Nothing says “safe” more than an inside-the-waistband pistol holster. Concealing your carry not only ensures your protection, but also everyone else’s. An IWB is the best means of concealment and you can easily access your weapon. It’s a lot closer to your hand when at rest, and is tucked out of sight when you don’t need it.
Traditionally fashioned out of leather, IWB holsters are designed to fit snugly around your waist and under your shirt. Although they’re designed to be hidden, they can be customized to include fancy trappings and even dyed to your liking.
Modern IWB holsters utilize more practical, lightweight materials that are thick and water-resistant. One popular material is Kydex, which is a thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride that is both formable and rigid. In today’s market, you can choose from a variety of high-quality leather holsters to durable thermoplastic holsters.
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Advantages of IWB Holster
Hiding your carry close to you is always a concern, especially when you need to defend yourself from potential attackers. Typical holsters hang outside the waistband and are seen by everyone around you. These types of holsters pose a hazard and could potentially cost you your safety.
IWB holsters keep your pistol out of sight and out of mind – ensuring that no one can just walk up and grab it when you least expect it. It also makes you look less of a threat, which means that no one will be expecting you to pull out a gun when the need arises.
Let’s not forget how convenient it is. With modern IWB holsters, comfort is also of utmost importance. A weapon at the ready will get heavy as the day progresses. A good IWB holster will ease that discomfort. With modern designs incorporating belly bands, hidden pockets, and minimal trappings.
Disadvantages of IWB Holster
While IWB’s allow your carry to stay out of reach from potential sneak attacks, its inconspicuous placing could become a hassle. Unless if you’ve practiced beforehand, drawing your weapon could cost you those precious few seconds before an unwanted encounter.
On top of having to draw a concealed weapon, having to carry it around will wear you down. Most modern IWB holsters are ergonomically designed, but wearing them for too long will become uncomfortable over time. No one likes the feeling of a heavy object constantly rubbing against your side.
Types of IWB Holsters
Holsters have been around since the invention of pistols. They come in a variety of forms, with mainly two different types: hybrid and non-hybrid.
Old-fashioned holsters look like they jumped out of old Western movies – made of a hard casing and a leather base that’s stitched to perfection and dyed. Leather holsters are still being manufactured today, and have a more aesthetic quality to them. This makes them more ideal for showing off – which isn’t exactly stealthy.
On the other, hybrid holsters utilize two types of materials – a stiff polymer shell and a sturdy, pliable base. These modern marvels have been around since plastic was manufactured, and are more commonly used by policemen and registered gun carriers alike. Hybrid holsters usually take up a lot of space, but their ergonomic designs allow for a quicker, easier draw.
Other holster designs feature a “pancake” design, that uses just two layers of material. This holster design is great for discreet protection. With the minimum amount of material used, it manages to keep your weapon secure and hidden. Because it only has two layers, it’s got less baggage and is more lightweight. However, this minimal pancake design can get uncomfortable, and so you might want to wear an undershirt with it.
Another design features a “winged” shape holster, that allows for smoother, quicker draw. It fastens over a larger area in the waist, which helps spread the weight of the pistol around. Some gun owners find this convenient, while others aren’t so keen on the large surface area it covers.
How to care & maintenance
Caring for your IWB holster isn’t so complicated. The important thing is that once you remove it from your body, make sure to hang it in a place where you can easily find it. If you’ve been sweating, be sure to wipe it off the holster as salts and oils can damage leather and plastics. Ideally, you should keep a barrier between the holster and your body while you’re wearing it.
While drying out your holster is imperative, be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight. Putting it under the sun could ruin its form or damage it entirely. If you do want to dry it out, don’t stuff it in a dryer or put it next to a heat vent.
Lastly, make sure to wipe it down after use – ideally with a soft cloth. Leather IWB holsters require leather care products, while thermoplastic hybrid IWB holsters need a soft cloth. You should maintain your IWB holster every day, so you can have it around for longer.