How to Wear IWB Holsters | Informational Guide 2020

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IWB holsters are an important and widely used accessory when it comes to concealed carrying of firearms.

These holsters come in handy under specific situations and offer an element of surprise to the user. However, they have their own advantages and disadvantages. Plus, they have to be worn properly to be effective.

Here, we’ll learn in detail about all the characteristics of an IWB holster, along with some other useful info. We will also look at some of the top IWB holsters on the market, in case you are in the market for one.

Comparison Chart of the Best IWB Holsters

PRODUCTDETAILS
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CYA Supply Co. IWB Holster

  • Best overall IWB holster on our list
  • Compact design with adjustable cant and retention
  • Full-length sweat guard and Kydex design for permanent flaring
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Belly Band Holster For Concealed Carry​

  • Comfortable, breathable neoprene belly band for all-day comfort
  • Universal holster fits all handgun frames and the band is long enough
  • Features extra pocket for carrying spare mags and other stuff. Great holster for running and exercise
View Latest Price
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Q-Series IWB Minimalist Concealed Carry Stealth Holster

  • Polymer construction for lightweight and durability, plus adjustable retention
  • Minimalistic low-profile and lightweight design covers only the trigger guard
  • Offers exceptional concealment and can be used with multiple handguns
View Latest Price

What is an IWB Holster and When is it Ideal?

IWB here stands for Inside-The-Waistband.

An IWB holster is a type of handgun holster worn inside the waistband, right between your lower garment and your body (the place where you tuck your shirt in). IWB holsters came into being through the need for concealed carrying handguns.

CYA Supply Co. IWB Holster (Source)

Concealed carry (also known as CCW) refers to carrying a firearm in such a way that it is not visible or broadcasting to anybody else.

The purpose of an IWB holster is to conceal your firearm meanwhile offering you comfort, proper retention, and a quick draw.

IWB holsters are ideal for certain situations, some of which include:

Self Defense

IWB is a good option for self defense. These holsters give the user an element of surprise to shock any attacker. 

Plus, it also gives you an edge in case of situations arising in public places, because prying criminals won’t even consider you to be a threat since they can’t see your weapon.

Additionally, IWB holsters prevent anyone from stealing or snatching your weapon, similar to concealed carry purses.

Everyday Carry

IWB holsters are ideal for Every Day Carry (EDC). Whether you are a working woman or man, IWB holsters let you carry your weapon without offending anyone near you.

Performing Strenuous Activities

Another realm where IWB holsters work very well is while performing strenuous activities like running, hiking, jogging, or even hunting.

IWB holsters protect your weapon and prevent it from falling out or getting snagged on something.

Deciding How to Wear an IWB Holster

Carry position is the place on your waist where you place your holster. The circumference of your waist can be compared to a traditional clock (when viewed from the top).

Thus, different carry positions can be represented as the time values marked on the clock.

For example, your belly button is 12 o’clock, your center back is 6 o’clock, your right hip is 3 o’clock, and left hip is 9 o’clock. To put it simply, there are 12 different carry positions for an IWB holster, which can be designated by the hour positions of a clock.

The carry position you use depends upon certain factors, including your size, weight, and sometimes clothing.

Alien Gear Holsters demonstration on how to put on your IWB holster (Source)

People who have put on extra weight and have a sort of plump body should carry at 4 or 5 o’clock (7 or 8 o’clock for lefties). On the other hand, the best carry position for skinny guys is 3 o’clock, 2 o’clock or 12 o’clock.

This difference in carrying positions is obviously due to the size of the belly. However, regardless of the size, the 3 o’clock or 9 o’clock carry positions might not work out very well.

That’s because the prime function of an IWB holster is to offer concealment, and wearing the holster in these positions can promote printing because of the raised hip.

Wearing an IWB Holster 

Wearing an IWB holster properly is the basic requirement for it to function properly. You must learn and understand this step-by-step process to get the best results out of your IWB holster.

Undo Your Belt and Waistband

Some people skip this step, and try to poke in the holster forcefully, which may lead to an uncomfortable fit. Undoing your waistband ensures that you get proper room to slide and attach the holster properly.

Slide the Holster to Your Desired Position

Take the holster, place it in between your body and the band and slide it all the way to your desired position. If your holster has a belt loop, adjust it accordingly.

Slide the Belt Clips Over Your Belt

Ensure that your holster is properly tucked in place. Wiggle it to make sure it stays in place.

Fasten Your Waistband

Once you have ensured that the holster has been seated properly in the right position, fasten your waistband and belt, and tighten it according to your level of comfort.

