The 5 Best IDPA Holsters (Play by the Rules)

best IDPA holster

When USPSA competition holsters, guns, and matches got too unrealistic shooters broke off and decided to make real-world shoots a competition. That’s how IDPA was born. Holsters, firearms and magazine pouches are strictly limited to what an armed citizen or police officer might have on them when they find themselves in violent confrontation. That doesn’t mean that it’s not heavily gear driven, on the contrary making sure you have the correct holster is going to go a long way to making you a successful IDPA shooter

Special Considerations for IDPA

Make sure when you buy a holster specifically for IDPA shooting that it is something that you might use for concealed carry. The purpose behind IDPA shoots have to simulate real-world encounters. Remember, all the gear you use an IDPA is going to be checked by judges to make sure that it is legal and within IDPA holster rules.

Anything that wouldn’t be used in a real-world encounter is not allowed in an IDPA match. Most of your standard concealed carry rigs are going to be perfect as are some specifically sanctioned modifications that you can read about online.

Most people would recommend that you buy a concealed carry holster that you are going to use day in and day out and use that for IDPA. It’s going to make you a more prepared armed citizen while making you a better IDPA shooter at the same time.

The 5 Best IDPA Holsters

1. BLADE TECH INDUSTRIES IDPA Competition Shooters Pack

bladetech competition holsters for glock 17

Best competition holster for Glock 17​

Blade Tech Industries got their start making extremely high-quality kydex holsters for competitive shooters. It’s no surprise that they make one of the best IDPA holsters in existence. Years of experience has led them down the road of high quality designs at winning prices for shooters and any budget.

This competition shooters pack is completely IDPA legal and is an excellent start to anybody looking for a leg up against the other competition. Starting with the exceptionally high quality kydex that Blade Tech Industries makes, they are known for their holsters being maintenance free and are built with a rugged material that will last you a lifetime.

It includes adjustable retention for both the outside the waistband holster and magazine pouch and is available for dozens of guns and both left and right-hand configurations. Overall, the best feature of this holster and magazine holder set up is the simplicity and ruggedness. That is what makes Blade Tech IDPA holsters so great.

When you had your competition with this set up, you’ll have nothing to worry about. No wondering if it’s going to break in the match, no surprises when it comes time to make sure your gear is legal, everything is going to be done right and last forever if it came from Blade Tech Industries.

2. Safariland 5198 Paddle and Belt Loop Holster with Detent

Best IDPA Holster for 1911​

Few companies are as proven as Safariland. They make a ton of different products for military and law-enforcement, as well as civilian shooters and have put out more battle proven products than any other company on earth.

Making some the best holsters in existence there’s no surprise that they make some of the most versatile and useful holsters for IDPA. This is an excellent example that will get you rock ‘n rolling in IDPA in no time.

A simple and effective paddle holster that incorporates a belt loop for secure attachment to your belt and an adjustable detent to keep your weapon secure while running around the course, this is an exceptionally high quality holster for not a lot of money.

Safariland brings street proven features and designs in this holster at a fraction of the cost of other companies. Most notably, an open front that allows for an extremely fast draw without compromising rigidity or retention of the weapon.

You’ll find few other companies that put as much detail into this holster that is equally at home for concealed carry, open carry outside the waistband, or IDPA. The ergonomically designed soft nylon paddle holster is designed with STX black finish and the compact and lightweight design are going to please anybody who carries a gun.

3. Safariland 6378USN ALS Paddle & Belts Slide Wrapped

holster for IDPA

Safariland has well over 100 holsters that would be good for IDPA but this holster, in particular, stands out. It is a paddle style holster with an adjustable belt loop that incorporates an active retention mechanism along with adjustable passive retention and a suede lining inside the holster body. This protects your gun from falling out, from being scratched by the holster, and the exterior Cordura wrap is exceptionally comfortable. You can wear this holster all day at a match and never even realize it’s there.

This holster incorporates the ALS locking system similar to products manufactured by Galco. It uses a thumb break retention system that naturally disengages as you draw your gun. It takes virtually no time to train around this small device but it adds an enormous level of security and retention to the holster.

You may not need external retention for IDPA but it’s always nice to know that your gun is not going to fall out of the holster as you move through the course, or as you manipulate other pieces of your equipment. Having your gun fall out of the holster can easily lead to a safety violation that ruined your match and this holster will prevent that.

The injection molded belt loop is user adjustable for cant which allows it to be used as a strong side belt holster or cross draw easily making this one of the most versatile holsters on the market.

Although expensive, this holster goes the extra mile to protect you and your firearm. It's perfect for someone looking for a very specific list of features without compromising, in order to get the best holster for IDPA.

4. Safariland 568 Custom Fit Belt & Paddle Holster

idpa holster rules

if you’re looking for a basic pass-through leather holster for IDPA, this is an excellent option from Safariland. Made from extremely high-quality suede in genuine leather this holster is designed for strong side hip carry and incorporates a paddle mount for comfort.

Many people prefer the old school leather loop style of holster and Safariland puts out an awesome product with this custom fit. It fits well over a dozen different firearms. You get a custom fit holster for your gun for not a lot of money that will last much longer than other brands.

For the money, there are few holsters available that will fit as many different guns with as much comfort as this holster affords. Available in right and left-handed versions in solid black this holster is comfortable to wear all day no matter what the weather. It will require minimal maintenance to make sure the leather is dry, clean and well conditioned but the exceptionally high quality construction of this holster is going to be far less than competitors models.

In the world of competition shooting, simple is always better. There are few holsters on the market made of leather that are simple and low-profile as this one from Safariland. Strongly consider this holster if you’re looking for an old-school leather holster for IDPA.

5. Safariland 5196 Belt Slide Holster with Detent Left Hand

If you're a left-handed shooter looking for an intelligently designed holster look no further. If you're lefty, you’ll quickly notice that many holsters on the market were simply not designed to be ambidextrous. While many manufacturers simply slap the belt loop of their holster on the other side and call it a lefty holster, Safariland has gone to the trouble of actually designing a holster that works well in the left-hand position.

Many design features that you expect from a high-end pistol holster maker like Safariland are present as well as a few smaller design refinements that aren’t as common. For example, the heavy-duty nylon and kydex construction of this holster is apparent as soon as you pick it up, but the smooth bevelling and cutouts for a fast draw are only noticeable once you start using it.

This holster features a detent in the trigger guard for extra protection from the weapon falling out. Having your gun fall out of its holster when you go to shoot can result in you losing your match for safety reasons, so it's wise to get a good secure holster to prevent this!

If you’re a lefty looking for the best IDPA holster for your shooting set up seriously consider this holster from Safariland. It’s a maintenance free, intelligently designed holster that will last you a lifetime and never let you down.

​Bottom Line

IDPA shoots are supposed to simulate real world encounters. Getting better at IDPA and winning matches can translate well into being a more prepared armed citizen. That means having the correct gear and knowing how to use it. Many of the holsters that are legal for IDPA competitions are excellent concealed carry options and the best IDPA holster for you is going to be the holster you have on you when you need your gun. Even a comp-tac IPDA kit can serve admirably in both roles.

Get the best IDPA holster you can afford, use your concealed carry holster and practice as often as you can. Your match, and possibly your life could depend on it.