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6 Best IWB (Inside Waistband) Holsters [Hands-On Tested]

Want the best IWB (inside waistband) holster for your specific gun and position? We go over the pros/cons of IWB, some tips, and our favorite holsters.

Choosing a holster is a difficult but important decision.

Hidden Hybrid Holsters Assortment
Hidden Hybrid Holsters Assortment

Even if you’ve already narrowed your options down to a particular holster type, such as an inside the waistband (IWB) holster, the sheer number of options can still be overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be.

EMP Alien Gear Holster
EMP Alien Gear Holster

In this guide, I’m going to take you through some of the top recommended IWB holsters currently available to help you find one that works for you.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Best Kydex

    Tenicor Holsters

    Sturdy, durable build

  2. Most Comfy

    CrossBreed SuperTuck

    Kydex+leather design, comfy

  3. Editor's Pick Hybrid Holster

    Hidden Hybrid Holsters

    Hybrid design, comfortable, durable

  4. Best for Lights

    PHLster Floodlight

    Compatible with SureFire or Streamlight lights, AIWB or IWB

Table of Contents

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What is an IWB Holster Anyway?

“IWB” stands for “Inside Waist Band” and that means exactly what it sounds like it does:

An IWB holster is carried inside of the waistband of your pants, skirt, kilt, or whatever, between your waistband and underwear.

Or your waistband and skin, I guess, if you prefer to go commando. I wouldn’t recommend it with an IWB holster, but I’m not here to judge.

Womens Concealed Carry IWB

IWB holsters are almost unquestionably the most popular carry type. 

What Are the Advantages?

There are few benefits that have led the IWB holster to become so popular.

Concealment

One of the biggest advantages of IWB holsters is that they’re easy to conceal since they sit so close to the body, making them less likely to print.

G19 AIWB Draw Out
G19 AIWB Draw Out

IWB holsters are easily hidden in most untucked tees and button-downs, and throwing on a jacket gives you even more freedom.

Retention

Another perk of keeping your weapon tucked inside your waistband is security.

IWB Holster On Body
IWB Holster On Body

Your gun is very unlikely to fall out of the holster and is very difficult for someone to take from you.

Fast Draw

Sure, IWB holsters are slower to draw from than their OWB (Outside Waist Band) counterparts, but they are much quicker than other highly concealable holsters like shoulder holsters, belly bands, and ankle holsters.

Womens Concealed Ankle Holster
Little slower to get to…just sayin’

What Are the Disadvantages?

So with all this going for IWB holsters, why does anyone carry anything else? Well, there are also some downsides.

Clothing Limitations

IWB holsters are easy to conceal in most clothing, but if more fitted clothing styles are your jam, IWB holsters probably aren’t going to work for you since you’ll almost certainly experience printing.

Concealed Carry Printing
Umm, you got something right there…

Of course, any holster type is going to have some clothing styles it doesn’t work with, so you just have to find the type that works with the clothes you prefer.

Possible Discomfort

IWB holsters can be a pain (literally) to sit in, especially at 12 o’clock or appendix carry positions and especially with mid to full-sized handguns — though even compact pistols can be a problem for smaller shooters.

Appendix Carry, HHH with EMP
Appendix Carry, HHH with EMP

Speaking of which, particularly full bellies may find that many IWB holsters dig in or otherwise sit uncomfortably, while the bony-hipped among us may suffer from our hip bone rubbing the holster as we walk around.

Womens Concealed Carry IWB
An undershirt can help make it more comfy.

And no matter your build, if your IWB holster isn’t properly padded and does sufficiently handle sweat, you can expect to get rashy.

My advice: always wear your IWB holster with full coverage underwear and an undershirt to minimize rubbing, add a bit of padding, and help mitigate sweat.

Draw and Holstering Difficulties

Yes, IWB holsters are quick to draw from, but that’s only if you’ve done your due diligence by regularly drilling with your holster.

Low Round Count Drill Drawing Dot Torture
You gotta practice!

As I’ve already said, the way that an IWB holster holds your gun so close to your body is great for security, but it also makes it more difficult for you to actually grab your gun and establish a secure grip before drawing.

Now that you’ve got some basics, let’s move on to the recommendations.

Best IWB Holsters

1. Concealment Express IWB Kydex Holster

You’ll see at least one Concealment Express holster on just about any holster round-up on Pew Pew Tactical.

