When Smith & Wesson announced the new M&P45 Shield, a lot of people were excited about the big bore self defense pistol. With up to 8 rounds of .45 ACP, could there be a better concealed carry pistol? In the minds of many, this was the perfect handgun for CCW.
The only problem…how to carry it? The new M&P45 was larger than the existing Shield pistols, so many of the existing holsters would not fit. What to do? (Ed. note: if you are looking for holsters for the original Shield models, click here.)
Well, you’ve come to the right place. This is a comprehensive list of all of the holsters for the S&W M&P45 Shield. I don’t sell these rigs – rather, I list all of them in one place, give you my opinions on them, and provide you links with where you can go to buy them if you so desire.
When I started this guide, the M&P45 Shield was brand new. As time goes on, I continue to add more and more holsters to this list. As companies announce new products, I update the page. If I miss any, please let me know in the comments section below.
I encourage everyone to leave feedback on the carry rigs you have tried. By posting your thoughts, you are helping out many other shooters who are looking for a quality carry rig for their pistol.
Bianchi is one of the granddaddy holster companies, and it is no surprise that it was one of the first companies to jump in with confirmed fits for the new M&P45 Shield pistol. Bianchi and Safariland are both part of the same family of companies, but both maintain their own distinctive brands. If you are looking for the Safariland offerings, skip down to their own section.
Let’s take a look at what Bianchi is offering that will definitely fit the .45 caliber handgun.
Model 57 Remedy
The Remedy is an all leather belt slide holster. It has an open top and attractive molding in the leather to precisely fit the gun for good retention. Bianchi opted for a forward cant which many people prefer. It is designed to be carried on the strong side hip.
Model 75 Venom
Another outside the waistband holster, the Venom is a compact design with an open muzzle and thumb break. In general, I do not like the designs that leave a significant portion of the muzzle exposed.
If you are running a plastic front sight, it can get dinged up pretty bad from day to day activities. If you opt to put a fiber optic front sight on your Shield, I strongly recommend against this type of holster.
That said, the rigs are still well made and pull the gun tight to the body for improved concealment.
Model 100 Professional
The Professional is a simple inside the waistband design that uses a metal belt clip to hold the rig in place. Bianchi designed the Professional with a large guard on the inside to protect the body from the hard edges of the gun. The cut and ride of the holster allows for a full grip when drawing the gun from concealment. It has a neutral cant.
Model 100T Professional Tuckable
As the model name suggests, this is a variant of the original Professional that allows you to tuck a shirt in over the top of the gun. Bianchi accomplished this by moving the belt clip off of the center of the gun and onto a wing, while also changing the nature of the clip itself. It is a pretty ingenious design and the pricing is very reasonable considering the quality that Bianchi offers.
Model 135 Suppression
This is another IWB for the M&P45 Shield. It looks similar to some of the hybrid designs that are on the market, but it is a full leather holster with a synthetic core to help it retain a precise shape. The core also prevents the rig from collapsing after the gun is drawn. The rig has a pair of belt clips – one forward and one rearward of the gun – to help distribute the gun’s weight across the belt. The Suppression has a forward cant.
Model 145 Subdue
Another IWB rig, this design uses foam padding with a leather exterior to increase comfort. It uses a single metal belt clip that is situated at the front of the rig. Based on the clip’s position, I am unsure how secure this rig is. I suspect it may move quite a bit more than other IWB holster for the M&P45 Shield. While I might like something more secure, you may prefer the comfort of the holster since it will move with your body.
Blade-Tech announced that the company is now making the Klipt IWB holster for the M&P45 Shield. The Klipt has been a popular rig for the company as it combines a quality rig with an affordable price. These polymer rigs use a single belt clip and can be worn in the appendix or strong side positions.
Comp-Tac Victory Gear
Comp-Tac worked with Smith & Wesson prior to the release of the new pistol to ensure that shooters would have top quality concealed carry rigs as soon as the guns went on sale.
“Comp-Tac works hard to stay on top of all the new firearm releases,” said Comp-Tac’s General Manager Gordon Carrell. “There is nothing more frustrating than buying a new firearm, wanting to carry it and not being able to buy a holster.”
