The IWB carry style is popular among CCW enthusiasts. But there are a variety of ways to carry IWB.
Some IWB CCW positions will be more comfortable and concealable for you than others, depending on your body type, clothing, and daily activities.
Let’s enhance your concealed carry experience with our expert analysis of the best IWB positions.
Our holster pads make IWB carry comfortable!
IWB Carry Positions
IWB (inside the waistband) holstering entails placing your gun holster between your body and the inside of your waistband. The traditional position for right-handed shooters is 4.30 o'clock. This position allows for a natural draw motion while remaining highly concealable for a wide range of body types. Because of its adaptability to different body types, this is the most common way to carry concealed.
Let’s go over the various IWB concealed carry positions so you can see which ones are best for you and your lifestyle.
The 12 o’clock position is located right beneath the belly button. This position is ideal for people who like carrying a longer gun. If you want to carry your IWB holster for a long time, this is the right position for you. When you sit down, the gun is less likely to dig into your body.
This position allows you to easily draw your concealed carry gun, as it’s sitting right in front of your body.
AIWB (1 - 2 o’clock)
AIWB (appendix carry) is one of the most common and popular IWB carry positions among gun owners. Carrying AIWB is determined by your dominant hand—at 1 - 2 o’clock position for righties and 10 - 11 o’clock for lefties.
This position is easily accessible as the appendix holster is at the front of your body, allowing you to quickly draw whenever needed. While this position is considered very comfortable and concealable for the majority of people, it can be difficult to conceal for certain body types.
While sitting, your CCW holster can dig into your thigh or groin if you are wearing it AIWB. This is risky because your pistol could be pointed directly at your body. When you bend over at the waist, your gun will push into your stomach, causing discomfort. Check out our seated appendix carry article for some helpful hints.
Kidney Carry (4 - 5 o’clock)
Kidney carry, or strongside carry, is another popular IWB carry position. The IWB holster is positioned at 4 - 5 o’clock for right-handed shooters, or 7 - 8 o’clock for left-handed.
Larger concealed carry guns are usually not suited for this position because some folks find it awkward to draw right behind their hip. For others, this position is one of the most comfortable.
You can make it easier to quickly draw from the strong side hip carry position by adjusting the can of your concealed holster.
Small of Back (5 - 6 o’clock)
Carrying small-of-back means positioning your holster 5 - 6 o’clock, or 6 - 7 o’clock for lefties. This carry method can be comfortable and easy to access, but it is usually not recommended due to its potential safety hazards.
This carry option puts you at risk of serious spinal injury if you fall or are pushed into something. If you’re lying on your back, drawing your weapon is nearly impossible, and it can be a safety hazard.
Because you have to reach all the way behind your back, this CCW position is one of the most difficult to draw from.
Cross Draw (10 - 11 o’clock)
In this method of carry, your holster is placed between your weak side hip and navel at the 10 - 11 o’clock, or 1 - 3 o’clock for lefties. To draw your weapon, you need to cross your arm over your body.
An adjustable holster is ideal for this position because you can adjust the negative cant so that the grip points toward your belly button.
This is not a popular position, but it does allow for easy concealment and access.
Is the 4 O’Clock Carry Position Any Good?
4 o’clock is one of the most popular concealed carry methods. The CCW gun is placed behind the hip and to the right side of the small of the back. But, as with all other positions, this one also has its pros and cons.
- Enhanced concealment due to positioning on the back of the hip
- Natural draw motion for most individuals, especially right-handed shooters
- Allows for easy access and a quick draw
- Provides good weight distribution and balance on the body
- Can be comfortable for individuals who spend a lot of time sitting
- Less accessible when seated or driving
- May print or bulge more depending on body shape and clothing choice
- Potential discomfort if the holster or firearm protrudes into the lower back area
- Requires proper positioning and adjustment to ensure proper concealment and retention.
What is the Most Comfortable IWB Position?
The appendix carry position is often considered one of the most comfortable IWB carry positions for many individuals. It involves carrying the firearm in front of the body, typically around the 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock position.
Here are some reasons why AIWB can be comfortable:
- Natural and ergonomic draw: AIWB allows for a natural and efficient draw motion, as the firearm is positioned in a way that aligns with the body's natural movement.
- Easy access while sitting: AIWB allows for easy access to the firearm even when sitting, making it convenient for activities such as driving or sitting at a desk.
- Weight distribution: carrying in the appendix position distributes the weight of the firearm evenly along the body's centerline, which can help with overall comfort during extended periods of wear.
- Enhanced concealment: AIWB can provide excellent concealment, especially for individuals with smaller frames, as the firearm is positioned in a way that minimizes printing and maintains a low profile.
What are the Best IWB Positions for Fat Guys?
The wrong holster position can not only cause discomfort and even pain but can also impair your ability to quickly and efficiently draw your firearm. It's critical to think about different holster positions that work best for your body type.
