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What is an IWB holster and how to wear it

What is an IWB holster and how to wear it?

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What does an IWB holster mean?

IWB holsters, also known as “inside waistband” holsters, are designed to be worn inside the waistband of your clothing. Lightweight and discreetly concealed, these holsters are a popular choice for those wanting to carry a handgun for self-defense.

Available in a range of materials, including leather, plastic and synthetic fabrics, IWB holsters can fit a variety of shapes and sizes. Additionally, they are typically secured to your belt or waistband with a clip or loop for easy access on either side of the body.

How to wear an IWB holster?

How To Wear And Conceal An IWB Holster by Alien Gear Holsters

To wear an IWB holster, follow these steps:

  • 1. When deciding which side to carry your handgun on, consider your dominant hand. For some, this means carrying the weapon on their non-dominant side, while for others carrying on the same side may feel more comfortable. Ultimately, ensure you pick a side that works best for you.
  • 2. When selecting a position to wear your IWB holster, there are several common choices. For example, the 3 o’clock and 4 o’clock positions on either side of your body (for right-handed individuals) or the 6 o’clock position at the small of your back may all be comfortable options. Ultimately, make sure you choose a spot that provides you with the most comfort while still allowing for easy access to your firearm.
  • 3. To secure the weight of your handgun and holster, a high-quality belt or other waistband support is recommended. This will provide added stability and comfort as you go about your day.
  • 4. Once your belt or other waistband support is in place, you can put on your pants or shorts and position the holster inside the waistband. It is important to make sure that the top of the holster is at an even height with the top of your clothing for best results.
  • 5. Once the holster is in place, you should adjust it as necessary to ensure that it is comfortable and stays securely in position. You should be able to swiftly access your handgun with your dominant hand regardless of whether you are standing up, sitting down, or moving around.
  • 6. To make sure that you are able to draw your handgun from the holster without any impediment or safety hazard, you should practice doing so regularly. Doing this will help ensure that your movements remain smooth and secure.

Whenever you are carrying a handgun, it is essential to recognize the degree of responsibility that comes with this. Make sure that you are well-informed about any applicable local laws and regulations concerning firearms and take them into account at all times.

IWB holster carrying positions

When carrying an IWB holster, several common positions are available depending on your individual comfort level and the size and shape of your handgun. Common carry positions include:

  • 3 o’clock position: The 3 o’clock position is often favored by those who carry their handgun on the side opposite their dominant hand. This position is located on the right side of the body for a right-handed person, near the hip bone, and provides easy access to the holster when standing or sitting. It is a popular choice among gun owners with its convenience and comfort.
  • 4 o’clock position: The 4 o’clock position is similar to the 3 o’clock position in that it provides easy access to the handgun while standing or sitting and is a common choice among those who carry their gun on the side opposite their dominant hand. This position is located on the left side of the body for right-handed individuals, situated near the hip bone.
  • 6 o’clock position: The 6 o’clock position is situated on the small of the back, near the top of the buttocks. While it provides less accessibility than 3 and 4 o’clock positions, it remains a popular choice for those who desire more discreet carry or prefer to carry their handgun on the same side as their dominant hand due to comfort.

Finding the optimal carry position for your handgun is based on a combination of personal preference, the size and shape of your firearm, and your body type. To ensure that you can quickly access your weapon when required, it is important to try out several positions before committing to one position that provides comfort and easy accessibility.

IWB Kydex Holster, Optic Cut & Claw
IWB Kydex Holster, Optic Cut & Claw
IWB Leather Holster
IWB Leather Holster
Concealment Express IWB KYDEX Holster
Concealment Express IWB KYDEX Holster

Is An IWB holster comfortable?

The comfort of an IWB (inside the waistband) holster will vary depending on several factors, including materials used in its construction, the size and shape of your handgun, as well as the fit of the holster itself. Soft and flexible materials like leather or synthetic fabrics are often more comfortable to wear when compared to holsters using stiffer materials like plastic. 

Additionally, a larger and heavier handgun may cause increased discomfort if worn in an IWB holster due to its visibility and weight. Making sure that the fit is neither too tight nor too loose is also essential for ensuring comfort when wearing an IWB holster.

Generally, an IWB holster is intended to be worn inside the waistband of pants or shorts for comfort and ease of carrying a gun for self-defense or other needs. As different holsters and guns vary in size and shape, it is wise to experience a variety of options before settling on one that is most suitable for your body type and handgun.

Do you need a gun belt for An IWB holster?

