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Best M&P Shield Holsters – Top 10 Best Holsters for M&P Shield Reviews

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is one of the most popular sub-compact pistols ever made. Its small size and slim profile make it perfect for concealed carry. Not only is the M&P Shield easy to conceal, it’s also easy to shoot, making it a highly effective weapon for self-defense.

An effective self-defense weapon needs an effective holster. If you aren’t sure what to look for, we’ve compiled a list of what we consider the best M&P Shield Holsters for everyday carry.

While every product on our list is a reliable, top-quality holster, ultimately, you’ll need to decide which holster will best fit your personal needs.

If you do not have time for the details, here are our top picks for M&P Shield Holsters:

  1. Alien Gear ShapeShift Core Carry Pack – Best Overall
  2. Relentless Tactical The Defender – Best M&P Shield IWB Holster
  3. Alien Gear Cloak Mod – Best M&P Shield OWB Holster
  4. DeSantis Die Hard – Best M&P Shield Ankle Holster
  5. Sticky Holster – Best M&P Shield Pocket Holster
  6. Concealment Express IWB – Best M&P Shield Kydex Holster
  7. ComfortTac Ultimate – Best M&P Shield Belly Band Holster
  8. Barsony New Concealment – Best M&P Shield Shoulder Holster
  9. Relentless Tactical The Ultimate 3 Slot OWB – Best M&P Shield Leather Holster
  10. Blackhawk ARC – Best M&P Shield Holster for Appendix Carry

Table of Contents

How to Choose a Holster for Your M&P Shield?

Because the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is such a popular handgun, it is used by a wide variety of shooters for a wide variety of shooting applications.

A holster that works well for some shooters may seem cumbersome to others. Other shooters may prefer the security an ample holster tends to offer. This makes it impossible to choose a single holster that works perfectly for everyone who has ever owned a Shield.

Although only you can choose the perfect holster to meet your needs, here are some key factors to consider when shopping for one to use with your M&P Shield.

Carry Position

Determining how you want to carry your handgun will help you immediately narrow down your holster options.

The most common types of holsters are IWB (Inside the Waistband) and OWB (outside the Waistband). The names are pretty self-explanatory (one allows you to tuck your handgun inside the waist of your pants, while the other leaves the entire weapon outside the waistband). Most IWB and OWB holsters allow you to carry in several positions around the waist, including appendix, small of the back (SOB), hip, and behind the hip.

For concealed carry, most shooters opt for an IWB holster, while an OWB holster works well if you live in an open carry state.

Other options include shoulder carry, pocket carry, and ankle carry, all of which require very specialized holsters.

Kydex Versus Leather

Most modern holsters are made from either natural molded leather or Kydex, which is a plastic-like composite material.

Kydex holsters are super durable and generally offer superior weapon retention. However, because Kydex is a hard, rigid material, holsters made from this material can be somewhat uncomfortable.

Leather holsters have been around as long as handguns have needed holsters. Leather holsters are generally comfortable and durable, and they also win big in the looks department. However, they can stretch out over time. Leather also generally comes with a heftier price tag.

Best M&P Shield Holsters on the Market Reviews

Below are some of the best holsters for the M&P Shield. We’ve tried to include holsters for a variety of carry positions. We’ve also added options in every price range, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a holster on the list that fits into your budget.

 1   Alien Gear ShapeShift Core Carry Pack – Best Overall

Alien Gear ShapeShift Core Carry Pack

Alien Gear is well-known for making top quality holsters. We love their ShapeShift Core Carry Pack because it is certainly one of the most versatile holster systems on the market today.

Basically four separate holsters in one, the ShapeShift kit provides options for the four most common carry options – IWB, appendix, paddle, and belt slide. The holster shell and connection design lets you quickly and easily swap holster bases and transition to a different carry option without losing any weapon security.

The Alien Gear ShapeShift holster system is made from a proprietary injection-molded polymer. This material is super tough, heat-resistant, and endures twists and stress better than most other modern holster materials.

Alien Gear also included their own CoolVent neoprene backing on this holster system. CoolVent is a high-tech material that is soft and breathable. It also wicks moisture away from your body to keep you cool and dry all day long.

All Alien Gear holsters are also reinforced with multiple layers of woven ballistic fabric and spring steel. This provides a solid base for smooth and reliable drawing and reholstering.

 2   Relentless Tactical The Defender – Best M&P Shield IWB Holster

Relentless Tactical The Defender Leather IWB Holster For S&W M&P Shield - GLOCK 17 19 22 23 32 33 / Springfield XD & XDS / Plus All Similar...

The Defender IWB holster from Relentless Tactical has one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings on the internet. Handmade by American craftsmen from genuine bull hide, The Defender is one of the best rated concealed carry holster and definitely isn’t some cheap, shoddy, mass-production holster.