Quick Take - The Best IWB Holsters

Review of the Best IWB Holsters

Based upon the ideal qualities of an IWB holster, we have handpicked the top three IWB holsters on the market.

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Pros

  • Perfect for EDC use
  • Maximum concealability
  • Really comfortable to wear
  • Clip does a good job keeping the holster in position
  • Audible click is a great indicator that the pistol is retained securely

Cons

  • Clip may fail after short-term use
  • May ride a little higher than expected
  • Some minimal improvements may be needed overall

What Recent Buyers Report 

This holster was perfect for users who were either new to concealed carry or looking for a holster that was durable and allowed for excellent pistol retention. This did not disappoint the legions of new buyers in the slightest. One user even said that the security lock was good enough for him to purchase it since he wanted something to make sure his pistol stayed in place.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Made from high-quality Boltaron, this holster has proven to be one of the best quality IWB holsters you can find on the market. What makes this even better is the fact that it carries a reasonable price tag. So if you want the best quality and performance you can afford, then this holster will definitely check off all of those boxes. Not to mention, it allows for a quick and easy draw that will never snag on you, and we mean never.

Manufactured by a veteran-owned company in the U.S.A., this IWB holster has been designed to fit the subcompact S&W Shield. It has a wide clip for a better grip, a thermoplastic body for quick draw, easy reholstering, heat resistance, a full-length sweat guard, and adjustability for cant and retention. If you own an S&W Shield, this will be the best IWB holster for you.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for the perfect high-quality holster that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, then you might have found it with the CYA Supply Co. IWB Holster. This is a holster that wastes no time in providing you reliable carrying and superior concealability that some cheap IWB holster will likely fail at doing.

Bottom Line

The CYA Supply Co. IWB Holster will stand out as one of the best holsters on the market for those who prefer an IWB over anything else. Yes, it’s durable and allows for easy drawing. And don’t forget, you’ll get a good deal of concealment out of this bad boy the second you put it on.

BRAVOBELT Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry - Athletic Flex FIT for Running, Jogging, Hiking - Glock 17-43 Ruger S&W M&P 40 Shield | for Men & Women

What Recent Buyers Report

New users of this holster were really happy with its ability to handle all kinds of pistols (including a wide range of Glocks, SIGs, and S&Ws, among others). They said the holster was really comfortable to wear for all-day use and was a perfect fit across so many different shooter frames. One user said despite concerns that it wouldn’t fit a guy his size (standing just a hair below six feet and weighing near 200 pounds), he had no problem fitting this around him.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Excellent comfort? Check. Universal? Check. Fits a lot of different sizes? Double check. This neoprene holster is very comfortable on the skin and won’t trigger any kind of irritation, even on a hot summer day when sweat and material come in contact. Whether you deal with that issue or have sensitive skin issues, this holster will definitely be easy on the skin while providing excellent retention and carry for your favorite pistol.

This belly band holster can be worn at all waist carry positions and fits most guns. The belly band holster is incredibly comfortable and also features an extra pouch for carrying additional mags or other relevant stuff.

This one-size-fits-all holster is good for everyday carry and fitness walks. The holster has a snap button retention strap offering a quick draw. Reholstering can take a bit time because of the collapsible neoprene holster, but it still is a versatile and ambidextrous product.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a great holster for men and women looking to conceal carry their pistols on a daily basis. This just might be one of the most comfortable IWB holsters we have ever come across with the intent of being used for all-day carry. You are able to draw your pistol rather quickly without any instance of snagging in the slightest. This just might be the best option if you want true concealability without strapping it to your hip.

Bottom Line

The Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry by Bravobelt is definitely one of the odds-on favorites for those looking for a really good holster that won’t wear, tear, or cause any discomfort. Even better, it’s a universal holster that will keep your pistol undercover and out of sight. For the best in EDC carry, this holster just might be the solution.

Q-Series Stealth Gun Holsters - Minimalist Concealed Carry Holster for Pistols

What Recent Buyers Report

New users were looking for a holster that provided no bulge carrying for their favorite pistols. As expected, they got what they wanted. This was a holster that didn’t use a whole lot of materials, but it certainly delivered on the promise when it came to maximum concealability. Furthermore, less material meant quick access and drawing every single time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If there is one thing that is gaining in popularity at a fast rate these days, it’s a holster that doesn’t use a lot of material. The reasons are quite simple: for one, you don’t get a single draw that snags. Second, the holster solves the issue of bulging. Some holsters with a good amount of material are guilty of this. So if you want concealability that is second to none, this might be the holster worth considering.

