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3 Ways To Choose The [Best] IWB Holster


Finding the perfect IWB holster can take a good while. You have multiple holster options that basically  promise the same thing. So how to choose the best IWB holster for your self defense? It’s much simpler with our short IWB guide. So hold on to your concealed carry permit because here’s the deal: We’ll tell you the how-to’s and the next time you’ll be on the search for an IWB holster  for a pistol or revolver you’ll have the know how.

This is going to be simple. Just remember that there are 3 crucial things to focus on while searching for your IWB holster, be it a Leather IWB or Kydex IWB holster. Those are:

Carry Style Of The IWB Holster
Material Of The IWB Holster
Features Of The IWB Holster

Plus, if you are directly looking for answers and don’t want to read the whole article you can just jump to the answers by clicking on the question below:

What Is The Best IWB Holster For First Holster?
What Is The Best IWB Holster For The Money
Best IWB Holster To Conceal My CCW?

How To Use an IWB Holster?
How To Wear And Adjust An IWB Holster?
How To Break-In An IWB Holster?

Carry Style Of The IWB Holster

Now: The first things you have to answer to yourself are what are your preferred carry style, what position will you be carrying your self defense firearm at and where the gun feels most comfortable on your body. If you have a larger body and wear XXL clothes you may just choose a different carry position than your AIWB holster carrying skinny friend. Nonetheless, there are IWB carry styles for everyone.  Your preferred carry styles determines your muscle memory and reaction time. If you are used to carry your firearm OWB at 3 o’clock then the best thing is to go for a 3 o'clock IWB holster as well. What position will you be carrying your self defense firearm at is important to know, as this may help you shorten the selection. If you are looking for a IWB holster for a car you just may go with a 4 o’clock or 1 o’clock appendix IWB holster. Where the gun feels most comfortable on your is important, as the weight of the firearm itself is a factor to consider. Concealing a Glock 43 is different than concealing a Colt 1911. If you have a larger body and wear XXL clothes you may just choose a different carry position than your AIWB holster carrying skinny friend

The bottom line is: there are IWB carry styles for everyone. There are a lot of positions you can carry your IWB holster at. It’s almost as versatile as OWB holsters, with the exception of appendix IWB carry, or AIWB carry, which positions the holster at your 1 o’clock (or 11 o’clock). You just need a good gun belt and a little extra space between your pants and body and you can fit any firearm in any position around your waistline inside an IWB holster.

3 o’clock IWB Holsters

This position is useful if you are used for a strong side OWB carry. Your muscle memory won’t have to undergo another training and you can wear your IWB holster for your CZ 75 B on the same spot. The practical side of this position is that it offers easy and quick access to the firearm as it lays on the strong side near your draw hand. You just need to have the ability to quickly clear the cover garment with your draw hand and then proceed to a firm grip of the handle of your firearm.


4 o’clock IWB Holsters

This position offers a small upgrade to the 3 o’clock position. IWB holsters that are carried this way are usually canted and thus allow you for a quicker and smoother draw. The cant itself means that you don’t have to bend your body in order to reach your firearm as it sits naturally. The good part about this carry position is that you can conceal firearms of all sizes in IWB holsters for Glock 19 or IWB holsters for 4 inch revolvers. Just train your cover garment clearing and you are all set.


6 o’clock IWB Holsters

SOB IWB holsters are almost the same as their SOB OWB counterparts. If you are a fan of this carry style you can just tuck the holster of choice inside the pants and continue to defend yourself in deep concealment. The pros and cons of small of back carry are well-know to all of us, but the place where small of back IWB holster really shine is the level of concealment, they are invisible for anyone around you as the back provides an amazing concealability factor.



1 o’clock Appendix IWB Holsters

Appendix carry is a effective and user-friendly carry style, offering deep concealment with the firearm placed on your hip. While many gun owners don’t like the fact that the gun is near the femoral artery, training and practice will help as it always helps. The AIWB has the biggest concealability factor of all IWB holsters, being able to conceal a Kimber Micro as well as a Kimber full size 1911.



Tuckable IWB Holsters

Tuckable IWB holsters are not specific for any position around your waistline. Their main advantage is the ability to tuck in your cover garment, a sihrt etc.,  and further conceal the IWB holster. The draw ability from tuckable IWB holsters requires minimum practice, as the cover can be cleared either with your non-draw hand or your draw hand. Tuckable IWB holsters are perfect for deep concealment and can be combined best with self defense stalpes such as the Ruger LCR or the Springfield XD Mod 2 3".


Material Of The IWB Holster

The material of your IWB holster will determine the comfort and retention of your firearm. The materials don’t differ from OWBshoulder holsters or cross draw holsters. They are Leather, Kydex or Nylon. Each come with their respective advantages and drawbacks. Let’s find out which material to choose. Keed in mind that the main points which you have to have in mind while choosing the material are:

  • Comfort
  • Retention
  • Draw
  • Reholstering


Leather IWB holsters.

