Gear

7 Best Chest Holsters [Honest Assessment]

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Chest holsters are a great option for anyone looking to have a pistol or revolver close to hand, especially if you’re going to be carrying a backpack or are carrying a revolver that’s a little long to be totally comfortable on the hip.

A good chest holster, like our top overall pick, the GunfightersINC Kenai, makes it easy to carry a weapon in a way that doesn’t get in the way of other gear like a backpack, slung rifle, or body armor. 

Let’s take a closer look at the Kenai and some other great chest holsters so that you can find the one that’s right for you. 

Here Are the Best Chest Holsters (Our Picks)

GunfightersINC Kenai Chest Holster

GunfightersINC Kenai Chest Holster

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First up, we have our top overall pick, the GunfightersINC Kenai Chest Holster.

The GunfightersINC Kenai is a fan-favorite chest holster among the custom-holster crowd, and this offering brings that custom-measured awesomeness to the off-the-rack buyers who don’t want to wait for a truly custom option.

The Kenai is primarily made of Kydex for the holster body, with neoprene and military-grade polymer buckles making adjustments quick and easy. It uses an adjustable clamshell so that you can dial in retention, and there are holster bodies available for well over 200 pistols.

It’s our top pick because it offers a great blend of performance and value, and it covers so many different pistols that you’re almost certainly able to find one for the gun you’re looking to carry.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Nylon and Kydex
  • Harness Included: Yes
  • Retention type: Passive

Pros

  • Kydex holster body provides natural retention without a clasp
  • Holster bodies available for a wide variety of popular handguns
  • Very comfortable harness available in multiple colors

Cons

  • Hard to find in stock for certain firearms

Takeaway

The GunfightersINC Kenai is a great all-rounder of a chest holster with options available for a wide variety of pistols. If you’re looking for something lightweight and flexible to work with multiple different handguns, provided you have the holster bodies for them.

Also read 9 Best Ankle Holster in 2022.


Galco Kodiak

Galco Kodiak

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Galco is one of the premier makers of leather holsters, and the Kodiak is one of their more popular models with hunters, those who want to go armed in bear country, as well as those who just want a classic leather chest holster.

Chest holsters are great for anyone looking to carry a long revolver or 1911 that might be a bit uncomfortable on the hip or in a shoulder holster. They’re also great for moving through brush, or in and out of vehicles, which is often the case for hunters.

This is the area where the Galco Kodiak, and its cousin the Kodiak Hunter which we’ll talk about in a minute, both shine. These are great options for hunters and those who want to go armed in bear country.

The Kodiak is great for non-scoped revolvers of many different makes and models, including the most popular Ruger, S&W, and Taurus large-frame revolvers out there.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Steerhide and nylon
  • Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Harness Included: Yes
  • Retention type: Active

Pros

  • Great for revolvers of all sizes
  • Perfect for bear defense
  • Comfortable harness

Cons

  • Not a lot of options for semi-automatics

Takeaway

If you’re looking for a high-quality, old-school chest holster for carrying a revolver in the field, then the Galco Kodiak is a great option. It carries well and is made of high-quality leather that will last a lifetime if you take care of it. 


Galco Kodiak Hunter

Galco Kodiak Hunter

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If you’re more of a hunter, or if you’re just looking to carry a big heft scoped revolver in bear country, then Galco has you covered with the Kodiak Hunter. This awesome chest holster offers you the ability to carry a scoped revolver quite comfortably. 

If you’re going to be going a long distance with a long revolver, you’re going to get really sick of it bumping around under your arm or on your hip, trust me. I’ve been there.

With a chest rig, the revolver stays right in front of you where it’s much less likely to snag on anything, or otherwise get in the way. 

The cut on the top of this holster is ideal for allowing you to safely and comfortably carry a revolver with a typical scout-style scope. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Steerhide and nylon
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Harness Included: Yes
  • Retention type: Active 

Pros

  • Best option for carrying scoped revolvers
  • Durable leather construction

Cons

  • Like the regular Kodia, there are no options available for semi-autos (but there’s no reason for there to be, really)

Takeaway

The Galco Kodiak Hunter is a classic chest rig that works incredibly well for carrying large, scoped revolvers comfortably and securely. If you are looking for something to carry a hunting revolver, this is the way to go.


Diamond D Custom Leather Guide’s Choice Leather Chest Holster

Diamond D Custom Leather Guide’s Choice Leather Chest Holster

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Next up we have another personal favorite of mine, the Diamond D Custom Leather Guide’s Choice Chest Holster. Yes, it’s a mouthful, but it’s also a really great holster.

This has been one of my absolute best holsters over the years, and it’s absolutely ideal for carrying just about any pistol or revolver you could think of in the backcountry, around the farm, or anywhere that you just aren’t worried about concealment. 

The leatherwork is impeccable, with high-quality hand finishing and beveling of all edges to keep the harness smooth and comfortable, even if you’re moving around a lot, climbing tree stands and what have you.

