As a manufacturer of custom Kydex concealed carry holsters, the team at On Your 6 Designs is always thinking about holsters. We pour over the cut of a holster, the material it’s made of, how it’s assembled, and of course, how it’s implemented. When it comes to concealing and carrying a firearm, you have a myriad of choices of where to carry —but two options, in particular, are popular because of their ease of use, and the immediacy with which a firearm can be drawn from them: outside-the-waistband holsters and inside-the-waistband holsters.
On Your 6 Designs offers holsters in both styles, but advancements in compact firearm designs, improvements in holster design, and the use of high-end, lightweight materials have made the IWB holster a clear favorite amongst concealed carriers across the United States.
At first glance, wearing an IWB holster appears pretty straight-forward. Simply place the firearm between you and the waistband of your pants, and your pistol is concealed. But where you position your pistol, and how you position it can make a difference in how you carry it.
If you think of your waist as a clock face, your belt buckle would be the twelve o’clock position, your hips the three and nine, and your backside the six o’clock position. You can position your IWB holster at any position around your waist, but some positions are more comfortable than others and make it easier to draw from.
To find the right position for your holstered firearm, unload your concealed carry pistol, and put it in your holster. Try wearing the holstered pistol at various points around your waist and move as if you were going about your normal day. Take a walk, get in and out of your car, sit down in a variety of chairs, and try flexing, bending, and shifting. Keep in mind how the pistol sits against you as you’re doing all of this, and if possible, have a friend or partner keep an eye on where you have the pistol to make sure it’s not being exposed by your regular movements or catching on your clothing in any way.
While some carriers choose to position their pistol on either their three or nine o’clock position as this feels the most natural, others position them at the four or eight, or even two or 11. Find the position that is both the most comfortable and most concealed for you and your body type.
In discussing holsters with our clients and friends, we found that perhaps the biggest reason that people leave their concealed carry firearm at home is the issue of comfort. If your holstered pistol digs into your side every time you wear it, you’re likely to leave it in your safe at home. The whole point of concealing a firearm is to keep you and your loved ones safe, and a gun you leave at home is of no use to anyone but your attacker.
Positioning the pistol holster properly is the hardest part of improving the comfort of concealed carry, but there are other ways you can make it an easier experience. Wearing a thick, full grain leather belt is the first step. A thicker belt will keep the pistol from warping the belt, allowing the holstered firearm from shifting and digging into your side. The next step is to consider using an undershirt. This keeps the holster and pistol’s grip from rubbing against your side while you move.
Additionally, you’ll need to find a position that is the most concealed place on your body. Many states require that a holster and firearm be completely concealed, otherwise, the carrier can be charged with brandishing a weapon. Additionally, fully concealing a holster keeps those around you at ease since they do not realize there is a weapon in the room.
Concealability is the priority with an IWB holster. While some argue that the use of an outside the waistband holster serves as a form of threat deterrent, the reality is that it also makes you a target. While some aggressors may see a pistol holster on the outside of your pants and think twice before attacking you, others may gun for you first to eliminate you as a threat before they go after your family or friends.
Using an IWB holster offers you a tactical advantage in that no one knows you have a weapon with you until you chose to use it in a defensive situation. This means that assailants don’t know that you can interrupt their illicit plans until you engage them.
IWB holsters are simply easier to conceal than OWB holsters. Even wearing tight clothing or light materials, an IWB holster sits close to your body and does not create a large profile on your side. Worn correctly, the only thing exposed about your pistol and concealed carry holster would be the clip that holds it in place on your belt. Because they are tucked away under layers of fabric, an IWB holster doesn’t get in your way and keep you from moving naturally.
Choosing the right kind of IWB holster certainly makes concealing a firearm easier, but the fact is, some pistols do a better job of disappearing on your body than others. In the last few decades, firearm manufacturers have started creating pistols that are better suited to concealed carry. Indeed, the focus on creating pistols that balance concealable function and form has exploded in the last few years, with nearly every firearm company having a concealed carry option available. In particular, a few brands have created some pieces that are true standouts from the ever more crowded concealed carry crowd.
The Glock 26 is the Austrian manufacturer’s leading subcompact pistol option. This pistol uses the same size magazines as the larger G19 and G17 pistols, allowing a carrier to utilize the larger magazines of these pistols. Chambered in the versatile 9mm round, the G26 carries 10 rounds in its magazine and has the ability to use a 17-round magazine if a defensive measure becomes a true shootout. The famed durability of the Glock design means that this pistol can be carried year-round and through any weather condition without worry of it jamming when it’s needed most.
