Best IWB Holster – Complete Reviews with Comparison

Best IWB Holster – Complete Reviews with Comparison

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Note: This article was updated on 12/31 to replace the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 with the Alien Gear newer Shapeshift  4.0. 

Why do you carry a gun on you? Is it for work or personal protection?

Your reasons can be one of many, but like others, you probably want your gun to be concealed when you wear it, right? Then maybe you should consider an inside waistband (IWB) holster.

IWB holsters are hidden under your clothes for a more discrete look. These brands on the list of the top five of 2018 have done remarkable jobs of designing easily concealable holsters.

Read on and you’ll find out why.

 Which one is suited for you?

Top 5 IWB Holster Comparison Chart

Check out the following for even more knowledge:

Best Kydex IWB Holster of 2018-Complete Reviews With Comparison

Best IWB Holster Reviews

1. Alien Gear Holsters ShapeShift 4.0 IWB Holster

Alien Gear Holsters took everything we loved about the Cloak Tuck 3.0, and made an even better iwb holster with the ShapesShift 4.0.  The ShapeShift 4.0 requires no break in time just like the Cloak Tuck 3.0.   For a more indepth review of the ShapeShift 4.0 click here.

Product Highlights

  • The improved ballistic nylon, and single mounting point allows the holster to be even more flexible compared to the Cloak 3.0.  These new characterics of the holster greatly its comfort level.  
  • Alien Gear Holsters worked hard to reduce the size of the ShapeShift 4.0 compared to the Cloak Tuck 3.0.  As a result, the ShapeShift 4.0 is much easier to conceal.

The holster cant and ride height can be altered thanks to the holster's tool-less adjustable clips.

What's to like about the Alien Gear Holsters ShapeShift 4.0 IWB Holster

The ShapeShift 4.0 shell was designed to cover the the trigger in all its configurations.   As a result, the trigger is protected from involuntary movements. 

What's not to like about the Alien Gear Holsters ShapeShift 4.0 IWB Holster

Retention-wise, this holster falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. There's an active thumb-release option and the passive retention system is adjustable, but if your priority is a retention holster designed this is not the holster for you.  The ShapeShift 4.0 is considerable smaller than the Cloak Tuck 3.0, but it is will be too bulky for some out there.  

PROS

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     Flexibility due to the Single mounting point
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    Reduced size compared to the Cloak Tuck 3.0 
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    Better trigger protection due to shell covering trigger

CONS

  • Clips are improved, but can still break off. 
  • Bulkier than other IWB Holsters
  • Retention

2. CYA Supply Co. IWB Holster

Product Highlights

  • The holster has an easily adjustable retention pressure and carry angle. These two qualities make it easier for you to carry the gun in a comfortable position that still allows easy access
  • The holster is made of Boltaron thermoplastic. This material is abrasion and chemical resistant and extremely durable
 The unique positive audible click informs you when the gun is securely inserted back in the holster

What's to like about the CYA Supply Co. IWB Holster

The positive click is a unique feature that is beneficial. When you're in a hurry you don’t need to check if the gun is secured in the holster. There is barely any risk of it falling out without your knowledge.

What's not to like about the CYA Supply Co. IWB Holster

The gun models it carries are limited. You need to check if the measurements of the holster will indeed be a perfect fit for your branded pistol.

PROS

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    The screws are adjustable for you to alter the retention to your preference
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    The holster is lightweight for effortless carrying
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    Comfortable to carry

CONS

  • The gun has a tight fit and you may need both hands to draw it out
  • The inner lining is rough which can scratch your gun
  • The screws can break off which are needed to attach the holster to your waistband

3. Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry

Product Highlights

  • The elastic holster fits small, subcompact, compact and full sized pistols & revolvers. No matter the size you carry it’ll be a comfortable fit.
  • This band has the most versatile carry option. You can wear it:
    • Inside the waistband
    • Outside the waistband
    • Cross body
    • Appendix position
    • 5 o’clock position
    • Small of back position
    • High up similar to a shoulder holster

What's to like about the Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry

The ventilated and soft material make the belly band comfortable to wear in any position. You won't feel the pistol against your skin.