If you’re a fan of nice leather, this is a great option. Mine has proven to be incredibly durable, resisted wear and tear nicely, and broken in well.  

Key Specs

  • Materials: Leather
  • Weight: 14.67 ounces
  • Harness Included: Yes
  • Retention type: Passive 

Pros

  • Phenomenal hand-finished leather
  • Extremely comfortable harness

Cons

  • Custom quality work commands a high price

Takeaway


AIKATE Deep Concealment Holster

AIKATE Deep Concealment Holster

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Our next pick, the AIKATE Deep Concealment Holster is an incredibly versatile option that can be worn as a shoulder holster, belly band, or chest holster depending on how you configure the straps. 

This versatility is one of the things we love about this holster. The neoprene straps are well-padded and make it comfortable to wear in any configuration. The straps are also quite breathable, so you won’t be sweating through them in warm weather.

The holster pocket is sized to fit a variety of different compact and subcompact firearms, so if you’re looking for a small and concealable holster you can hide under a sweater or button-up shirt, this is the perfect choice

Key Specs

  • Materials: Neoprene
  • Weight: About 3 ounces
  • Harness Included: Yes
  • Retention type: Active

Pros

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Very versatile

Cons

  • Elastic retention strap could wear out, though it can easily be replaced.
  • Soft-sided holster body

Takeaway

The AIKATE Deep Concealment Holster is a great budget option for anyone looking for a versatile, concealable chest rig. It can be reconfigured for a variety of different carry options and is very comfortable to wear.


Alien Gear Cloak Chest Holster

Alien Gear Cloak Chest Holster

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Alien Gear is known for their awesome waistband holster like the Cloak Tuck, but they also offer an excellent harness + base option that allows you to turn any other Alien Gear holster into a chest rig with no real modifications.

Having this on hand is great if you are already plugged into the Alien Gear ecosystem and want to be able to carry a variety of weapons in the same chest rig.

All you need is a separate holster body for each pistol you want to carry with the chest rig and you’re good to go. 

Key Specs

  • Materials: Kydex, nylon, and neoprene
  • Harness Included: Yes
  • Retention type: Passive

Pros

  • Works with nearly all Alien Gear holsters (not compatible with ShapeShift)
  • Great for owners of multiple handguns
  • New holster bodies are released quite frequently

Cons

  • Requires using Alien Gear holster bodies

Takeaway

If you’re already a fan of Alien Gear products, would like to get plugged into the ecosystem, or just have a few different guns you might want to carry both on your waistband and on your chest, this is a great option for you. 


Hill People Gear Kit Bag

Hill People Gear Kit Bag

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The Hill People Gear Kit Bag is a bit different from some of the other options on this list, mainly because it’s, well, a bag. 

This kit bag is built along the same lines as a typical runner’s chest pouch, but it is optimized for concealed carry, which makes it a great way to stay armed in the backcountry, especially if you are hiking with a backpack. 

The kit bag is also a great choice for anyone who wants to stay armed on a light day hike or trail run and is perfect for carrying a cellphone, map, extra mags, or a small snack or two as well.

All you need is a trigger guard slipcover and you’re ready to go. The easy-open sides of the bag allow quick access to your pistol, so you can draw with either hand.

All in all, this is a great way to carry discreetly, and it allows you to carry a few extra small items as well, making it one of the most convenient and versatile options on this list. This is another of my personal favorites, and my husband and I both carry ours often, especially outdoors.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Nylon
  • Weight: 0.75 pounds
  • Harness Included: Yes
  • Retention type: Passive

Pros

  • Great for hikers, bikers, and runners
  • Essentially a universal holster, as long as your pistol fits in the bag.
  • Most discrete chest-carry option

Cons

  • A little slower to draw from
  • Too bulky to be easily concealed, though it is low-key by design

Takeaway

The HPG series of kit bags have been a favorite with hikers, bikers, and others who want a discreet way to carry in the backcountry or on the trail. If you’re looking for a chest rig that offers a lot of versatility, without advertising the fact that you’re carrying, this is a great option.


Buying Guide: What to Look for in a Chest Holster

At the end of the day, your holster really has three jobs:

  1. Keep things out of the trigger guard. 
  2. Keep the gun attached to your person in a way that’s comfortable and easy to reach when you need it.
  3. Keep the gun safe from scrapes, skin oils, and other little bumps and things.

To ensure you have a holster that handles all of these jobs, especially the first two, there are some things you need to look for.

Complete Trigger Guard Coverage

First and foremost, a holster has to protect the trigger guard and keep clothing, pens, Chapstick, errant fingers, and whatever else might be nearby absolutely completely and totally out of the trigger guard. 

The days of carrying with an unloaded chamber are gone for most of us, so it is absolutely vital that nothing can get inside the trigger guard and cause a negligent discharge. This is even more important when the firearm is likely pointed at something like your femoral artery. 

