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Some thoughts on IWB Carry


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#1 Burk Cornelius

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 03:35 PM

I am not going to purport to know everything (or even close to it) about concealed carry but, like most of you, I try everything and use what works best for me. Most of you who carry IWB know what works for you but we want this place to be a resource for those who are trying to learn more like me and many others.

Position: I am a righty so my opinions will reflect that form of carry but they should apply to a lefty as well. If you are carrying a full size or a compact (medium sized gun) I have found 3 o’clock – 4 o’clock works best for me. Appendix may be acceptable for a smaller weapon but I find a larger weapon difficult to wear efficiently in appendix position. It is obviously easier to access while seated but also difficult to actually BE seated. I won’t talk about pocket carry because it has been discussed elsewhere. One thing that should dictate the position you carry is a belt loop. Whatever type of holster you carry, try to straddle a belt loop on your pants. It will make whatever platform you use more stable. Try carrying in all of the positions and see what feels the best for your build.

Clothing:

Pants: I don’t think you necessarily HAVE go out and buy pants a size larger than you currently wear to effectively carry IWB. Like others have pointed out, there is a natural “space” between your body and your pants depending on how you are built. Stand up and place your hand (palm in) between your pants and your body right above your back pocket. Most have a loose space there already that a good sized gun will fit in. Have you ever heard someone say “you don’t have a butt”? Well that might be good news. If you don’t have a butt, then there is probably a nice space there for your weapon. Something some of you might not like to hear is that if you do find the need to go up a size in your pants, you might have needed to do that anyway. :O

Shirts: In the winter, a coat or other outerwear does a good job of covering a weapon, even OWB. Where some have trouble is in the summer. I don’t normally use a tuckable holster so I will let someone else comment on them. I have found that a shirt that is properly sized for you will hang long enough to cover just about any IWB holster and gun. This is where I think IWB has an advantage because the barrel of the gun is down your pants instead of down your leg. Anyway back to shirts; I have found that “camp” shirts (bowling type shirts) are long enough to do a good job. Obviously, you will need to be more conscious of the wind blowing your shirt around without a jacket or other outerwear. Others have good luck with polo type shirts. An untucked button shirt with tails works very well because they, well, have tails and are longer. T-Shirts are always good if you are going casual. Again, if the t-shirt doesn’t cover effectively, you may have needed to go up to the next size anyway. There are a lot of posts about “printing” so I won’t go into that here. Personally I don’t think it is as big of a deal as some make of it. I also find that an undershirt of some kind tucked in will make the experience much more comfortable and it will protect your gun if you don't have a sweat guard.

Belts: Here is an area that I have learned the most about. You need a laterally stiff belt. Grip your belt between your thumb and middle finger and squeeze as hard as you can. If you can collapse the belt it might not be the best choice. You don’t have to buy a “gun belt” to have a good “gun belt”. Just find one that is laterally stiff and it should work well for you. Filson makes a very nice double thick belt. You also have a lot of choices at higher end western stores that don’t always look “western”. They are typically very stiff by nature. I like 1-1/2” wide belts because they offer more lateral stability. Wider is better but sometimes pants won’t accept a 1-3/4” belt. I usually buy a belt that is a little longer than I used to use just so there are plenty of holes since you are going around a gun as well as your waist.

Holsters: Yeah right! Like I’m going to get into that.

These are just some random thoughts that some might find useful. Please add your own observations and maybe we can have a nice reference for others who are researching IWB carry.

I once had an awkward moment, just to see how it felt.

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#2 Brent Akin

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:53 PM

Well written. I carry a G19 about 3:30, in a simple IWB. I'm pretty thin, and the hollow in the hip bone works pretty well, and remains comfortable enough.

Belt is a huge issue. If your belt is too wimpy, the gun will be uncomfortable, sometimes painfully so. Especially if carrying OWB.

+1 on the undershirt. I wear one anytime I'm carrying, even in hot weather, because it improves comfort so much. Also tends to prevent pinching when reholstering.

#3 NeverShoots

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:57 PM

Well written. I carry a G19 about 3:30, in a simple IWB. I'm pretty thin, and the hollow in the hip bone works pretty well, and remains comfortable enough.