The German manufactured Walther Arms PPS has proven to be a popular concealed carry option since it was first introduced in 2007. The PPS is a single stack subcompact pistol that seamlessly integrates into your existing EDC set up, and quickly disappears once you’ve put a t-shirt on over your IWB holster. With seven rounds of 9mm ammunition in each magazine and the option for an extended eight round magazine, the small size of the 9mm round makes it simple to carry one to two additional magazines without adding weight or bulk to your belt. Despite its diminutive size, the PPS has been praised for its simple sights, and low bore axis, making it a gun that is quick to draw and comfortable to deliver follow-up shots with.
Undoubtedly one of the most successful concealed carry pieces on the market today is the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. At a meager 19 ounces, and a seven round, or extended eight round magazine, the Shield is a lightweight and practical choice for concealed carriers. Available in both 9mm and .40 S&W, the Shield appeals to shooters who prioritize the use of light, accurate rounds during self-defense. With its rounded edges, the Shield quickly blends in with anything you’re wearing, as there’s nothing to snag on. Pronounced sights make the Shield easy to get on target and shoot accurately. With its low price tag, reliable functioning, and lightweight design, it’s no wonder that the Shield accounts for nearly 20 percent of all concealed carry pistol sales.
While many concealed carry pistols utilize the capable, but small, 9mm Luger round, the Springfield Armory XDs instead relies on the proven and sizable .45 ACP round. At first glance, the XDs does not look large enough to adequately manage the pronounced recoil of a .45 ACP round. However, Springfield designed the petite pistol around this caliber, and this makes the gun’s recoil manageable, allowing for accurate follow up shots to be sent down range without issue. Utilizing a grip safety and two-stage trigger, the XDs is one of the safest concealed carry pieces on the market today. Thanks to its five round single stack magazine, the XDs is only an inch wide, making it one of the thinnest handguns ever chambered for the .45 ACP round.
For those who value form and appearance, the Italian Beretta Nano may be the ideal conceal carry piece. Designed to be the perfect micro-compact pistol, the Nano has rounded, smoothed surfaces that make drawing and reholstering the pistol nearly effortless. With nothing to catch on the pistol, you’ll find that this handgun is very comfortable in one of our IWB holsters. Packing six rounds of 9mm ammo, with an included extended seven round magazine, you’ll find you have enough ammo to defend yourself and get out of a dangerous situation.
Given the popularity of the inside the waistband style holster, nearly every holster maker and even firearm companies themselves produce an IWB holster option. So what makes the IWB holsters from On Your 6 Designs different?
For those who are new to the idea of concealed carry, a simple universal style IWB holster might be appealing. But after struggling to fit your pistol in the holster, and then feeling it shift and slide around in the holster once you’re wearing it, you’ll find that universal holsters only lead to a universally bad fit. Rather than using a generic “pistol-sized” cut out, we custom-make each of our holsters to the distinct shape and form of your particular pistol. That means if you carry a Bersa Thunder 380, you’ll receive a holster that was formed around that pistol and that pistol alone.
One of the most important parts of concealing using an IWB holster is keeping the pistol close to your body and making sure that it doesn’t shift in the holster. In using thermoformed Kydex, we have created an IWB holster that securely holds your pistol in place. You’ll be able to shake, and manipulate the holster without your firearm falling out. The point of retention on our holsters is around your trigger guard, so not only is your pistol secure, there is no risk of objects working their way into the trigger guard and causing a negligent discharge. And because the pistol is held snugly in the holster, you can rest easy knowing that your holster is moving with you, and will be ready when you need your firearm.
Some holster makers are content to make a holster that simply fits your gun. At On Your 6 Designs, we create holsters that also fit your body. Using a durable clip system, our inside-the-waistband holsters have an adjustable cant, so you can precisely position your pistol holster to perfectly fit to your body shape and preferred drawing style.
On Your 6 Designs uses Kydex which is ideal for custom holster crafting. Kydex is an amazing and versatile material, classified as an acrylic-polyvinyl chloride composite, specially composed for thermoforming fabrication. This makes it easy to work with to create products that can withstand the rigors of day-to-day use. The durability of Kydex is unmatched by other traditional IWB holster materials like leather or plastic. A thin layer of Kydex can resist heat, weight, and friction without warping or cracking. To aid in the long-term use of your custom holster, we line each holster with a sweat guard so that your firearm is never exposed to corrosive salts.
Our IWB holsters are the product of years of experience carrying pistols, and working with other concealed carriers. The result is a design that is lightweight, durable, and practical, providing you with everything you need to confidently carry your pistol and nothing you don’t.
As firearm owners who conceal carry every day, On Your 6 Designs understand the value of having capable and durable gear that will not fail you when you need it the most. We stand by our products. We offer a lifetime warranty on our holsters. If at any time you experience an issue with the holster, the belt clip or loops, or any of the eyelets, contact us right away so we can resolve your issue, and make it right.
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