Question for you revolver guys who carry IWB...


August 16, 2006, 02:22 PM
I was thinking about this last night, and I just wasn't sure. My 642 lives in a pocket holster, or occasionally in a belt slide OWB.

When you carry IWB, is the cylinder above the beltline, or is it at the same level?

I'd think that if it were above the beltline, then the whole thing would ride pretty high, but if the cylinder itself had to be inside the belt, the entire package would be awfully thick, especially when you get to things the size of the N frame. So, just how (and how well) does it work?

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Old Fuff
August 16, 2006, 02:58 PM
There is a hollow in your body just above the hipbone, so most IWB revolver holsters locate the top of the cylinder at, or slightly above the top of the belt. Of course holsters, like bodies, are not all the same. Anyway, unload your revolver and slip it inside your wasteband at different heights and see what works for you. Then buy a holster that will position it where you want.

You may sometimes find that you need to wear pants one size larger then your are now. Again your build and the gun's size will determine this.

August 16, 2006, 03:44 PM
Personally, I prefer holsters that put the top of the cylinder at or below my waistband. I carry my 640-1 and my 3 inch 13 in Allesi Talon IWB holsters (for going on 10 years or so now).

August 16, 2006, 04:04 PM
Fuff, I have no current plans to begin carrying my 642 IWB, and I tend to lean more towards semiautos for CCW whenever possible. I was just playing with the idea of various gun options, and i wondered how people handled the extra width of the cylinder.

Vern Humphrey
August 16, 2006, 06:00 PM
I have a Colt Detective Special that I got into the habit of carrying casually -- when I was going out of the house, and grabbed the gun at the last moment. I found I could use "Mexican Carry" by hooking the butt over my belt -- this put the cylinder below the belt, and was totally invisible, except for a bit of the butt, which I covered by blousing my shirt.

Mexican Carry isn't very secure, however, and I was concerned about the revolver sliding down my leg. I made a very compact IWB that carries the gun exactly where I used to carry it, and holds it securely.

Now the DS is a 6-shot gun. It's cylinder is therefore a bit larger than the average 5-shot snubbie, and to carry one of those, I'd definitely use a holster like this one and carry with just the butt peeking above the belt.

August 17, 2006, 04:24 PM
I've got a Kydex IWB made by Chris Stewart for a 4" N frame that carreis the cylinder above the belt. W/ a 4" barrel this is very stable and reasonably comfortable. On my 642 and SP-101 I use a Don Hume IWB that puts the cylinder under the belt: still stable and comfortable. I don't think an N frame under the belt would be comfortable or a snubby above the belt would be stable. If your interested, look at

August 17, 2006, 05:53 PM
As usual, Old Fluff has it right. I will only add that you can buy good holsters with cant adjustable loops from a number of makers. These allow some variation in the positioning of the cylinder. I find that the cylinder is just right when the rear of the cylinder is right at the top of the belt. The hollow of most bodies will allow the package to melt into your side to prevent too much protrusion. I carry a S&W M19 2.5-inch gun like that daily and I love it.
August 17, 2006, 09:27 PM
I carry a Smith 637 in a Bianchi IWB Professional 100. The cylinder rides right at or a little below the belt line. I carry SOB so the gun rides right in the hollow your spine creates and is very comfortable. If you are interested in carrying that way, by one that is opposite your strong side draw. For example, I'm left handed and a right handed IWB worn SOB works best. Same thing for my right handed, left handed carrying IWB SOB.

August 17, 2006, 10:01 PM
I found this holster a couple of years ago. Even with a shirt tucked in the gun is concealed. The rear of the butt rides even with the top of the belt. Blouse the shirt slightly and it's concealed. The butt is narrow so there's no bulge.

The Good
August 18, 2006, 01:35 AM
i have a don hume IWB holster for a 642. its great especially in thicker clothes but sometimes you dont want it to ride high because it causes some bulge in my shirts when i bend.

if anyone has any suggestions of extremely low riding holsters for j frames i'd love to hear them. the one above looks real nice... any idea on the brand name of it?

I'm mainly looking for cylinder to be below the belt line. handle can stick out but it doesnt have to.

August 18, 2006, 04:26 AM
You may want to consider holster-less IWB carry with the Barami Hip-Grip( - I've become quite fond of this mode of carry with my own nickel Smith 442. The way the gun rides with the Hip-Grip hooked over your waistband winds up pointing the long axis of the grip perpendicular to your belt and parallel to your torso, thus minimizing bulge(think of it as an extreme butt-forward cant angle). To further minimize bulge at your back, scooch the gun further forward(I carry at about a "half-past-3:00" position with the Hip-Grip, versus "4:00" with my Kahr K40 in an IWB holster). If your gun arm naturally drapes over the gun butt in a normal standing position, you should be fine.

Todd Lofgren in either the current Guns and Weapons for Law Enforcement or Combat Handguns notes that, with a thin, pliable belt of 1-1/4" width or less, the Hip-Gripped J-frame will ride with the belt between the Hip-Grip and the cylinder's rear edge, resulting in both added security and added comfort.

Unfortunately, you will NOT realize these benefits with the similar "Clipdraw" device, as it will position the belt over the cylinder - if I could not use the Hip-Grip, and had to choose between the Clipdraw and an IWB holster, I'd go with the holster.

August 18, 2006, 10:33 AM
the one above looks real nice... any idea on the brand name of it?

There are no markings on it. IIRC it's a Safariland but could have been Bianchi. I found it in a dealers clearance box, new, still in the package for $5. Only thing I remember it was a good price for a name brand holster.

August 18, 2006, 12:20 PM
I think Vern and Kor both have it right. I can carry a good size revolver (if the barrels not too long), by using a belly band with gun over my appendix. With a 1 1/4" belt,the grip is just above the belt and the cylinder is just below. It absolutely defies detection.

It's also fast, even if shirt is tucked over it. Just snatch shirt with left hand and gun with right. Just a little practice and you can carry ANYWHERE.


August 18, 2006, 02:43 PM
I'm also interested to know of IWB holsters for a J-frame that has the cylinder below the belt. And/or a IWB holster that has the cylinder above the belt line, but I don't think this type of holster would work too well.

The Good
August 19, 2006, 04:56 AM
j frames are too small for there be a need for it to ride high. if the cylinder isnt below the belt, what is?

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