City Special Revolver Holster


(19 customer reviews)

As of 1/20/21, the City Special has been updated to improve Enigma compatibility. Instead of the TuckStrut and soft-loop of previous models, the City Special now comes with a ModWing and 1.5in GripHook belt clip.

As of 5/12/21, the City Special has been updated with a small, subtle retention adjustment mechanism to improve the fit across the myriad of ages, materials, and variations of J Frame and LCR models. Refer to the product photo gallery for more information.

Introduced in 2013 for J-Frame revolvers, the City Special was the first AIWB-oriented revolver holster to address the niche issue of the complex problem of single-handed emergency revolver reloading. The techniques presented in revolver-centric instruction typically involve the improvised tucking of the gun or cylinder into a pocket or belt to maintain access to the chambers. The City Special brings the advantages available to semi-auto pistols, namely using the holster as a platform to reload, to the small revolver. Our reload cut, standard on all models, allows the user to insert the open cylinder into the holster in the rare event of an emergency reload. The extended form of the holster also provides an ambidextrous body shield for the gun, making the City Special, like our Skeleton holster, 100% ambidextrous.

Previously, the City Special was only available as limited editions, made in occasional batches for snub enthusiasts. Due to the accumulated cult following and popularity growth over the past five years, we’ve brought the City Special online as a full production model, taking advantage of our new production processes to provide a wider variety of fit compatibility, improved features, and expanded brand support.

For the newest iteration of the City Special, we’ve included the ergonomic strategies you’ve come to expect from PHLster products. Molded into each holster are rounded and enlarged muzzle areas, to help increase comfort and concealment, no matter if it’s set up for right or left-handed carry. Crimson Trace laser grip compatibility is now standard on all models. 

The S&W J-Frame model is compatible with the following Smith&Wesson model revolvers, up to 2.125 barrel length:

36, 43, 60, 340, 340PD, 351C, 351PD, 360PD,  361, 437, 442, 637, 638, 640, and 642.

The Ruger LCR model is compatible with all calibers and model of LCR up to 1.87in barrel lengths:

5401, 5409, 5410, 5414, 5424, 5427, 5428, 5430, 5434, 5439, 5450, 5452, 5456, 5460, and 5462. 

Learn more about the Reload Cut feature here:

Additional information

Weight 0.24 lbs
Dimensions 7 × 5.5 × 2 in

J-Frame, LCR

19 reviews for City Special Revolver Holster

  1. Arnold (verified owner)

    So I got both versions of this little holster and I’m very pleased. My draw stroke would be smoother if i work on flattening my belly.

  2. pignock (verified owner)

    I also have both versions of this holster. The original version was great but it only fit my 442. Version 2 fits my 43C and 640 Pro as well.

    I’ve been using it daily since about October of 2018.

    The fit and finish on this holster is superb. The edges are finished and smooth. There are no sharp bends or edges to catch on my clothing (or belly fat). It seems to hold onto the trigger guard alone but there is no movement of any of my j-frames within the holster.

    I don’t use the included TuckStrut because I don’t like “pull the dot” straps. I can never get them to fasten unless I’m standing up and I have to remove and install my holster while sitting in my vehicle because my employer is not gun friendly. I use a 2-hole 1/2″ spacer and an injection molded plastic j-hook belt loop. I clip it to my belt just to the right of my one-o’clock belt loop and it conceals easily under a form fitting polo shirt. I don’t really notice it until it’s time to take it off. I’ve driven for eight hours straight with it in place without any discomfort whatsoever. I’ve never been able to carry an autoloader this easily or with this much comfort.

    If you have a 2 inch J-frame, this holster is the last one you’ll need.

  3. Anthony Satcher (verified owner)

    Well thought out design. I have worn this a couple of days in AIWB and it fits well and I can draw from it reliably. The holster does not gouge my groin or stomach at all. I have shared this with my friends and hope they choose to pick one up.

  4. John Harding (verified owner)

    I bought a J-frame specifically so I could appendix carry it. After several weeks of research and recommendations from other J-frame owners, I settled on the City Special from PHLster. I waited a couple of weeks to write a review so that I actually had some holster time on it, and I can comfortably say that the design of this holster is top-shelf. I do not forget that I’m wearing a weapon (who forgets their gun?), but my J-frame is as unobtrusive as it could possibly be. It’s accompanied me on several hikes, a couple of neighborhood bike rides, and along with me on my daily routines. It stays put, doesn’t get in the way, and keeps my revolver snug and secure. It’s unlikely I’ll buy any other IWB holsters for my J-frame. This one does exactly what I need it to, and I would recommend it to anyone carrying a snubby IWB.

  5. Duane Alles (verified owner)

    By far the best snubby AIWB holster I have one for my J frame and one for my LCR. Great quality and works very well. I wish there was a 3” barrel J frame model.

  6. cjasonharper (verified owner)

    Perfect fit for my Mod 60 snubbie. It really disappears under a Tshirt. Excellent build quality as you’d expect from Phlster. I’m so thankful it can be switched to a Lefty draw.

  7. craig.scatola (verified owner)

    I’ve only had my City Special for about a week now but so far, so good! This is the first time I have tried AIWB carry. I have carried IWB (3-4 o’clock position) for nearly two decades but recently have been experiencing back pain from not being able to sit straight with a traditional IWB holster. I really like the City Special for AIWB. The holster sits “just right” and has a limited degree of vertical adjustment. The belt loop is easy to slip through a nylon belt and the pull-the-dot snap is easy enough to close. I have zero concern with the snap coming loose under physical exertion.

