IWB holsters for dummies

Discussion in 'Handguns: Accessories, Holsters, and Optics' started by Captain Quack, May 17, 2021.

  1. Captain Quack

    Captain Quack Member

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    I've just gotten into carrying and I bought a little Ruger Max 9 which is a new model out this year I believe. I bought a "inexpensive" IWB holster and yesterday while shopping the whole darn thing came right off my belt when I bent over to pick something up in the parking lot. Not acceptable. I see lots of holsters out there for other small frame Rugers including lot that take the LC* series. How can I tell if my Max 9 will fit any of these? I'm willing to give kydex another shot for retention (the only kydex I ever bought took two hands to get the pistol out of the holster even off the belt). I do want something that has some good retention rather that just the friction of the soft fabric of the holster. I don't mind straps either. I'm brand new to this so any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Captain Quack.
     
  2. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    The vast majority of IWB holsters are designed with friction retention. However, there are some models available with retention straps.

    Kydex (or Boltaron or whatever plastic), and leather are the two most often chosen materials for holsters. They each have their pros and cons.

    I'm not familiar with your pistol, but you want to make sure your holster is designed specifically for your pistol and not a generic fit holster.

    Large, heavy guns often benefit from widely spaced loops to spread the weight of the gun along the belt. On the other hand, little guns don't need that and are often better suited to more compact holsters.

    Having a proper belt for carrying a gun is a big deal.

    This video from the late Paul Gomez may give you a start for what to look for

     
  3. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    In your other thread, you mentioned you have a Frequent Flyer belt enroute. They are very good belts, and one I often recommend. They are thin though, and some cheap (and not so cheap) clips won't securely hook around a thin belt like that. A holster with loops may proved more security with that belt.
     
  4. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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  5. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    Bianchi pistol pocket has what you want
     
  6. unclenunzie
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    unclenunzie Contributing Member

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    soft fabric of the holster

    Captain Quack, just general advice, stay away from holsters made of anything other than leather or Kydex/polymer/plastic.
    Nylon is just terrible except for very limited circumstances. Whichever material you choose, go with a reputable maker (some very well regarded listed above).

    the whole darn thing came right off my belt when I bent

    Your IWB holster and belt must allow you to move about without this risk. They work as a team.

    If you like Kydex, I can recommend pjholster for IWB. But there are plenty of good makers out there. His I like because of the clip type (integral to the holster body) and general good quality.

    For pocket Kydex I like Aholster/lefthandholster, they stay in the pocket when the weapon is drawn. I have had issues with others, these seem to work fine.

    I use a leather belt from Hank's belts, but again, any of the well known quality makers will work. Belts from stores will not work, waste of money.
     
  7. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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    Make sure your holster has loops, "C Clips" or "J Clips" and it will not come off your belt. Most kydex holsters can be retrofitted with these if not supplied. Each of these clip types has a portion that hooks under the bottom of the belt.

    Loop:

    2Fproduct%2Fcache%2F1%2Fimage%2F1200x%2F040ec09b1e35df139433887a97daa66f%2Fb%2Fl%2Fblack-plastic.jpg

    C Clip:

    c-clip.jpg

    J Clip:

    s-l1000.jpg
     
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  8. Captain Quack

    Captain Quack Member

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    That you all for the start! Thank you VERY much JTQ for that video. That gave me a lot of very useful information and has allowed me to eliminate quite a few of the holsters I was looking at. The faq's were helpful as well. Right now the problem seems to be finding one that is right for my Pistol. The Max 9 is pretty new and for the most part there aren't any designed specifically for it. We just both retired and getting back into shooting and carry has cost us a lot more than we planned but it's no use not getting a good rig to carry. That's what credit cards are for. I'll be taking another look at belts as well. Lots of good information. It seems that my concerns about retention from a open top holster are unfounded.

    Captain Quack.
     
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  9. 1942bull
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    1942bull Contributing Member

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    I use DeSantis holsters. Kydex for IWB and Leather for OWB. They are well made and wear well. They are moderate priced. They have holsters in Kydex and leather for the Max 9. I use the kydex Slim Tuck for IWB, and the leather Mini Sabbard for OWB. $100 for the pair with the leather being nearly twice the price of the Kydex.
     
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  10. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Here are a couple of old guys, Bill Wilson and Ken Hackathorn, talking about holsters. It is a little competition related as they were both big time competitors, but they do talk about concealment and IWB holsters a bit.

