How to buy an IWB Holster
We're visual creatures and we're susceptible to all sorts of suggestion. That's why we have advertising. And a success in advertising means convincing a person who may not be educated in an arena to make a choice of one product over the other through the belief that the product will make him or her happy.
There's nothing wrong with that. But this also means that I was susceptible to these buying practices when I first became a concealed carrier. In this article, I'll discuss several reasons why I wish I knew more about inside the waistband holsters before I purchased my first one.
The Look Of The Gun Holster Doesn't Matter
The first inside the waistband concealed carry holster I got had this awesome faux-tactical snakeskin pattern on Kydex. At least I had the common sense to get a high retention inside the waistband holster. The problem? Who the heck cares what it looks like? In hindsight, I spent $70 on a iwb holster that undoubtedly looked cool but no one on this green earth will ever see it.
Moral of the story: Get an inside the waistband holster based on its functionality and comfort – who cares about the rest?
An IWB Holster Needs To Fit Me – Not The Other Way
Into my first year of wearing a concealed carry holster, I had to adjust my shooting style to reflect the holster. That was stupid because now I realize I could have just got a holster that adjusts ride height to my preferred style of shooting. Additionally, I should never have to worry about positioning my inside the waistband holster into a place that's more comfortable than practical.
Moral of the story: A great IWB holster will be comfortable and have an adjustable ride height and cant.
A Good Sturdy Gun Belt Is Just Practical
Sometimes I have to wear business suits so I would clip my inside the waistband concealed carry holster onto my good dress belt. For the first four or five months, this worked out fine. But about month four, I started to know my belt line sagged toward the side I carried my firearm. Month five, my dress belt looked flimsy and marred. I got fortunate and found a company that produced dress belts specifically geared for IWB concealed carry but the moral the story is this...
Moral of the story: Get a good gun belt.
Your Trigger Is Your Life – Cover It!
So many fly-by-night concealed carry holsters tout some new revolutionary way to carry a firearm without a “cumbersome holster” getting in the way. We'll leave out names. Needless to say, the only thing a holster ever really needs to do is secure the gun trigger. If the trigger is exposed or allows objects to brush against it – you're putting your life needlessly on the line.
Moral of the story: Get a holster that covers the trigger completely.
(Bonus) Sweat Protection
We're humans. We sweat in the daily course of our lives. If you're an everyday carrier and you walk around, you likely sweat a good bit, too. Leather holds up a decent bit to sweat but eventually it starts to get logged with water. Depending on what climate you live or what your daily routine looks like, that may take anywhere from two months to two years for you to notice a surprising difference in your holster's retention and feel.
This was something I had to figure out, too. Now I use an iwb holster that has a backpad which separates the holster shell from my body. If the backpad is lined with neoprene or something that wicks sweat away – even better.
Moral the story: A backpad with sweat protection is a great idea for iwb holsters.
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.