Belt is a huge issue. If your belt is too wimpy, the gun will be uncomfortable, sometimes painfully so. Especially if carrying OWB.

+1 on the undershirt. I wear one anytime I'm carrying, even in hot weather, because it improves comfort so much. Also tends to prevent pinching when reholstering.


Nice write up. I also carry a G19, but I did have to get larger pants because my body is shaped stupid. Only way I've found comfortable so far is mexican carry with the kydex thingy that snaps over the trigger guard.

#4 ExSniper

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:21 PM

I carry a full size 1911 every day of the year. With a Milt Sparks Summer Special it just disappears. I always wear a t-shirt underneath and then any kind of shirt I want outside that. Just as Burk said, an IWB lets you get by with a shorter cover garment. Darker colors and patterns break up any printing and make concealment easier.

#5 Gunnut 23

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 12:06 AM

you gotta find the sweet spot. Everyone has at least one spot they can comfortably carry a gun iwb

#6 oklaccer

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:00 AM

What my limited experience with tuckables tells me is that it really depends on the holster/gun/person combination. I have a K&D Defender, but the G23 that goes in it has too much of a grip frame to comfortably tuck around. I have tried it with many different types of shirts and they all print, very noticably, when tucked. With a shirttale out of the pants, no problem. I also tried a Galco UDC and had the same problem. Both my coworkers use Crossbreed supertuck's. One carries a XD45 compact and the other carries a hipoint 9mm (we keep telling him to grow up and get a real gun). It works well for them. I tried the ST and did not like the initial grip when drawing the weapon. I couldn't get a full grip as I could with the K&D. One of them had the combat cut, which helped but still could not get a full initial grip.

#7 Burk Cornelius

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:04 AM

You can even go with a "modified' combat cut which is basically taking all of the leather off above the Kydex. Its pretty drastic but it alleviates the problem you are talking about. You can leave a little bit just for a slide [sweat] guard.

I tried the ST and did not like the initial grip when drawing the weapon. I couldn't get a full grip as I could with the K&D. One of them had the combat cut, which helped but still could not get a full initial grip.


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#8 Deacon

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:12 AM

you gotta find the sweet spot. Everyone has at least one spot they can comfortably carry a gun iwb



+1

...AND everyone has that spot to the side of that sweet spot that makes you think "OW, that's wrong".

My Comp-Tac MTAC has been great IWB, even when I wear it without a t-shirt. With a good IWB holster, I don't feel I have the wardrobe restrictions I otherwise might, so sometimes I have to test-draw to make sure I haven't buried it.
The wife says she can always tell when I'm carrying, not because of the printing but because I'm always adjusting my shirt to make sure I'm not. So I guess the fear of printing is overstated.

#9 Burk Cornelius

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:24 AM

The wife says she can always tell when I'm carrying, not because of the printing but because I'm always adjusting my shirt to make sure I'm not.


That's a great point. I have always been told put it on and WEAR IT, don't worry so much about it or you will always give yourself away

I once had an awkward moment, just to see how it felt.

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#10 Leighton

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 08:11 AM

To follow up on Burks post on printing; Don't reach for the item on the top shelf with your strong hand, even with a long shirt it may still pull up above the butt of your handgun, use your weak hand instead. Don't bend at the waist to pick up something dropped, the butt of the gun doesn't bend with you, and will stick out for everyone to see, take a knee usually the strong or gunhand side to pick up something. Regardless of if your wearing a coat or t-shirt to cover your firearm, thats usually on the same side as you carry your wallet, don't sweep back to get your wallet out, but reach back and pull up slightly on the covering to pull out your wallet so as to not expose your gun.

The belt is probably the most important item, you can have the best holster money can buy, but if your using a cheap belt, your gonna be sore by the end of the day. Now the belt doesn't have to be leather, one of the better nylon riggers belts will work too an also be thinner than a leather one. If your going to run a leather holster with the riggers belt, make sure your loops are slightly larger than the size of the belt or it'll chew up your holster.
It is true that 1911’s will give you GAS (Gun Acquisition Syndrome).