    On the good side, I suspect as a retiree, you can probably choose cover garments with a little more freedom than the office worker.

     
  11. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    If you're having trouble finding holsters for your gun, Ruger sells holsters for the Max9 on their website. I did a quick scroll through their offerings, and there are a few I wouldn't consider (avoid nylon as mentioned above), but most any of the Mitch Rosen offerings should be good.

    https://shopruger.com/MAX-9/products/5220/1/0

    Since they offer Mitch Rosen holsters, that would indicate Rosen covers the Max9, and if you don't see what you like at Ruger, you can check out Mitch Rosen to see if they have a style you prefer.

    https://mitchrosen.com
     
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  12. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I agree with everyone above.

    "Soft fabric", like the nylon used in many entry-level holsters, is usually a poor choice for a holster. I have no personal experience with the "Frequent Flyer" belt but note that it too appears to be made from nylon, which may not offer the support that a good leather belt can.

    There are many makers of good quality leather and/or Kydex IWB holsters, and belts to go with them. I personally have found best comfort from Tucker Gunleather's "Texas Heritage" IWB holsters, and like Beltman belts quite a bit as well.

    Whatever you choose, I would plan on spending at least $150 dollars for the holster with belt, and sticking with leather and/or Kydex. Anything else is liable to be less than ideal. I am sure their are people who would argue it, but that has been my experience.
     
  13. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    The OP's Ruger Max9 weighs all of 18 oz ( https://ruger.com/products/max-9/models.html ). I use a Wilderness Instructor belt with a Colt Government Model. The Ruger Max9 will be no problem.

    Some data points on The Wilderness Tactical belts ...

    Gunsite sells The Wilderness Tactical 5-stitch Instructor belt in their Pro-Shop https://www.gunsitestore.com/product/apparel/belt/5-stitch-wilderness-belt/

    Milt Sparks, who makes their own top notch leather belts, sells the Instructor belt on their site https://www.miltsparks.com/store.php#!/Wilderness-Belts/c/28386548

    Here is Gunsite's Ed Head wearing a Wilderness nylon belt with his 1911 beginning at about the :30 mark.



    Aaron Roberts with a Frequent Flyer belt with his 1911



    Kyle Defoor with a Frequent Flyer belt

     
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  14. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Thank you, JTQ. I stand corrected and am glad to have learned more about it. All my personal experience with non-leather belts has been quite poor.
     
  15. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Heh!

    First of all, let me say that you're walking a path well worn by many of us here. That "first holster" many of us obtained we did so out of an abundance of ignorance on the subject, not fully understanding the importance of a quality, well built holster (and belt).

    I don't know why so many of us have done so, but I rather suspect it's a "human nature" thing. We'll happily spend a wad of money on a firearm, then convince ourselves there's savings to be had in a "cheap" holster for it. The reality is that it's most often the path towards aggravation and frustration, accompanied with the realization that we just threw out whatever money we did on a holster we're definitely not happy with.

    A good holster is WORTH the price you pay for it. You don't have to get an EXOTIC holster, just a GOOD one. I have a Milt Sparks Criterion IWB. I don't remember what I paid for it a decade or so ago, but it was over $100. Looking at their website now, it's $165, plus $37 for the "self closing loop" option. Call it $200.

    I wish there were an "easy" way to shop for such high dollar items, but there isn't. I do have some recommendations, though:

    Find other people who carry IWB and see what they have. It doesn't have to be for your particular pistol. What you are looking for is the quality and functionality of their rig. Does it ride well when worn? How is it worn? How is the weapon retained? Single or double loop? (Double loop will hold the holster more securely and will not allow shifting which could affect drawing or holstering your weapon.). What belt loop size and design? What's the cant of the holster? What material is it made from? If you can don the holster for feel, how does it feel? What position do you like?

    Unfortunately, Idaho isn't in my back yard, so it's not an option for me (and many others on this site) to meet up for something like this. But you may have people local to you who would be glad to help like this.
     
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  16. reedman

    reedman Member

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    Crossbreed has a "super tuck" for a Max 9. I have one for a Glock 19, and like it. Kramer is all leather (and a great holster), but doesn't list the Max9, but you might try calling them to verify it just hasn't made it to their website yet. We have 2 Kramers in horsehide (IWB and OWB) and they are absolutely wonderful holsters.
     