Here are the holster positions that may be suitable for larger guys.
- Appendix carry: this position is ideal for larger men because it eliminates the need to bend or twist your body to draw your firearm.
- 3 o'clock position: this position is comfortable for many people because it mimics the natural position in which you carry items such as your phone or wallet.
- 4-5 pm. carry: this position is popular among many people because it's both comfortable and concealing.
Check out our guide to the best CCW holsters for fat guys to see what works best for your body type.
IWB Positions FAQ
What is the safest IWB carry position?
Positions like appendix carry or 4 o'clock carry offer good retention, prevent accidental exposure, and allow for quick access to the firearm when needed.
Where is the best place to carry an IWB holster?
The best place to carry an IWB holster is different for each person. Common positions include appendix carry, 4 o'clock carry, and small of back carry. Experiment with different positions to find the one that works best for you.
What is the most comfortable carry position?
The most comfortable concealed carry position for many CCW enthusiasts is on the hip, at 3 or 9 o'clock, or just behind the hip, at 4-5 or 7-8 o'clock.
Can you sit down with an IWB holster?
Yes, you can sit down with an IWB holster. There are numerous ways to draw while sitting that allow easy access in the event of an emergency.
Is IWB concealed carry uncomfortable?
Comfort levels in IWB concealed carry can vary depending on factors such as holster design, clothing choice, and individual body shape. With the right holster, proper fit, and adjustments, IWB carry can be comfortable for extended periods.
If you have an issue with uncomfortable IWB carry, our holster pads will make the problem go away.
What is the best IWB carry position for skinny guys?
The best IWB carry position for skinny guys is often appendix carry. Its position in the front offers good concealment, easy access, and minimizes printing on slender frames.
Can fat people wear IWB holsters?
Yes, fat individuals can wear IWB holsters. It's important to choose a holster with an adjustable fit and consider the placement and position that offer the best concealment and comfort.
Is appendix carry comfortable for bigger guys?
Appendix carry can be comfortable for bigger guys if the holster is properly fitted and positioned. It's important to consider the body's shape and experiment with different holsters and positions to find the most comfortable option.
Which IWB position is the best for self-defense?
The appendix carry position is a popular choice for many self defense practitioners. This position offers several advantages, such as better retention control, easy to draw and conceal your weapon. The AIWB position allows for a natural and efficient draw stroke, enabling fast response times in critical situations.
Is shoulder or pocket carry better for concealment?
Shoulder holster carry, where the holster is positioned under the arm, provides easy access and excellent weight distribution. It allows for a quick draw and is suitable for larger handguns. The most apparent advantage of shoulder holsters is the ability to access the firearm while seated. Tucked underneath the armpit, it allows access to the gun if you're in the car or routinely work from a desk.
Pocket carry involves placing the firearm in a pocket holster, typically in the front pocket. It offers excellent concealment due to the natural bulge created by everyday items in pockets. Pocket carry is convenient and can be easily adapted to different clothing styles.
Are ankle or belly band holsters better for concealment?
Ankle holsters provide excellent concealment for small firearms, especially in situations where wearing tight clothing or a belt may not be possible. They are particularly suitable for backup guns or when wearing dress shoes.
Belly band holsters are versatile and can be worn in different positions around the waistline, offering more flexibility in terms of firearm size and draw accessibility. They can provide comfortable and discreet carry options for various body types and clothing choices.
What are the best concealed carry holsters for women?
Here are some of the best holster types for women, each offering unique advantages:
- Bra carry: bra holsters provide discreet and comfortable concealed carry. Designed to be worn underneath clothing, they offer easy access to your firearm while ensuring it stays securely in place.
- Purse carry: purse holsters offer convenience and versatility. With dedicated compartments and holsters, they allow for discreet firearm storage while providing quick access when needed. Choose a purse with built-in safety features and a dedicated firearm compartment for optimal security. Many women appreciate off-body carry because it gives them better access and concealment.
- Waistband carry: waistband holsters, such as IWB (inside-the-waistband holsters) or AIWB options, are popular among women. Look for holsters designed specifically for women's body shapes, providing a secure and comfortable fit for all-day carry.
Are IWB or OWB carry holsters better?
IWB carry holsters are better for concealment, while outside the waistband holsters offer better comfort and accessibility. But a GunZee holster cushion can make any IWB carry much more comfortable.
What are the most popular concealed carry positions?
Here are the most popular concealed carry positions to consider:
- Around the waist (IWB and OWB holsters)
- Bra carry
- Shoulder carry
- Ankle carry
- Pocket carry
- Purse carry
- Belly band holster
What are the best gun accessories?
Here are some of the best gun accessories:
- Red dot sights
- Night vision
- Extended magazine pouch
- Upgraded triggers
- Tactical lights
- Suppressor-ready barrels
- Threaded barrels
- Ambidextrous controls
- Aftermarket grips
- Adjustable sights