As such, the company is now offering the following carry rigs:
- MTAC – The MTAC is an inside the waistband concealment holster designed to be worn on the strong side, just behind the hip. The body of the holster is made of Kydex, and it is interchangeable. This means you can swap shells if you want to carry a different firearm in the same rig.
- Infidel Max – This is another inside the waistband rig. Made of Kydex, this model has multiple adjustment holes to allow you to change the cant, or angle, of the gun to match your needs.
- Infidel Ultra Max – Similar to the Infidel Max above, this carry rig is a hybrid design that uses both leather and Kydex in its construction. It also allows you to adjust the cant of the gun.
- International – The International is an outside the waistband holster for the M&P45 Shield that is very flexible in its applications. It has a modular system that allows you to set it up in 16 different ways depending on your needs. It is intended to be worn on the strong side hip and can be used for range use, competition or concealed carry.
- Flatline – Comp-Tac considers the Flatline to be the most flexible holster in its catalog from the perspective of making it fit a variety of needs. It can be worn both inside the waistband and outside the waistband, and in a variety of styles.
DeSantis Gunhide had holster fits for the M&P45 at the moment the new gun launched. Smith & Wesson has done a good job of partnering with holster makers prior to a product launch to make sure there are concealed carry options available for its customers on day 1.
Since the company offers so many different holster options, I’ve broken them up into outside-the-waistband (OWB), inside-the-waistband (IWB), pocket and ankle rigs.
Speed Scabbard – The Speed Scabbard is a classic three slot belt rig that rides high and tight on the strong side hip. It is an al leather design with heavy duty stitching, molding and a tension screw. Through the use of the belt slots, it can be worn with a neutral or forward cant. It can even be run cross draw.
Thumb Break Scabbard – If you like the Speed Scabbard design, but prefer to have a thumb break retention strap, the Thumb Break Scabbard is the rig you should be looking at. It offers the same quality leather construction as the Speed Scabbard, but with the added retention that a thumb break offers.
Mini Scabbard – The Speed Scabbard is a great rig, but it is a bit large for some people’s tastes. For a smaller overall package, take a look at the Mini Scabbard. It does not have three belt slots, just two. The rig has a forward cant and an open top.
Intimidator 2.0 – Although DeSantis may be most famous for its leather holsters, the company also works with synthetic materials. In this case, the Intimidator 2.0, the company uses Kydex sheeting to make a precisely fit rig for your Shield. It is an open top, two belt slot design with a forward cant.
Cozy Partner – The Cozy Partner is one of my favorite DeSantis IWB rigs. It is an all leather design with a pair of soft belt loops that allow you to anchor the rig anywhere on your belt you like. It is similar to the famous Summer Special from Milt Sparks (another rig I like a lot,) but with a wider bottom to help spread out the weight and pressure from the gun. Additionally, this rig has a body protecting section of leather that extends up and prevents the gun’s sights from digging into your body.
Inside Heat – This is an inexpensive IWB rig that uses a single metal clip to hold the gun to the belt. It is a leather design with an open top.
The Insider – The Insider is one of the least expensive leather rigs you can find for IWB carry. Frankly, I am surprised that DeSantis can sell any leather holster at this price. It is similar to the Inside Heat, but with less details. It is not molded and the rig will collapse if the gun is drawn.
Sof-Tuk – This is another inexpensive IWB rig for the M&P45 Shield. However, I like it a lot more than The Insider. It uses a rough side out construction to improve the ability of the rig to anchor the gun in place.
Also, the belt clip used is a J-hook meaning that the rig is not dependent on the width of the belt to work properly. The J-hook also allows you to tuck a shirt in over the gun.
Another major improvement over The Insider is the reinforced mouth that keeps the rig from collapsing when the gun is drawn. For just a couple of dollars more, this is a much better rig than The Insider.
Intruder – A lot of people like the hybrid-style pistols. This hybrid variation uses a tough Kydex shell with a leather backer. The side of the backer facing out has a polyurethane film to protect its looks for years of use. The outboard clips spread the gun’s weight out along the waist. Additionally, the clips are adjustable for ride height and cant.
