Perhaps you’re new to gun ownership, or just new to carrying your weapon concealed. Chances are you’ve looked at yourself in the mirror and wondered how to carry a gun in your waistband. You know that other people do it, but how can they stand having a hard piece of metal pressed against their stomach or back all day?
In this article, we’ll go over the basics of how to carry a gun in your waistband so that, by the end, you know how to do it safely and comfortably.
WAISTBAND CARRYING BASICS
The most important thing to know about waistband carry is that you need to buy yourself a holster. Stuffing your bare gun into your waistband is unsafe and reckless because your trigger will be completely exposed. If you’re carrying at your appendix, also called the 2 o’clock position, an accidental discharge could sever your femoral artery and end your life. A suitable holster is one that completely covers the trigger on both sides.
After ensuring that your firearm is safely secured, carrying a gun in your waistband is fairly simple. Your holster will have a clip or a loop that goes around your belt. You simply put on your holster, carefully insert your gun, and adjust for comfort. Many holsters will have a retention strap, but others provide retention by tightly molding to the gun. Some sort of retention is important to make sure your gun doesn’t slip out of the holster. If your holster has a strap, secure it. If not, make sure your gun is firmly settled into the holster.
Concealed carrying is straightforward, but there are some steps you need to take to prepare for it. Once you have the basics down, you can try out some of our tips to make it more comfortable. Read on to learn how to carry a gun in your waistband.
SELECT YOUR FIREARM
First things first, before you even consider carrying a weapon concealed, check your state’s gun laws. Once you’ve ensured that it’s legal for you to carry a concealed weapon and you have the proper permit (if required), you’ll need to decide if you want to conceal inside the waistband (IWB) or outside the waistband (OWB). For the purpose of this article, we’ll be describing how to successfully carry a weapon IWB.
If you’ve never concealed a weapon, trying to figure out how to fit a full-size 1911 inside your waistband can be intimidating. You may want to start with a smaller compact or subcompact model because they’re easier and more comfortable to conceal. Guns with a single-stack magazine have a slimmer profile and will be more comfortable. You can always size up your gun in the future.
SELECT YOUR CARRYING POSITION
You know you want to carry IWB, but where exactly? Popular IWB locations are at the appendix and the kidney, but some people also choose to carry at the small of their back or on their hip. The YouTube video below shows the main IWB carrying positions and discusses some of the pros and cons of each to help you decide where you’d like to carry your gun.
SELECT YOUR HOLSTER
We won’t go into specific detail about which holster is right for you here (check out our guides for more), but we’d like to draw your attention to a few important aspects of selecting a holster. The type of holster you select will depend on your carrying position. Some holsters can be used in multiple locations, but some are location specific. Make sure that you select one that will work in your carrying position.
IWB holsters typically either clip to your belt or have loops that you thread your belt through. Neither is better or worse, just personal preference. Also, if you select a nylon or neoprene holster, it should have a retention strap. Leather holsters and those made of thermoplastics like Kydex don’t need a strap. A well-made leather holster will conform to your gun and hold it snug, and a Kydex holster comes pre-sized for specific guns.
SELECT YOUR ATTIRE
As you may imagine, a holstered gun will take up some valuable real estate inside your waistband. If your pants are too tight, they may impede an efficient gun draw. Many people who carry IWB size their waistband up an inch or two to comfortably accommodate their weapon.
If you don’t already wear undershirts, you may want to purchase some. Even in the most comfortable holster, your skin is going to be exposed to the grip of your gun. The grip is intentionally rough so you can maintain your hold on it, but that roughness isn’t something you want against your skin all day.
You may be tempted to attach your new holster to your favorite fashion belt, but don’t underestimate the importance of a high-quality gun belt like this one from Relentless Tactical. Gun belts are made of very sturdy leather and help support the weight of your gun so you don’t feel like you’re dragging in just one spot.
Shirts made of thicker fabric will conceal your weapon better than thin, workout-style fabrics. If you want to feel really confident that no one can see your gun, throw on a suit jacket or coat. You can even purchase holsters that are marketed as “tuckable” so you’ll feel very confident that no one will know you’re carrying.
Carrying a gun inside your waistband isn’t overly complicated. Select a gun and then take precautions to keep yourself safe like purchasing a quality holster that covers your trigger and provides some form of retention. You may have to test out multiple holsters to figure out which style is most comfortable to wear and which is the easiest for you to conceal. Make a few clothing modifications for comfort and concealment, and just like that, you now know how to carry a gun in your waistband.