • This creates an inward force which “tucks in” your gun’s grip, keeping it from printing through your clothes. And bringing you to deeper concealment.

Some concealment holsters have built-in claws, but more commonly they’re offered as optional add-ons. 

But before you jump on board with Team Claw Holsters (which sounds like an awesome superhero team), let’s dive into their advantages and disadvantages so you can make an informed decision.

Key Takeaway: 


A holster claw is a small attachment that improves concealment by keeping the grip of your firearm close to your body. It works by pushing against the inside of your waistband or belt, angling the grip inwards and reducing printing.

Advantages of Using a Holster Claw

Better Concealment

The primary reason most folks opt for a holster claw is to improve concealment. 

The claw pushes against the inside of your pants or belt, which in turn angles the grip closer to your body. 

This helps prevent “printing” where the outline of your gun becomes visible through clothing. More specifically, the claw prevents the printing of your gun’s grip that would otherwise stick out much more vs. wearing a claw. 

Increased Comfort

You might think that having something extra poking into your side would be uncomfortable. 

But in many cases, holster claws actually increase your comfort by distributing pressure more evenly across your waistline. 

It’s like giving your firearm a big ol’ bear hug.

Improved Stability

By applying pressure against your belt or waistband, the holster claw can help keep your firearm in place during everyday activities.

Not that you’d have issues with that anyway, with a properly chosen holster. 

But a claw will give you that extra little bit of stability when on the move, especially if you’re packing something heavier. 

Potentially, Also Safety

The claw rotates the grip of your gun into the abdomen (for better concealment). 

It can lever the muzzle way from the body a bit, which could aid in safety when it comes to appendix carry. 

Side note: Just added this point in as a side note. With proper draw technique & a good holster, the safety is not an issue with AIWB carry. 

In short, if you’re looking for improved concealment and comfort in your concealed carry setup, adding a holster claw might just be the ticket. 

But, as with everything, there are downsides to carrying one. 

Let’s take a closer look at them below. 

Key Takeaway: 


A holster claw can improve your concealment, comfort, and security.

Disadvantages of Using a Holster Claw


I just said above that a holster claw might make your holster more comfortable, right? 

So what gives? 

Well, here’s the thing. 

With the grip of your gun pushing deeper into your side than it otherwise would, you might find the holster claw uncomfortable. That’s especially the case if your body composition is on the bigger side. If you’ve got more meat on your sides, let’s put it that way. 

Fortunately, most holster claws are adjustable, meaning that you can adjust how strong you want your grip to angle inside of your waistline. 

And from my experience, most people who try a holster claw do end up finding an angle that both (1) gives them better concealment, (2) and doesn’t feel uncomfortable. 

Increased Holster Size

A holster with a claw will generally add some bulk and weight compared to minimalist holsters without one.

This won’t bother most people, but if you’re trying to keep things as light and minimalist as possible. 

You should know that it does make your holster less minimalist and streamlined. 

Limited Compatibility With Carry Positions

Holster claws work best in the appendix position. 

You also have the most to gain from a holster claw if the grip of your gun is on the bigger side. 

If you carry in another position, or your gun is on the smaller size, then the benefits might not be worth it for you. 

An easy test to determine this is to check whether or not the grip of your gun is printing without a claw. If it is – you should definitely consider getting one. 

Not Always Necessary for Concealment

Depending on your body type and clothing choices, you might be able to achieve excellent concealed carry without a claw.

  • If your wardrobe consists mainly of loose-fitting clothes, then the added concealment provided by the claw may not make much difference.
  • In some cases (like carrying at 4 o’clock), using a holster without a claw might actually be more comfortable due to less pressure on your hip bone.

If that’s the case, adding a claw could just complicate things unnecessarily and make it harder to find the perfect balance between comfort and concealability. See also the pros & cons of IWB vs AIWB carry

Key Takeaway: 


Holster claws increase the “complexity” of your holster and might decrease your carry comfort. Additionally, they may not be necessary for effective concealment depending on body type and clothing choices.

