IWB Holsters

This is a discussion on IWB Holsters within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; What features separate a good IWB holster from a bad one. I'm looking for one to carry a full sized steel 1911, and was comparing ...

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Thread: IWB Holsters

  1. #1
    Member Array MJZZZ's Avatar
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    IWB Holsters

    What features separate a good IWB holster from a bad one. I'm looking for one to carry a full sized steel 1911, and was comparing the differences in the way they are held in place. Some look very secure and others don't. Do the holsters with the single steel clip move around alot with a heavy gun, or does the belt hold them in place? Recommendations are welcome. Mike Z
    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.'' Warren vs District of Columbia

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array torrejon224's Avatar
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    Personally I would not buy an IWB with a clip as they are prone to breakage however that said, I would trust Josh Bulman's TSAC IWB with clip as the clip is an Alessi Talon and is guranteed for life. Since this is going to probably be a investment for you I would recommend an IWB along the lines of a Milt Sparks VMII. I carry a full size 1911 daily in one and it is an extremely comfortable rig. It attaches via two belt loops which helps to spread out the weight of the gun and aid in concealing it. It also features a reinforced mouthband so re-holstering the gun is a snap. Others I would recommend are Mark Garrity's Incognito, Gary Brommelands MaxConV, Matt Del Fatti's ISP-LP, FiveShot Leathers Uncle Lou and my favorite which is Lou Alessi's PCH. The PCH is a different style but is the most comfortable of all IMO. Another maker worth looking info is Alex Nossar. I have one of his IWB-III and a Valvoak IWB on order. The IWB-III is the thinnest IWB made. He's from Peru and his work is fantastic, prices are good and delivery times are fairly quick. Be patient as all of these will take time to make and deliver but the end result will be well worth it. In the meantime get yourself something used or just a cheap one, you'll be amazed at the difference when the new custom one arrives!!

  4. #3
    Member Array Gary Brommeland's Avatar
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    Howdy!

    I would suggest looking for something with off-set belt loops as the mounting system. These holsters are the flattest, most concealable and most secure designs. I would avoid all forms of clips. Look for something leather, thin & having the trigger fully covered and a sweat shield that is molded for the thumb safety.
    Mark Garrity's INCOGNITO, The Spark's Versa Max, and my own Max-Con V would all be good choices. Lou Alessi's PCH is also an excellent holster (although the belt loop is on the side, rather than off-set) and Matt DelFatti makes a couple of very nice IWB's as well.
    My advice is to save yourself a bunch of time, aggravation and cost be avoiding the proverbial "holster graveyard" of junk that many new guys tend to accumulate and go straight for a good quality handmade holster. It will cost a bit more, but you'll only need one of them.
    Don't forget a good HOLSTER belt (it serves as the foundation for the holster and insures that you get the maximum performance out of it) and a mag pouch (most all autopistol malfunctions are either dirt or mag related. If you keep your gun clean, your 1911's greatest opportunity for a melt down will in all probability be the magazine. The only cure for a bad magazine is another one - and you'll usually need it in one ******* hurry!)
    We do phone consultations at no charge for newbies or anyone else with a concealment problem. Please feel free to call (423.733.1779). Good luck!

  5. #4
    Member Array Harold Green's Avatar
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    To answer your question, Do the holsters with the single steel clip move around a lot with a heavy gun, or does the belt hold them in place? Yes and no. Much of this depends on how slippery the outside surface of the holster is, how you are built, and if it has an extra tab of leather off the bottom of the muzzle area to help stabilize it. In general a rough exterior (like suede leather), and the extra tab of leather help, but some folks still prefer two attachment points rather than one.

    The first feature Id look for is a secure attachment to the belt. This is critical. Ive seen too many folks draw their holsters with their guns with the clip-on style holsters.

    The second thing Id look for is a holster with a rigid, reinforced top that will stay all the way open with the gun removed. As the holster is worn inside the belt, your belt will exert pressure on it and cause it to close up much more readily than an outside the belt holster. You want a holster you can do a one-handed reholster with. If you have to spread the top of the holster with your support hand, youll muzzle sweep it with a loaded gun. This sets you up to potentially put a round through your support hand. Also, if you ever use the holster in a defensive situation, you support hand and your center of attention may need to be somewhere other than on reholstering your gun.

    You may want to consider a holster with a sweat shield. This is a piece of material between you and the part of the gun that sticks out the top of the holster.

    Some holsters are tuckable. This means you can tuck your shirt between the holster and where it fastens to your belt, and then blouse your shirt to hide your gun. Most folks arent very interested in this, but its come in handy for me on occasion.

    A feature Id suggest you not get on a holster is a thumb strap or other type of mechanical retention device. These just tend to get in the way, especially when reholstering. Any good quality IWB holster will hold your gun securely enough without a thumb strap.

