By Janice Talaroc
An inside the waistband (IWB) holster will conceal the gun better than an outside the waistband (OWB) holster. IWB holsters are held close and tight to the body by a good belt. The location of the holster will be determined by personal preference, but for best concealment and safety, a position just behind the side belt loop, on the strong side, is recommended. This will allow for the gun to be presented without sweeping yourself or others. The holster/gun will fit nicely into the contours just above and below the waist line of the pant with minimal bulge. Again, the need for a good belt cannot be emphasized enough as it will provide comfort, gun retention and discretion. Belt clips don’t secure as well as leather loops, but may provide for more ease of removal.
Other important considerations include material used for construction, and “shielding” used to protect the gun from sweat; and bare skin from sharp edges. Leather has long been a popular choice by IWB wearers, but new thermoplastic materials have seen a recent rise in popularity as well. Some wearers claim the thermoplastic provides a quicker presentation; however, training is still probably the single most important factor. Guns of a slimmer thickness, such as the 1911, are often preferred for IWB carry. The fatter the gun, such as a large revolver, the more the belt is pushed out away from the body. This may cause some discomfort as well as pant slippage. Discretion may also be compromised. Frequently, the “cant” or angle of the gun when seated in the holster will play an important role in comfort, accessibility and concealment, particularly for women. Their hourglass shape often allows a horizontal holster to ride up higher than is comfortable, digging into the rib area. A slight forward cant may eliminate much of this effect. In some cases, it may be necessary to choose a gun with a shorter grip frame or bobtail.