When it comes to concealed carry, the inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster exists somewhere between shoulder holsters, pocket holsters and ankle holsters. Among these carry methods, utilizing the IWB is one of the more demanding disciplines. Your height, build and weight must all be taken into account. If you are trim around the waist, an IWB rig will work flawlessly, but for those who carry a little extra weight around the middle, it can become annoying because the frame or grips will tend to poke into your side or just below the ribcage, especially when sitting or riding in a car. The same applies if you are short-waisted, but in some cases this can be lessened by wearing the rig at the four o’clock position or even slightly further back.

Another caveat of the IWB rig is that you may need to step up at least 1 inch in pants waist to accommodate the width of the gun and the thickness of the holster. Of course, this depends upon your choice in weapons. If you’re packing a subcompact .380 like a Ruger LCP, an IWB rig works for just about anyone. J-frame-sized revolvers are a bit more demanding because they are wider. Step up in caliber and gun size and the rules begin to change incrementally. At some point, you will need a larger pants-waist size to compensate.

To offer a broad view of IWB carry, we have assembled a variety of IWB rigs designed for different sizes and calibers of semi-autos and revolvers, from .380 ACP, 9mm and .40 S&W to .38 Special and .357 Magnum. Let’s try some on.

DeSantis Intruder

These leather and molded Kydex concealment rigs from DeSantis are made for revolvers and semi-autos. While physically very large, the Intruder is designed to provide a new level of comfort for concealed carry. The Intruder uses a large, contoured-leather skirt that softens and forms to the body, with a molded Kydex holster riveted to it. For ultra-compact semi-autos like the Ruger LC9, the rig has a slight forward cant for an easy draw from concealment. Two large spring-steel clips going over the belt are used to secure the Intruder, and an included set of alternate clips can make it a fully tuckable concealed carry rig. Covered by a shirt, sweater, sweatshirt or jacket, the Intruder provides excellent concealment and quick access. The molded Kydex holster is formed to the contours of each make and model; the gun firmly clicks into place. The Intruder is also adjustable for both height and cant. The Intruder is available for a wide variety of revolvers and semi-autos.

Another option from DeSantis is the Rail Ryder, which uses an injection-molded clip that securely mounts on the Picatinny rail of any semi-auto. The device simply slides on the rail and locks with a tensioned pin, which can only be raised by using a coin (or, in a pinch, the edge of a cartridge case) to remove the clip and release the Rail Ryder. A large clip extends up the side of the frame and slips over a waist or belt, allowing the gun to be positioned anywhere around the waistline. Drawing is simple: Just pull the gun. For more information, visit or call 800-424-1236.

Elite Survival Systems

Elite offers a durable IWB rig, the BCH series, which features a conventional spring-steel belt clip and is designed for an entire range of subcompact semi-autos, including the Ruger LCP and LCR; Kel-Tec P32 and P3-AT; Beretta 21, 950 and 3032; Taurus PT22, PT25 and PT738; Kahr P380; and the Sig Sauer P238. For models fitted with a Crimson Trace Laserguard, there is the BCH-10, which has just a bit more room for a perfect fit. The BCH uses tough ballistic nylon and a heavy-duty spring-steel clip that goes over the wearer’s belt and catches underneath to prevent the holster from riding up when the gun is drawn. The sweet deal is that the clip is reversible, so one rig works for both right- and left-handed users. The steel belt clip goes through a double-stitched loop sewn on either side of the pouch, hooks underneath and can be switched around in seconds. The double-thick nylon pouch also has rolled edges around the throat and muzzle for better wear and longevity. For carrying the LC9, this proved to be one of the best means of concealment, comfortably positioning the 9mm Ruger at the four o’clock position. Suggested retail is $26.95. For more information, visit or call 866-340-2778.

Galco IWB Rigs

The popularity of the 9mm Kimber Solo is almost unprecedented, and whenever a gun hits the pop charts, holster demand soars. Kimber planned ahead and worked with Galco to design a complete line of Solo rigs, including the TUC634 IWB. This holster works well with the Solo’s narrow 0.995-inch width and light weight of 17 ounces empty. The TUC634 is all leather, with a rough-out finish to keep it close to the body and an extra-heavy-leather gusset around the front, to which a thermo-molded plastic belt hook is mounted. The hook’s design goes under the wearer’s belt and catches at the bottom to present only minimal surface area. This also makes the holster easier to put on and remove than those using a wide steel belt clip. A rolled-over and stitched edge gives the IWB rig a solid, squared-off shape at the top to facilitate easy reholstering. Suggested retail price is $29.95.

Galco’s other IWB offerings include the popular and durable KingTuk and Summer Comfort series, which are dependable options that hold several semi-auto models. The new Galco Stow-N-Go is similar in construction to the TUC634 but it uses a conventional, wide belt hook made of injection-molded plastic. The wide hook locks under the user’s belt and then further recesses into the back of the double-stitched, riveted holster back panel for absolute holster retention. It also has extra-heavy-leather gusset around the mouth to keep the pouch rigid and open for easy draws and reholstering. Made from premium-cut steerhide, the Stow-N-Go has a soft suede finish and is designed to work with the Kahr series of subcompact 9mm and .40 S&W models, like the PM9, as well as the Kel-Tec P11 and PF9 and the Ruger LC9 (without a Crimson Trace Laserguard). For more information, visit or call 800-874-2526.

Triple K Stealth

The innovative, soft, all-leather 690 Stealth IWB rig from Triple K has a deep suede pouch that extends well below the gun. The double-stitched leather skirt provides for deep-seated retention of the rig below the belt line. For added support, ease of drawing and unimpeded reholstering, a heavy, saddle-leather band with a steel stiffener surrounds the holster’s throat to keep the pouch wide open. Double leather loops with snaps fit belts up to 1.75 inches in width and securely support and hold the IWB in place. The upper portion of the pouch rides right above the beltline, placing the grips within easy reach. This is a secure rig for all-season wear. With a suggested retail of $49.95, the Stealth IWB 690 is offered for revolvers with barrel lengths up to 4 inches. For more information, visit or call 619-232-2066.


The Versacarry is an unorthodox approach to an IWB design. But despite its simplicity, it works extremely well with small semi-autos. The Versacarry places a small-caliber semi-auto into a fixed position using a nylon post that slides down the barrel. It is recommend that the gun not be carried with a chambered round. The Versacarry can be placed anywhere around your waist (strong-side at four o’clock, cross-draw or small of the back with the grips facing to the strong-side draw), and it is reversible, so it works left- or right-handed. The holster works with any pistol of the same caliber since there is no actual holster around the gun. The post up the barrel, combined with the wearer’s own body, provides secure retention of the gun until drawn, with only the grips exposed. As for retrieval, it is as quick as you can grab the grips and pull straight up. The Versacarry device must be removed to remount the gun. Suggested retail is $19.99. For more information, visit or call 855-278-9678.

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