Choose the Right Concealed Carry Holster

Start by getting to know your customers and their specific concealed carry situations.

Choose the Right Concealed Carry Holster

“I’m looking for a holster for my concealed carry firearm” is not only an invitation to meet a customer’s needs with the right product but also to introduce him or her to a broader world of self-defense tools and training. Do it well and you’ll sell more holsters while winning long-term customers. 

Here are four tips for selling concealed carry holsters. And more.

Know Your Customers

“Know thy customer” is more than merely knowing customer names and hobbies. In the world of concealed carry, you need to know what firearms they carry, how or where on their person they prefer to carry, and why. Of course you should encourage the lawful carry of concealed firearms — right in your store — but you should also take time to talk with customers about which firearm they carry for personal defense. 

Create a lot of conversation around this topic (as long as they’re comfortable) and show genuine interest, asking for not only the reasons they chose this or that firearm, but what drove them to carry a concealed firearm in the first place. In all likelihood, you’ll hear some interesting stories, philosophies and worldviews that feed into their desire to carry a concealed handgun. 

What you learn in these conversations isn’t merely to demonstrate interest and create a helpful bond; it’s for you to learn more about what your customers hope to accomplish in this very significant form of self defense. You’ll likely learn about how often customers carry, what firearms they carry, whether they’ve ever had to use their firearms in self defense, how often they practice at a range, and what training they’ve experienced, if any at all. You’ll learn about whether they carry consistently — every time they leave their homes, only when in the city, when they think they may be in a bad part of town, or even while they’re in their homes.

Many of these decisions and situations of course can affect holster choices and one of your goals is to show your customers exactly that. They may currently think they’re well served by one particular type or style of holster — and they may be. But they may be helped by discussing other holster options with you and understanding the wide variety of holsters available today that may serve them better. 

Some new customer insights or at least ways for them to think about concealed carry may result from the following topics:

  • For the customer who chooses to carry the same type of firearm the local police carry as a duty sidearm, ask about any signs of carry fatigue or signs that the holster may not be adequate. Perhaps the customer has a decent holster but not an actual gun belt. Perhaps the holster itself is too bulky or heavy and a lighter option would do just as well.
  • For the customer who chooses to carry a firearm in a purse or a fanny pack or some other form of off-body carry, ask about issues related to access and draw and reholstering. Ask about any other gear that may get in the way of a clean grasp and draw or other accessories that could interfere with any part of the firearm. Ask about how well the firearm is secured in the purse or fanny pack.
  • For the customer who carries in a jacket pocket, ask about how the trigger guard is (or isn’t) covered or if the firearm moves around in the pocket, preventing a clean grasp and draw.

Resist the urge to immediately lecture them on the pros and cons of this or that type of carry or this or that type of holster. Be ready to answer their questions as you learn about how they carry and their minds start to wrap around the myriad issues associated with safe and secure concealed carry. Yes, some problems and solutions will be readily apparent. As you help your customers find solutions, just remember to take the time to help them understand why the solution works. Earn their trust by taking the time to get to know them and their concealed carry situation.

Offer Plenty of Demos

As your customers warm up to the idea of how they can improve their concealed carry situations with a different holster, be able and willing to provide plenty of demo holsters to help make the point. If possible, use your customer’s actual firearm (made safe and presented safely, of course) or your store’s demo version of the same gun and allow them to try the actual holster you’re recommending. At worst, they learn what doesn’t work for them and the holster can be repackaged and sold. At best, the customer gets to engage with the actual product, “trying it on” and getting a feel for it and perhaps practicing a draw. This requires careful supervision and a safe space, of course, so plan accordingly. But let your customers get their hands on the leather, the plastic, and other materials that comprise concealed carry holsters these days. Be prepared to have, as appropriate, male and female sales staff with helpful attitudes and real-life experiences on hand to help with some issues related to fitting and drawing.

In all likelihood, customers will ask you what you carry, in what holster, and why. Be ready and willing to tell them but be ready also to help them think through their own situation and to choose a concealed carry holster based on that. Just because you carry this gun in that holster doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing for your customer. 

  • For the customer who may not be sure where the right concealed carry location is on their person, have an inert firearm (such as a blue gun) available with a few different holster fits. Minimally, simple inside the waistband and outside the waistband holsters will cover a lot of holstering options. But also have on hand a pocket, ankle holster and shoulder holsters as well as a holster that’s meant for a purse or bag. Granted, some holsters are more complex and may not be suitable options for many of your customers. But at least show them why with the demos.

Provide Training Options

Training can mean a lot of things in the firearms industry, from private classes taught by professional instructors to helpful demos and how-to’s provided by your store’s sales staff. Check with your legal counsel on any liability issues related to whatever instruction you provide to your customers but try to provide some helpful guidelines on how to use a firearm and a concealed carry holster. 

In fact, one means of providing customers with instruction is to have a professional instructor in your store (or perhaps by video, on your website) show how to choose, install and draw from concealment. Promote the instructor’s presence well in advance and invite the public to what is in essence a mini clinic on concealed carry. Allow for a few demos with some general instruction and then open it up for question and answer. After the clinic, give out a coupon or provide some other incentive to do some shopping right then and there.

Even as customers shop and decide what to buy, emphasize the importance of proper training and provide some training resources. Ideally, it’s a professional instructor on-site at your store offering instruction to a class of your customers.

  • For customers who cannot attend professional training, provide a list of other resources they can look into. Even a simple one-pager on how to practice drawing and presenting can be a skill-builder and confidence booster for a customer.


Selling concealed carry holsters of course provides tremendous opportunity for cross-selling. Often newbie concealed carriers don’t realize how useful a real gun belt can be. And then working through concealed carry holsters may help a customer realize he or she could benefit from carrying a different firearm. Or, multiple holsters may be needed for a customer’s multiple concealed carry scenarios. Of course, firearms require ammunition. And ammunition often needs to be carried as well — revolver rounds in a speed loader of some kind (and then in a holster) and pistol magazines in a magazine holster. It’s always a good idea to carry some kind of portable light or tactical light. And then there’s a potential need for less-than-lethal tools such as a tactical pen. And don’t forget knives and multi-tools. Many of these tools should be sold with great encouragement to get training on how to use them, as well.

  • Every customer will be different. Think through the gamut of needs your customers may have and consider how your store may provide a solution for each. For customers who aren’t yet ready to carry something on their person but who are interested in self defense, offer a class on situational awareness and how to avoid trouble. Perhaps the sales opportunities there are just flashlights or tactical pens. For customers who are interested in more, offer a progression of products and training to meet their needs.


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