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:
- Alien Gear ShapeShift Core Carry Pack – Best Overall
- Relentless Tactical The Defender – Best M&P Shield IWB Holster
- Alien Gear Cloak Mod – Best M&P Shield OWB Holster
- DeSantis Die Hard – Best M&P Shield Ankle Holster
- Sticky Holster – Best M&P Shield Pocket Holster
- Concealment Express IWB – Best M&P Shield Kydex Holster
- ComfortTac Ultimate – Best M&P Shield Belly Band Holster
- Barsony New Concealment – Best M&P Shield Shoulder Holster
- Relentless Tactical The Ultimate 3 Slot OWB – Best M&P Shield Leather Holster
- Blackhawk ARC – Best M&P Shield Holster for Appendix Carry
Table of Contents
- How to Choose a Holster for Your M&P Shield?
- Best M&P Shield Holsters on the Market Reviews
- 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
- Final Thoughts
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.
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Read our article for other belly band options.
8 Barsony New Concealment – Best M&P Shield Shoulder Holster
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
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
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.
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.