Imagine a world where carrying your firearm feels like a natural extension of yourself—comfortable, secure, and utterly discreet. That’s the promise of a top-notch Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) holster. The right holster is just as pivotal as the firearm it carries. It’s the silent ally that offers quick accessibility while maintaining the crucial element of surprise. A market is rich with options, each claiming to be the best in providing concealment without sacrificing comfort or readiness.
We reviewed the 25 best IBW holsters to identify the top 5, with the Rounded IWB KYDEX Holsters emerging as our Editor’s Choice. We checked the protection each IBW holster offers as you don’t want your firearm to drop out unexpectedly. It was important to look at the overall comfort provided by each option because if you’re going to wear your holster all day, you’ll want one that sits just right. So discover why these 5 stood out in our list of top IWB holsters!
It’s easy to see why the Rounded IWB Kydex holster is a firm favorite among firearm holders. For starters, it features an adjustable cant with a full-length sweat guard, meaning your holster won’t absorb any moisture from being strapped to your body all day. Designed with maximum safety in mind, this model also clicks when it’s holstered and boasts a nifty fully enclosed trigger guard. An adjustable retention enables you to position your holster in such a way that you can have a quick draw when you need it. Lastly, a reinforced stealth belt grip with claw compatibility means you can expect better concealment as well. So, there are multiple reasons why this model is often regarded as the best Kydex IWB holster.
This holster is suitable for both right- and left-handed shooters. It’s made of Kydex material which is believed to be the best material for gun holsters. Furthermore, it fits most 9mm/40SW double stack magazines whereas models such as the Cross Breed are better suited to Glock 17, 19, 22 and 23 frames.
The revolutionary CrossBreed SuperTuck is another impressive IWB holster you will definitely want to add to your shortlist. Made from a black Cowhide Leather Backer with a Molded Kydex Retention Pocket, this holster fits the Glock 17, 19, 22 and 23 frames, making it one of the best IWB holsters for Glock handguns. Its versatile design makes it excellent for different carry options and can be worn with or without your shirt being tucked-in. With modular SnapLok powder-coated steel belt clips, you’ll easily be able to adjust the cant AND ride height.
Unlike the Rounded IWB model, this is designed specifically for right-handed users and is made of leather. While most other units covered here are suitable for different firearms, this model has been specially designed for Glock frames. It also boasts a lifetime warranty.
Often found on lists featuring the best leather IWB holsters, the 1791 GUNLEATHER holster is remarkably versatile. With its robust design, this holster allows for multi-cant positioning which means you’ll have a quick reaction draw as well as an even faster pick-up when you’re sitting down. Other features that make this holster impressive include multi-fit designs to accommodate a wide range of handguns and impressive attention to performance, security and overall safety. Furthermore, the tension can be adjusted by turning two screws. There’s also an audible click as your firearm is holstered, giving you peace of mind that your weapon is secured.
While there are other leather holsters on the list, none are made with 100% certified American Heavy Native Steerhide leather which easily custom-molds to create superior comfort and fit. Furthermore, the holster boasts a double layer of leather stitched on the outside to reinforce against lip curl, which is a common drawback in many leather holsters.
With its leather and Kydex design, the GALCO IWB holster has enough stiffness to stay firmly upright but at the same time is also soft enough to mold to the wearer’s side after only one use. The clips that hold the holster to the belt may be plastic but are still strong enough to create a firm grip. Draws and holstering are quick and easy and won’t require much practice for novice users. There’s also an audible click to let you know your weapon has been secured.
One of the aspects that sets this holster apart from its competitors is its clip hooks which can also work equally well on a thinner nylon belt. This makes it an excellent wear for people who may not always be wearing a thick leather belt. There is also enough space between the clips and the backer for you to tuck your shirt in if that’s what you prefer.
