An understudied market, the IDPA holster
While we’ve done countless reviews on some of the best OWB and IWB holsters on the market, we’ve done very little reviews for those who prefer an IDPA holster – those specifically approved for the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA).
For a holster approved by the IDPA, it must be concealable, worn only on your dominant side (that means no cross draws), and it basically has to be worn without falling or rocking about. While the IDPA holster rules get slightly more complex than that, these are the general guidelines to cover when purchasing a competition holster.
We’ve selected four of what we think are the best IDPA holsters available, and we’ll let you know what our top pick is at the end of the review. Whether you shoot best with a Glock, Smith and Wesson, Sig Sauer, or another pistol, there’s an approved holster out there for you.
Our top 4 ISDA holsters, reviewed
The Uncle Mike’s Tactical Reflex Competition Holster is one of the best IDPA holsters for anyone who doesn’t want interference with a quick draw. The body is constructed of a tough polymer that has been injection molded. A simple clip attaches the IDPA holster to your waist, which has two height adjustment settings. The Integrated Retention Technology is a special design that allows the shooter to release their firearm with a simple twisting motion; by rotating the firearm from 6 o’clock to 6:30, the shooter only has to pull their weapon towards their body to release it for a fast draw during competition. Only the barrel and the trigger guard are encased within the holster, so there’s no fumbling around while you keep your eye on your target.
We really like the Uncle Mike’s approach to a functional IDPA holster. The Tactical Reflex Competition Holster is great choice for Glocks, Smith and Wesson M&Ps, and 1911s. This holster can be purchased in left or right handed, so you’re not limited by your dominate hand. The polymer body of the holster takes of very little space and ads very little weight. For some, a smaller holster such as this can pose problems to someone who may compete a little aggressively: the lack of additional retention and open concept might lead to knocking your pistol around too much with your hand. At the same time, we think a simple twisting motion is the ideal way to quickly release your firearm during competition. Any complaints about the Uncle Mike’s Tactical Reflex Competition Holster comes down to preference and style.
What we say
The Uncle Mike’s Tactical Reflex Competition Holster costs just under $45 online for Glocks, making it the cheapest option within this review. The 1911 and Smith and Wesson M&P models come in at exactly $45. Not only is this a great option for beginner competitors, but it’s great for anyone who is an expert at smooth draws.
- Cheapest option
- Integrated Retention Technology
- Height adjustments
- Retention style not ideal for some
The Black Scorpion Outdoor Gear IDPA Holster is made of a material called Boltaron, and is possibly the best holster for IDPA competition due to its light weight and compact size. The body material is only .08″ thick with a carbon fiber finish in black, leaving no additional bulkiness for a quick draw. It is designed to give the shooter the opportunity for direct and fast strokes for nearly instantaneous target acquisition. Drawing from this holster takes less range of motion for clearance. The Black Scorpion Outdoor Gear IDPA Holster fits belt loops for one and a half inch to two inch belts. There are also three adjusting degrees of cant available. There are two retention screws, and it can be purchased for left handed or right handed shooters.
The thin Boltaron material certainly made us a little skeptical about using the Black Scorpion Outdoor Gear IDPA Holster with competition Glocks, so we tested this product out as a Glock 34 competition holster. We were pleasantly surprised with how well this holster held a not so compact pistol, so we’d recommend this for using with not only Glocks, but 1911s as well. This is another holster that doesn’t put much in the way between your drawing hand and your firearm, although you’ll have to keep a stronger grip when releasing this time. There’s no special twisting release function here, so make sure to put time in adjusting the perfect retention before going in to competition. Otherwise, we love the cant adjustment and the light weight!
What we say
The Black Scorprion Outdoor Gear IDPA Holsters cost from $45 to $55 online, depending on which type of pistol your purchase it for. For the Glock 34, it will cost you on the higher end of that price range. Not only do these make for great IDPA approved holsters, but they’ll make great civilian holsters as well.
- Good price
- Ultra thin material
- Three degree of cant adjustment
- Will need to play with retention screws
The Comp-Tac International Holster is made of the well known and superior Kydex. It combines a belt holster, belt drop offset holster, paddle holster and paddle drop offset holster into one. There is modular mounting system, which offers three types of cant: the Speed Draw (straight drop), the FBI Cant (forward grip angle), and the Reverse/Cross Draw (rear grip angle). Certain configurations are IDPA legal, but the additional cant options are great for civilian use. The mounting system will accommodate one and a half inch to two inch belts. The molded Kydex is designed specifically to your firearm, and it comes in loads of options — over fifty.
The Comp-Tac International Holster falls back to more standard and basic looks and appeals of a competition holster. If you’re concerned about any attempts to go outside of the box, the Comp-Tac holster will keep you within safe regulations while providing a superior draw. We love the three different types of cant to choose from. Not only will you have the holster on your dominant side, but your can have your pistol in the angle that will allow you the quickest target acquisition you can muster. We also prefer Kydex over polymer. There are two retention screws you’ll need to mess with, and there’s definitely a lot more to fumble with on your waist. These are compromises you’ll want to make for more versatility and adjustability.
What we say
The Comp-Tac International Holster costs $65 across the board, and there a ton of options to choose from. This is the best IDPA holster for you if you don’t compete with a Glock and opt for a less popular firearm. Of course, this it’s great for Glocks too.
- Three styles of cant
- Truly universal
- Made of Kydex
- A little bulkier in shape
- Retention screws to adjust
The Blade Tech Industries IDPA Competition Shooter’s Pack includes three pieces: a holster, a magazine pouch, and paddle attachment. The holster is made of durable, molded Kydex, and the pouch and paddle are constructed of injection molded polymer. This holster also comes with the ability to choose from three styles of cant: straight drop, forward grip, or rearward grip. The wide and curved paddle attachment can be easily installed with a screwdriver, making this another great holster for converting to an everyday wear. The holster itself has a flared base to prevent rocking back and forth. Although there are retention screws, there is also special padding in place to assist with a smooth draw during competition.
The Blade Tech Industries IDPA Competition Shooter’s Pack is another wonderful holster that keeps everything well within standards. This is the most ideal purchase for any newcomers to competitive shooting, as it’s a great little starter kit that includes more than just a holster. This versatility also gives the owner the ability to discover which cant works best for their dominant hand. Speaking of dominant hand — that’s the one downfall to this option: it’s only available for right handed shooters. Sorry, lefties! Don’t get us wrong: the Blade Tech Industries IDPA Competition Shooter’s Pack is a fantastic find and can be the perfect purchase for most gunowners, but there’s nothing here that makes it unique or gives an edge to competitors. With that in mind, it’s still one of the best IDPA holsters you can buy.
What we say
The Blade Tech Industries IDPA Competition Shooter’s Pack costs about $75 online, which includes the holster, magazine pouch, and paddle attachment. It’s the most expensive option in this review, but you get more bang for the buck.
- Great for new competitors
- Includes magazine pouch and paddle
- Three styles of cant
- Most expensive
- Very vanilla
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for the best IDPA holster is the Comp-Tac International Holster.
The main reason this one is our favorite is because the Kydex is molded very specifically for each type of firearm, and you have far more options than just a Glock or a 1911.
While we usually prefer minimal weight added to the hip, the Comp-Tac International comes in a very standard size and style, so it’s still not adding an unnecessary amount of weight.
The $65 price tag should be very affordable for any shooter, and you can easily get more than just competitive use out of this option.