Leather is a natural material, which is it’s biggest advantage. It will become a second skin for your IWB holster which is always good as IWB holsters need a perfect fit. The leather may be stiff at first but will loosen up either by time or by a break-in. The retention of leather holsters is firm and can be adjusted with retention screws, and the comfort level is high. The drawback of leather holsters is that prolonged carry during summertime can cause some unwanted sweating. Drawing and reholstering a leather iwb holster depends if the holster has a reinforced opening. If it does than this won’t become a problem.

Kydex IWB holsters.

The staple of the genre. Kydex has proven to be a great material choice for concealed carry. It’s not natural so there is no need for a break-in and the gun retention can be adjusted by retention screws. However, it needs some adjustment and care. Another benefit of Kydex is a platform-like adjustability of the cant allowing for a variety of carry positions around your waist. The drawback of the holster may be the comfort level, Kydex is not a natural material and may feel bad on your body, plus can be more uncomfortable in hot weather the same way as leather. Drawing and reholstering of a kydex iwb holster is easy and simple as kydex holds shape.

Nylon IWB holsters.

Nylon is a summer hit. The main benefit of nylon holster is the combination of lightweight, breathability and concealability. Nylon is a soft and almost weightless material, which means that most of the weight on your waist will be from your gun. Another great advantage of nylon is breathability, summertime and hot temperatures won’t be a problem so you can conceal also a larger firearm during the summer.  A nylon holster will retain the firearm thanks to retention screws will offer a smooth draw. The disadvantage of nylon iwb holsters is that some of them tend to fold and collapse once the gun is drawn. Reholstering is then hard and has to be done with two hands.

Hybrid IWB holsters.

Hybrids are probably the best choice if you are looking for 100% effectiveness. They combine only the best values of leather, kydex and nylon. A hybrid IWB holster usually consists of a swear guard made of leather or nylon and the holster part made of Kydex or plastic. The retention is adjustable thanks to retention screws and the draw and reholstering is secured by the sturdy Kydex or plastic holster part. The drawback of hybrid holsters may be the size they come in. They are usually bigger as they incorporate several parts made from different materials that have to be put together.


Features Of The IWB Holster

It’s time to finish this. Now that we’ve got the carry style and holster material of your IWB holster covered it’s time to talk about features of IWB holsters that should be present in all of them, well, all of the good ones. So while making those final decisions pay attention to:

  • The way iwb holsters hold on your belt
  • Tuckability of the IWB holster
  • Adjustable or not adjustable cant
  • Ability to draw and reholster with ease


The way IWB holsters hold on to your belt.

You might be wondering, how does this affect the decision-making process. The answer is big time. The first thing an IWB holster needs to do is to stay where it should, on your gun belt, this makes this feature very important. You can choose between holsters with belt loops or belt clips.

Belt loops are a classic - you put your belt through the loop and it holds the holster. The drawback is that the holster is not movable without unbuckling your belt and can’t be adjusted. The advantage is that the durability of the loops is bigger than the durability of the clip.

Belt clips come in different forms and materials. They are also called hooks, as they hook to your belt and carry their prefixes according to letters which they resemble. A j-hook looks like the letter “J” etc. Most bet clips are made of plastic, some are made of metal. While metal is a stronger material in general, plastic clips sometimes offer more durability than metal hooks because the thinner the metal the less durable it becomes. The advantage of belt clips is the ease of putting the iwb holster on and off and adjusting it if need be without having to unbuckle the belt. The drawback may be the wearing-out of the material and a potential collapse in the worse time imaginable.

Some iwb holsters come with leather “hooks” with snaps. This is basically a hybrid version of leather and belt clips. These leather straps are simply unclipped then added around the belt and clipped together and they combine the best features of leather with the best features of belt clips.


Tuckability of the IWB holster

An IWB holster is worthless if it can’t deep conceal your self defense firearm. Tuckablity of the holster can be understood in 2 ways. The 1st is the tuckability of the holster inside your pants, i.e. how much of the firearm can be concealed inside your waistband. The more the better, as then the possible gun print will be eliminated even more.The 2nd way is the tuckability of a cover garment over the iwb holster. Tuckable IWB holsters are attached to your belt mostly by belt clips and provide enough space for a shirt to cover them. This is as far as concealability of a iwb holster can go. 

Adjustable or non-adjustable cant

The cant of the holster and more respectively, the cant of the firearm is a factor to consider while choosing your IWB holster. Why? Because it’s more comfortable to draw your firearm from your holster if the grip meets the hand without any obstructions. The cant can be adjusted by a repositioning of the belt loops (one being higher than the other) or by a mechanical feature of the holster. Canted IWB holsters are best used in 3 or 4 o’clock positions.

Ability of draw and re-holster with ease

Saving the best for last. You might have found your iwb holster that has has the perfect material and position but as long as you can’t reach the gun and draw with ease and quick we’ve got some bad news for you. Drawability of the holster must be as fast as the draw ability of you. Mention in the section dealing with material, the drawability is mostly a material thing, but not always. reinforced openings or a lined interior, or an adjustable cant are the things that are not bound to material but are crucial in draw and reholstering of your self defense firearm. Always pay attention to them while choosing your IWB holster. The more they have of them the better.