In all seriousness, safety is the number one responsibility of anyone carrying a firearm, and that means very careful control over what can get inside the trigger guard of your weapon, be that your finger, a piece of clothing, or what have you.

Don’t be the person that accidentally sends a round through the floor (or worse) because you bought a badly-fitting holster. 

Your holster should fit snugly over the entirety of the trigger guard to make it impossible for anything to slip inside there and get to the trigger. 

Sufficient Retention

On a related note, the holster you choose should have sufficient retention to hold the pistol in the holster, be it an active lock, strap, or just the friction of a Kydex clamshell, and it should work even if the holster is turned upside down and jostled. 

I have personally seen someone trip at the range and have their pistol flop out of their holster and skitter across a concrete floor, resulting in a very tense few seconds as a loaded pistol bounced around while pointed directly back at the firing line, and a crowd of people. 

Don’t be that person. Get a holster that will securely hold your pistol, no matter what orientation you’re in, or how hard you trip over your own feet at the range.

If you’re going to be carrying openly, especially if you’re working security or in another situation where you have a rifle as your primary, I would also definitely recommend active retention such as a thumb lock or a retention strap. 

This not only keeps your pistol from falling out if you take a tumble, but it makes it much, much harder for an assailant to take the gun away from you in close quarters. 

This is an important consideration for anyone that might have to step into harm’s way in the line of duty or just anyone who carries openly.

Quality Materials

Of course, like anything, quality materials go a long way to a happy experience with your gear, and that goes doubly so for something like a chest holster which could end up being critical, life-saving equipment if worse comes to worst. 

A good chest holster will typically be made of leather or a thermoplastic like Kydex, either of which will be durable and comfortable for years to come. These are both proven holster materials that resist wear and carry well.

Lower-quality holsters will sometimes be made out of ballistic nylon, which, while certainly suitable for some applications, leaves a little to be desired when used as a holster material. They wear out quickly, have poor abrasion resistance, and they stretch. 

Some nylon holsters are well-made enough that they’re worth using, but these are definitely the exception and not in the majority. 

Concealment

Next, you’ll want to think about concealment, and how you’ll be wearing your holster. While chest holsters aren’t typically designed with concealment foremost in mind, some can be hidden fairly well, and some hide in plain sight, like the HPG Kit Bag we mentioned earlier.

In general, if you’re looking for deep concealment, then a chest holster isn’t really the way to go. While some can be tucked under a shirt, they tend to print without a thick coat or something over them, and drawing from under a shirt is a bit of a pain.

If you do want to conceal a chest holster, you’ll have to plan your outfits very carefully, unless you go with a belly band-style holster that will fit under clothing.

Comfortable Fit 

Lastly, ensuring a comfortable fit is important when it comes to choosing your holster. If you’re carrying all day, you’re looking at 8-12 hours wearing a gun that probably weighs over 1lb on your chest. 

That can get uncomfortable quickly if your holster isn’t a good fit, or if the harness is poorly designed. 

Make sure that the harness is appropriately sized for your chest, and put some thought into how it’s going to fit on you, especially if you have broad shoulders or, ya know, boobs. They can get in the way.

The other thing to think about is what you’ll be wearing your chest holster with, and how the harness will need to work with that. Are you just going to be wearing it over a t-shirt, or are you going to be wearing a plate carrier?

What about a backpack, or a slung rifle?

If at all possible, order from somewhere (like Amazon) that will allow you to send the holster back if you try it on and find that it doesn’t work with either the shape of your body or the gear that you’ll be wearing. 

FAQs

Is a chest holster good?

They’re not as popular as waistband or shoulder holsters, but chest holsters do definitely have their place and are very good for certain types of carry. If you frequently wear a backpack, body armor, or anything else that goes around your waist, a chest holster is a phenomenal option. 

Are chest holsters safe?

Yes! Chest holsters are just as safe as any other holster, provided they are properly sized and fitted to the firearm in question, and to the shooter that is wearing it, and that the shooter is properly trained in wearing and drawing from a chest holster.

What is the most comfortable concealed carry holster?

In general, chest holsters are very high on comfort and low on concealment, but there’s not really one “most comfortable” holster or carry style out there.

Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to give here because everyone’s body shape and carry preferences are going to be a little different. At the end of the day, the most comfortable concealed carry holster is going to be one that works with your body and personal preferences.

Make sure you try at least a couple of different options out and experiment with holster placement and carry positions to try and find something that truly works for you. 

Can you conceal carry with a chest holster?

You can, but it’s quite difficult and will require a pretty thick coat to not only cover the pistol but to mask its silhouette through your clothing. We generally recommend other methods of carry if concealment is your main goal.

Final Verdict

Chest holsters are a great way to carry when you’ve got other things on your back or belt, and they provide easy access to a firearm when you may need it most. 

We’ve covered 7 of the best options out there, and while the GunfightersINC Kenai is still our top overall pick, all of these holsters are great in their own way. The only hard part you have to do now is figure out which one of these is best for your specific needs.



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