The IWB Holster
When you start trying to decide the best way for you to carry your gun you will come across a lot of different types of holsters to carry in numerous different locations. One of the most popular, if not the most popular holster type is the In The Waistband, (IWB) holsters, worn tucked down inside your pants. Being such a popular way to carry with women, it’s worth a deep dive to discover why so many choose this type of holster. If concealed carry is new for you check out my article, Concealed Carry For Women Part 3: Concealed Carry for Women, Where To Start?
IWB Holsters Are in The Sweet Spot
One of my favorite features of the IWB holster is that it is worn in the sweet spot. If you have been following The Well Armed Woman, you will know my favorite area to carry in is what I refer to as the “Sweet Spot”. This is the entire area around your middle from your hips to just under your bust. This area allows for the quickest access to your gun, should you need to draw and it offers the best concealability.
How To Wear an IWB Holster
When wearing any style of pants, shorts, or skirt, the IWB holster can be clipped to the waistband. It is worn down and inside your waistband. Keep in mind depending on your body’s build, carrying a larger gun could poke you when sitting or doing certain daily activities.
Access to the IWB Holster
Access is one of the most important factors when choosing where to carry and the best holster. You must be able to get to your holster quickly and efficiently. If you cannot get to your holster in the seconds you need to, you cannot get to your gun. Wearing your gun on your waistband places your gun right where your hands are. There’s no bending over or twisting to get to it.
Concealability of the IWB Holster
Another top feature that draws conceal carriers to IWB is its concealability. A good IWB holster is one of the easiest holsters to conceal. It’s buried and hidden by your pants/shorts or skirt which hide it from view and all that is required is an untucked, looser shirt to cover the grip.
Check out our How To Dress For Concealed Carry – Photos & Tips for great outfit ideas from real women around the country!
The IWB holster can be moved and worn anywhere you want on the waistband. It is tucked in your pants so you can choose to wear it closer to the middle of your torso, just off your hip, or worn in the kidney position (worn on the small of your back). Of course, any location that is chosen must be comfortable for the wearer and the draw must be practiced (with an unloaded gun). Take, for example, the Sticky Holster– this pocket-style holster made of a non-slip, slightly tacky material, has no clip, and you can slide it anywhere you want around your waistband. You don’t need to wear a belt and simply need some tension in the waistband to keep it in place. Although it’s not Kydex, the material is quite thick and offers good trigger protection. It may be a good option when your waistband is not strong enough for a Kydex holster to clip to and stay put.
Finding the Right IWB Holster
When you look for an IWB holster there are many options out there. Actually, it’s more like zillions! I prefer IWB holsters made from Kydex. This material gives great retention as it is a form fit to the exact specifications of your gun model. Made from a hard thermoplastic, it also provides optimum trigger protection. The holster should completely cover the trigger guard area of the gun.
If you can, try to find a holster that has an adjustable ride height. This allows you to adjust how high or low the gun sits in your waistband. This allows you to find a height that provides for getting a good grip to draw. This also allows you to get more of the gun down into your pants for better concealment. For women with short waists, being able to wear your holster a little deeper also gives you more room to properly draw and clear your holster.
Look for IWB holsters that have as minimal extra Kydex material as possible. It should be trimmed close to the shape of the gun. There is no need for extra “plastic” around the edges that will only cause you discomfort. Look for rounded, smooth edges, not rough or sharp unfinished Kydex.
There is a newer accessory to the holster world known as the Grip tuck wing. This nifty device was created to use tension on your waistband to help tuck your grip closer to your body. This can greatly aid with concealability. The TWAW Slim Carry Holster is a Kydex holster that features this grip tuck wing. You can also adjust the ride height, and it is super slim with smooth edges. I developed this holster to feature all of the key features that make for a great IWB holster. This holster is especially great for women whose clothing styles and bodies demand them.
Carrying IWB, In the Waistband, is the most popular way to carry for the numerous reasons discussed above. With great access, concealability, versatility, and a plethora of holster options – it has it all. Finding the right holster, with the key features necessary for successful IWB carry is the key. Your clothing choices are also extremely important. When you can wear a belt, do so. The support a good belt provides is worth getting used to wearing one. However, when a belt is not an option there are many good options available. See the data from our 2021 survey of women with the stats on exactly where women prefer to concealed carry.