Inside Waistband Holsters (IWB) are designed to carry a pistol or revolver on the inside seam of the waist, which helps improve concealment. These holsters are offered in many different shapes and sizes, which generates a significant amount of advantages & disadvantages to be considered when selecting one.
By positioning the weight of the firearm on the inner side of the pants, wearers can choose a broad variety of shirts or over-garments, while still being able to conceal a full sized pistol / revolver. Another benefit is many of these designs allow wearers to tuck a shirt in over the grip, creating an ideal way to hide a firearm in situations that are more formal or professional. When utilized properly, an IWB holster is an extremely comfortable way to distribute the weight of a pistol / revolver over the entire belt line of a pair of pants or shorts. Since the weight is actually on the inside of the belt, there is no "pulling" effect that can commonly occur when wearing a holster on the exterior or outside of a belt. This also helps to consolidate the firearm's weight centered on the waistline, allowing the wearer to easily draw the weapon as opposed to an "ankle" or "shoulder" holster.
As with other products, there are potential negatives to consider when selecting an IWB Holster. A good belt is an absolute essential to secure the holster and firearm. The belt serves as both a weight distribution tool, as well as a positive retention to the firearm. In addition, a major drawback to these style holsters is that they rarely include a locking mechanism of any nature for retention of the firearm. This is due to much of the holster being inaccessible while worn, which causes difficulty in accessing a locking type mechanism. This means that if the wearer stumbles, gets tackled, etc., a firearm could potentially come free of the holster.
Another potential issue arises if the holster is collapsible or semi-collapsible. Collapsible holsters offer a streamlined profile, and incorporate softer materials to ensure comfortable all day wear. However, in the event the pistol is drawn, the wearer's pants and or belt, can collapse the holster and cause difficulty in re-holstering the handgun, requiring the use of both hands. Typically, when holstering a firearm into a collapsible holster, novice users muzzle their support hand during the re-holstering process which is exceedingly unsafe.
These minor issues aside, for concealed carry purposes, the Inside Waistband Holster (IWB) is a fantastic and intelligent choice.