What's not to like about the Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry

The material can stretch out quickly which makes it loose to wear. It’ll hang low which makes it more obvious that you're wearing an IWB band.

PROS

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    When still tight the band stays in place even when you move a lot
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    The versatile carry positions create more options to conceal your gun
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    The Velcro strap adjusts the band to your body for a tighter fit

CONS

  • The material stretches which makes it hang low and easily outlined by your shirt
  • A small pistol or revolver can cause the retention snap to break
  • The extra pouch is too small to carry additional items

4. Lirisy Leather IWB Holster

This holster’s open design makes it easy for you to grab your pistol when in an emergency. The position where you carry your gun won't affect how easy it is to draw it.

Product Highlights

  • The IWB hostler breaks away from the traditional nylon material. It’s made of cowhide for it to have great retention. This material is softer and feels more natural, which makes it comfortable to wear directly against your skin.
  • The hostler has a universal pistol unit and it can hold:
    • Glock: 17,19,26,27,28,29,30,33,36,39 and 43
    • M&P shield in 9, 40 and 45mm
    • ACP
    • Ruger LC9
    • Taurus Slim line PT222
    • Springfield XD series
    • Beretta
    • Bersa
    • Kahr Arms
    • Colt
    • Walther
The strong metal clip allows for a greater deep concealment in any position you carry the holster.

What's to like about the Lirisy Leather IWB Holster

The holster carries any compact pistol. The great retention of the cowhide makes it easier for the gun to slide back without any resistance.

What's not to like about the Lirisy Leather IWB Holster

The metal clip doesn’t keep the holster in place and it can move when you do.

PROS

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    The holster molds to the shape of the gun
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    It has a slim design for it not to bulge 
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    It’s comfortable to wear against your skin

CONS

  • The clip lacks a reverse facing hook that is needed to secure the holster. With this you risk drawing out the entire holster instead of the gun
  • It can be too small for compact-sized Glocks
  • There is no belt attachment which makes carrying heavier

5. UMITOM Belly Band Holster

The UMITOM holster is a thick band that wraps around your belly. It’s made of neoprene and around a 54’’ belly. This band makes for an ideal concealable carry system.

Product Highlights

  • The holster pouch is suitable to carry most sized pistols. The best feature of the holster belly band is the construction. It’s comfortable and flexible because of the neoprene material. This material is:
    • Soft and lightweight
    • Ventilated and breathable which makes it easy to wear against your skin throughout the day
    • Anti-sweat
  • The holster is versatile in the items it can carry. You not only can carry your pistol but also your:
    • Money
    • Gun magazine
    • Phone
    • Knife
    • Flashlight

What's to like about the UMITOM Belly Band Holster

The best part to this is how great it is in concealing your gun or other possessions. Compared to pants holsters where it may show a bulge, this product blends well underneath your clothing.

When you wear looser clothing, it’ll look natural and doesn’t raise suspicion you're carrying a gun.

What's not to like about the UMITOM Belly Band Holster

You need to compare the size of the pistol and this holster as it's not always a perfect fit. That is not the only design flaw.

The IWB is not a practical fit for those that are left handed.

PROS

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    The band stretches to give a more comfortable fit
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    The material is soft and doesn’t irritate your skin
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    The adjustable straps make it easy for the band to stay in place no matter the size body

CONS

  • Sweat can occur because it retains heat
  • The side clip fastener doesn’t release quick enough for you access the gun quickly
  • The pouch has no retention and therefore loses its shape

IWB Holster Buyers Guide

This buyer’s guide gives you a list of all the features you must compare before making your final purchase.

Style

There are two styles of IWB holsters that are classified by the design. These are universal which allows you to position it anywhere on your body.

Pancake Holster

A pancake holster is made with two pieces of material with the gun sandwiched between them. This style has two or more clip slots for you to slide your belt.

