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Kydex “Trigger Guard Only” Holsters

Let me start this post by saying that I’m eating a little crow by being honest here.

Every now and again I get a question from a reader or listener asking about these “trigger guard only” holsters. A couple years back these were all the rage with just an eyelet and a piece of paracord that loops around your belt. I made one. I hated it. It didn’t stay in place, and just wasn’t suitable for carry.

I had another question recently about a similar trigger guard only holster, this one having a clip instead of the paracord loop. I sent my friend elsewhere, telling him about my observations from the one I had made previously.

Earlier today I came across a picture of another holster like this, and it seems like they are gaining a bit of popularity. I decided to give the style of holster another try to see if the clip really made a difference. My observations below are based on the trigger guard only holster clip that I made, so take it for what it’s worth.

Here’s what I came up with:

(You’ll notice that I cannibalized my G-Code INCOG for the clip and spacer.)

I spent about 15 minutes in the garage after I put dinner in the oven tonight to fold a small piece of kydex over the trigger guard of my XDs 9mm. It was really easy to make. I could clean it up a little more, but I only made it to try out this style of holster, not as something to use all the time.

It snaps onto the pistol and holds pretty tight. Once I finished I clipped it in Appendix position at about 2:00 and finished making dinner, cleaning up, playing with the dog, walking the dog, etc. After wearing the trigger guard only holster for a couple hours, I can say that it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.

The clip grabs my belt tight enough that it keeps the pistol from moving around too much, and it slips on and off quite easily. The position of the clip over the trigger guard seems to do a good job tucking the grip of the pistol in to my side making concealment effortless. well.

The holster works fine, but I don’t understand why someone would carry in it.

I think a lot of people see the trigger guard clip next to a regular holster and think that because it’s so much smaller, that it will make the pistol much easier to conceal. That isn’t the case. The above photo is somewhat misleading, and when you look below you’ll see why. Once we add in the pistol, there really isn’t a functional size difference between the two.

trigger guard only compared

After wearing the top holster for a couple of hours, I moved the clip over to the bottom holster and put it on for a bit.

Guess what?

I couldn’t tell a bit of difference between the two. Not. One. Bit.

These trigger guard only clips work, but after only hours of use I was able to find a few disadvantages over a full holster:

  • The sights are left unprotected. When you draw the pistol from the clip there’s no sight channel to protect the front sight as it comes out. I could see the front sight hanging up on my pants, or getting bumped or broken since it’s unprotected.
  • The pistol can come out of the clip in two directions. With a traditional holster the pistol can only come out of the holster by pulling up, but with the clip I was able to smack the butt of the gun and make it pop off the clip while the pistol was still in my pants. This could lead to a dangerous situation where the pistol is loaded with an unprotected trigger guard floating around inside your pants. This could be an issue with the specific clip that I made, but I doubt it.
  • One handed reholstering of the pistol is not possible. This is important for several reasons: 1. Training with your gear is a necessity. If you have to take the holster off, clip it to he pistol, and re-insert it into your pants after every drill, you won’t practice enough. 2. Let’s say you use the gun in a defensive situation, you may not have a free hand to help reholster the pistol. In my opinion, this is the biggest drawback of the trigger only holster clip.

With all of this being said, is there some utility to this little holster clip? Sure, I’ve heard of people clipping them onto their nightstand pistols, just so they don’t have an exposed trigger, and I could see keeping it handy for a quick on/off deal if I ever needed something like that.

Would I make it my primary concealed carry method? Nope.

Would I carry all day in the clip? Nope.

Would I carry in the clip with a round in the chamber? Nope.

At the end of they day, it was a fun project, but I’ll be putting the clip and spacer back on my fantastic G-Code INCOG for concealed carry.

TL;DR: Kydex trigger guard only holsters aren’t as bad as I thought, but they don’t have any advantages over a regular holster (not even size) and several disadvantages.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.

6 comments

  1. For myslef, it makes a difference in bulk, the incog on the G19 is bigger than the trigger guard holster when wearing my uniform at place of employment. In two years i havnt had the sights snag at any point, triji HD’s. It sucks in CQC, or when trying to run with it or reholstering, after a range session. But during work hours, its my way of carrying.

  2. Hi Lucas!

    What about this type of holster for off-body carry? My wife would like something like this for her purse, and it is a dedicated pocket for her gun.

  3. Understand but to use this to carry for life safety should you need to protect your life, I would think you would draw once and hopefully walk away with your life. After that I would not worry about real holster. Just in that though

  4. My biggest concern is that the mag release button is unprotected while the pistol is in your waist and against your body. Seems a mag release could be depressed against the body and you might not be aware of it.

    • Mostly a non issue. Most of my holsters don’t protect the mag release and I think the only time I’ve had a mag come loose was with an INCOG and a Springfield XDs, but it was because of the ambi-mag release and a holster clip.

  5. Love the kydex trigger guard holster for my glock 23 (full 3 part conversion to 9mm). I am a very small guy, so with a tight belt and the gun at an angle in appendix carry, there is 0 movement of the gun. Reholstering is not an issue. I think you’re stretching by saying it’ll make someone practice less, and in any situation where I need my gun, the absolute last thing I’m worried about is holstering my gun.

    To each their own, though. I haven’t tried a full-sized IWB holster yet, so I might very well prefer them. But for now, the Kydex Holster is my go-to.

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