    My personal carry holster is the Blade-Tech Ultimate Concealment Holster. I currently have three of them.
    "A gentleman will seldom, if ever, need a pistol. However, if he does, he needs it very badly!" -- Sir Winston Churchill

    "He who goes unarmed in paradise had better be sure that is where he is." -- James Thurber

  6. #5
    Member Array MJZZZ's Avatar
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    I already have a boneyard for holsters going. My first holster was a Galco paddle for my Ultra Kimber. It doesn't hold the gun in tight enough to suit me. I also bought a used Sparks 55BN for OWB and it does a very good job. I've also ordered a couple of holsters from Ranger Gunleather for my Kimber, but he's way behind in his orders. Thanks for the suggestions, I'm going to be very selective on this one. Mike Z
    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.'' Warren vs District of Columbia

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    Distinguished Member Array p8riot's Avatar
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    Gary Brommeland knows what he is talking about. He makes some of the best IWB holsters in the world. I'd check out his website and give him a call. I have one of his MaxCon V holsters for my 1911 and it is one of the most comfortable holsters I have ever used.

    Best regards
    "You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." - Al Capone

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  8. #7
    Distinguished Member Array AnimalKracker's Avatar
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    The King of single loop holsters Sam Andrews McDanial II. If you go double loop look for a wide supportive body. Gary's Max Con holster has that nice little flair at the bottom that helps stabilize and support the holster, very important while carrying a large steel frame pistol such as a 1911 all day. A wide body tends to smooth out the profile and makes it less noticeable. Look over the holsters that are available from the holster makers here on the board. Most have been reviewed by someone that has gotten them. And if you've noticed we do mention our likes and dislikes about holsters here. These guys listen to our input and redesign any thing that has been a problem. Look them over and make several phone calls. You'll learn more with just a couple of phone calls than you ever thought possible. They want you to be happy with a holster who ever you get it from.

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Gary Covered it Pretty well

    I dont like the single clip holsters they moov around to much and make the holster to thick

    take a look at Garys MC5

  10. #9
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    Agree with the double loop suggestion. Its amazing how easy a big gun can be concealed with a good IWB holster.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  11. #10
    Member Array Safety First's Avatar
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    I've got Garys MAXCON V, It is fabuloso (is that really a word?) comfy and secure. I also have Lou Alessi's PCH, another good choice, just like Gary said...There are indeed several very excellent holsters and holster makers out there. Gary and uncle Lou are the only two I have ordered from recently, you can't go wrong with the holsters or their makers...Yes, you will have to wait, but when you get the box from either of these two guys, I can promise you, it will have been worth the wait...Oh, and Gary is very correct about the belt, you will not be happy with any holster unless it is attached to a very good belt. Matt Delfatti and Josh Bulman are the other two guys who make very first rate leather products for us gun guys...Between those four, you can not possibly go wrong...good luck....
    Lloyd

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  12. #11
    Member Array sevesteen's Avatar
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    I agree with most of what Gary said, and he's far more of an expert than I am. I'm nearly certain that my primary holster will remain an offset loop IWB--I've already retired my too-small pants, the only real objection that I've had.

    My minor quibbles: Gary doesn't like tuckable holsters, due to slowing down the draw. Although I rarely tuck I want the option--A couple times it's made a .40 available where otherwise I'd have had to leave it behind. Otherwise I'd agree that loops are better than clips. Plastic clips must be user-replaceable, and should be considered consumable parts with spares on hand.

    The other difference is the need for a good gunbelt with an offset IWB. With an OWB, I've found a gunbelt an essential part. Offset IWB is different, and at least in my experience my gunbelt makes little difference.

  13. #12
    Member Array sportkcjc's Avatar
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    Sounds like your question has been answered by educated readers. My .02 is to search this forum for holster makers. If price and wait time is a consideration you can find some good craftsmen that can produce quality work without breaking the bank or waiting a year. No offense to those of you craftsmen who fall into that category. I know your products are top shelf. Just stating that there is quality for everyones pocketbook.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array cockedlocked01's Avatar
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    Two clips/loops are generally more secure than one, & if they're offset from the holster body, it'll be thinner. One wide loop can work pretty good too. A single clip or loop probably won't be real secure on a heavier gun.

    I prefer metal clips (To kydex). For me, it's a toss up between clips or loops on a heavier gun. Most seem to prefer leather loops. Leather loops won't scratch your belt. A good belt is definitely more important the heavier the gun is.

    I now carry lighter guns (Kahr PM9 & Glock 36), & can actually clip the holster to pants with or without a belt. When I used to carry a Sig 226 &/or Glock 21, a belt was definitely necessary, & a good one at that.

    Another feature I like, is the ability to holster one handed. Some prefer the thinness instead of one handed holstering ability. However, I've found that if done by a custom maker, it's not going to be much thicker.

    Another issue is cant. If worn behind the hip, a canted gun will probably conceal better.

    Good luck.
    "Use human means as though divine ones didn't exist, and divine means as though there were no human ones." Baltasar Gracian
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    Glock 19 & 26, Kahr CM9 & P45, Para P12, Kel-Tec P-32, S&W 442, & Dan Wesson 14-2.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array Hivoltage's Avatar
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    I have tried many leather IWB holsters but nothing seems any more comfortable to me than the cheap old Uncle Mikes....they are soft and comfortable.
    Nothing Wrong With Shooting as Long as the Right People Get Shot.
    Clint Eastwood, Magnum Force, 1973

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array BruceGibson's Avatar
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    Have to agree with Gary--I don't like metal in my holsters. Fast-draw, western style with a steel reinforcement between the holster and liner is fine. Not cool with a concealment rig--in my opinion.

    Clips? Never. Never, never, under any circumstances.

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