The Q-Series IWB holster features a minimalist design, which reduces the overall weight of the setup. It can be clipped to the belt and the weapon just slides over it to lock its base.

The holster covers the trigger guard and is thus, safe to use. The holster is made from polymer and features an ambidextrous steel clip. Plus, the retention of the holster is also adjustable.

This holster fits most Glock pistols except the Glock 42 and Glock 43, along with other compact and midsize frame pistols. It works great with or without a belt.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want excellent quality, a consistently quick draw, and concealability that won’t look like you are obviously carrying something, this would be the perfect EDC holster to consider. This will fit all kinds of compact pistols designed to be concealable. Make it even better with a holster that will keep you ahead of the curve against danger, even if it feels like you are wearing nothing at your side.

Bottom Line

The Q-Series IWB Minimalist Concealed Carry Stealth holster will definitely be worth the investment if you want a holster that has benefits that far outweigh the disadvantages. You will not regret purchasing this holster once you give it a try for yourself. Why settle for anything less than a holster that is built to last and easy to draw from?

Adjusting Your IWB Holster Retention 

Once you have attached your IWB holster properly, the next step is to check it for functionality.

Before you commence this step, please ensure your weapon is empty and there’s no round in the chamber. Make sure you don’t put your finger on the trigger while doing the steps mentioned below.

Safety is vital to this step to avoid injuring yourself or others around you unintentionally.

Holster Your Weapon

Once your holster is in place, put your weapon inside it to check for retention and draw.

Adjust Retention

If you feel the retention of the holster is too tight or too loose for the weapon, take it out and adjust the retention by tightening the respective screws (refer to the user manual if you don’t know how to do this). Test the retention of the holster after making slight adjustments to attain the proper level.

Check the Grip

Make sure you get a proper grip on your weapon when you reach for it. Practice a few times to ensure your holster sits in a comfortable position.

Adjust Your Clothing

Tuck and un-tuck your shirt/t-shirt to ensure that the holster doesn’t create any problems. Practice a draw several times to make sure your holster fits and sits correctly.  

How to Properly Wear and Adjust an IWB Holster

Since you already know how to make adjustments to the retention, let's take a look at some other adjustments which will make your holster even more comfortable and apt for use.

The video below will teach you the proper way to wear and adjust an Alien Gear IWB holster.

You will learn the importance of undoing your waistband and using a belt when carrying an IWB holster. Once you fit an IWB holster, you must fasten your belt nice and tight for the holster to stay comfortable.

IWB holsters can be worn with shirts or t-shirts either tucked or untucked. The video also talks about the different types of clips such as J-clips, C-clips, belt loops and their respective features and benefits when used in conjunction with an IWB holster.

You can also adjust the ride height, cant, and retention of the holster and the entire holster shell by using a simple hex key and loosening or tightening respective screws.

Advantages and Disadvantages of IWB Holsters

Like any other product, IWB holsters also have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at the most important ones:

Advantages

IWB holsters have many advantages over OWB such as:

Concealment

The most astounding advantage of an IWB holster is concealment. These holsters were intentionally designed for CCW and serve this purpose really well. These holsters give a minimum hint about your CCW when used with tucked in shirts(due to belt clips) and absolutely no hint when used with untucked shirts.

Doesn’t Limit Wardrobe

IWB holsters generally feature a low profile and conform with the contour of your body to show the least profile print, even with light clothing. Moreover, IWB holsters work very well with untucked shirts.

Can Be Used Anywhere

IWB holsters can be used for everyday carry without letting anyone know that you are CCW. Plus, these holsters don’t interfere while you perform other activities, due to their position.

Disadvantages

The most common complaints about IWB are:

Little Comfort

IWB holsters are not very renowned for comfort. Since they are worn inside the clothing, they tend to poke around while driving or sitting. Additionally, any holster without a full-length sweat guard is difficult to bear, especially during summer.

A Microsecond Late

Even though IWB holsters offer concealment and an element of surprise, they are a bit time consuming compared to OWB (Outside-the-Waistband) because you have to dig your fingers deep to attain a proper grip.

Difficult to Reholster

If your holster isn’t made from plastic or doesn’t have a steel reinforced mouth, you may struggle a bit when reholstering. If you don’t consider this a disadvantage, imagine using both your hands to reholster while you have to give first aid or pull somebody out of a dangerous situation.

Conclusion

An IWB holster is the best option for concealed carrying a weapon. These holsters have a low-profile and are good for EDC and self-defense.

A holster should be worn properly for maximum effectiveness. An IWB holster offers concealment and can be carried anywhere. However, on the other hand, they lack comfort and lengthen draw and reholster times.

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