Carrying a concealed firearm comes with its own set of challenges, and the choice of a holster can make or break the experience. The Inside the Waistband (IWB) holster is a favorite among concealed carry enthusiasts for its combination of comfort and concealment. This blog post will break down what makes this holster style a staple for daily carriers.

Defining the IWB Holster

IWB holsters are designed to be worn inside the pants, with the holster body positioned between the user’s body and the waistband. The firearm itself rests securely, with only the grip visible above the waistband, making it highly concealable when combined with the right clothing. This is why many people swear by IWB for daily carry—it provides a comfortable and effective way to keep your firearm on you while maintaining a low profile.

Materials and Construction

These holsters come in various materials, but the most common ones include leather, Kydex, and hybrid blends. Leather offers a classic, natural feel and molds itself to the wearer over time, creating a snug and unique fit. Kydex, on the other hand, is a rigid, molded thermoplastic that provides quick reholstering and positive firearm retention. Hybrid models blend the best of both, often featuring a leather backer for comfort with a Kydex shell for superior firearm retention.

Attachment Methods

IWB holsters are typically secured to the belt via clips, loops, or wings that ensure stability. Belt clips are easy to remove but might lack the solid hold needed for vigorous activity. Loops, on the other hand, securely anchor the holster to the belt, providing added stability but taking a few more seconds to fasten. Some IWB holsters also incorporate “claws” or “wings” that press against the belt to angle the grip closer to the body, enhancing concealment.

Carry Positions

Where to carry your IWB holster? It depends on personal preference and comfort. The most popular positions include:

  1. Appendix Carry: Positioned just forward of the hip, providing a fast draw and good concealment with the right clothing. This position requires extra caution due to proximity to vital areas.
  2. Strong Side Hip Carry: The holster sits at the 3-4 o’clock position for right-handed shooters (9-8 o’clock for left-handed). It’s a comfortable, quick-draw position that balances accessibility and safety.
  3. Small of the Back (SOB) Carry: Positioned at the spine, usually between the 5-6 o’clock position. While it provides deep concealment, this position is slower on the draw and can be uncomfortable when seated.

The Advantages of IWB Carry

IWB holsters provide an optimal combination of concealment and security. Their biggest draw is the ability to blend into almost any outfit, making them ideal for both everyday carry and more formal settings. You can pair an IWB holster with a tucked-in shirt using tuckable models, or simply wear an untucked shirt for complete coverage.

Drawbacks to Consider

Though highly effective for concealment, IWB holsters aren’t without their cons. Some carriers find the pressure of the holster against their skin uncomfortable, especially with larger firearms or in hotter climates. Additionally, finding the right balance between draw speed and retention is critical, and requires trial and error with different holsters.

Final Thoughts

For many, the IWB holster represents the ultimate balance between security and stealth. It’s versatile, can accommodate a variety of firearms, and can be worn in multiple positions. Understanding your personal preferences and lifestyle will help you choose the perfect IWB holster to match your needs. If you’re serious about concealed carry, the right IWB holster is an investment worth making.