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Want The Best IWB Holster Results? Here Are Some Top Tips

While it's true that the best IWB holster makes concealed carry easy, it isn't always so simple as putting the holster on, pulling your shirt down and heading out the door.

To get the best results with an IWB holster, there's a bit of fine-tuning you'll want to do to ensure you're not only carrying comfortably, but also carrying effectively. Remember: just because you have a gun doesn't mean you're really armed, anymore than - as the saying goes - owning a guitar makes you a musician.

So let's talk about the finer points of using an IWB holster. We'll cover position and placement tricks, as well as some carrying and training tips that can help you carry comfortably, effectively and confidently.

The Best IWB Holster Is Comfortable To Carry, But Perfectly Functional

IWB

The best IWB holster is comfortable enough for you to carry it all day, but also does everything a holster is supposed to do.

We could talk holster designs to death, but the reality is that you're going to find some things work for you and some things don't. That's completely personal.

What isn't personal, what can be said objectively is the following:

If a holster isn't comfortable to carry, especially inside the waistband, you're going to find reasons not to carry it.

If you actually train with your holster, you'll discover functional deficiencies. And you'll get a different holster.

Design details or materials and so on are good to know about, but ultimately an IWB holster is either comfortable (or comfortable enough) and functional or it's not. It protects the trigger guard or it doesn't. You can draw and reholster the pistol or you can't.

Everything else is esoterica; you have a good holster or you don't. Make sure yours is.

Training Tip: Practice The Draw From Your IWB Holster With A Shot Timer

shot timer

One of the best training tips you'll ever get is to get yourself a shot timer. It's a crucial tool for both dry fire and live fire training, as it's one of the few ways you can quantify your skill and/or progress.

What you want to do is set your base time. It shouldn't necessarily be the fastest TIME, but rather the fastest time in which you can draw your gun from your holster without flubbing the draw due to rushing.

Imagine lifting weights in a gym. It isn't so much that you're looking to find out the absolute maximum amount you can lift; it's about how much weight you can lift with proficient technique, and that's where you start adding a bit of weight.

Then you start gaming that time.

Let's say hypothetically that your absolute fastest first shot time (clear cover, draw, present, aim and fire) is 1.9 seconds, but you can't do it perfectly every time. However, you can draw and fire perfectly in 2.3 seconds.

What you start doing is setting your timer for 2.2 seconds until it starts to feel a little easy. Then go down to 2.1 seconds, then eventually progress to 2 seconds and so on.

Using a shot timer will expose your inefficiencies, as you'll soon discover what parts of the sequence are slowing you down and therefore, what you need to work on.

Best IWB Holster Clothing

concealed carry clothing

Pants don't really matter all that much; as long as you can get the holster in the waistband and fasten the belt...it doesn't matter unless they're uncomfortable to wear. Maybe you need a size up, maybe you don't.

What does matter is shirts, since it's the cover garment.

For one, don't wear any t-shirts with funny slogans, pithy sayings or company logos. It's not for any tactical reason; it's because it's tacky. YOU HAVE TO GROW UP SOMETIME, KYLE!

But one digresses.

Any closed-front shirt is fine if it's a little roomy and the hem covers the pistol. That's easily done. Polo shirts are an easy win in this regard.

If you wear a closed-front shirt, meaning a button-up, here's a few good tips and tricks.

As mentioned, a roomy fit is necessary.

The bottom button can make clearing your cover garment a little harder by adding a little resistance. What you want to do is test out the clothing you wear to see if it does or how much.

If you find clearing the cover garment is a little difficult with the bottom button, consider leaving it unbuttoned.

You could also do the old-school thing and wear a button-up opened over an undershirt, but you start to run into problems with that in a breeze. That much is up to you.

Practice Clearing Your Cover Garment

cover garment

Obviously you need to practice your shooting fundamentals. Grip, sight, squeeze and all that. What a lot of people neglect is training with the actual gear they carry and in the clothes they'll usually wear.

