How to Use an APPENDIX IWB holster (AIWB)

In this video, I talk about how to wear and use an inside-the-waistband appendix holster (or IWB). I also discuss how to draw and shoot from this style of holster.

First we need to understand exactly what an inside-the-waistband appendix holster is. It is called an inside the waistband (or IWB) holster, because it’s carried between your pants and your body so the gun is “inside the waistband”.

The appendix IWB holster is typically worn between 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, which is what makes it an appendix carry.

If you picture a clock around your body with 12 o’clock at your navel, you can picture where these positions are. 9 o’clock is on the left side and 3 o’clock is on the right side. Appendix carry can be worn anywhere in between.

The exact position where you’ll wear the holster will depend upon your individual body type and preferences. So just play around with it and see what you prefer.

I explain this for a right-handed person, but a lefty will be exactly the same. Just use the opposite hands.

The appendix holster is typically worn on the strong side of the body, which is the right side for most people. At this position, it normally positioned as a neutral cant, meaning that the holster is straight up and down and the pistol will be withdrawn straight up.

When we move the holster over to the left side, this is typically called a crossdraw. Most people probably think of a crossdraw as having a reverse cant (which means the gun is tilted back toward the right side. This is great for an outside the waistband holster (or OWB), but it doesn’t really work that well for an IWB. What happens is that the grip of the pistol gets rotated down too close to the belt making it hard to get a good grip on it. Another problem is that the muzzle rotates UP toward the belt and this puts too much of the handgun’s weight above the belt, which isn’t very secure.
So if you want to carry cross-draw with an IWB, we believe that it is best to use a neutral cant.

Whether or not your shirt is tucked in won’t make much of a difference with this technique, but you SHOULD practice the same way that you normally carry.

With your left hand, reach down and grab a big firm handful of your shirt and really yank it loose and high out of the way. It won’t matter much if your shirt is tucked in or not. Pull hard and fast. You want to make sure that your shirt is completely out of the way before you reach for your gun.

Now that your shirt is out of the way, find the gun. At this point, your hand should be directly above the pistol. Get a good, firm grip. Leave trigger finger off of the trigger. You need to have your firing grip before leaving the holster.

Pull pistol straight up.
Twist your pistol forward. You can actually fire from this position if you need to.

Now let go of your shirt with your left hand. Bring it back over and meet your right hand, then bring the pistol forward.

Fully extend your arms into a shooting position. You can actually start firing your pistol while it’s in close and keep firing your weapon all the way through this maneuver’.

Make sure to practice this over and over until you can do it without even thinking about it. In a real life situation, you don’t want to have to think your way through this. You want to be able to react.

One final note, with this style of holster, the gun will take up some of the room in your pants. If you wear really tight pants, this option may not be right for you. Some people choose to buy some pants that are one size larger than what they normally wear, but most find this unnecessary. If you want to know if an IWB holster is right for you before you spend your money on one, a good test is to unload your gun and stick it in your waistband. If it fits easily, you should be OK. If your pants are too tight to fit the gun, you probably need to buy some bigger pants first or consider an outside the waistband holster (or OWB).

Also, be sure to checkout Old Faithful Holsters for a great selection of IWB Holsters & OWB Holsters.

1 Comment

  1. Donald Bourquin

    I already have several old faithful holsters and I am very pleased with the quality of the workmanship and materials used. I am a retired law enforcement officer and volunteer at my local pd as a firearms instructor.

    I see that parts can be purchased I would like to know if the leather backing in the “belly” tuck or O cant is available.

    Thank You for such a great product.


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