Invader – The Invader is another hybrid type rig, though it is both cheaper and more comfortable than the Intruder above. It uses a similar Kydex shell and belt clips, but replaces the leather backer with a synthetic one. The backer is actually has several layers that includes nylon on top and neoprene that rides against the body.
It was my experience with the original Shield pistols that they were a bit large for pocket carry. I expect that the even larger .45 ACP Shield will also be too large for my tastes.
However, you may have different circumstances in which pocket carry works for you. In that case, DeSantis offers two different options to consider: The Nemesis and The SuperFly.
The Nemesis is my favorite pocket holster. There are other good rigs on the market, but for a perfect balance of concealability, durability, performance and price, The Nemesis simply cannot be beat. It is a synthetic rig with a slightly rubbery exterior that does exactly what it needs to do in a pants pocket. I’ve owned and used these for years, and I am quite happy with their performance.
According to DeSantis, The Nemesis that fits the Glock 26/27 style pistols will also fit this gun.
On the other hand, I’ve been less than impressed by The SuperFly. It is a good holster and the exterior is very tacky to offer extra insurance that it will stay in the pocket when the gun is drawn. However, it is a lot bulkier than The Nemesis. I’ve yet to find a pair of pants that this rig will work well with.
The Superfly includes a removeable flap that gives the gun a print that looks like a fat wallet through a pants pocket. While it does hide the shape of the gun, it adds considerable bulk and might attract the wrong attention since it looks like a big fat wallet.
At this time, DeSantis only offers one ankle rig for the Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield: the Apache Ankle Rig. This is an all synthetic rig that has a nylong holster pouch for the pistol. The pouch is attached to a wide eleastic band that then stretches around the lower leg. On the inside of the band is a sheepskin-like material to cushion the weight and angles of the pistol against the body.
Since this rig is designed to fit a variety of pistols, it is one of the rigs that fits both the original and .45 caliber Shield handguns. You can pick one up from Amazon here.
Galco Gunleather is another company that received early access to the .45 ACP version of the Shield. As such, they were ready to go immediately with carry options for you. Here is a look at what the company has to offer.
Inside the Waistband
- Stow-N-Go – The Stown-N-Go is a simple but effective IWB rig. It has a neutral cant and anchors to the belt with a single metal clip that accommodates belts up to 1.75″ wide. It has an open mouth that is reinforced with metal to keep it from collapsing after the gun is drawn. I have an older version of this for my S&W 642 that has worked well for many years.
- Tuck-N-Go – This is essentially the same rig as the Stow-N-Go, but with a plastic belt clip that allows you to tuck a shirt in over the top of the gun and holster. It works well in the appendix position and just behind the strong side hip.
- Pocket Protector – Galco built their pocket holster with ample room to get a grip on the M&P45 Shield while it is still in the pants. The rig has a wide wing with a hook-like protrusion to ensure the holster stays in the pocket when the gun is drawn. According to the company, the proper size for the .45 caliber Shield is the PRO652B, which also fits the original 9mm and .40 S&W models.
- Cop Ankle Band – This is a straightforward ankle holster design for the M&P45. It has a wide neoprene band that fastens with Velcro above the ankle on the lower calf. For increased retention, it has a thumb break. To improve comfort, the company uses an acrylic fleece backing that faces the body. I’ve used this model with a Glock 27 and found it to be a good ankle carry option. The length of the band is just barely long enough to go around the top of a boot, so I recommend the Uncle Mike’s ankle holster if you aren’t going on top of a plain sock.
Outside the Waistband
- SSS (Side Snap Scabbard) – The SSS, or Side Snap Scabbard, is an outside the waistband rig that uses snap loops to affix to the belt. It is a high quality rig with premium leather, a reinforced opening and a forward cant. According to the company, the rig set up for the original Shield pistols will also fit the .45 version.
- Stinger – Another OWB holster, the Stinger is a smaller package than the SSS (above) and uses a single tunnel-type belt loop to anchor the gun in place. It uses a high quality leather and fits belts up to 1.5″ wide. Galco uses double stitching on this rig, and it has a forward cant.
