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Posted: 12/8/2005 3:28:28 AM EDT
The inside-the-waistband (IWB) is arguably the most concealable of all holster designs. For those of us in the warmer climates, often no more than the tail of a t-shirt is available to cover the piece, so a gun-and-holster combination that is both short and flat is essential to avoid print-through as well as peek-a-boo. (Although pocket carry is another option, those of us on the lean-ish side find it difficult without looking like we need appendectomies.)

Every IWB I've seen that stays open after the gun is removed -- and thereby allows one-handed re-holstering even under stress -- also is made considerably thicker by some kind of built-up stiffening element along its opening. Conversely, those designs without said feature have a considerably slimmer profile, but require a lot more care -- and usually both hands -- to safely get the gun into the thing.

How critical is the re-holster-under-stress capability? I realize that LE must be prepared for all contingencies, including very likely having to pursue suspects after an initial conflict. But will this be a likely element in the average short-n-quick encounter in which law-abiding Joe Citizen would become engaged? I realize too that you want to have your piece out of immediate sight by the time LE do show up but this is typically in the aftermath, in most cases by a matter of minutes with relatively a lot of time to get re-holstered and otherwise not looking like the bad guy.

Is it really worth the compromise to concealability to have a stay-open IWB?
Link Posted: 12/8/2005 4:05:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BlackScot:
How critical is the re-holster-under-stress capability?



If I had to draw my weapon, I'm not going to be re-holstering it while I'm under stress. I'll be re-holstering my weapon after my head is clear, and I know that no other threat is near.

However, if you travel a lot into places where CCW is restricted (schools, government buildings, whatever) and are constantly taking your CCW in and out of the holster, it's pretty hard to argue with an IWB that stays open without a firearm in it. Especially if you keep a round in the chamber (why wouldn't you).
Link Posted: 12/8/2005 9:18:58 AM EDT
You may not be reholstering under stress, but you may draw it and then have a reason to quickly and discreetly put it back.

There is also the issue of safety... you don't want to be prying open your holster with your weak hand so you can get your gun inside. You'll find your fingers are in front of the muzzle of a loaded weapon when doing this. This is actually a reason shoulder rigs are not that popular -- two-handed reholstering.

IMHO, any IWB that collapses w/o the gun is a POS and not worthy of my $$ or being part of my life support equipment.
Link Posted: 12/8/2005 9:34:36 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/11/2005 11:36:01 AM EDT
Just got my Galco Royal Guard last week (Micro 1911). Nicely made, great draw position and the draw itself is smooth as silk (reholstering too). I still plan to buy a Milt Sparks Versa Max II in the near future, just gotta try one out with all the good reports I've read here.

Can't stress enough the importance of a proper belt as well. I just got a Wilderness Frequent Flyer, and it works really well. Milt Sparks site has a guide to reholstering with a collapsed IWB holster. Check it out, see if it's something you want to go through.

For Galco, the Product Wizzard has a good deal, and free shipping over a certain dollar amount currently (extended from November).

T Bone (Detroit).
Link Posted: 12/11/2005 2:55:25 PM EDT
I prefer the stay open Desantis Cozy Partner. It's fast on the draw and re-holster and doesn't print.
Link Posted: 12/11/2005 4:41:03 PM EDT
My Versa-Max stays open, yet I don't see how it can get appreciably thinner in any way. It's damn thin now.
Link Posted: 12/11/2005 9:08:16 PM EDT
I started with a Milt Sparks Watch Six, "upgraded" to a VM2, and now I'm back with the WS. It's just two pieces of horsehide, no reinforcement, although it keeps its shape fairly well. It takes a little practice to learn to reholster quickly, but it can still be done with one hand. This holster is noticeably more comfortable to me, which is why I prefer it. Should I ever have to draw my weapon, I highly doubt that I'll be in a hurry to re-holster it. I'd rather have a more comfortable holster than one that's thicker but better for re-holstering.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 2:57:19 AM EDT
Thanks for the feedback folks. Sounds like some mix of opinion, but probably overall favoring the stay-open capability.

I appreciate the product steers and am going to check these out. Let me know of any others, and include pics if you gottem. I'm looking specifically to outfit a Glock 26.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 9:22:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Strazz:
I started with a Milt Sparks Watch Six, "upgraded" to a VM2, and now I'm back with the WS. It's just two pieces of horsehide, no reinforcement, although it keeps its shape fairly well. It takes a little practice to learn to reholster quickly, but it can still be done with one hand. This holster is noticeably more comfortable to me, which is why I prefer it. Should I ever have to draw my weapon, I highly doubt that I'll be in a hurry to re-holster it. I'd rather have a more comfortable holster than one that's thicker but better for re-holstering.



+1 on the watch six being comfortable. For me though, It was a matter of going from a sig 220 in a kramer #3 IWB to the watch six for a 1911.
Don't get me wrong, the #3 is a great holster, but it is a bit thicker, the belt loops are another point of bulk, while the watch six has it's belt loops on either side of the weapon (it's also a little more stable as far as shifting is concerned).
I also go w/ what sparks says about not wearing the holster around w/out the weapon. It's still reasonably easy to reholster one handed (it is still quite new however).
I do believe that it's a good habit to get in as far as reholstering safely. Get the midset drill going that you de-cock/safety on, finger out of trigger guard. Even if you are involved in a shooting, I would think that it would be a bummer to shoot yourself in the leg/butt after you ascertain that the threat is over. It is better to be holstered when the police arrive so that you can identify yourself w/out weapon in hand to be challenged, maybe shot by an excited rookie,etc.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 3:09:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BlackScot:
Thanks for the feedback folks. Sounds like some mix of opinion, but probably overall favoring the stay-open capability.

I appreciate the product steers and am going to check these out. Let me know of any others, and include pics if you gottem. I'm looking specifically to outfit a Glock 26.


I recommend the McDaniel II from Andrews Leather. It will NOT collapse and is as thin as you can get with leather. The belt loop behind the gun helps pull it in close to your body and reduces printing. Also, the belt loop is adjustable for any angle you want. You can get it open top, with a body shield or thumb break. He also puts the rough side out to keep it from moving around.

I have one for all my guns and it's the only IWB I will use.

www.andrewsleather.com/macdaniel2.htm
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