When to Use a Holster Claw

Appendix Carry: The Claw’s Best Friend

If you’re rocking an appendix carry (AIWB), then a holster with a claw is your new BFF. 


Because the claw works its magic by pushing against your belt, angling the grip of your gun closer to your body for better concealment. 

This is especially helpful in AIWB since that pesky grip tends to stick out like a sore thumb otherwise.

Tight Clothing: No Problem

With a claw holster, you can wear tighter clothing than you usually would, without giving away the fact that you’re carrying.

The improved concealment provided by the claw allows you to wear form-fitting clothes without printing or revealing that there’s something hidden underneath.

Bigger Guns With Longer Grips

By tucking that bigger grip closer to your body, a claw makes it possible for you to conceal a larger gun in appendix carry position. 

That you otherwise might not have been able to conceal. 

Note: If we’re talking Dirty Harry-sized hand cannons here… Although the claw may offer some relief, it’s likely not enough to carry a Dirty Harry-sized hand cannon comfortably and discreetly.

Key Takeaway: 


A holster claw can be a concealment game-changer for appendix carry or larger firearms. It provides improved concealment and allows for comfortable and discreet carrying, especially when wearing form-fitting clothes.

Alternatives to Using a Holster Claw

Tuckable Holsters

If you’re all about dressing up and tucking in those shirts, tuckable holsters may be right up your alley. 

These holsters allow you to tuck your shirt over the gun and between the clips/hooks while still keeping it concealed.

While the shirt will offer some additional concealment for your gun, you can also combine it with a holster claw for max concealment. 

Belly Bands & Corset Holsters

  • Belly bands: If you prefer exercising your Second Amendment rights while also exercising your body (or just lounging around), belly band holsters offer comfort and versatility by wrapping around your midsection with an elastic band.
  • Bra holsters: Ladies, we didn’t forget about you. Bra holsters are designed specifically for women and provide a comfortable concealed carry option. Not for bigger guns though. 

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

Ankle Holsters & Pocket Holsters

If appendix carry (or belt carry) isn’t quite your jam, there’s always the option of going with a pocket holster for a smaller firearm:

A pocket holster – as the name suggests – is designed to hold small guns securely in place inside your pocket while preventing printing through clothing.

Key Takeaway: 


If you’re not a fan of holster claws, there are plenty of other options for concealed carry. Tuckable holsters, belly bands and bra holsters for women are just some of them. Pocket holsters are also available if you’ve decided that waistband carry is not your jam at all.

Claw vs No Claw FAQs

Does a Holster Claw Really Help?

Yes, a holster claw can significantly improve concealment and comfort for concealed carry in the appendix carry position. It works by applying pressure against the wearer’s belt, which angles the grip of the firearm closer to the body, reducing printing and making it less noticeable.

What is the Purpose of the Concealment Claw?

The primary purpose of a concealment claw is to enhance weapon concealment when carrying inside-the-waistband (IWB). By leveraging against your belt or waistline, it pushes the grip closer to your body, minimizing printing and ensuring better overall discretion while carrying.

What is Claw or No Claw?

“Claw” refers to an attachment on certain holsters designed for improved weapon concealment. “No Claw” means that such an attachment isn’t present on a given holster. Choosing between these options depends on personal preference and whether you prioritize enhanced discreetness over simplicity in design.

Can You Put a Claw on Any Holster?

Not all holsters are compatible with claws; however, many IWB holsters have provisions for adding one aftermarket. 


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.

When it comes to concealed carry, the holster you choose is just as important as the firearm you carry. 

A good holster should provide adequate protection for the trigger guard, ensure proper retention, and offer comfortable and discreet carry.

Claw holsters, as mentioned earlier, have an attachment that pushes the grip of the firearm closer to the body, improving concealment. 

This design is especially useful for those who carry larger firearms in the appendix carry position.

Ultimately, the choice between claw vs no claw holsters comes down to personal preference and individual needs. 

If you prioritize enhanced concealment and are willing to pay a little extra, a claw holster may be the way to go. If you prefer a simpler design and prioritize comfort, a no claw holster may be a better fit.

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