Do's and Don'ts of IWB Carry
Concealed Carry for Women

Do’s and Don’ts Of IWB Carry

IWB carry (in-the-waistband carry) is not only one of the best ways to carry your gun, it’s the most popular way. Let’s look at some simple dos and don’ts of IWB carry so you can ensure you are doing it effectively.

Here are the dos of IWB carry (in-the-waistband carry)

  • DO Have a Solid Waistband For IWB Carry

This means your waistband has to be stable and secure enough around your waist that it can perform two major duties.

1. Be able to hold your holster and gun up without sagging or flopping down. This can seriously impede your ability to get a good grip and draw quickly when precious fractions of a second count.

2. Will stay relatively put and provide a stable platform when you go to draw your gun from your holster. The thrust you use to grasp and pull your gun out of the holster should only result in unholstering your gun –  not your waistband coming up with your holster.

a great way to achieve this is to incorporate a pair of women’s tactical pants into your pants selection. This type of pant has come a long way and are comfortable, stylish and functional.

  • DO Use A Holster That Completely Covers The Trigger Guard.

You want the entire trigger guard area covered, not just the trigger. This prevents any fingers or clothing from accidentally slipping into this area and causing a negligent discharge.

  • DO Use Your Body’s Soft Spots To Your Advantage.

I think all of us have softer spots on our waist and abdomen area. Some of us have more than others 🙂  Now you can feel grateful for them! They not only provide a more comfortable, padded place to carry, but they also allow the holstered gun “sink” into you making them easier to conceal the gun bulge.

  • DO Use A Grip Tuck Wing With Your IWB Holster.

This is an ingenious little device that sits behind the belt clip on your IWB holster that helps tuck the grip of the gun closer to your body aiding significantly in concealment. This can be found on our Slim Carry Holster.

  • DO Wear A Shirt Long And Loose Enough To Fully Cover Your Gun While You IWB Carry.

Be sure your clothing is used to your advantage when trying to conceal your IWB holstered gun. Some go-to shirts I have are longer and a bit flowy at the bottom, have patterns on them to help “camouflage” I’m carrying and I can wear fun jewelry or hat to draw attention up to my face. Read more about how to do this here

  • DO Use An Actual Holster.

Just because your pants can hold a gun in your waistband without a holster does not mean you should. This is extremely unsafe and it’s irresponsible.  ALWAYS use a holster for IWB carry and all forms of concealed carry.

Need more information on how to pick a safe holster? Read About Concealed Carry Holsters

Here are some don’ts while you are carrying with an IWB holster

  • DON’T IWB Carry In The Small Of Your Back.


There may be times when for some reason you don’t have a choice but to carry in the small of your back. But this is the least preferred location for a number of reasons. We have little padding in the small of our backs and if at any time during an attack you are thrown to the ground or against a wall,  the impact of your holstered gun agains this boney part of your body can be extremely painful and injurious.  If this were to happen the pain and injury could inhibit your ability to react and respond quickly to protect yourself.

Another big reason why this carry location is not preferred is the awkward and difficult task of accessing and drawing your gun. Reaching around to the middle of your back while trying to get a quality firing grip on your gun is just downright difficult and pulling the gun straight up out of the holster in this position takes almost double jointed maneuvers. Add to that drawing and rotating the gun from behind yourself is difficult to do safely.

I am specifically speaking about the middle of your back. Carrying just off the back of your hip is fine.

  • DON’T Holster Your Grip Below Your Waistband.

Wearing your holster too low below your waistband in an attempt to hide it will create serious issues when trying to draw. In the heat of the moment, you need to have clear access to the grip of the gun without clothing interfering and waistbands in the way. You may grab your waistband while trying to draw thus resulting in an unsuccessful draw. Remember, every fraction of a second counts, any delay or fumbles in these moments could cost you precious time.

  • DON’T Unholster Your Gun When Using The Restroom.

