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.
Our Top Three Picks for IWB Holsters Comparison Chart
CYA Supply Co. IWB Holster
Belly Band Holster For Concealed Carry
Q-Series IWB Minimalist Concealed Carry Stealth Holster
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 which is 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.
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:
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 such 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, similarly to concealed carry purses.
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 Where 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.
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 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.
Adjusting Your IWB Holster Retention
Once you have worn your IWB holster properly, the next step is to check it for functionality.
Before you commence this step, please ensure that your weapon is empty and there’s no round in the chamber. Make sure that 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, you must put your weapon inside it to check for retention and draw.
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 try to reach 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:
Concealment: The most astounding advantage of an IWB holster is concealment. These holsters were intentionally designed for CCW and they 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.
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 with, 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 waistband) because you have to dig your fingers deep to attain a proper grip.
Difficult to Re-Holster: If your holster isn’t made from plastic or doesn’t have a steel reinforced mouth, you’ll have to struggle a bit when reupholstering. 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.
Techniques to Improve Draw Stroke
When you carry an IWB holster, you can employ two draw techniques. The single hand draw and the double hand draw.
The video below will show you the procedure of using both these draw techniques.
With a one-handed draw, you must use your dominant hand to reach your holster and grip the weapon, meanwhile keeping your other hand on the chest (to prevent hitting it accidentally if you fire from the hip), or to push back the attacker as you fire from the hip. This method works best with untucked shirts.
If you’re wearing a tucked shirt, you must use the double hand draw. Use the non-dominant hand to pull up your shirt and the dominant hand to pull out the weapon.
Begin aiming when your weapon bearing hand reaches the center of your torso, consecutively using the other hand to grip the weapon.
Our Top Three Picks for IWB Holsters
Based upon the ideal qualities of an IWB holster, we have handpicked the top three IWB holsters on the market.
Manufactured by a veteran-owned company in the USA, this IWB holster has been designed to fit the subcompact S&W Shield.
It has a wide clip for a better grip, 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.
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.
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.
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 draw time.