How To Use IWB Holster 101 Guide

When it comes to carrying a concealed firearm, a gun belt is the most common carry method for most people, but this type of firearm carry is usually bulky. IWB holsters or inside the waistband holsters can help with this. There are a few things you should be aware of if you intend to carry an IWB holster. This article will show you some basic tips on how to wear an IWB holster, where you should wear an IWB holster, and how to use IWB holster.

Things To Consider Before You Use An IWB holster

There are some basic things to remember when carrying an IWB holster, and they are as follows:

Select a Holster That Complements Your Gun Belt

You want to be sure that your gun belt matches and supports the weight of your holster and weapon. This is a step to consider whether you want to concealed carry an inside the waistband holster or out of the waistband holster. A gun belt is preferable to a traditional belt because it provides more support and a structure that allows for easy attachment of the holster.

Inside the waistband holsters maintain the tension between the holster and the belt. This keeps the holster close and prevents it from shifting out of position. If you position the holster properly, it would not make you uncomfortable and you would have your firearm exactly where you want it to be. Meaning you could move around freely, stroll, and run without fear of your weapon falling out.

Put on the Right Pants

The next step to take if you want to use an IWB holster is to wear pants that are properly fitting. If your pants are too small or too big, the holster would not fit in easily. While it may appear ridiculous, wearing the right pants allows the holster to sit nicely on the gun belt and against your body and it makes the belt clip on the holster sit properly on the belt.

Small pants would make you very uncomfortable because the gun holster would rub hard against your skin and get you injured, and wearing large pants would make the holster easily slip and fall off, which is not what you want from an IWB holster.

To address this issue, consider wearing pants that are fitting or one size larger than your usual size. If your pants cannot be changed, you can always choose a holster that suits your pants. The gun and belt can also be adjusted without changing the size of your pant; it simply takes more research and checks, which will be more difficult if you order online.

Buy the Correct Holster

If you’re buying a holster, you’ll want it to feel comfortable, otherwise, you’ll find it difficult to wear it around. This is extremely important if you’re going to be wearing the holster for an extended amount of time. Many gun owners who buy the wrong holster usually leave it at home because they don’t feel comfortable using it. You could get an IWB Kydex holster or a leather holster.

Positioning an IWB Holsters

Inside the waistband Holsters should not exert any strain on the user. Instead, it should be light and let you sit, walk, stand or bend in any position without hurting your skin.

Many IWB holster styles have a larger base, which allows you evenly spread the weight of the holster and the weapon. The holsters should be worn in a position where you can easily draw your gun without delay and a position where you can be comfortable wearing them at all times.

Three O’clock IWB Holsters Position

An inside the waistband holster is a great concealed carry holster. To enjoy using this holster, you’ll need to find the best carry position on your waist where the holster can fit perfectly. One of the easiest carry positions is the three o’clock concealed carry position.  This IWB carry position is the most natural position for drawing your concealed carry holsters, however, if you are on the small side, you might want to move it slightly towards your back or appendix. Your body type would determine if this is the best conceal carry position you should use.

Four  O’clock

If the three O’clock IWB Holsters Position does not suit your body type, then you can consider the four O’clock concealed carry position. This IWB carry position makes pistol grip very easy. Just ensure that you use a strong gun belt and that your belt clip is properly sitting on your hips.

Six O’clock

The small back position is sometimes known as six o’clock. In this position, the holster is placed at your back. This is the least comfortable position and also the least recommended position since it is the most difficult to draw a pistol.



A holster claw enhances concealment in almost every concealed carry position, claws are mostly used to improve the experience of appendix carry IWB holsters. Although there are safety issues with appendix carry, it is still the most common technique of concealed carry. One of the most difficult aspects of appendix carry is balancing concealment and safety.

The muzzle of the handgun may end up being pointed at the owner’s body due to the holster’s 12-o’clock position. Having a pistol facing your crotch area or thighs doesn’t seem to be safe. 

A Holster claw is the best solution used by a concealed carrier to address these safety problems. The claw can increase safety and concealment by regulating the rotation of the handgun and making it point away from the shooter’s body.