Folks, practicing with your range or competition rig is great fun. But if that's all you do any serious reps in, you are doing yourself a disservice. Unless you actually shoot competitively, you should be doing all of your practicing and training with your actual carry gear.

And part of that is clearing your cover garment.

You need to clear the cover garment in such a manner that you can quickly get a good shooting grip to draw and present the gun toward the target. There are a few different techniques, so you'll have to experiment to find out what works best for you.

Some people lift their shirt up more or less at the holster, and drop down onto the pistol. Other people find more of a lift and sweep, grasping the shirt ahead of the holster and moving the shirt back, guides them reliably onto the gun.

You need to figure out which works best for you, but once you do, practice it.

Clearing cover is part of the draw sequence, and cannot be neglected or else you might fumble the draw. In training? No big deal. But you cannot fumble the draw when the stakes are real.

Therefore, find out what works best for you...and put in the practice reps. That's what will make the difference if your life is ever on the line.

Sitting With An IWB Holster

sitting

Here's another aspect that can get overlooked when it comes to IWB holster use: sitting down with it.

The best IWB holster will have a generous sweat shield, and this is where you discover why that is.

As you sit down, the sweat shield keeps you from feeling the slide, the controls and - if applicable - the hammer. The classic thing that people will do is tuck a bit of their shirt between the gun and their side when sitting; a full sweat guard will keep you from having to.

You may have to adjust your sitting position to keep from getting the gun completely jammed into your side, or perhaps you may not.

Some people do a bit of adjusting until they get comfortable, and others find the only way to sit comfortably is to avoid slouching. It's better for your back, anyway, but also helps a person stay comfortable while sitting with a pistol inside the waistband.

Then you have the question of how to draw from a seated position, whether - say - in a restaurant, in an office, or in your car.

The issue is creating space between the seat and the gun so it may be drawn.

One method is to just lean forward, though that doesn't always create enough clearance. Another strategy is to stand up and start the draw as you stand up, but that doesn't work in the car.

Another technique is to tuck your strongside foot back, driving your knee toward the ground while leaning over to your weakside knee. The effect is that leaning over will pick up your strongside butt cheek, which creates the separation from the seat necessary to draw the gun.

Put in some reps, and you'll get a feel for it.

Concealed Carry For Big Guys: Lean Into The Draw

bigger

Top tip for those with a bit more to love: you may have to lean into the draw a little bit to get a clean grip and a clean draw from your IWB holster.

Look, not everyone is Brad Pitt. Humans come in all sizes and shapes.

The spare tire tends to push the pistol outward, especially when worn in the classic strong-side position. That doesn't cause too many problems in terms of the draw, except that your side will tend to press right up against the gun.

This creates difficulties in getting a good shooting grip before drawing, and that's no bueno.

Bear in mind that this is different for everyone. You may not have this problem, other people might.

The idea is to slightly lean away from the gun to create the space for your shooting hand thumb. A good trick is to move your head toward your weakside shoulder while clearing your cover garment, since the body follows the head.

The idea is that having the spare tire can create issues in getting a good purchase on the grip, and this is a great method to counteract it for a clean draw.

In Case We Haven't Mentioned It, You Need To Train With Your IWB Holster

training

It's already been covered, but this is a point worth reiterating: you need to train with your IWB holster. If you're going to use a holster of any kind to carry a gun, you need to train with it.

This is incredibly important, and on several levels.

First, it is only with repetition that one develops competency. It's one thing to read about something or watch it on YouTube, but it's another to actually do it.

If you hope to be able to competently use your gear to defend your life, you need to actually put it to the test in dry fire practice and range practice. Use it in a class or two, or in a shooting match.

Under extreme stress - like someone trying to kill you! - your body defaults to what it barely has to think about to do. Therefore, make sure the neural pathways are in place to get your gun out if you ever really have to.

Second, it is in the practice environment, when a little bit of pressure is added, that you will discover any deficiencies in your equipment. If you do, you can do something about it.