- Yaqui Slide – For those not familiar with the Yaqui Slide style of holster, it is an OWB rig that takes a minimalist approach. The top and bottom of the holster are open, and the leather is not precisely molded to the gun. This means a single holster can accomodate a range of pistols. Although I can appreciate the utilitarian nature of the design, I don’t like that my muzzle and front sight are exposed with this style of holster.
Non-Traditional Carry Rigs
- Defense Planner – Disguised as a day planner, this zippered pouch holds your .45 caliber Shield and a spare magazine. If you want the same concealment platform, but with the added functionality of a real agenda planner, check out the Hidden Agenda below. This is leather bound.
- Hidden Agenda – Similar to the Defense Planner, the Hidden Agenda conceals your gun in plain sight. However, unlike the other model, this carry rig also has a fully functioning daily planner that is separated from the gun compartment. That way you can still work in the planner without exposing your firearm. This model is also leather bound.
- iDefense – If you carry an iPad around at work, this might be a concealment option you wish to consider. It is an oversized iPad case with a hidden compartment to hold your M&P45 Shield. Two problems I see with it: 1. the iPad makes it a visible target for thieves and 2. it is too bulky to be terribly useful as an iPad case.
- Underwraps Belly Band – If you are not already familiar with the concept, a belly band is a wide length of elastic with pockets built into it for your gun. The idea is for you to stretch it around your torso and wear it without the need for a belt. The Underwraps is simply Galco’s take on the design. It has multiple pouches for spare magazines, knife, flashlight or anything else you can think of.
- Women’s Handbags – Galco has been involved in the women’s handbag market for a while. The company makes a variety of nice purses and shoulder bags that will work well with your Smith & Wesson pistol. I’m afraid that I have no practical experience with purses, but the construction appears to be high quality. Go here to see them all.
Safariland has been in the holster business for decades and has built a solid reputation for building high quality duty and concealment scabbards for all kinds of needs. I’ve owned a lot of different Safariland products, and every one of them has been a good performer and long term value.
Model 27 – The Model 27 is an inside the waistband holster for the M&P45 Shield. It is made of leather and has a single belt loop to anchor it into place. The belt loop is actually a J-hook that grabs the underside of the belt. This ensures the holster stays in place when the gun is drawn, yet is not limiting on what size belt you may be wearing.
GLS Pro-Fit Series
Safariland developed a series of multi-fit holsters called the GLS Pro-Fit. GLS stands for Grip Lock System. These holsters have an active retention system that is automatically released when the wearer obtains a normal grip, allowing for a fast draw. When not gripped, the gun is securely held in the holster.
One of truly ingenious aspects of this design is that it allows a wide range of handguns to fit in a single holster. In fact, more than 200 different makes and models of pistol will fit into these rigs…including the M&P45 Shield.
I know it sounds too good to be true, but I have tested one of these holsters out and discovered they work exactly as advertised. Check out my GLS Pro-Fit review by clicking here.
Another nice aspect to these rigs is the material used by Safariland is not abrasive to the gun’s finish. According to Safariland, their engineers developed a nylon material that is very lightweight and durable, but will not harm the gun’s appearance. In my testing of the holsters, I did not see any wear on my guns from these rigs.
There are several different models of GLS Pro-Fit. I’ve listed them below.
Model 576 – This model is an OWB rig with a high-ride belt loop. It allows for a secure attachment to any quality belt with a width of 1.5″ or less.
Model 577 – Another OWB rig, this model has a lower ride than the 576. Additionally, the belt loops will work for belts up to 1.75″ in width. I prefer the higher ride model, but that is purely personal preference.
Model 578 – This outside the waistband rig is a paddle holster. Paddle holsters are liked by many people for their easy-on and easy-off nature. Other people like them for the same reason: they might come off in a struggle.
From my own experience, I’d say Safariland makes the best paddle holsters on the market. While they are easy to get on and off if you know the technique, the rigs really do anchor the gun in place and are extremely difficult to dislodge.
Model 579 – For the smallest profile Pro-Fit rig, this is the OWB for you. It uses a very tough belt clip that locks onto the belt. In my experience, this is a very secure way to attach the holster to a belt. While it has the upside of being less wide, it also puts all of the gun’s weight on a single point. Fortunately, the Shield isn’t terribly heavy.
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