Using an AIWB holster carry without a claw would result in a 2-inch gap between the pistol and your body, leading to a considerable protrusion. A clawed appendix carry holster closes this gap by making your pistol grip flush with your pelvic region.


A Holster claw is not designed only for AIWB carry. It can also function with other IWB concealed carry positions. Shooters who favor the traditional strong-side carry (right-handed: 3 o’clock, left-handed shooters: 9 o’clock) can also make use of holster claws, as long as they are aware of the possible drawbacks.

Combining a holster claw with a strong-side carry may have its drawbacks due to the way a holster claw functions. A strong-side IWB holster applies more stress to the gun belt than other carry positions, resulting in a tight and snug fit. An IWB strong-side carry with a claw may scrape into the shooter’s side or hip, causing pain or making drawing more difficult.

The pain is caused because only a little amount of flesh separates your hip bone from the holster; therefore, any faults or defects in the alignment of your belt clip and holster claw may increase this pain sensation.

The concealing benefit, on the other hand, is that it gives the owner a choice to use the claw for best concealment at the expense of some comfort. Remember that the concealing advantages of using a holster claw are more visible with an AIWB carry.

If you have trouble concealing a pistol on the strong side, you may want more than a claw. 

First, consider changing the ride height and cant of your holster. Remove the claw or try an alternative carry position if you can’t carry strong-side effectively.


If you like to carry your holster between 4 – 5 o’clock (or 7 – 8 for left-handed), you would find that the holster claw provides all of the benefits of strong-side carry with less discomfort. Although claw adjustment and alignment may be more difficult because of its position. In this carry position, your pistol and the claw are located behind you, this may necessitate adjusting the ride height of your holster to a higher position.

Just find a way to properly position your claw and you’ll be comfortable. Test the fit and comfort in different postures, particularly when seated. If you sense any pain or the holster claw doesn’t feel comfortable, change your carry position or remove the claw.

Concealing an IWB Holster with a Loaded Pistol

After you’ve determined the best way to carry the holster, you’ll want to modify the holster and handgun in a way that is hidden. Fortunately, because IWB holsters are built for this purpose, they are usually easy to conceal.

The ideal way is to wear it under your shirt and ensure you are not wearing a tight shirt. With the exception of heavier handguns that protrude, smaller guns can be easily concealed. A jacket can help you hide a gun more easily, albeit you’ll have to remove your jacket to draw it.  You can easily draw your pistol if you wear a light cardigan or zippered jacket.

Can I Open Carry with an IWB Holster? 

Yes, you can open carry with an IWB Holster. Although there is no such thing as an open carry IWB holster and it’s very unusual for someone to carry a handgun that way. Concealment of an IWB holster is very easy since you just have to cover it with your shirt. Open carry simply means that the shirt does not cover the holster and the gun is exposed.

Though some individuals’ open carry, IWB open carry is unusual given the holster’s suitability for concealed carry. Most individuals utilize an IWB holster for this purpose since it functions best in that capacity.  Some people prefer concealed carry at times and open carry at others times. In such a case, an IWB holster can serve both functions. There are IWBs with active retention devices, so if you are worried about the retention of an IWB holster, that might not be a problem.

Some people like to carry an OWB holster at times. As a result, some holster manufacturers have begun producing convertible holsters that may be used as an IWB or OWB holster (hybrid holster). 

Other Carry Methods

Some gun owners prefer shoulder holsters because a shoulder holster keeps the pistol in front of them. If you are not comfortable with shoulder holsters, you can use an ankle holster, a pocket holster (for pocket carry), or a belly band holster.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with IWB Holsters

In the world of concealed carry, an Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) holster is a popular choice for many gun owners. It offers excellent concealment and accessibility, allowing individuals to carry their firearms discreetly and comfortably. However, like any tool, using an IWB holster requires knowledge and proper technique to avoid common mistakes that can compromise safety, comfort, and effectiveness. In this article, we will discuss the most common mistakes to avoid with IWB holsters and provide useful tips for responsible and efficient carry.

Improper Holster Fit and Adjustment

One of the primary mistakes people make with IWB holsters is choosing the wrong size or failing to properly adjust the holster. A poorly fitting holster can lead to discomfort, printing (when the outline of the firearm is visible through clothing), or even accidental dislodging of the firearm. It is crucial to select a holster that is specifically designed for your firearm model and to adjust it correctly to ensure a secure fit.