We even did a round-up and review specifically of Concealment Express holsters, and this particular holster is probably the one that you’ll see the most since it’s so affordable and gets the job done.

Most Affordable
39
at Rounded Gear

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The Concealment Express IWB Kydex Holster is great for a variety of IWB carry positions, including appendix, hip, cross draw, back, and palm-out carry, though it’s especially well-suited for appendix carry.

Assorted Concealment Express Holsters
Assorted Concealment Express Holsters

It’s lightweight and secure, and the Kydex keeps your gun protected.

And it’s also remarkably comfortable for a Kydex holster thanks in part to the holster’s full-length sweat guards.

Concealment Express G19 AIWB Exposed
Concealment Express G19 AIWB Exposed

Kydex holsters, in general, make re-holstering your weapon easier than holsters made from other materials do, and this one’s audible lock system makes re-holstering even easier.

Concealment Express G19 AIWB, Front
Concealment Express G19 AIWB, Front

The holster attaches to the waistband with a 1.5-inch plastic belt clip. The holster’s retention and cant are both adjustable.

And it’s pretty low profile, so you have a lower risk of imprinting.  A great way to start in IWB carry.

Again, here’s our full review.

2. Tenicor

Want the most baller pure Kydex option?

Tenicor Sagax Lux vs Velo
Tenicor Sagax Lux vs Velo

Enter Tenicor with their Velo and Sagax Lux.

It’s an idea so simple I wish I thought of it…mold the back of your appendix carry holster to your natural form!

It really does make a difference.

Tenicor Velo vs Concealment Express
Tenicor Velo vs Concealment Express

Plus if retention is the name of your game…check out those crazy belt loops.

Tenicor T1 Metal Clips
Tenicor T1 Metal Clips

It’s a little harder to put them on but wow…they are not coming off. And don’t worry…they have standard options as well.

And if you like lights…their model is not that much larger than the standard.

Sagax Lux vs Velo
Sagax Lux vs Velo

Of course, it’s fast and easy to get a full grip too.

The only thing in your way is likely the sticker price. I’d recommend Tenicor for those that you carrying AIWB consistently in regular life or for your job.

Best Kydex
77
at Tenicor

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

3. Crossbreed Supertuck

The Crossbreed Supertuck is a fantastic hybrid holster that combines the best of both leather and Kydex holsters.

Both from El Dorado

The holster comprises a Kydex shell that protects your pistol placed on a soft and flexible leather backer made of either premium cowhide and or natural horsehide, depending on the color.

And the Supertuck Deluxe is available with or without a combat cut, where some of the leather backing has been trimmed away to make it easier to draw and re-holster your weapon. But this also makes the holster less comfortable.

crossbreed combat cut
CrossBreed “Combat Cut”

The backing is the raw leather but it’s pretty comfy by itself.

Crossbreed Holsters, Leather Back
Crossbreed Holsters, Leather Back

If you’re not sure whether you want the combat cut, go without. You can always get the combat cut added later!

Most Comfy
69
at Crossbreed

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

This holster affixes to your belt using powder-coated steel belt clips that allow you to adjust the holster’s ride height and cant angle.

Crossbreed Holsters with G17, G19, G26
Crossbreed Holsters with G17, G19, G26

4. Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster

The Cloak Tuck 3.5 is another great hybrid IWB holster at a lower price point.

Alien Gear uses Kydex to protect and secure your handgun and has a broad, flexible, breathable neoprene backing to keep you comfortable and sweat-free.

Alien Gear Holsters, Back
Alien Gear Holsters, Back

These materials also mean that you can expect this holster to last you a long, long time.

Best Value (IWB)
51
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Two flexible polymer clips work alongside the broad backing to keep the holster in place.

The retention level, cant angle, and ride height are both adjustable for maximum comfort and security.

5. Hidden Hybrid Holsters

As you can tell…I like my hybrid holsters.

But if I had to choose my current favorite one for comfort…it’d be Hidden Hybrid Holsters.

EMP in Hidden Hybrid Holster, Appendix ,Single Clip
EMP in Hidden Hybrid Holster, Appendix , Single Clip

They use Amish leather and add one some silky soft suede to the back.

Hidden Hybrid Holster, Suede Back, Double Clip
Hidden Hybrid Holster, Suede Back, Double Clip

A couple of simple models like a single clip for appendix carry and a double clip for your 4-5 o’clock or even outside the waistband.

