What Is The Best IWB Holster? – Does Anybody Know?
What Is An IWB Holster?
The acronym IWB stands for “inside the waistband”. This means any method of carrying the gun inside the pants would be called IWB Carry.
The best IWB carry holster has to be up to the person using it, of course. Ther are not a great deal of methods of carrying IWB. They all go inside the pants in one way or another. The major things to consider are these.
- Does it properly protect the trigger and manual safety, if the gun has one?
- Will the muzzle of the gun cover any part of your body? (point at you)?
- Will it support the weight and size of the chosen gun properly?
- Is it easy to reach and draw from?
- How difficult will it be to re-holster?
- Is ti comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time?
- Can it support a tucked in shirt?
- Will it be in direct contact with the skin?
- Will it protect the gun from body sweat and acid?
- Can you get a fast and secure combat grip on the gun?
- Where on your body or belt will you choose to position it?
- Can you stand, sit or move with reasonable comfort?
- Etc., etc., etc.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider in choosing the best IWB holster for your own requirements.
Many Brands – Not So Many Styles
There are lots of companies making IWB holsters, but most of them are based on the same style. The holster is concealed inside the pants and has either one or two clips that attach to the belt. The individual design of each company differs slightly with regard to the questions posed above. Some of them take all these points into consideration, some do not. The choices are, of course, yours to make.
A lot of the IWB holsters are referred to as “tuckable”. This simply means your shirt can be tucked in between the holster and your pants. The belt clips are mounted down low on the holster and made of spring steel or strong plastic to allow for this. They are all a little cumbersome to put on if you tuck in the shirt, so a lot of folks just leave the shirt tail out.
Leaving the shirt out also makes for a quicker draw, since all you do is raise the shirt far enough to reach the weapon. If your shirt is tucked, then you have to pull it up out of your pants first, which is sometimes tougher to do. The shirt can get snagged on the holster (not often, though). These tuckable units are made by just about all the companies that make IWB’s.
The designs are just slightly different for comfort and support of the gun. Some, like CrossBreed’s SuperTuck, have a larger backing and use 2 clips. They say this adds support to the holster for better weight distribution. They also make a tuckable magazine holster. A couple other companies making this design are Alien Gear and StealthgearUSA. They use a different type of backing to change the comfort level of the product.
Another design of the IWB holster uses a single clip and make the holster a bit smaller. They occupy less space between the gun and your pants and some are just as comfortable. N82 (Nate Squared) offers a line of tuckable IWB’s that have a full backing to cover the entire gun.
Some other makers don’t use any backing at all. With this design, it is best to wear a t-shirt to shield yourself from the edges of the holster, unless you’re using a leather unit. The Kydex IWB’s without backing can get a little harsh on your skin. Galco is one of these. They also make IWB’s with the 2 clip design. De Santis is another maker that has a full line of both 1- and 2-clip models. They also make an excellent line of all-leather IWB holsters.
Be Cautious Of This One
There is another design of IWB that I would like to caution you about. This is made by a company called Versa Carry. This unit is not actually a holster in the strictest of terms. It is classified as an IWB Holster because it performs the same function, almost.
The Versa Carry and another model similar by Zero Carry are advertised as “Zero Bulk” Holsters. These two “holsters” do not protect the gun or you. In fact, the manufacturers of these units warn you to NOT carry with a round in the chamber. The trigger is not secure in any fashion. The pictures I provide will tell you why. Carrying without a round in the chamber is like being unarmed. The “bad guy” will not wait for you to rack the slide before he blows you away.
Then There Is Deep Concealment
Deep concealment consists of holsters that are “deeper into your clothing”. This would be a belly band, compression shirts and shorts, or a product known as a Smart Carry holster.
- The Belly Band is an elastic belt of about three to four inches in thickness wrapped around and secured by a velcro overlap. It has pockets sewn in to hold things like a compact gun, cell phone, wallet or other valuables. It is similar to the old fashioned money belt worn over a hundred years ago, and probably still in use today. They can be worn below or above the belt line, depending on the wardrobe being used.
- Compression shirts and shorts are simply that. A t-shirt or tank top with a holster sewn in under the arm, very near the armpit; or shorts (both considered as underwear) with a pocket sewn in at the hip closer to the back. These are very effective in concealing a weapon, but can not be used well in emergency situations. You would have to know in advance of an imminent danger to get your weapon out in time since most confrontations will only allow you seconds to draw and fire. Nearly all training schools or instructors (and the FBI) say you should be able to draw your gun and fire at least 2 shots at your target within 1.5 seconds. This absolutely cannot be done from deep concealment.
- There is another product out there called the Smart Carry holster. This is just like a fanny pack, but it’s worn inside the pants right at the crotch. We are told by the maker that it’s close to invisible, but can you imagine the bulge of an LC9 or .38 Snub-nose where your “stuff” is? And also for a woman, this bulge just isn’t normal. And consider where that gun is pointed. If, for some reason, there is a negligent discharge of the weapon, where is that bullet going to land? Maybe in a femoral artery?
As you can see, there are a number of ways to carry a concealed firearm IWB. Someone in the market just has to look at as many as they can, at the stores, online, or maybe try one from a friend. One of the best sources of info about holsters is Amazon.com. There are a lot of holsters available at Amazon, and most of them have customer reviews on the page.
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