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What are Fanny Pack Holsters?

fanny pack holster

Remember when fanny packs—the small bags worn on a belt around your waist—were a fashion trend in the 1980s? Well, that is what you will be purchasing when you buy a fanny pack holster. They may not be the coolest conceal carry—or wardrobe—option. But, fanny pack holsters have unique features that make it an interesting conceal carry possibility.

Important Features

Here are a few of the most interesting features of fanny pack holsters that make them stand out from the pack.

Material and Color

Because you do not carry a fanny pack holster near your skin, the material will be much less of a concern. In fact, most fanny pack holsters are made from the traditional nylon. However, you will want to pay special attention to the color of holster you purchase. Some have claimed that a black fanny pack looks like something an off-duty police officer would wear, which may indicate you are carrying.[1]

 Protection from the elements

Because your firearm will be completely closed within the fanny pack holster, it is protected from the elements. There are reports that fanny pack holsters help keep down the amount of dust that collects on the firearm as well.[2]


Fanny pack holsters differ from classic fanny packs in that they have a special compartment for your firearm. These compartments usually offer some form of retention, but the amount varies from model to model.

Ease of drawing/re-holstering

One aspect of fanny pack holsters makes them more controversial than other holster types. That is the fact that they do create some drawing problems. The big issue for most people is that you need to use two hands to remove the gun from the holster—one to unzip and one to draw. Some experts claim that you can perform both functions with one hand, but it will slow your draw time down.[3]

Also, most instructors will not allow novice or intermediate shooters to practice with fanny pack holsters on the range. Because the instructor cannot tell if your trigger finger is on the trigger, there is no way of knowing if you will be potentially creating a dangerous situation.[4]


Probably the biggest advantage of carrying with a fanny pack holster is the comfort. Because the holster is not in contact with your skin, you do not need to worry about sweat or chaffing, even on the hottest days. 

Top Models

Here are the four models of fanny pack holster that we recommend.

5.11 Outdoor 5.11 Select Carry Pistol Pouch

5.11 provides a pistol and magazine holder in their fanny pack holster. The slim design blends right into your clothing


  •       This model includes the patented Hot-Pull tab, which allows you to easily access your weapon.
  •       5.11 provides an adjustable strap, which makes this fanny pack fit a variety of body types comfortably.
  •       Made from 100% 1050D nylon for the ultimate in durability.


  •       The retention devices are not as useful as one other fanny pack holsters.
  •       This holster is really designed for smaller pistols, larger guns may fit, but not as well.

BLACKHAWK! Concealed Weapon Fanny Pack with Holster and Retention Belt Loops

Blackhawk!’s conceal carry fanny pack holster comes in three sizes—small, medium, and large—which help the holster accommodate any size pistol.


  •       Blackhawk! provides belt loops on the fanny pack to keep it snug to your waist.
  •       It has a thumb break to make sure your gun is carried safely.


  •       The size of the large version of the fanny pack is a little too big for most people.
  •       This fanny pack may not be as versatile. Because of its size, most people recommend that you use it only on hikes or other such outings.

Don’t Tread on Me Conceal and Carry Holsters SMALL – DTOM Concealed Carry Fanny Pack Cordura NYLON -Black

DTOM’s conceal carry fanny pack holster is made from high-quality nylon and works best with smaller pistols.


  •       The firearm’s muzzle is tucked into the side of the fanny pack, which helps with concealability by keeping the outline of the packed square.
  •       DTOM’s use of Cordura Nylon helps make the holster rugged and durable.


  •       The smaller size means that larger guns will not fit the holster well. Also, people with a waist larger than 40-inches are not recommended to wear this holster.
  •       There is no quick pull tab that allows you to speedily open the fanny pack.

Soft Armor Merlin 7297 Fanny Pack Holster

Another fanny pack holster with a square design, Soft Armor’s product conceals firearms with barrels up to 3-inches long.


  •       The strap expands to fit waists up to 55-inches around.
  •       The fanny pack holster has extra room for magazines, loaders, or a small gun.


  •       Many reviewers wish that Soft Armor had included pockets on the waistband for extra storage.
  •       There is no way to attach the fanny pack to your belt for a secure fit.

Why choose?

Choose the fanny pack holster if you want the ultimate in comfort and concealability and don’t mind looking slightly out of fashion. You will also need to be willing to practice your drawing and re-holstering techniques with the fanny pack. Finally, fanny packs are clearly best worn with casual clothing. Nothing says “I’m carrying” like a fanny pack worn with a suit. Still, the protection for your weapon and convenience of having protection close by making the fanny pack holster a great option to consider.


Choosing a new holster does not have to be hard. Have you decided to go with a concealed pack? Finding a new way to safely conceal carry your firearm is a positive thing. You should just make sure to take certain precautions as you’re looking for your next perfect holster.

Second, as you try various holsters—especially the belly band and fanny packs mentioned today—make sure to move in a variety of ways, sit, stand, and practice drawing your firearm—unloaded of course. Trying out the holster in a variety of ways on your body will ensure a perfect fit when you take it home.

A DIY alternative

There is a radical option of using a kids fanny pack and stitching a band on the inside to hold the weapon for a unique concealment option. There is one big problem with this. If you have kids this is a terrible option. If you are going to be around kids this is a terrible option. Why? because something designed for kids will naturally attract kids’ curiosity to check out your bag.

Finally, if you have decided to try a belly band or fanny pack holster, follow our handy buyer’s guide above. Our suggestions can provide a great starting point in your search for the perfect conceal carry holster.