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#11 Pstmstr

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 08:25 AM

People carry so much stuff these days you could carry a large pistol and have very little chance of ever getting "made". Good stuff Burk, I've found the belt makes all the difference. Spend the money up front and get a good holster with a good belt. I've got a Galco that looks as nice as any dress belt. I think most of us have a drawer of holsters we don't carry because they aren't comfortable ot do the job well.

#12 Leighton

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 08:32 AM

People carry so much stuff these days you could carry a large pistol and have very little chance of ever getting "made". Good stuff Burk, I've found the belt makes all the difference. Spend the money up front and get a good holster with a good belt. I've got a Galco that looks as nice as any dress belt. I think most of us have a drawer of holsters we don't carry because they aren't comfortable ot do the job well.


Very true, at least for those of us who are lefthanded. For years it was pretty much custom, or a very, very few holster makers who offered a standard lineup of LH holsters. Most of which had to be ordered sight unseen because the stores never have really catered to us LH'd folks. One day soon I'll be posting a for sale list on LH holsters for my other right minded shooters here.
It is true that 1911’s will give you GAS (Gun Acquisition Syndrome).

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#13 EagleScout

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 05:34 PM

Very true, at least for those of us who are lefthanded. For years it was pretty much custom, or a very, very few holster makers who offered a standard lineup of LH holsters. Most of which had to be ordered sight unseen because the stores never have really catered to us LH'd folks. One day soon I'll be posting a for sale list on LH holsters for my other right minded shooters here.


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#14 aestus

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:18 PM

Also, darker shirts conceal better than white shirts. You can wear light colored shirts as long as it properly masks shadows potentially casted by your firearm tent-poling under your shirt. For example, I've found reds and yellows actually conceal pretty good. Blues that are too bright can show obvious shadows from the irregular angles caused by the firearm depending on how you wear your gun.

Flimsy shirts also print too easily. It's because thin flimsy shirts will want to mold into the various crevices between your firearm and your body. Wear a good shirt that holds a flat shape around your body. With a good shirt, you can even wear slim, close fitting shirts and conceal well with a proper holster.

In the summer, I wear slim fitting (not tight) dark shirts with jeans / cargo pants and carry a Glock 23 in a Crossbreed Supertuck in the 3 o'clock position.


Concealed carrying has also changed how I move and do things out in public during the day. If I drop something, I reach for it with my weak hand while hugging my right hand close to the side of my body. If I have to reach far, I'll grab the side of my shirt tail while reaching with my left. The other option is to crouch down with my knees bent and pick up an object that way. Prevents your shirt from riding too far up or the grip of your gun from sticking out back.

If I'm walking and it's a windy day, I'll hug my right arm close to the side of my body and cover the gun with my forearm with my right fingers in my right pocket. I also do this if I'm in a crowded area full of people.

The only thing I haven't figured out yet is what to do if I have to use the crapper in the public restroom...

#15 SteveS

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:56 PM

Here are a couple of videos TroyF and I put together. The first video is IWB and the draw. Click on demo videos http://subscriptions....com/Victory229
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#16 Burk Cornelius

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 12:43 PM

..........it properly masks shadows potentially casted by your firearm tent-poling under your shirt.


I was re-reading this old thread, which is very informative BTW, and realized that somehow I missed this little gem of a comment the first time around.

Some people have less of a problem "tent-poling" than others. :93:

I once had an awkward moment, just to see how it felt.

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#17 Jeff

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 03:15 PM

Bathroom is easy
Drop the gun into the crotch of your open and dropped drawers while your seated

Back of toilet.. Paper box coat hook .... All have potential problems as temporary gun storage options in the head
MajorLeagueDuffer

I'd come home on my sheild, but these guys keep dropping it.

#18 Burk Cornelius

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 04:37 PM

The only thing I haven't figured out yet is what to do if I have to use the crapper in the public restroom...


Here is a pretty good thread on bathroom etiquette. I could have sworn there was another one but I can't find it

I once had an awkward moment, just to see how it felt.

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#19 dennishoddy

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:13 PM

Holy crap that was a funny thread! I just got the "look" from my wife while laughing as some shit she is watching on tv got disturbed.

#20 WheelerDealer01

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 06:29 AM

Awesome thread. There’s a lot of great info for someone who is learning about best practices for carrying.




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