What Side Does Gun Holster Go On?

A Comprehensive Guide

Holsters are designed to help with the carrying of firearms as well as ensure safe storage and use. It also makes sure to keep it away from people who shouldn’t be touching or using it. A holster is essential for those who carry firearms because they help avoid accidents such as dropping it, losing it, having it stolen, and keeping it away from children. “What side does gun holster go on?” this article will discuss the position of the holster on your body.

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Most gun holsters are made of leather, which is the most common material used to make them. There are also organic materials such as wood, bamboo, plastic, and other composite materials to make gun holsters.

What Side Does A Gun Holster Go On?

The specific sides of the gun holster depend upon what type of holster it is and where it sits on your body.  So when answering this question, it is essential to be specific to the kind of holster you are using. Let’s go ahead and look at some of the different types of gun holsters to help answer this question.

Inside Waistband (IWB) Holsters

Inside waistband holsters are positioned on your side below your beltline, inward toward your strong side. Some of these types of holsters are designed with loops for you to slide your belt through. At the same time, some are made with two parts that sit between your underwear and the outside of your pants. They attach to the belt loops of your pants and sit flat against your body with a clip or the backing holding it in place. The right side for an inside waistband holster is either on the left or right, depending on which hand you shoot with. Each IWB holster is different, so be sure to read through any included instructions before use.

Outside the Waistband (OWB) Holsters

Outside waistband holsters are positioned below your beltline but away from your body instead of inward toward it. Most people that carry a firearm in this type of holster prefer them because they don’t rub up against you when sitting down and can easily be concealed with an untucked shirt. These require a holster belt to attach to, typically standard belts that you wear around your waist. The right side or the left side is determined by if you’re right-handed or left-handed. They can be positioned in the center of the body if you’re ambidextrous because they’re easily moved. Still, it’s more common for people that carry in this fashion to have one specifically designed for their dominant side.

Outside the Waistband (OWB) Holsters

Centerline Carry

This holster type sits on a person’s centerline and doesn’t rub against their body while sitting down because it’s positioned away from the body instead of inward toward it like IWB holsters. Centerline carry is usually worn above or below the waistband and is more common with people who wear their belts high on their waists. These holsters are attached to a belt, either your standard everyday type of belt worn around your waist or a tactical style belt with small loops to hold it in place. Because these belts sit above and below the beltline of your pants, they’re usually made of stiffer leather than regular belts and don’t have holes through them for sizing. This means you need to measure your center point before choosing what size to buy.

Inside Waistband (IWB) Holsters

Paddle Holsters

Paddle holsters are similar to belt holsters in that they have a wide, flat paddle on the inside of the holster’s trigger guard area and a holster to hold your firearm. The difference is that these holsters use a large piece to rest against your body instead of a metal clip like most others do. This makes it easier to take it on and off but makes it more difficult for the holster to stay secure since it doesn’t always match up perfectly with your belt. These holsters can sit on either side depending on if you’re right-handed or left-handed, so if you choose this one, then you’d place the paddle parts on your dominant side, and the gun would rest on your other side.

Belly Band Holsters

A belly band holster is similar to an IWB but only holds the inside waistband instead of both the inside and outside the waistband. It’s usually made of elastic or nylon to stretch around your body, or at least close enough to do the job. It doesn’t attach to a belt as other holster types do so that it can be moved up and down your torso without any issues. If you prefer to carry concealed, it will go on whichever side feels most comfortable for you.

Thigh Holsters

Thigh holsters can either slip over your foot or wrap behind it with Velcro when worn with boots instead of pants, making them perfect when hunting. They’re also designed to not fall out while running if used correctly by wearing them diagonally around your upper leg. Because of where they’re located on your body, these holsters are generally positioned behind the strong side (the side you shoot with). Keep this in mind when trying to determine which direction they go.

Shoulder Holsters

Shoulder holsters come with straps that attach around your shoulders and your waist. They can also come with harnesses for extra support if needed. This type is made, so it doesn’t move much once attached, making them a favorite among law enforcement officers who have to run after criminals frequently. These holsters connect to a gun belt at their rear, which should sit right underneath a person’s armpit or as close as possible to it, so they don’t bounce around when moving.

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Shoulder Holster (45", Right)

Chest Holsters

A chest holster is strapped over your shoulders like a backpack, but it consists of two adjustable shoulder straps that intersect in the center of your chest and an extra strap around your waist to hold everything in place. These holsters are used by hunters who spend long hours carrying their firearms on their backs while hiking through trails searching for game. This kind of holster sits almost directly above your heart, so it’s worn on the dominant side (the side you shoot with). It could be positioned on either side depending on if you’re right-handed or left-handed, though. For example, right-handed people usually choose to carry this holster’s gun butt pointed toward their left side and vice versa for left-handed people.

Ankle Holsters

Ankle holsters are usually used by people who carry concealed while they’re sitting in a car, and for this reason, most of them attach to the lower leg instead of the thigh as regular ones do. These holsters often have extra padding to cushion your skin from your firearm, but it’s less comfortable than wearing one on another part of the body due to the position it takes on your body when worn there. If you wear these holsters with boots instead of pants, this usually causes uncomfortable chafing against your foot and ankle. These holsters can go either way depending on whether you’re right-handed or left-handed, though generally, right-handed shooters will choose to carry it pointed toward their left side.

Drop Leg Holsters

Drop leg holsters are designed to be worn on your dominant side so you can quickly access your firearm without fumbling around to reach it. This holster consists of two leg straps that attach to the holster itself and then around your dominant side, so it holds the weapon close to your center of gravity for easy access. These holsters can be worn on either side depending on if you’re right-handed or left-handed, so if you’re right-handed, then you’d choose to carry it toward your left side with the grip pointing toward yourself instead. If you’re left-handed, the firearm will go on the opposite side with its grip facing away from you.


People who usually carry concealed inside a car may choose to use an ankle holster instead of the typical way because it’s less visible when you’re sitting down. If you don’t have time to draw your firearm before criminals can attack, this is one way to help keep you safe.

While some people prefer carrying their firearm in a pocket holster instead of a regular one, there are certain places where it’s more comfortable to wear a holster. Wearing these holsters on the hips is usually more comfortable than anywhere else, but wearing them at your ankle can be less so because it affects your gait and steps while walking with a firearm attached to that part of your body.

This depends on the size of the gun you plan on carrying in it. Smaller guns are more accessible to conceal than larger ones, so it would be relatively easy to conceal in one of these holsters if you choose a smaller firearm with less firepower. However, if your gun is medium-sized or more significant, it would be harder to conceal in one of these holster types without wearing a long jacket or coat that could hide the bulkiness.


While there are many different types of holsters you can use to carry your firearm, the side it should go on depends on whether you’re right-handed or left-handed. If you’re right-handed, then the gun should go toward the left side of yourself and point away from yourself so that if needed, you could quickly grab it without fumbling around. If you’re left-handed, it should go on the right side of yourself with the grip pointing toward you instead. Different situations will require different types of holsters. Still, the general rule is that your dominant hand holster goes on your dominant side while non-dominant hands have their holster closer to its opposite side. Each type of holster has its unique purpose and is designed for different purposes, so it’s essential to choose the most comfortable and convenient for you.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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