This IWB holster is the most comfortable, form-fitting holster made with only high-quality, natural materials. Not only does the Defender offer weapon security and all-day carry comfort, it’s also stunningly attractive. You can choose from three stylish color options, including midnight black, whiskey barrel brown, and charred oak. Since this tuckable holster is designed to be worn inside the waistband of your pants, you’ll have to fight the urge to show it off.

The Defender comes in a model that fits all Smith & Wesson M&P Shields, so you can use the same holster to carry both your .40 and your 9mm.

 3   Alien Gear Cloak Mod – Best M&P Shield OWB Holster

Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB Paddle Holster

There aren’t a ton of pistols out there as easy to conceal as the M&P Shield. This popular pistol has such a slim profile, that you can even easily conceal when wearing it outside the waistband. Now, it’s even easier with this low profile holster from Alien Gear.

The Cloak is a high-quality holster with a stiff throat and adjustable tension for safe and easy drawing and reholstering.

Highly versatile, you can wear The Cloak as a paddle holster or swap it out for the belt slide if that better suits your style. You can also adjust the weapon cant and the holster’s passive retention, allowing for true carry customization.

 4   DeSantis Die Hard – Best M&P Shield Ankle Holster

DeSantis Die Hard S&W Shield Right Hand Black

The small size of the M&P Shield makes it perfect for deep concealment. If you carry your Shield as a backup to your primary weapon, a quality ankle holster like the Die Hard from Desantis is the perfect option.

The Die Hard is made from top grain saddle leather and is finished with an exterior PU coating for extra toughness. It also has a smooth leather lining that not only provides a silky, smooth draw, but also helps protect your Shield’s finish.

The molded leather shell offers plenty of retention, but this holster also features a conventional thumb break for extra security. The neoprene ankle band also provides a secure fit, preventing your holster from slipping around. For extra all-day comfort, the leg band is foam-padded and lined with soft, plush sheepskin.

 5   Sticky Holster – Best M&P Shield Pocket Holster

Sticky Holsters MD-4 Medium

Although the M&P Shield may not technically be a pocket pistol, it is definitely small enough to slip into the extra roomy pockets on a pair of tactical cargo pants. However, you should never carry a handgun in your pocket without a proper holster to protect your trigger. That’s where Sticky Holsters come in.

Without loops or clips, the Sticky Holster is perfect for pockets or waistbands without a belt. Instead, this small holster features a “sticky” outer covering. With a little pressure, the non-slip material adheres to the inside of your pocket, waistband, or even to your bare skin, preventing your holster (and your Shield) from slipping around when you move.

 6   Concealment Express IWB – Best M&P Shield Kydex Holster

Concealment Express IWB KYDEX Holster (Carbon Fiber Black)

This simple, minimalist Kydex IWB holster from Concealment Express is designed to comfortably carry your M&P Shield inside your waistband under an untucked shirt.

The Kydex is precision formed over a CAD designed aluminum mold. This ensures unparalleled consistency in fit, quality, durability, and comfort.

This holster features an undercut trigger guard to provide a smooth draw that is completely unhindered by the Kydex.

Our favorite feature is the adjustable “Posi-Click” retention. When you holster your M&P Shield, you’ll hear an audible “click” that lets you know your weapon is secured in the holster. The retention is also fully adjustable using the steel hardware located just forward of the trigger guard.

You can easily customize your carry angle by adjusting the cant anywhere from -5 to +20 degrees. This allows you to angle the holster perfectly for appendix, strong side, cross draw, or small of back carry.

 7   ComfortTac Ultimate – Best M&P Shield Belly Band Holster

ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band Holster Deep Concealment Edition

A great option for joggers and CCW holders with active lifestyles, this belly band holster from ComfortTac offers maximum comfort and flexibility. This holster keeps your weapon tight to your body, even when you’re wearing gym shorts or yoga pants.

The ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band holds your weapon in place using surgical-grade elastic as well as a patent-pending retention snap. The snap is situated high on the holster, so it is accessible even with deep concealment. The metal snap provides a fast, smooth draw, and is easy to disengage as you lift your clothing to gain access to your weapon.

The Ultimate Belly Band is incredibly versatile and allows you to carry your weapon in almost any position, including IWB, OWB, appendix, cross draw, and behind the hip. It can even be worn high on the chest as a pseudo shoulder rig.

 8   Barsony New Concealment – Best M&P Shield Shoulder Holster

Barsony New Concealment Shoulder Holster w/Double Mag Pouch Compact 9mm 40 45

This lightweight shoulder holster from Barsony fits chest sizes up to 60 inches. It works for both right- and left-handed shooters and includes two pouches for spare magazines.

The two shoulder pads are designed to even the balance of weight and reduce fatigue. With fully adjustable straps, you can easily customize the fit. Plus, the durable, suede straps are made with a wide, flat design, so they stay in place and won’t slip off your shoulder.