Your holster should stay attached to your waistband through the entirety of your bathroom break when you IWB carry. Here is a great article on how to this successfully while using the bathroom When You’ve Got To Go, You’ve Got to Go

  • DON’T Constantly Check Your Gun.

Once you have placed your holster for the day just leave it. If you continuously are trying to adjust your shirt or waistband trying to hide the holster because you think others can see it, you are just drawing attention to the area. Most people are oblivious to the holster bulge. Want more tips on printing? Read Printing…What Can You Do?

  • DON’T Use A Holster With Extra Material.

Why have anything extra down your pants? It’s hard enough as it is! Extra holster material just makes it more uncomfortable and harder to conceal.  Pick a minimalistic holster. One that does not have any excess, untrimmed material around the edges. Your holstered gun should be as close as possible to the size as your unholstered gun.

  • DON’T Be Uncomfortable While You IWB Carry.

Wear a holster that you are comfortable drawing from and that you are confident wearing. Naturally,  it takes some time and practice to get used to having a gun in your waistband, but it needs to be the right one for you. Just because it can be concealed very well doesn’t mean it is the right holster for you.

If you love your IWB holster but are tired of the pinching and poking, check out the TWAW solution with the TWAW Comfort Shield. It may help to make your current holster, the perfect holster.

comfort carry front

Final Thoughts

IWB carry is one of the best options when carrying concealed. Make sure you do your research on holsters, dry fire practice with each one (practice your draw with an UNLOADED gun) and be comfortable and confident.

To read more about learning how to Conceal Carry continue reading: Concealed Carry For Women Part 3: Concealed Carry for Women, Where To Start?

12 thoughts on “Do’s and Don’ts Of IWB Carry

  1. JJ Nips says:

    I have a double C section scar, but want to carry iwb, what do other ladies do with the sensitivity.

  2. Heidi says:

    I wear dresses a lot. Where do I conceal carry? I tried a thigh holster, and my leg went numb.

    1. Veronica Kim Cota says:

      don’t wear dresses unless they have pockets

    2. Gwen says:

      Dene Adams has shorts that go under a dress. I like the outside thigh pocket. They do have inside the thigh, but I am short and that proves to be a bit uncomfortable.

  3. suzy johnson mccullough says:

    i would like to see a good safe holster for heavier women. with big boobs. not all of us are thin and have no body fat. someone should come up with a comfortable band or holster for the average and above average woman. not being hateful, just truthful

    1. Cheryl R says:

      I personally am on the heavier side of plump and relatively well endowed. I have found my best solution to be wearing pants, mostly jeans, with a very heavy 1.5 in wide (pretty tooled cowgirl) belt and a well-made in the waistband holster. When I need to wear something else I purse carry. My first Holster was an in the waistband Kydex holster from Well Armed Woman and it was adequate and a good start. From there I decided to go with a custom worked leather holster (more $$) that has an excellent belt clip that makes it very very secure, and I wear a tank top tucked in my jeans so there’s a layer of fabric between me and the gun, and a longer shirt on top to conceal, often worn open. I have found the leather holster to be softer and more comfortable, and a tank top a better solution than trying to wrap more fabric around my already ample middle. The only real advice I can give another shooter is that your first Holster is never your last Holster, just be patient with yourself, your wardrobe, and your body until you find what is workable for you. I hope this is somewhat helpful.

  4. Great info! Thank you.

  5. Sue Parrish says:

    Great article!!!

  6. Marti says:

    I have a SW EZ 350. I have a laser mounted under the barrel in front of the trigger guard. Looking for an IWB holster for it. Any ideas where I can find one?

    1. Suzanne BarBee-Smith says:

      I had the same problem…hard to find ones that fit. But I was lucky enough to find some through Houston Gun Holsters /
      Hope that helps you. I wish there were more options out there for guns with lasers.

    2. Toni says:

      I have the same firearm but with a light mounted on the rail . I also haven’t been able to find an IWB holster for it, so I use my Comfort Belly Band in the meantime to simulate IWB.

  7. Ruth Messare says:

    Thank you for these informative lessons .

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