The Smith & Wesson M&P shield is one of the most compact and lightweight guns on the market today.

The perfect gun for concealed carry.

The gun is also really thin and after measurements, it is less than 1 inch thick.

So to conceal it, you need a great, reliable, comfortable holster.

Today we’re reviewing some key features to look for in a holster for the M&P Shield pistol. Then we’ll review 7 holsters to give you a variety to choose from.

So let’s get into it!

**For those of you who are busy, the #1 holster we reviewed is the Defender Leather IWB holster. It’s known for its comfort and conceals perfectly beneath your shirt. Grab yours here at Amazon now.

Key features:

Holsters, in general, are not that expensive, but the better the quality of the holster, the higher the price tag will be. And with a great gun like the M&P shield, you might want to dole out a few extra bucks to ensure that you get value for your money and the utmost protection for your gun.

Material: The materials of the holster are fundamentally important and it also directly relates to the quality and durability. You will be able to choose between expensive leather and or the cheaper nylon and Kydex options when selecting a holster. The nylon and Kydex are still great, but they might lack a little in terms of durability.

Holster type: The holster type will rely on where you feel most comfortable carrying your holster. Some might prefer the waistband while others like the ankle or leg carry. You can even find a shoulder strap holster, but these are a little more expensive and might be awkward if you are not used to them.

Retention: We consider retention fundamentally important in all holsters and there are many forms of retention that you can possibly choose from. The key is to ensure that you holster does have some level of retention and we even recommend the old thumb lock for its reliability. Often, Kydex will hold a gun in place as well.

Comfort: A holster should be comfortable to carry and this means that it should be able to cover the entire gun and keep it from causing harm to your skin. It is also important to look at the level of padding added to the holster and if it will be capable of resisting abrasions and evacuating moisture. Make sure to test it out while walking, sitting and bending. Normal daily activities shouldn’t be impacted when concealed carrying.

These four features are the four crucial features that we think you should look at and when the holster matches them, you will know that your holster is comfortable and durable. The holster should also protect the gun, but when your holster is protecting you, it will be protecting the gun as well.

That being said, let’s look at the top S&P shield holsters for 2017:

CYA Supply co. S&W M&P Shield 9/40 IWB Holster

Materials: Kydex
Holster Style: IWB
Hand orientation: Right or left-handed

This one made the list for multiple reasons. CYA is owned and operated by US Veterans. How cool is that?

It’s also known for its comfort despite being made from solid Kydex.

This holster is specifically made to fit the M&P Shield. It has been made from extremely durable Boltaron PVC plastic and Kydex materials. It easily clips to the inside of your waistband and the softer inside of the holster will help to reduce any abrasions.

The clipping mechanism is also really strong and this helps to reduce some of the friction from moving with the holster. It will do a great job at keeping it in place for you to have faster access.

Furthermore, the cant  is also fully adjustable and this means that you can carry the holster and the weapon at any level of degrees that you feel most comfortable with.

The holster will easily carry your M&P shield and keep the weapon ready for access whenever you need it.

Find the CYA IWB holster here on Amazon.

Galco Kingtuk Inside the Waistband Gun Holster

Materials: Kydex
Holster Type: IWB
Hand orientation: Right

Kind of a hilarious name, right? King Tuk?

Well there’s a reason. It’s an IWB option that allows you to tuck in your shirt while wearing it. Hence the name.

The holster is made for durable Kydex materials, thus giving the holster a longer life and it will not decrease in durability when worn for prolonged periods of time. The holster was also initially designed for use by military personnel and law enforcement officers, but in recent years it has become very popular among the general population.

On the inside close to the body, the holster has been padded with softer leather suede and this is actually great for resisting any abrasions. The moisture from sweat will also be evacuated swiftly to avoid any buildup of sweat which could be irritating.

The only downside to the holster is the size and it might be really warm to wear for longer periods of time.

As for the price tag, it’s quite expensive, but it does excel immensely in terms of providing you with the utmost of comfort. Therefore, we highly recommend this holster for people not planning to wear it for longer than half of the day as that is when discomfort might begin to set in.

Find Galco’s popular holster on Amazon here.

BLACKHAWK! Serpa CQC Holster

Materials: Kydex/Steel
Holster Type: Paddle/Belt holster
Hand orientation: Right and left-handed

This is one of the most popular paddle holsters for almost any pistol.

The BLACKHAWK! Serpa CQC holster Is made from a durable combination of steel and Kydex materials. The added Kydex has been incorporated to ensure that you have comfort, while the steel or metal, will improve the overall durability of the holster.

The holster is also quite small and compact and this means that you will be able to conceal your weapon much better, but it might defeat the purpose when strapped to the belt.

Especially if you are wearing a tight shirt.

Here’s a picture of my BLACKHAWK! with all the pieces of the holster taken apart:

The holster is also really versatile with its rigid frame. When it comes to safety, this holster excels and the method of retention is extraordinary.

It uses a finger lock retention system and will easily click into place when the firearm is reholstered. This locking mechanism will ensure your gun stays secure and still provide you with fast access.

It is actually quite affordable in terms of price and we do recommend this holster for the M&P Shield.

To see the current price of the BLACKHAWK! go to Amazon here.

The Defender Leather IWB Holster

Materials: Leather
Holster Type: IWB
Hand orientation: Right and left-handed

Alright, everyone needs a classic holster option and this leather one is just that. Perfect for concealed carry, it slips on over your belt for an IWB fit.