You place the holster in your pants and the clips over the waistband where you can slide the belt.

Hybrid Holster

The holster features a durable plastic retention shell mated to a cloth or other retention shell.

 The shell secures the gun in place and creates a barrier between it and your skin to minimalize discomfort. The material around the outer shell creates a padded type feel for the holster to rest comfortably on your side.

Condition

Condition refers to the appropriate manner in which you can carry the gun in the holster. This is known as Condition of Readiness, of which there are five:

  • Condition Zero: A round in the chamber, the hammer is cocked, and the safety is off
  • Condition One: This is known as “cocked and locked,” A round in the chamber and the hammer is cocked
  • Condition Two: A round is in the chamber and the hammer is down
  • Condition Three: The chamber is empty, and the hammer is down
  • Condition Four: The chamber is empty, the hammer is down, and there is no magazine in the chamber
 Condition four is the only state where there is no magazine inserted.

Material

There are two general IWB holster materials:

  • Leather: Leather provides comfort. With time it softens and loses its retention for a more comfortable fit
  • Durable plastics: Injected molded nylon, Kydex and Boltaron are considered the best durable plastic materials. These materials are generally used when the holster is molded to a specific gun model
 The shared characteristic of these materials is that is doesn’t collapse or change shape when the gun is drawn. The gun slides back into the holster seamlessly without any resistance.

Handing

The handling refers to the carry position of the holster. People often refer to the clock position when they mention handling:

  • 2 o’clock: forward of the hip
  • 3 o’clock: directly on the hip
  • 4 o’clock: between hips and kidneys
  • 5 o’clock: kidney carry
  •  6 o clock: small of the back position

Size

The size of the holster and your pants need to match for a comfortable fit. There is a simple formula that helps you determine how big the holster will be.

([Width of the gun at the greatest point × 3.14 × 2] + [Height of the gun × 3]) × 2

Now that you know the size of the holster you must also consider where you tend to carry it. Some carry positions of the gun also affect the size of the holster.

If placed on the sides it’ll be a tighter fit. The 6 o’clock position is more flexible and offers a greater gap in the waistband.

These two scenarios show that you need a bigger or smaller holster depending on where you plan to carry it.

IWB Holster FAQ's

What Kind of Holster Should I Get?

Before you purchase a holster, you should understand the different kinds. Based on these descriptions you can determine which one you feel is comfortable to wear.

The Belt Holster

This is the most common type. The holster attaches to your belt via a clip paddle. The paddle slides over your pants’ waistband and sits between your pants and your body. The clip secures it in place when you move.

Alternatively, other belt holster designs have slots for you to run your belt through. This design is more reliable as the holster is fixed.

The second option is safer because the belt looped through the holster makes it difficult for an assailant to remove it.

Inside the Waistband Holder (IWB)

IWB holsters are easier to hide because you tuck it underneath your pants and inside your shirt. This type attaches to your belt with J-hooks, clips, and loops.

Although its concealable nature is a huge advantage it can also be its downfall. It takes longer to reach for the gun.

Pocket Holster

The pocket holster fits inside your pants pocket and keeps the gun upright for an easier draw. This type is also easily concealable when you wear a jacket.

An assailant will think you're reaching for something in your pocket and won’t expect the gun.

Shoulder Holster

The shoulder holster is practical for someone who has back problems because the weight is distributed to the upper body.

The straps loop around your shoulders and the holster sits by your sides (between your body and arms).

The shoulder holster is easy to wear, and gun access is quick.

Fanny Pack

This type of holster looks exactly like a normal fanny pack. The casual look makes it unsuspecting and it blends into your wardrobe better. The fanny pack’s material protects the gun from external elements such as rain.

Ankle Holster

When you find it difficult to conceal the other holsters when the ankle type is for you. People hardly take notice of others’ ankles which boosts the concealable aspect to it.

The holster is small and fits well around any ankle. When you wear loose fitting pants people won’t see any bulge.