Hidden Hybrid Holsters Assortment
Hidden Hybrid Holsters Assortment

It took a day or two for the leather to start forming well to my body. Plus the suede actually kinda clings to my underwear in a good way.

Appendix Carry, EMP, Hidden Hybrid Holster
Appendix Carry, EMP, Hidden Hybrid Holster

The Kydex does its job with retention. And I like their “claw” for appendix carry since it pushes everything more inwards.

Claw Attachment in Action
Claw Attachment in Action

Drawing is easy once you adjust retention and cant angle to your liking. All the holsters I tried from them also give you a full grip.

If you have some lights/lasers or even an RMR…they have options for it. Though for me it’s just too large to carry except for special occasions.

Glock 19 with TLR-1 in Hidden Hybrid Holster
Glock 19 with TLR-1 in Hidden Hybrid Holster

I go super into it in my full Hidden Hybrid Holster Review.

69
at Hidden Hybrid Holsters

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

But basically…it’s the comfiest hybrid I’ve tried so far.

Their mag holders aren’t too shabby either.

35
at Hidden Hybrid Holsters

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What’s your take on Hidden Hybrid Holsters?

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (743)

Your Rating?

6. PHLster Floodlight IWB

Want an IWB holster with light capabilities? The PHLster Floodlight IWB is a great option for those that carry a light-equipped CCW.

PHLster Floodlight IWB CZ P09
PHLster Floodlight IWB CZ P09

A Kydex style, the holster offers retention adjustments via a shock cord to ensure proper fitment.

Available with either belt-loops attachments or belt clips, users can choose a set-up that really works for them.

The Floodlight supports Streamlight’s TLR-1 and Surefire’s X300U.

PHLster Floodlight AIWB
It can be carried AIWB as well if you prefer.

Not to mention, PHLster knows concealment. Not only will you be able to carry well in this, but it’s pretty darn comfortable.

PPT contributor Travis is a big fan of PHLster’s Floodlight set-up in both OWB and IWB and says both models allow for a good, purposeful draw. (You can read his full review of both holsters here!)

Best for Lights
113
at Gunmag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What to Look for in an IWB Holster

So now you’ve heard about a few great IWB options, let’s talk generally about what you should be looking for in an IWB holster.

Durability

Getting an inexpensive holster only saves you money if you don’t have to replace it every year or so because it falls apart.

Falls apart
Guess they just don’t make ’em like they used to…

That’s not to say that you have to spend a lot to get a good holster, but make sure you won’t be spending more in the long run by pinching pennies now. Besides, the last thing you want is your holster to fail while you’re using it.

Durable, reliable materials like leather, nylon, and Kydex are the way to go, but be sure to make sure that any stitching is also strong.

PHLster Floodlight IWB CZ P09
Kydex is pretty durable

Comfort

Your holster should be comfortable in any position you can reasonably expect yourself to be in while wearing it, as well as while you move.

It also shouldn’t restrict your movement and should be lightweight to avoid pulling or shifting. It shouldn’t rub or pinch and should feel secure as you go about normal activities.

So much room for activities
So much room for activities

Don’t underestimate the importance of comfort, as a mildly uncomfortable holster can quickly become incredibly annoying and can even lead to rashes, chafing, and bruises over time.

If possible, try on your holster before you buy it, and if not, make sure that you can return your holster if you try it on and find that it’s not comfortable.

M&P Shield 9 Plus holstered
It should allow you to move as you normally would.

Protection

Your holster should protect your weapon against bumps, scuffs, drops, and theft, and protect you and any bystanders from accidental discharge.

Womens Concealed Carry AIWB

The same durable materials we discussed above should be sufficient to protect your weapon so long as they adequately cover your gun.

And speaking of which, your holster absolutely needs to cover your firearm’s trigger so that it’s not accidentally bumped.

LCP Max in Hidden Hybrid Holster with Ulticlip
LCP Max in Hidden Hybrid Holster with Ulticlip

There are a startling number of holsters that don’t provide adequate trigger coverage, especially considering the possible consequences of accidental discharge.

Do not, under any circumstances, buy one of these holsters.

Canik Mete Trigger
You want that thing covered.

Finally, your holster should have an adequate retention system, whether active, passive, or hybrid. This ensures that your gun doesn’t fall out, opening up your firearm to damage or theft, and revealing to everyone around you that you’re carrying.

Final Thoughts

If you’re still not sure which holster to get, don’t worry. Try out a few different holsters before you buy so that you know what you do and don’t want from your holster and make an informed decision.