Barsony also included a reinforced adjustable thumb-break retention strap into their shoulder harness. Shooters will also appreciate the sewn-in sight protector channel that facilitates a smooth, easy draw and makes reholstering a breeze. This is one of the most comfortable and secure shoulder rigs on the market.

 9   Relentless Tactical The Ultimate 3 Slot OWB – Best M&P Shield Leather Holster

Relentless Tactical The Ultimate 3 Slot OWB Leather Gun Belt Holster - Fits S&W Shield/Glock/Springfield XD

Proudly manufactured in the USA from genuine cowhide leather, The Ultimate 3-Slot OWB holster from Relentless Tactical really showcases quality craftsmanship. Not only is the leather gorgeous, it is also rugged and held together with quality stitching. This traditional pancake holster is truly built to last a lifetime.

The leather is precurved, so it fits snugly, yet comfortably against your body for a slimmer profile. This one feature makes this OWB concealed carry holster easier to conceal than most other OWB models.

Because this OWB holster is designed with 3 belt slots rather than two, you can opt to wear your weapon in several different positions. Wear it on your strong side with a straight drop or position your weapon butt forward for a comfortable cross draw. You can even wear it behind your hip without sacrificing accessibility.

 10   Blackhawk ARC – Best M&P Shield Holster for Appendix Carry

BLACKHAWK Ambidextrous Appendix Reversible Carry Inside The Pants Holster

This sturdy IWB holster from industry leader, Blackhawk, is known as the ARC (which stands for appendix reversible carry). The profile is ultra slim and ergonomically designed for comfortable appendix carry.

This versatile holster is completely ambidextrous, making it well-suited for both right- and left-handed shooters. The ARC holster comes with two belt clips (1.5 inches and 1.75) so it can be worn with belts of varying widths without sacrificing security. For a truly customized carry experience, you can also adjust the holster’s cant, ride height, and weapon retention to suit your personal preferences.

Final Thoughts

There is no arguing that the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is a first-rate concealed carry handgun. Once you have this fine pistol paired with a quality holster, you’ll be ready to hone your self-defense skills so you’re ready for whatever the world throws your way.

Each model on our list of the best M&P Shield holsters is designed for comfort, reliability, accessibility, and ease of use.

Once you’ve picked a holster for your Shield, make sure to spend some time at the range. For effective self-defense you need to shoot confidently and accurately, but you also need to be comfortable drawing your weapon from your holster. The best way to achieve proficiency is to practice. 

Gun Holster


Holsters for S&W M&P Shield 9mm

S&W M&P Shield 9mm Holster by Alien Gear Holsters

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm it’s slim, concealable, and perfect for an Alien Gear Holster. Smith & Wesson went above and beyond when creating this handgun known for its ultra-light polymer design. Coming in at just under 20 ounces, this striker-fired handgun can find a fitting home in custom S&W M&P Shield 9mm Alien Gear Holster.

The M&P Shield’s one-inch profile allows optimal concealability to the every day carrier, and the all-new Alien Gear Holster Cloak Tuck 3.0 iwb holster will provide superior comfort to any Smith & Wesson owner.

Our M&P Shield 9mm holsters protect the gun with a polymer frame with our signature holster shell. Our holsters are as durable as the guns they carry. Just like this Smith & Wesson firearm, all Alien Gear holsters are corrosion resistant and hold up to extreme conditions.

You will feel strength concealed in comfort when carrying in a 9mm pistol in an Alien Gear Holster.

As a result of multiple prototypes and rigorous testing, a trained team of engineers has produced the best holster for m&p shield, the Cloak Tuck 3.0, an inside the waistband holster that has revolutionized the concealed carry world once again. The addition of a custom Alien Skin thermo elastomer surface provides a perfect amount of drag when removing the M&P Shield from the holster. The Alien Gear Holsters team has also integrated a stainless spring-steel core that adds a superior level of durability and helps to retain your Smith & Wesson firearm.

For those looking for a more traditional M&P Shield leather holster, you may prefer our M&P Shield 9mm Cloak Tuck 1.0. If comfort is your main concern, check out the Cloak Tuck 2.0 and Cloak Tuck 3.0, two state-of-the-art shield 9mm holsters made with a neoprene backing. This material provides comfort to the carrier’s side. For those who prefer something a little more outside the waistband we offer a Shield 9mm OWB holster and an M&P Shield 9mm paddle holster as well.

All Alien Gear Holsters are backed by our Iron-Clad Triple guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied for any reason, we’ll give your money back-no questions asked.