    Fit and finish are phenomenal right out of the box, er, plastic bag. My S&W 642-1 fits perfectly. I have tried other Kydex holster brands over the years. Some are flawless (like this one) and others go right into the shop to have sharp edges, burrs, etc. removed right out of the box. There is an audible “click” when the pistol is fully seated in the holster. The retention level is not as stiff as other holsters but this is not a detriment. The added pressure on the holster when you snug your belt against keeps the gun secure. My 642 will not fall out of the holster if I turn it upside down but the draw stroke is smooth and fast. The holster does not move when drawing the gun. My 642 wears a pair of VZ 320 grips and the gun fits perfectly with these grips. I also tried a J-Frame/Crimson Trace combo and that fits as well. I have a S&W Model 37-2 which does fit in the City Special but the frame is slightly less beefy than the 642-1 which results in a less positive “click” when holstering and there is some minor play within the holster.

    If I had one complaint it would be that the City Special is about 1/2″ longer than it needs to be. Most S&W J-Frames have a 1 7/8″ barrel but the holster can accommodate a 2 1/2″ barrel. It would be nice if you could specify a shorter City Special that eliminates the extra ~1/2″. It doesn’t sound like much but removing 1/2″ of plastic would make it even more comfortable when squatting down.

    I will definitely purchase from Phlster again as they make a high quality, well thought out product.

  8. Robert Henckel (verified owner)

    Both my Smith 642 and 640 Pro fit my City Special perfectly. I really like the improved version with the wing claw. We had recently ordered one for my wife’s LCR prior to the wing claw design change. We wish it had that upgrade on it. But as always Phlsters designs and workmanship are top notch. I own numerous models of their holsters and every one has exceeded my expectations.

  9. ken-1175 (verified owner)

    Well designed with a great fit for many S&W J-frames. I appreciate the accommodation for the CTC laser grips (I have the LG-405). My only complaint: product was designed for Smith & Wesson model revolvers, up to 2.125 barrel length; unfortunately, my Model 360PD has a 1 7/8″ barrel, which leaves a surprising amount of unused barrel space at the end of the holster, digging into my leg when I sit with AIWB carry. So, it makes my tiny, weightless snubby feel bigger inside my waistband. The end result is that I never use it, but instead use a suede holster from another vendor that doesn’t retain as well, but is a perfect fit my particular J-frame. Please consider making a short-barrel version of the same holster. Thanks, Ken

    • Jonathan Hauptman

      Hi Ken,
      Many of our holster run a little longer than the gun for the following reason:

      If the gun is digging into your leg, that’s probably a ride height issue more than it’s a holster length issue.


  10. Manint Kessopa (verified owner)

    I should have bought two since my wife has no taken this holster and the revolver as her own.

  11. seanco66 (verified owner)

    I love this Holster! I have a S&W J Frame 642 I have looked far and wide and have several different variations of holsters that have kinda done a halfass job of comfortably carrying, but not one matches this one! I just happened to stumble on to this when I was looking at the Floodlight Holster for my Glock. I saw this and added it to my cart on a whim. I am so glad I did! This is now my primary holster for my S&W and I’m prolly going to chuck all the others!

  12. Robert McGraw (verified owner)

    Great holster. I have had trouble finding a way to carry comfortably because of my grossly over fed build. I ordered a City Special IWB and it allows me to stick the holstered LCR in my front pocket with the clip gripping the outside of the pocket. Draw is fast and easy. Easy to pull out of pocket to safely re-holster. Might not be designed use but it is perfect for me.

  13. zeabned (verified owner)

    Smooth, no-snag, secure and comfortable fit and carry experience. Good all around. The only holster I have that is ideally designed for my old S&W 60-7 J-frame, practically as if custom made.

  14. msp.1993 (verified owner)

    Very nice product (j frame) personally I don’t like the clip over the pull-the-dot’s. I wear an SOG EDC gun belt, and at its thinnest point, pants included, is .5″ thick. The clip is much harder to install on the belt than the pull-the-dot loop. A drop down menu option to select which loop or clip would earn 5 stars from me. Would be nice to have an opening at the barrel end so you’d be able to store the gun/holster on a ‘through barrel’ pistol stand, I’ll be cutting one into mine…

  15. w5kp77 (verified owner)

    Excellent fit for my AirLite Ti, light weight, carries nicely, disappears under a t-shirt. Can’t think of a negative except one: Price seems a little stiff. However, like many I was willing to bite that bullet in return for high quality of construction and perfect fit. Development, design and tooling costs can’t be cheap these days, and PHLster has to stay in the black, so this appears to be one of those “get what you pay for” things. So just pay it and smile. Nice work, gentlemen. IMHO PHLster is to the Kydex world what Milt Sparks is to leather IWB holsters: works of art and perfection of fit combined. And they ain’t cheap either!

  16. Jonathon Tzilos (verified owner)

    Got the LCR model and couldn’t be happier. Retention is just perfect and the holster is very cleanly molded and finished.

  17. swennes (verified owner)

    I really like this holster. It grips fine inside a pair if sweats or under a belt and jeans/slacks and offers a very fast presentation. Impressive!

  18. Morgan Leake (verified owner)

    This is a very comfortable and concealable holster. I have worn it on several mountain bike rides, in hilly and fairly challenging terrain, and it stayed in place with positive retention throughout.

    I have not yet tried reversing the holster for support side use, but plan to do so sometime in the not-distant future.

  19. David Airey (verified owner)

    I’m happy to have found this holster for my j-frame 43 classic. I wanted an appendix holster in addition to safely pocketing it. This is very well made, even has a good claw, pulling it into your body. Retention is good and adjustable. It is a little bit longer than the gun to add stability. Well done, PHLSTER. Aside: if looking for a holster for a 3inch Ruger LCRx, try DarkStar. As a result of the quality of the City Special, I’m looking into the Enigma as another carry option for our p365.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.