How to Wear an IWB Holster

Wearing an IWB holster is straightforward; it boils down to comfort and position.

Accommodate the Holster

How do your pants fit you? Are they loose, or tight fitting? The IWB holster adds an inch or two to the waistline.

If you wear tighter pants you may need to size up as it may be uncomfortable.

Find the Right Position

It is said that the 3 o’clock position is best as it’s more natural and doesn’t dig into your leg. It gives you easier access to the pistol.

If you prefer comfort, then choose the 4 o’clock position.

Body types also affect the position of the holster. For bulkier people the 5 o’clock position is better.

Test the position by sitting down. If you feel the holster digging into your side, then reposition it.

Conceal the Holster

The best way to conceal the IWB holster is to wear a jacket or loosely fitted shirt. These two clothing items and others that are loose won't outline the holster.

How to Sit with an IWB Holster

If your holster is positioned incorrectly, it can be uncomfortable to sit. If you place your holster behind the point of the hip the bending action may be parallel to the holster.

Remember that the holster must be concealed when you sit. You can ensure it is concealed by:

  • Tucking in your shirt so it doesn’t lift up when you sit up or down
  • Button up your jacket or shirt to prevent it from sweeping open and exposing the gun
  •  Wear a belt to keep your waistline straight

What Is a Tuckable IWB Holster?

A tuckable IWB holster is designed to be worn inside the waistband of your pants. There is a clip that fastens the holster to your belt, which allows you to tuck your shirt over it.

How to Keep Holster from Sliding on the Belt?

You holster needs to be in place when you move around. If the holster slides the new position may make you uncomfortable.

Make sure the belt fits perfectly in the holster loop. The holster will slide if its loops are 1.5’’ and the belt is a thin 1’’.

Find a holster with these designs as they are best at keeping them in place.

  • Metal clips
  • Spring-type clips
  • Buy a holster with a Velcro belt
  • Place a leather spacer between the holster and belt loop to keep it in place.

FINAL VERDICT

If you're stuck deciding on a holster to purchase, then choose the Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry. It’s a great buy because of the features it offers and it's affordable.

The versatile carry positions are beneficial for you. Sometimes the clothes you wear may outline the holster.

You wouldn’t want to be restricted with what you wear. The multiple carry positions accommodate the holster according to your outfit.

There is also a high chance your gun will fit into the holster. This makes the purchase easier because you don’t have to spend time looking for a holster that fits your gun. The versatile size is also practical when you have more than one pistol.

Thanks to IWB holsters, you can carry a gun and it’ll be unnoticed. It’s perfect for communities where people feel uncomfortable if they see such a weapon.

Whether for a job or just everyday carry, you can now be prepared for any eventuality with your gun at your side.


Older Reviews

 Alien Gear Holsters Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster 

The Alien Gear item is a perfect option if you want a holster ready for immediate use. No break-in time is needed. This holster offers great concealability.  For a more indepth review click here

Product Highlights

  • The spring steel and ballistic nylon flex but don’t warp. These materials keep the holster in place
  • The universal shell system makes it easier for you to carry multiple pistols—at different times—just swapping out the retention shell
 The holster is waterproof to protect your gun from moisture damages

What's to like about the Alien Gear Holsters Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster

The inner holster shell is made of a soft material which doesn’t scratch or remove the gun’s finish. The belt clips are adjustable according to your height and carry angle. You can carry the holster in any position.

What's not to like about the Alien Gear Holsters Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster

The holster is predominantly made of plastic and rubber.  While the holster is durable  these two combinations of materials don’t make the holster appear as durable compared to the traditional leather holsters.

PROS

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    The holster is ready for use as you don’t need to adjust the retention
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    You can adjust the angle of how the gun is positioned
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    The holster makes it easy to draw the gun

CONS

  • The holding clips and the screwdrivers can break off, making the holster ineffective to wear
  • Bulkier than other IWB Holsters
  • The opening is larger than other holsters which exposes the trigger

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