It’s known for being so comfortable, you may forget you’re concealed carrying. It’s got a snug fit when you put your gun in. But after a week or so of use, it should give enough for easy holstering.

It has been constructed from durable leather and the leather is also moldable, thus meaning it will mold to the shape of your body on the side and also the shape of the firearm and this will result in a lot of comfort.

This option  also features a strong clip to keep the holster in place and the added friction from the leather will serve as a great retention to keep the firearm in the holster. The holster is also backed by a lifetime guarantee and this definitely shows that the company is extremely confident in the holster. The holster has also been designed for most smaller firearm types and this includes the some Glock models and the Sig P239.

Even though it has been made from leather, the price tag is still really affordable compared to most competitor brands with the same brand and holster types.

Find the latest price and any discounts on the Defender Leather here on Amazon.

Bianchi 57 Remedy Open-Top S&W M&P Shield

Materials: Leather
Holster Type: OWB
Hand orientation: Right-handed

Whether you want to open carry or conceal carry while wearing a jacket, this is a great option.

The #1 reason this holster made the list?

It’s designed to allow you to have lightning speed access to your firearm.

You’ll notice that not much of the holster covers the M&P Shield. It means you won’t be lifting the gun very high before you’re able to bring it forward into a defense position.

The holster requires a belt to be able to wear. You’ll slip your belt through the loops.

The holster is also quite small and it molds to the shape of the weapon to act as a sort of retention, which will keep the weapon inside the holster. The holster also features a thinner low profile design. And this will be great for concealing the weapon underneath a shirt or top.

Furthermore, the holster is designed by one of the most trusted manufacturers of gun holsters especially smaller firearm holsters and this holster is no different. We do highly recommend this holster for the price. But make sure you’re comfortable with how much of the gun is not holstered.

Find the Bianchi here on Amazon.

Desantis Thumb Break Scabbard Holster

Materials: Leather
Holster Type: OWB
Hand orientation: Right and left-handed

This belt holster is another great option for an OWB holster. The main difference is that your M&P Shield will be covered by a thumb break. It’s not as exposed as the option above.

The Desantis Thumb break Scabbard holster is made from durable leather materials. The design has been specifically made to bring comfort to the person wearing the holster. The holster is normally mounted on the outside of the waistband and thanks to its more compact design; this holster can also be used as a pocket holster.

The holster uses a thumb lock mechanism to retain the firearm and this can be easily moved and dislodged to free up the firearm and give you access to the weapon. The degree or angle of the holster can also be adjusted to ensure that you have faster access to your weapon.

If you want to conceal carry with the Desantis, head to Amazon here.

Federal Shoulder Holster

Materials: Nylon
Holster Type: Shoulder
Hand orientation: Left

We wanted to throw in a different holster type, just to mix things up in this review.

Not many people prefer to wear their firearm with a shoulder holster. But this holster is actually quite nicely designed. And doesn’t have all of the bulky strapping that some others might have. The holster is made from nylon and it also features two separate pockets. These will allow you to easily store your magazines as well.

The holster can be adjusted in 6 different ways to make it more comfortable and the softer nylon strapping will be great for ensuring that no abrasions occur. We highly recommend this holster if you plan on carrying the firearm up higher underneath your clothing. The holster is also surprisingly, one of the cheapest holsters on the list, thus ensuring that you will get great value for your money.

Grab your comfy shoulder holster at Amazon here.

Final Thoughts:

We would like to thank you for reading this article and we hope that you are now able to make the best choice when it comes to selecting the best possible holster for your S&W M&P firearm.

As for recommendations, we recommend the Defender Leather IWB Holster.

Not only does this holster come at a really affordable price, but it is really comfortable and durable and it meets all our requirements for the best M&P holster on the market.

Find the Defender IWB holster here at Amazon.

We would also like to encourage you to let us know what you think of our selection.

Related Articles:
Best Ankle Holster Reviews
Top Conceal Carry Tank Tops
SOB Holster Reviews

Leave a Comment:

Nick says October 13, 2017

I like kydex more then leather. Because of the “break in time”.

Jaxon B says September 19, 2018

Very good review. Thanks for taking the time. I personally prefer Exarchy Holsters ( They are located in CO and offer a lifetime warranty. I have two and they are the most comfortable IWB Hybrid holster I’ve ever carried.

Leather Appendix Carry Holster says September 22, 2018

Appendix carry has always been controversial; I think this is because people keep getting shot by their own guns when attempting to re-holster. Just the other day a man was showing off his semi-auto pistol and upon re-holstering the trigger caught on the holster, or shirt, they are not sure which, and shot the man in his femoral artery. The man bled out in minutes and died before they could perform surgery.

My personal opinion regarding appendix carry is that it makes me very uncomfortable; not because of the firearm or holster poking me, but because anytime a loaded and cocked firearm, even if it is mine, is pointed at my groin area I am very uncomfortable. You see at any time anything can go wrong. That is just the way life is. We can practice safety meticulously every day, but there always comes a time when we become lax and that is when accidents happen. So even though I am now past thinking about child bearing I still find myself quite attached to my body parts, especially that area.

I will stick to hip carry in the 5 o’clock area I.W.B. That way if I have an accidental discharge it isn’t as likely to hit me but go straight into the ground. So realistically how often are you going to have to “Quick Draw” your weapon? Likely as not never so putting yourself at risk of shooting yourself accidentally just makes no sense to me. Just sayin’.

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