Inadequate Retention and Security Measures

Retention refers to the holster’s ability to hold the firearm securely and prevent it from falling out or being easily accessed by unauthorized individuals. Inadequate retention can be a significant safety risk, especially in dynamic situations or if the holster is not designed to retain the firearm during physical activity. It is essential to choose an IWB holster with a reliable retention system that offers an appropriate level of security.

Neglecting Holster Cleaning and Maintenance

Just like any other piece of equipment, an IWB holster requires regular cleaning and maintenance to function optimally. Neglecting proper care can lead to dirt accumulation, debris buildup, and diminished retention capabilities. It is recommended to clean the holster periodically and inspect it for any signs of wear or damage. Additionally, following the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance will help extend the lifespan of the holster.

Negligent Trigger Finger Discipline

Negligent trigger finger discipline is a grave mistake that can result in accidental discharges. When holstering or drawing your firearm from an IWB holster, it is crucial to keep your trigger finger indexed along the frame, away from the trigger guard. By maintaining strict trigger finger discipline, you minimize the risk of an unintentional discharge and enhance overall safety.

Failure to Train and Practice Regularly

Carrying a firearm using an IWB holster requires proficiency and familiarity. Failing to train and practice regularly is a mistake that can compromise your ability to draw quickly and accurately, especially under stress. Regular range sessions, dry-fire practice, and holster-specific training exercises are essential to develop muscle memory, improve response times, and ensure proper technique.


Using an IWB holster for concealed carry provides an effective and discreet method of carrying a firearm. However, avoiding common mistakes is crucial to ensure safety, comfort, and proficiency. By selecting a properly fitting holster, utilizing adequate retention measures, maintaining regular cleaning and maintenance routines, practicing trigger finger discipline, and engaging in consistent training, you can maximize the benefits of carrying with an IWB holster while minimizing the associated risks.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. What is an IWB holster?An IWB holster is a type of firearm holster designed to be worn inside the waistband of the pants or skirt. It allows for concealed carry while providing easy access to the firearm.
  2. How does an IWB holster differ from an OWB holster?An IWB holster is worn inside the waistband, while an OWB (Outside-the-Waistband) holster is worn outside the waistband. The choice between the two depends on personal preference, concealment requirements, and comfort.
  3. What are the advantages of using an IWB holster for concealed carry?The advantages of using an IWB holster include better concealment, increased comfort, and easier access to the firearm. It allows for effective concealed carry without compromising accessibility.
  4. How do I choose the right IWB holster for my firearm?To choose the right IWB holster, consider factors such as firearm compatibility, holster retention, comfort, and concealment requirements. It is important to select a reputable brand and ensure a secure fit for your specific firearm model.
  5. What is a retention system in an IWB holster, and why is it important?A retention system is a mechanism within the holster that secures the firearm in place and prevents it from falling out accidentally. It is important for safety reasons and to ensure that the firearm remains in the holster during daily activities or in dynamic situations.
  6. Can I adjust the cant angle of my IWB holster?Yes, many IWB holsters offer adjustable cant angles, allowing you to customize the position and draw angle of the firearm. This feature enables you to find the most comfortable and efficient carry position for your individual needs.
  7. Is it comfortable to wear an IWB holster for extended periods?Comfort levels vary from person to person, but with the right holster, positioning, and clothing choices, wearing an IWB holster can be comfortable for extended periods. It is essential to experiment with different holsters and adjust them to find the most comfortable setup.
  8. How should I position my IWB holster inside the waistband?The position of your IWB holster inside the waistband depends on personal preference, body shape, and the location of the firearm’s grip. Experiment with different positions, such as the appendix, strong-side, or small of the back, to find the one that offers the best comfort, concealment, and accessibility.
  9. What clothing should I wear to effectively conceal my IWB holster?To effectively conceal an IWB holster, choose clothing with looser fits, patterns, or layers that help to break up the outline of the firearm. Additionally, selecting the right belt is crucial to properly support the weight of the holster and firearm without sagging or shifting.

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