What Should You Look For In An IWB Holster?

If you are looking to conceal carry, an IWB Kydex holster is a solid choice (unless you have watched too much classic 80s TV in which case we will talk you off the shoulder holster ledge later in the article).  IWB stands for “Inside the Waistband” Side Note: Shouldn't it be ITW because waistband is one word? It appears liberties were taken with the acronym.  In any case, it is a holster that is meant to go inside your pants or shorts so that it can be easily concealed by clothing.  Here is one example, our Pyre Light Bearing IWB Kydex Holster.
A lot of digital ink has been spilled on the reasons why you would want to conceal carry.  Beyond the normal common sense things that immediately come to mind, it all boils down to a concept whose origins started all the way back in the 1500s when people walked around with no pockets.  This eventually evolved into an expression I think about a lot for obvious reasons.

“Ace Up One’s Sleeve”

If you are not familiar with the term “Ace Up One’s Sleeve” (which would be really weird) it refers to how gamblers back in the day would hide a high-value card in their sleeve to win a big hand by using it when needed.

Modern gamblers don’t do that anymore because a ton of people ended up in the California and Nevada deserts trying that nonsense on the wrong people.   However, the term has stayed in the language long past the point where it was a literal description of someone trying shenanigans.  

The meaning that I like the most is “a crucial, decisive, or effective argument, advantage, or resource a person keeps in reserve until it is required.”  This concept is basically our entire business strategy for our IWB Kydex Holster Line.

  We want you to have that decisive advantage, always there for you but concealed until you need it.  So, let's dive into what you should look for when buying an IWB Kydex holster.

Why Use Kydex For Your IWB Holster?

All of our holsters use Kydex because we have determined it is the best material given all the factors.  We also wrote an entire post on it that you can check out here: What You Should Look For In A Kydex Holster (don’t read it if you don’t like Nutella).

Maybe all of this “Ace up the sleeve” talk has put into your head that you might want to consider leather as an option.  There are some additional reasons that Kydex is better than leather when you are looking specifically at using an IWB holster.  

By definition the holster and firearm will be either close to, or next to, your skin when you carry.  If you are in conditions that are causing you to sweat, leather will absorb the moisture and will continually hold it against the gun until it dries out.  It can take leather a long time to do this.  

A Kydex holster, on the other hand, repels the water thereby decreasing your firearm's exposure to moisture.  If it gets wet you just wipe it off and there is no waiting for it to dry. 

This scenario is yet another reason why Kydex is a superior material for your IWB holster.  Now that we have handled that again let’s break down what you should look for when making a IWB purchase.

Comfort Is Key

Rule number one is that if your holster isn’t comfortable to wear all day, then you probably aren’t going to wear it all day.  It is human nature to avoid discomfort subconsciously.  We don’t want to create a situation where you leave your firearm at home because it is not a great fit.  The whole point of having “an ace up your sleeve” is so that it is there when you need it most.  

The second level of comfort that most people don’t talk about is that if you are constantly adjusting your IWB holster, then people are going to notice and figure out you are carrying.  The whole point of concealed carry is that you have the advantage of anonymity concerning if you are armed or not.

So with these things in mind, don’t dismiss figuring out what is the perfect fit for you.  The good news is that if you buy the right IWB holster you can experiment until you get it right.  For example, the base models of FDO Industries holsters have adjustable retention and adjustable cant so you can get everything just right. Each and every product that comes out of our shop is designed to be comfortable and built to last.

Having the ability to tailor a holster to suit your unique needs means that you end up with the perfect fit for your daily life. The best holsters are the ones that work best for you.  The most important thing is that your holster feels great so you wear it and always have that "Ace" In Your IWB Kydex Holster.

Does Your IWB Kydex Holster Need A Sweat Guard?

Yes.  Yes, it does.  When you combine the moisture issue we talked about above and the requirement that the holster be comfortable you get the need for the sweat shield.  If you don’t know what a sweat shield is, it is when we design the holster so that the backside extends to the top of the slide so that it does not come into direct contact with your skin.  This will protect your gun slide from rusting due to moisture.  It also has the added benefit of making your firearm easier to holster as it helps to guide the gun into place.  Finally, it just looks cool.  It is an option when you Forge Your Own Custom IWB Holster.

There is no need to make this complicated.  Make sure you select the right IWB Kydex holster to fit your firearm and keep adjusting it until it is a comfortable fit.  Then wear it enough so you don’t notice it anymore.  Easy.

IWB Holster Quick Fire Questions

What is the best IWB Holster?

One that fits your firearm perfectly and can be adjusted to fit your specific needs.  Like the holsters here:  FDO IWB Kydex Holsters

What is the most comfortable IWB Carry Position?

This is dependent on personal preference and body type.  Try the usual (appendix, strong side, cross draw etc.) to discover which one you like.  Then get plenty of reps in so you can draw quickly and safely.  The good news is that you don’t have to buy different holsters.  As we discussed above, the retention and cant adjustment capabilities of our holsters make it easy to make them comfortable regardless of where you place the holster.

What is the best position of an IWB holster for sitting?

Appendix, strong side, and Miami Vice shoulder holster (just kidding.  Don’t do that. Although good for sitting and stylish as hell, there are better ways to carry it.  Also, the haters will tell you that it’s not the 80’s or brand you a FUD for using them.  Either way, we don’t make them so there is that.)

I hope this answers most of your questions for today.

Have a good one,


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