Only you can determine what holster is best suited for you.

Crossbreed Holsters with G17, G19, G26
Crossbreed Holsters with G17, G19, G26

And once you pick your holster, you should be sure to consistently drill with it so that you have the skills and muscle memory that you need when you need it.

For some ideas, check out our post on the 6 Best Shooting Drills.

Low Round Count Drill Reloading Dot Torture
Make sure you practice, practice, practice!

And if you’re new to concealed carry, check out 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Carried Concealed for some things you should know before you start.

Want more education? Check out our review of USCCA membership which teaches you about everything before, during, and after a self-protection incident. AND every tier of membership gets the benefit of personal liability insurance.

Staccato C Concealed Carry
Staccato C Concealed Carry

Know what holster you’re going with? Looking at OWB, ankle, shoulder, or other types of holsters…check out our massive Best Holsters article. For the ladies, we also suggest heading over to our Best Concealed Carry Gear for Women article!

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11 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Rick

    all these kydex holsters are useless. the sharp edges quickly cut into the flesh. The worst of all was the consealment express which is also broken after a few days. The hybrid holsters are top, but the thick leather mest is also completely uncomfortable and makes in warm areas with high temperatures to create. Alien gear sounded top just because interchangeable, unfortunately this is the biggest disappointment of all. Cheap plastic garbage in expensive packaging.

    June 13, 2022 12:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tom

    I make leather holsters that look like IWB but wear them between my belt and outside of pants instead of inside pants. The belt holds the pistol firmly. I’ve never had a pistol fall out and it is easier to reholster. They are concealed beneath shirts and don’t print. The leather flexes also to aid in holding the pistol tight. I’m like a lot of people who have a box full of commercial holsters (kydex, hybrid, & other materials) but none are as comfortable. If you have a flexible holster try wearing between belt and pants sometime.

    May 3, 2022 6:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Connor Haughton

    You forgot to mention the main unique selling point of the aliengear holster: interchangeable molded kydex shells. A few allen screws and you can swap shells and use the same holster for several carry guns. $15 for additional shells saves a ton of money compared to buying 2 or 3 crossbreeds. I use this feature regularly on my Cloak Tuck 3.0 (nearly identical to 3.5) to go between an M&P Shield 9 and an XDm .40 Compact, depending on my the season and my wardrobe. I'm on a limited, fixed income, so buying individual holsters for all my handguns would eat into my limited shooting budget.

    I've daily carried this holster for ~15 months, and theres very little wear to speak of. Single clip holsters like the Concealment Express style tend to not feel secure enough for my comfort, and this is one of the lowest price options for a hybrid construction dual clip IWB.

    Also, they do an exchange program, where you can ship a shell back in exchange for a different one. I used the system before when i traded away a gun and had the spare shell on hand. Their customer service is solid as well. Would buy again.

    February 1, 2020 1:07 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rom Linhares

      Good point...

      November 10, 2020 2:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dan

    Have always had problems with comfort and functionality while carrying until I found Tecgrip from Blackhawk, So far, it stays where you put it and doesn't move when drawing. It's also easy to remove when needed. For the money, so far it's been one of the better choices.

    July 14, 2019 3:38 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jesus

    Nice article,it helps me.Keep writing,Thanks.

    June 10, 2019 11:32 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Christian

    Cross breed holsters can be dangerous because they typically do not have a rigid guard on the trigger on the comfort side.
    Alien Gear makes an IWB holster that has the comfort with a rigid trigger guard on the comfort side.

    June 10, 2019 4:00 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    GIC

    Not too bad of an article, however no mention of Milt Sparks?? Or even Garrett holsters?

    June 9, 2019 7:02 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Connor

    You may want to proofread this article again. Just in the first few paragraphs I found:

    1. *And* IWB holster is carried inside of the waistband . . .

    2. *I’m* wouldn’t recommend it . . .

    June 6, 2019 10:57 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Shepherd of Fire

      T'would be my only complaint about Pew Pew Tactical, the spelling and grammar are not exactly match grade, so to speak. The articles they provide us are typically on target and informative, even when they sound as though they're 'sponsored by...', and for that, we thank all the great contributors. Good read, Megan. Thanks. I like my Crossbreed.

      June 6, 2019 11:29 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Fixed, thanks for letting us know :D

      June 6, 2019 11:52 am
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