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Inside the Waistband (IWB) Carry Positions

by Ben Jimenez 4 min read

For many people, inside-the-waistband holsters offer the best concealment. Keeping a firearm inside your waistband, however, can create discomfort when you wear your holster all day. Learn about these popular IWB carry positions so you can conceal your weapon without sacrificing comfort.

What You Want From IWB Carry Positions

As you experiment with the following IWB carry positions, take time to consider:

  • Whether you can access your gun easily from the position.
  • How comfortable your gun and holster feel pressed against your skin.
  • The level of concealment the carry position gives you.

Don’t expect to know immediately which position fits your needs. You might want to try each person for a day or two. That way, you can experience them and make an informed decision.

After a full day of carrying, you should know whether you like keeping your gun holstered in a certain position.

Appendix Carry Position

The appendix carry position has become very popular because it gives people quick access to their weapons.

If you think of your body as a clock with your belly button facing noon, the appendix carry position will sit at 2 o’clock or 10 o’clock. Most people feel comfortable with their hands hanging at 3 and 9 o’clock, so it’s easy for them to draw their guns from the appendix carry position.

Some carriers like to use the appendix carry position on their dominant sides, making it easy for them to draw their guns with as little movement as possible. Others prefer to use the appendix carry position on their non-dominant sides, which means they need to cross draw. There are pros and cons to both options. How you practice matters more than whether you choose the left or right side of your torso.

Disadvantages of Appendix Carry

There are at least two potential downsides to the appendix carry position. First, it could present a safety issue since your gun points toward your femoral artery. An accidental discharge that hits your femoral artery could put your life at risk. As long as you follow basic safety guidelines, though, this isn’t a serious concern. Just be aware of the potential danger.

Second, some people find the appendix carry position uncomfortable. Depending on your body’s shape and the type of gun you carry, the handle could dig into your stomach. Obviously, it wouldn’t take very long for that to annoy you.

Benefits of Appendix Carry

Speed and concealment are the two biggest advantages of the appendix carry position. The front of the body already has several contours, so a gun doesn’t stand out to onlookers when you keep in this position. Depending on your body’s shape, you might even find that your concealment holster and gun feel very comfortable for you.

Kidney Carry Position

The kidney carry position puts your gun at the 4 o’clock or 8 o’clock position. Many daily carriers find that this position feels more comfortable than the appendix carry position. Like all positions, though, there are pros and cons.

Disadvantages of Kidney Carry

The kidney carry position doesn’t make it easy for some people to conceal their weapons. If your gun’s handle extends farther back than your body, it could stick out, making it obvious to bystanders. Adding a claw kit to your holster, however, can minimize printing and improve your concealment.

Benefits of Kidney Carry

Safety is the biggest benefit of the kidney carry position. When drawing from this position, you reach back and point the gun at your target. In between, the gun is always pointed at the ground. That means you never have to point the gun at anyone or anything that you don’t want to target.

Practice makes perfect with this carry position. Once you get used to the movement, you can draw your weapon quickly and accurately.

Hip Carry Position (3 o’clock or 9 o’clock)

The hip carry position puts your gun at either 3 o’clock or 9 o’clock. It’s not the most popular of IWB carry positions because most people use it with outside-the-waistband (OWB) holsters. Still, it’s safe and feels natural for most people.

Disadvantages of Hip Carry

The only real disadvantage of using hip carry as an IWB carry position is that you will have to wear larger pants than usual. With your holster and gun pressed against your hip, there isn’t much extra room. That means your pants’ waistband will get stretched unless you buy a larger size that accommodates your CCW. As long as you don’t mind buying slightly larger pants, this isn’t much of a problem.

Benefits of Hip Carry

The hip position feels natural to most people. With the gun on your dominant side, you can pull your weapon quickly and point it at your target without putting anyone else in danger.

The hip position also feels quite comfortable to most carriers. Your hip probably isn’t nearly as sensitive as your abdomen, so you can tolerate wearing your gun for longer. The combination of comfort and safety makes this position very appealing.

Small of the Back Position

Carry a gun at the small of your back has several advantages, especially if you want good concealment and plan to wear your gun all day. There are some downsides to the position, though.

Disadvantage of Small of the Back Carry

Unholstering a gun from the small of your back requires a lot of effort. You have to reach back, which means your palm is probably facing outward. Then you have to bring the gun all the way around your body before you can point it at your target. Without a lot of practice, the movements feel awkward and slow. Plus, that’s a lot of distance for your gun to travel when you need to secure a situation quickly.

Benefits of Small of the Back Carry

The benefits of carrying a gun at the small of your back are that you get excellent concealment and comfort. The gun and holster can sit right along your spine, which creates a natural divot to improve concealment. Depending on your body’s shape, you might also find that this position makes it possible for you to carry your gun all day without feeling any discomfort.

Get a Durable IWB Holster From Concealment Express

Regardless of the IWB carry positions you favor, you need a durable concealment holster that won’t let you down. We make a variety of holster styles with unique designs to match your daily carry.

Purchase a Rounded holster today!

Ben Jimenez
Ben Jimenez


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