The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster ensures precise fitment and optimal retention. Moreover, it features simple, tool-free adjustment options that allow you to effortlessly customize ride height, cant and retention. It’s as simple as tightening screws to create your preferred carrying style. Made from Neoprene, this IBW holster rests easily against your body, creating the perfect concealed carry and ensuring all-day comfort. Since the holster’s base has been reinforced with steel, you can be assured of longevity and durability. Its rugged construction easily withstands the strain of everyday carry. This holster is typically suited for both left-hand and right-hand users.
This model is a refinement of the 3.0 where the manufacturer has improved on overall design features and in the process created a stronger, more durable holster. Unlike the CrossBreed, this holster can accommodate over 800 handgun models and also boasts a durable steel-reinforced base.
Buying the best IWB holster is a little more complex than ordering the first one that looks like it can do the job. And a quick search of the many different options out there will clearly highlight that it’s also not a one-size-fits-all purchase. Furthermore, it’s often best to test out holsters that made it to the top of your shortlist, since personal preference and comfort play such an important role.
Before you start shopping, it’s important to know what you’re looking for as well as the advantages and disadvantages of opting for this type of holster. The type of IBW holster you eventually settle for should not only be comfortable to wear but should also keep your firearm securely positioned whether you’re walking, sitting or even running.
With this criteria in mind, we’ve compiled a handy buying guide in which we’ll highlight the pros and cons and share a few tips on choosing the best IWB holster for your needs. Be sure to read this section before you start creating a shortlist of your favorites.
Essentially, an IWB holster refers to an “in the waistband holster” that you carry on the inside of the waistband of your pants or skirt. For the most part, an IWB holster keeps a large part of your firearm buried beneath your waistline, making it more secure. People who opt for an IWB do so mainly for the concealment it offers. Using an IWB makes it easier to safely wear your firearm in instances where you may not want it to be visible or easy to grab such as everyday life.
You’ll find many firearm owners singing the praises of an inside the waistband holster. With the advantages associated with this type of holster, it’s easy to see why they’re the go-to option for so many users.
The number one drawcard to owning an IWB holster is that it’s easy to conceal. Since they’re placed very close to the user’s body, they’re also less likely to print (show through your clothing). They can easily be worn under a loose t-shirt or even a regular button-down shirt. Some holsters are designed to be worn with tucked-in shirts, which adds to their value.
Many users also find that keeping your firearm tucked into your waistband is a whole lot more secure than the outside option. Not only does it make it harder for someone to grab, but it’s also very unlikely that it will drop out of the holster. It’s a good idea to look for models that feature some sort of retention mechanism that keeps it secure.
Whether you’re using an EDC (everyday carry), or an off-duty carry, most holsters offer a Level 1 retention which is then deemed passive. As a matter of interest, law enforcement and military holsters are usually Level III when used on duty.
While IWB holsters are slower than outside waistband options, the reality is that they are considerably quicker than more concealable holsters such as ankle or shoulder holsters. However, we must point out that not all IWBs are a slow draw. In some cases, it’s just a matter of getting used to your particular holster. If you find that your top choice is a bit slow on the uptake, a couple of practice sessions may be all that’s needed.
While IBW holsters are the most preferred holster type, it’s important to note that there are a few drawbacks. To make an informed decision, you should know what these are.
Whether or not clothing is a drawback depends on your style of clothing and the size of your weapon. That means, you most likely won’t be able to wear tight-fitted clothing or short-style shirts. Here you want to compare what you prefer wearing versus how it looks over a concealed holster.
At the most, you may have to opt for pants that are one size bigger at the waist as well as a looser shirt type. This may be a disadvantage to people who prefer tight-fitted clothes such as leggings or skinny jeans. In these cases, an IWB holster may not be what you’re looking for.
It takes some practice to get used to sitting with your IWB holster. Thinner people often find that these holster types rub against their hip bones, causing some discomfort. Larger individuals may also experience some discomfort when they sit as the holster may feel as though it’s digging into their flesh. The trick is to keep searching till you find the one that fits you well!
