Paddle Holster Vs. Belt Holster: Which Is Better For You?

Paddle Holster Vs. Belt Holster: Which Is Better For You?

Paddle Holster Vs. Belt Holster: Which Is Better For You?

Carrying a gun around requires you to think of many aspects, the main one being the safety of you and those around you. 

Gun owners know that there are two main types of holsters that can be used to carry handguns. However, they may not necessarily know the differences between the two and which one is ideal for them.

Paddle holster and belt holster are the two main types available to carry handguns. These two have significant differences.

Paddle Holster vs. belt holster: which is better for you? Continue reading this article to find out about these two types of holsters.

What Is A Paddle Holster?

A paddle holster is also known as a duck bill. It’s aptly named because it looks like a paddle. Paddle holsters are a relatively modern addition and provide versatility and comfort.

Paddle holsters hold handguns in place at the waist. Paddle holders work with the use of a flap that is usually made of plastic or stiffened leather.

The flap is generally flat or contoured to the shape of the firearm it holds because it can easily fit the gun.

The interior of the paddle holster is made of non-friction material to prevent the holster from being pulled upwards when drawing out the weapon. Besides this, you can quickly remove the handgun from a paddle holster.

What Is A Belt Holster?

A belt holster is a traditional holster that has been used for a long time. It provides a tight fit, so it’s not easy to remove the handgun from the holster.

A belt holster fits directly onto a belt. You must slide belt straps through loops on the holster to keep it secure.

The belt holster is a type of over-the-waistband (OWB) product that requires you to remove your belt to remove it.

The belt holster keeps the handgun in a fixed position. It’s also a great way of concealing firearms you’re carrying. These holsters keep the guns in place and prevent accident slippage.

Paddle Holster Vs. Belt Holster: Which Is Better?

Both paddle holsters and belt holsters have their advantages and disadvantages. You must take note of the benefits and drawbacks when deciding which is better for you.

Using a specific type of holster also depends on the situation in which you’ll be using the handgun. 

Below are the pros and cons of paddle and belt holsters to help you decide which one is better for you.

Pros And Cons Of Paddle Holster


  • It allows you to adjust the angle of the holster, also known as the can’t. It ensures that the firearm is in a comfortable draw position.
  • It’s easy to remove the gun and the holster simultaneously.
  • It allows for a smoother draw because it keeps the broad base of the clip close to the body.
  • You can place it anywhere on the waistband or belt.
  • You can quickly reposition the holster when standing up or getting out of a vehicle.
  • It stabilizes the gun for fast removal.


  • The holster is easy to remove, making it unsuitable for open carry.
  • The handgun won’t be adequately concealed, making it easily noticeable for those around.
  • It only fits into the belt via a belt clip and not through loops, which makes it less secure in combat situations.

Pros And Cons Of Belt Holster


  • It fits high on the waist, which helps to conceal a weapon while wearing long clothes.
  • It requires the removal of the belt to take out the weapon, which makes it almost impossible to remove by mistake.
  • It comes in so many styles to choose from. You can select the perfect match for you.
  • It offers excellent grip retention.
  • You can wear it anywhere on the belt, except for the buckle at the front.


  • It’s difficult to reposition the holster without removing the belt entirely.
  • It doesn’t allow you to adjust the draw angle.
  • It’s harder to withdraw a gun, especially when you’re cramped or bent.
  • To meet holster compatibility requirements, you need a thick belt made of heavy-duty leather or nylon.

Difference Between A Paddle Holster And Belt Holster

Although both holster types are used to hold handguns in place, they are significantly different from each other.

Belt holsters go through loops in a belt, whereas a paddle holster has a separate paddle section that fits into the waistband or belt.

Belt holsters provide great concealment and can be carried close to the body. On the other hand, paddle holsters are much more revealing, protruding from the side of the body, and have higher retention attributes.

Which Is Better?

Whether you choose to go for a paddle holster or belt holster depends on your preferences and the situation you’ll be using it in.

Belt holsters are low-profile, so they are ideal for those who want to conceal their weapons and not make a big deal of it. Paddle holsters are suitable for those looking to draw outside the waistband or belt.

You should also consider the situation in which you’ll be drawing out the weapon. If you need to constantly move about in a vehicle and get down, crouch, or bend over, you’re better off with a paddle holster.

A belt holster keeps the firearm in a rigid position, which can be uncomfortable for you in such a situation.

However, belt holsters provide the best in terms of securing the handgun.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Holster

Here are some primary factors to consider when choosing a suitable holster to carry your weapon.

Weapon Make And Model

Choosing a holster depending on the make and model of your firearm is vital to ensure the most secure fit. 

The weapon should fit snugly into the holster. Anything too tight is not what you want, especially when drawing out the weapon.

The gun should slide smoothly from the holster. It should not catch on the slide or frame of the holster. Test if your gun stays firmly inside the holster as you move.


Another factor to consider when choosing a holster is what activities you’ll perform while you have the handgun.

A paddle holster is ideal if you are engaging in activities that may require a quick draw out of the weapon.

 If you are out on a casual ride and need the weapon to be concealed, a belt holster should do the job.

Holster Retention Levels

Paddle and belt holsters are identified with a retention level designated by the manufacturers. The retention level describes the ability of the holster to retain the firearm and prevent anyone else from removing it.

There are four retention levels altogether. However, levels 1 and 2 are the most commonly used for personal carry.

  • Level 1 – Pressure Retention

A passive or pressure retention holster is molded to the make of the weapon. It increases friction between the holster and the weapon.

These holsters have a leather make that offers natural resistance and helps get optimum retention. You must push or pull and break the tension to draw the gun. It’s the acceptable retention level for concealed carry.

  • Level 2 – Active Retention

Active retention uses a backstrap, hood, or finger-operated lever to ensure the weapon stays in the holster.

This mechanism ‘locks’ the gun in place and should be deactivated on the draw stroke to remove the weapon from the holster. It prevents others from taking the firearm.

Most people in law enforcement carry firearms in holsters with active retention. It prevents the weapon from falling out of the holster when the person carrying it slips or falls.

Other examples of active retention are as follows.

  • Thumb break/ retention strap: It consists of a thin strap that goes over the rear of the gun. It must be disengaged with the thumb to draw the weapon from the holster.
  • Tension screw: It exists on both leather and Kydex holsters. The screws can be tightened to increase friction and improve the firmness between the holster and the gun.
  • Trigger guard lock: It is a locking mechanism built into the trigger guard section on a polymer holster. It’s made to prevent the gun from being removed until it’s taken.
  • Altered draw stroke retention: It requires the user to push down the gun to release the mechanism and draw the gun.

Final Thoughts

Paddle holsters and belt holsters both have their pros and cons. Which holster you use depends on the type of activities you’ll be doing and the firearm’s make.

Paddle holsters provide adjustability with the weapon, whereas belt holsters are great for concealment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need A Belt With A Paddle Holster?

You don’t need a belt with a paddle holster as it doesn’t contain loops to attach to the belt as belt holsters do.

Is A Paddle Holster Worn Inside The Pants?

A paddle holster is worn on a waistband outside the pants.

Is A Paddle Holster Better Than A Belt Holster?

Paddle holsters are better if you want a quick draw out of the weapon but not ideal if you are looking for adequate concealment.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Protected with IP Blacklist CloudIP Blacklist Cloud