What is an IWB Holster?

A Comprehensive Guide

A holster keeps a handgun in a secure location to prevent accidental discharge. It also provides easy access, so you don’t have to fumble around for your weapon when you need it most. Holsters come in many styles, and it’s crucial to pick the right one. In this article, we will discuss what is an IWB holster? and what makes them so popular.

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There are four main types of holsters: outside-the-waistband (OWB), inside-the-waistband (IWB), ankle, and shoulder holster.

What is an IWB Holster?

IWB stands for “inside-the-waistband.” This holster style puts your gun inside the waistband of your pants. A clip, hook, or other device keeps it in place on one end; you grip and draw through a cutout opening at the bottom. An IWB is easy to keep concealed with proper clothing choices. It is the best choice for comfort and concealment, particularly if you plan to wear your weapon all day. However, it does take some training to draw with maximum speed from an IWB holster.


An IWB holster can be made of leather or plastic; most are explicitly molded for one make and model gun with a trigger guard cutout already in place. As with any holster, choosing the right one for your needs is essential based on its size and features. IWB holsters are available in miniature of the back (SOB) or appendix carry positions. There are many different kinds of materials used in making an excellent iwb holster.

Alien Gear ShapeShift 4.0 IWB Holster

Why Should You Use an IWB Holster?

IWB holsters are popular for a variety of reasons. First, they allow you to carry your weapon discreetly under loose clothing. Second, IWB holsters come in a variety of styles and materials to suit your needs best. This includes leather or plastic models with molded contours for specific handguns. Most have trigger guard cutouts already made, so you don’t have to modify them before use which is excellent if this is your first holster purchase. Additionally, some IWB holsters allow you to tuck your shirt in for even more excellent concealment.


Finally, it is essential to note that some people find the feel of an IWB holster more comfortable than other types like OWB or ankle carry options. An IWB holster is an excellent option for carrying your firearm discreetly all day long. It’s also comfortable to wear and provides easy access in case you need it quickly. For these reasons, more people are choosing the inside-the-waistband style each year.

How to Choose an IWB Holster?

To choose the best IWB holster for your needs, you should consider a few key factors.


Your holster should be made of a robust and durable material that won’t break under pressure. Many IWB holsters are molded plastic and available in black or tan finishes to match your gun and clothing choices. They usually come with belt clips for ease of use. Leather is another popular choice; it provides added grip against the skin and contours your body for a comfortable fit. Leather is also more breathable than plastic, so it’s better if you plan on carrying your weapon all day long and need it to be calm and dry.


The right size holster will fit your gun well and take up minimal space on your belt. Whether you are carrying a compact, subcompact, or full-size handgun, there is an IWB holster for it. A smaller gun can be concealed in a shorter holster with less material around the trigger guard area to prevent accidental discharge. However, they may not fit as well and be less comfortable than a more extended model that allows for extra material to mold around the gun’s contours better.


If you are carrying larger handguns like big revolvers or full-size automatics, look for an IWB holster with minimal length but maximum grip area so your weapon stays in place securely. The size of your IWB holster is also essential if you plan to tuck in your shirt. A longer model will allow more material for a deep concealment option when folded, while shorter models are usually designed to remain visible when not concealed by clothing layers.


There are a few different styles of IWB holsters to pick from, each with its benefits. Strongside carry is when you draw straight up and out without rotating the gun in your hand, as some other holster types require. This style offers quick access but can be uncomfortable if worn on one side for an extended period. Crossdraw is the other standard style and allows for a more comfortable draw. Just like strongside carry, cross-draw holsters keep your firearm on the same side as your dominant hand; however, you must rotate it before drawing instead of pulling straight up. Crossdraw models can also be positioned lower down than strongside styles allowing for easier access when sitting down. One of the newer styles is appendix carry, but it’s important to note that this holster isn’t for everyone because you can accidentally shoot yourself in the groin if your hand hits the trigger during a draw.


This style is best for those who want a quick draw and can safely operate the holster. In addition to these styles, you should also consider how easily accessible your IWB holster will be on or off the body, allowing you to choose between open top holsters that require two hands to access, as well as retention models with active retention devices like thumb straps, internal locking mechanisms, and active retention devices. While these are all essential factors to consider when buying a holster, the best advice is to try before buying. Make sure any IWB holster you purchase allows for a comfortable fit in your waistband while also meeting your needs of concealability and accessibility with its design features like belt clips or loops.

Style of IWB Holsters

How to Wear an IWB Holster?

An IWB holster is worn inside the waistband and is designed to be as comfortable and concealed as possible.


(1) Ensure your gun and holster are compatible for size. Also, make sure it will fit comfortably in the position you plan on wearing it (IWB, cross draw, or strongside carry). Make sure your gun is unloaded and safe to handle.


(2) Put the holster on by placing it inside your waistband with its back facing away from you (you should point the muzzle forward). If this isn’t possible, make sure that the top of the grip does not extend past your pants line or outside of belt loops. You can wear your IWB holster with an untucked shirt to cover it.


(3) Adjust the firearm in the holster for a comfortable fit and secure hold by tightening or loosening retention screws so you can draw quickly while also holding securely. You’ll want to find that sweet spot where you don’t have too much play but can still remove your gun quickly.


(4) Draw the firearm with authority by taking a deep breath, pushing out against an enemy if necessary, and pulling up swiftly until you hear or feel it click into place.


(5) If it doesn’t lock into place, ensure that no clothing interferes between your body’s natural retention mechanism (usually just below the edge of the waistband) and your gun.


(6) If you’re still having trouble, check to ensure everything is securely in place (holster clip or loops around the beltline). You may also need to tighten retention screws.


(7) Re-position holsters if necessary by loosening any loose clothing layers between yourself and your firearm while also loosening retention screws.


(8) Practice removing your firearm from the holster during everyday activities like sitting, standing, walking, and running to ensure it doesn’t interfere with any of your movements or cause discomfort. Your IWB holster should feel like an extension of your body and shouldn’t become visible when wearing a proper-fitting shirt (usually about two inches above the waistline).



Yes, if you want to ensure your holster stays in place. IWB holsters need something to attach themselves too so wearing a belt is recommended for any carry method since it helps support the firearm and maintains retention.

Yes, but it depends on the make and model you choose. Some IWB holsters sit high enough were sitting down shouldn’t be a problem, while others may cause discomfort depending on your body type or carry preference.

This depends on the person and what they need. If you’re looking for something concealed easily, IWB may provide better concealment than OWB. However, if you need quick access to your firearm or are looking for cross-draw use (like in police work), an OWB holster might be a better choice, depending on how high up in the waistband it is worn.


IWB holsters are great for those who want concealed carry, but you must find the right holster type and fit to ensure your firearm is secure and easy to access. If you have trouble concealing or sitting with an IWB holster might not be an option because of its open design.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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