First-time IWB holster wearers often find drawing and holstering a challenge. This is usually because a secure holster makes it tough to grab your gun and at the same time maintain a secure grip. We urge all users to practice doing this until it’s a quick, fluid motion. Test different carry positions until you find the one that’s most comfortable to wear and reach.
Now that you have a broader idea of the different IWB holsters currently on the market, it’s a good idea to know what you should be looking for when you’re shortlisting options. Let’s look at the top three factors that should influence your buying decision when you’re looking for the best IWB concealed carry holsters.
While you may be tempted to opt for an inexpensive holster, keep in mind that this will cost you more in the long run. Especially if you’re going to be replacing it every few months! This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need the most expensive holster out there, but you need to make durability a priority.
Look for durable materials with stitching strong enough to safely hold your weapon. The following are worthwhile:
It’s important for your holster to be comfortable in any position you’re going to be in while wearing it. So, here you want to make sure that you can comfortably walk, sit and possibly run. Keep in mind that it shouldn’t restrict your movement and should be lightweight enough to avoid pulling downward.
Choose a material that won’t chafe, pinch or rub against your skin. In fact, it should be so comfortable that you hardly know you’re wearing it. Be sure to read the reviews of smaller holsters as they may not always be comfortable for larger people. The same can be said for large holsters on smaller frames. That’s the number one reason why this shouldn’t be an online purchase without a fitting first.
The third factor you want to consider is how well the holster protects your weapon against drops, scuffs, bumps and even theft. Ideally, your weapon should never be exposed enough for someone to reach around your waist and grab it. More importantly, it should also protect you from any accidental discharges.
The materials and the overall holster should be strong enough to keep your weapon covered and securely in place. Ensure that your weapon’s trigger is never covered by the style of holster you’re opting for. Many users prefer to use holsters that produce an audible click once the weapon is locked in place. That will prevent you (if you’re a newbie) from unintentionally not securing your weapon correctly.
While the best position for your IWB depends on your personal preference, weapons experts recommend that right-handed shooters opt for the 4:30 position (if you’re facing a clock, 4:30 will be comfortably on your side). Not only is this position highly concealable for just about any body type, but it also allows for a quick, natural draw motion. However, this may vary from person to person, so practice to find the one that allows you to reach your firearm the fastest but also in the safest manner.
Left-handed shooters have been known to feature the 1-3 which means you’ll secure your holster between your weak side’s hip and naval. You will cross your arm over your body to draw your weapon.
Yes, you can! It’s not uncommon for first-time users to be weary of sitting down with their guns holstered. Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can sit comfortably with your IWB holster and gun in place. The most recommended position is known as the appendix carry.
This position requires you to carry your firearm in the front part of your waistband, to the left or right of your navel. Not only does this position keep your gun close to your body but it’s also quick and easy to reach. If you’re going to wear your firearm as an EDC it’s a good idea to practice sitting in different positions to find the most comfortable one.
You will need a slightly bigger waistband than your regular size. However, there’s no hard and fast rule about how much bigger as this depends on the type of firearm, how hefty your holster is and the position you’re going to carry your holster. So, you’ll need a waistband big enough for your body and your holster.
Fortunately, many manufacturers understand that you don’t want to be walking around in clothing three times your size, so most holsters are made to be as streamlined as possible, with a snug fit. If you don’t want to wear baggy pants, look out for holsters with a tight fit such as the leather options that can contour to your body shape.
Now that you’re armed with our informative buying guide, you should be able to make the best decision when it comes to choosing your IWB holster. Consider the pros and cons of each potential option and be sure to analyze each one’s durability, comfort, and protection levels before making your final decision.
We also recommend testing even the best IWB holsters in person to establish which one is the right fit for your individual needs. Where possible, you want to test your potential options with your firearm to get the exact feel and gauge each one’s strength.
For such an important item that you’ll carry on your person, information is vital. So, use this knowledge for the benefit of you and those around you.