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Overall Ergonomics

The Smith Wesson M&P Shield has decent overall ergonomics. It doesn’t feel the best in the hand compared to more modern options mainly due to the fact it feels like a full-size duty-grade gun that was just thinned down. Some people will like it and if you have larger hands, I think you’ll like it a lot. One major pro of this design is there is quite a distance between the front strap and the back strap. So, it’s fairly easy to get a good grip on this gun when you’re drawing from an IWB SW Shield holster because your middle finger to pinky finger doesn’t have to move that far between your body and the gun to get a good grip. So, it’s a more comfortable gun to draw than other smaller guns like the sig p365 series.

The ergonomics are good, but they’re nothing to brag about. My biggest complaint is the undercut of the trigger guard and how it doesn’t allow you to get your hand as high as I would like up into the tang of the gun. The slide itself is fairly easy to manipulate; it has serrations at the rear and in my opinion, the Smith Wesson M&P offers some of the best serrations on the market.

There are no serrations at the front, and considering when this gun was designed that is not uncommon at all. The serrations at the rear are nice and aggressive; they have a wavy look that frankly sets the gun a little bit ahead of its time from when it was introduced in 2012 and still doesn’t look outdated to this date.

The serrations are positive and effective and you can definitely use them with great effect, but if you have wet hands, they might be an issue for weaker handed shooters the trigger itself now as we talked about before I’m not a fan of the hinge.


If you’re familiar with the FN509 you know it has a similar trigger design and in my opinion, FN executed it better than Smith and Wesson did. If I were to carry a Smith and Wesson product with a hinged trigger, I would likely have it switched out to an aftermarket trigger for my own safety. The last thing I want to do is pull out the gun and not be able to fire it. That said I haven’t talked to as many people that have had this issue as I have. Due to that, I believe the issue is related to the exact size and shape of my hands. So, this is something I would suggest further thoroughly testing before you make a decision on how the trigger will work for you.

Now, as far as the trigger pull itself it has taken up as you disengage the hinge trigger safety. This take-up is fairly light with a little bit of spring in the rear of it. Then you start to hit a little bit of creep before you hit a very hard wall. And then the trigger breaks. And as it’s breaking you can feel a little more creep.

The trigger itself is quite heavy and is heavier than most of its counterparts. This is a defensive carry gun trigger and not a match trigger, so I would keep that in mind when rating the trigger. Again, there are multiple aftermarket options that allow you to improve the trigger pull if that’s what you desire.


Maintaining the Smith and Wesson M&P is quite easy to disassemble the gun you’ll want to lock the slide to the rear by pulling the slide back and pressing up on the slide stop. And then there is a takedown lever in front of the gun that you’ll then need to rotate down 90 degrees. Once that’s done, you’ll look inside the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield from the top of the ejection port and you’ll see a little yellow spring on the back left side of the mag well.


You’ll want to take a screwdriver or a punch and pull that yellow spring down, that will disengage the striker and then you can press the slide forward. You can also accomplish the same thing while letting the slide ride forward, holding the gun in battery, and then pulling the trigger to drop the striker.

Smith and Wesson designed the M&P series so that you could take down the gun without having to pull the trigger. Their competitor Glock had a lot of complaints as people considered pulling the trigger to take down the gun a safety hazard. I personally do not consider that a valid safety hazard, but it’s a nice option to have on the Smith Wesson M&P Shield.


Overall, the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield isn’t the best-looking gun- it just looks kind of oddly sized. The dimensions from the outline appear to be pretty fat while the gun itself is fairly thin. It looks like Smith and Wesson literally took the Smith and Wesson M&P 9C at the time, shortened the barrel slightly, and then just pressed it in with a panini press to make it thinner.

Your mileage may vary on the looks but I think the major saving grace is the rear slide serrations the Smith Wesson M&P series use. They add a nice touch that balances out the gun. The slide really has all the looks of the gun with its chamfers and profiling.


Shooting the Smith Wesson M&P Shield is probably what you’d expect. The gun has quite a bit of recoil, not a ton of recoil but it’s a small snappy gun. You can definitely still shoot it well, but it’s not an exceptional performer that just stands out amongst the crowd. The heavy trigger pull is something you’ll have to work over and the ergonomics may or may not work for you.

Personally, my biggest downside of the shield is the texturing. You just can’t get enough grip on this gun for it to shoot as well as I’d like. But the upside is the long distance between the front strap and the back strap that does allow me to get a pretty good purchase on the gun, but again I can’t always reliably disengage the hinged trigger on the Smith Wesson M&P Shield.

That means oftentimes what happens is I’m pulling very heavily on the top of the trigger and I have to keep on applying pressure until I’m applying way more pressure than what it would take to break the trigger and my finger eventually slips down and jerks the trigger to the rear.

Final Thoughts

Again, your mileage may vary with the Smith Wesson M&P Shield, but that’s your mileage. And the good news is this gun isn’t expensive to grab and go out and test. They’re very common and they can be found in almost any gun store.


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Is The New S\u0026W Shield Plus Worth It?

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