Due to the additional weight of a handgun and holster, it is advised that an IWB holster be worn with a belt or other form of waistband support. Gun belts are designed to provide better distribution of the weight across your waist in order to prevent sagging or shifting. These belts are usually wider and thicker than regular belts, and made from materials such as leather or nylon for increased durability.

Although it is not required, wearing a gun belt with an IWB holster can make the experience of carrying a handgun more agreeable and secure. A sturdy, durable material such as leather or nylon can be used in lieu of a gun belt for your IWB holster; however, bear in mind that it may have less support than a dedicated gun belt, potentially causing the handgun and holster to shift or sag during movement.

Can you tuck in your shirt with an IWB holster?

Generally speaking, it is possible to tuck a shirt in when wearing an IWB holster. Particular designs may accommodate this by providing a belt clip or loops on the front of the holster, enabling the user to tuck their shirt securely over the top of the holster. These holsters are known as “tuckable” IWB holsters.

To tuck your shirt in over a tuckable IWB holster, follow these steps:

  • When wearing your pants or shorts, ensure that the holster is placed securely inside the waistband and positioned so that the top of it is in line with the top of your garment.
  • Attach the holster to your waistband or belt using the clip or loops provided, ensuring that it is secure and does not move around.
  • Ensure that your shirt is properly tucked in over the holster, making use of either the belt clip or loops to secure it in place.
  • Ensure that the holster is correctly situated and your shirt is adjusted, providing comfort while ensuring the holster remains concealed.

For a regular IWB holster not intended for use with tucked-in shirts, it may be possible to tuck your shirt in, though it may prove difficult and the holster may be more visible. To conceal the holster, you can opt to wear a longer shirt or jacket.

What is a tuckable IWB holster?

Tuckable IWB holsters are a type of inside waistband holster that can be worn around the waist or hips. This holster has a unique feature which allows the wearer to tuck their shirt in over the top of the holster, thereby hiding it and the handgun from view. This can be advantageous for those who need to dress up more formally or who desire additional discretion when carrying their handgun.

Tuckable IWB holsters are typically constructed from a combination of leather and Kydex, a plastic material renowned for its toughness and suppleness. These holsters feature clips or loops on the back that attach to your waistband and belt loops or clips on the front which enable you to tuck in your shirt over the holster for better concealment. Additionally, some tuckable IWB holsters provide you with an adjustable cant, or angle, allowing you to adjust the handgun’s position in the holster for improved comfort and security.

iwb holster

What is a gun cant for an IWB holster?

Gun cant, or angle, is the positioning of the handgun in a holster. When using an IWB holster, gun cant describes the tilt of the handgun when it is worn inside the waistband of your trousers or shorts.

Adjusting the gun cant of an IWB holster is beneficial for two main reasons. Firstly, it can help provide a more comfortable and secure fit for your handgun in the holster. For instance, altering the angle at which the handgun sits in the holster may enable you to find a more natural and comfortable position when reaching for it.

Secondly, adjusting the gun cant can help you conceal your handgun more effectively underneath clothing – tilting the handgun in different directions in the holster may help you find a less visible position when tucking your shirt over it.

Certain IWB holsters come with adjustable gun cant, allowing the user to customize the angle of the handgun in the holster. This can be achieved by loosening or tightening screws or using other types of fasteners. It is essential to observe the manufacturer’s instructions for adjusting the gun cant of your precise holster as different types may have varied adjustment mechanisms.

Can you sit down with an IWB holster?

When wearing an IWB holster, it is generally possible to sit down without major discomfort. This depends on the size and shape of your handgun, the design of the holster, and where it is positioned on your waistband.

Some people find that IWB holsters are more comfortable while sitting due to their small, lightweight design and lack of bulk around the waist. However, if you are carrying a larger, heavier handgun in an IWB holster, there may be greater discomfort when sitting due to the added weight of the firearm and the holster.

When choosing an IWB holster, it is important to ensure that it is comfortable to wear and allows for easy access of the handgun while standing, sitting or moving. If sitting with an IWB holster proves difficult, you may require altering the position of the holster on your waistband or substituting for another holster or handgun that offers greater comfort when seated. 


To wear an IWB holster effectively, it is essential to choose the desired side for carrying, select a suitable position on your waistband, use a belt or other support device, and attach the holster with proper adjustment. It should also be comfortable to wear and allow for quick access when standing, sitting or moving around. 

Moreover, local laws and regulations regarding firearms must be followed at all times, as well as any applicable laws of locations that may be visited. Finally, IWB holsters are a convenient way to carry handguns for self-defense or other purposes.

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