  17. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    If you are going to carry a handgun you should not skimp on quality and price. The most essential foundation for your holster is also a good quality belt. Without a good quality gun belt your belt will turn and twist when you bend down to retrieve something and your gun may fall out also.
    I use Kore Essentials belt with my full size 1911 or 686 Smith and Wesson.
     
  18. Captain Quack

    Captain Quack Member

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    Unfortunately we only have the one "gun store" here anymore and it's not well stocked with holsters. I'm not really tied in with any of the shooting crowed as yet so it's hard to get input from there. I'm already shopping for a leather gun belt that will fit my needs. That's not that hard. It's just the holster now. I guess it's down to the eternal question. Leather or Kydex? I really do like the look of that Crossbreed Super tuck. That's about the cant I learned I like from the cheap nylon holster I bought. I think I'm going to be checking into the return policies of a lot of makers before I decide where to drop the money right now. I've squeezed out $200.00 for a belt and holster. You guys have made this a lot easier. Thank you all so much!

    Captain Quack.
     
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  19. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    I generally never even look at return policy on holsters. I have several holsters, and I don't even know if any came with a return policy and I bought none of them locally. Chances of finding a quality holster at the local gun store is not likely. You may live in an area that has a top holster maker local, and the store may stock their stuff, but most quality holsters are bought on line. Quality holsters can be resold with very little loss, especially a holster such as a Milt Sparks that may have a 20 week waiting period, as many will pay a premium over the list price to get it with no wait.

    Most of us have several holsters as it really is a trial and error effort. You can get great recommendations from the forum, and buy a quality holster, but it just may not work for you. Also, carrying a holstered gun is not as comfortable as not carrying a holstered gun, so anything you put on is going to be less comfortable than what you were doing before you started carrying.

    I'll throw this out there, I'd probably choose an OWB holster, as I think they are generally more comfortable, and your gun is very small and will not extend much beyond the bottom of the belt even with an OWB holster.

    Seeing Mitch Rosen covers the Max9, the OWB holster I'd start with would be the Mitch Rosen Upper Limit Express Line, which is specifically designed for small pistols like your Ruger.

    https://mitchrosen.com/products/express-line/

    The other thing to think of is there are several uses for holsters. A holster that may not work particularly well for concealment, may work great for a training class, or for competition, so if it doesn't work for your concealment needs, it is still available for other uses.
     
  20. Captain Quack

    Captain Quack Member

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    As for choosing my garments. I've been collecting loud bright Hawaiian shirts.
     
  21. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Another way to start, that gives you some flexibility, would be with a multi-use holster like the Simply Rugged Cuda. I don't know if it is available for your gun, but the Cuda can be worn OWB strong side, cross draw, and with the inside out straps, it can be worn IWB, or even as a chest holster with the Chesty Puller straps. If you buy all the options, the price can add up, but it's still just one holster that allows you to try different carry methods.

    https://www.simplyrugged.com/ecommerce/Cuda-FOR-AUTO-LOADERS-Leather-Concealed-Carry-Holster.cfm?item_id=407&parent=669

    One of my early holsters was the Raven Concealment Phantom, the original kydex pancake holster. It allowed you to adjust the cant and ride height, and could be worn IWB and OWB with just changing out the attachments. It's not the best holster I have, but it is very good and it allowed me the ability to better understand what works for me as far as cant, ride height, and IWB or OWB with just the investment in one holster.
     
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  22. Captain Quack

    Captain Quack Member

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    I do have a old Bianchi pancake style holster that I got from who knows where years ago. It does seem to fit the Max 9 pretty well but when I tried it it just didn't work too well. Moved around a lot. I suspect that a lot of that came from having a flexible belt. When I get the Wilderness I'll give it another try.

    Captain Quack.
     
  23. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    It also depends on whether the slots are matched to the belt width. A holster with 1.75" belt slots may work with a 1.5" belt, but it may be sloppy and slide around.

    By the way, did you order a 1.5" belt?

    Of course it's not made for your Max9, and shouldn't be expected to work well with that gun.
     
  24. Captain Quack

    Captain Quack Member

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    More good advice. Thank you JTQ.

    Captain Quack.
     
  25. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

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    Captain Quack,
    You've been given excellent guidance and I can only add some seemingly small but crucial advice:
    1. Find one underused but capacious drawer.
    2. Designate and label "Holster Drawer."
    3. Fill to capacity
    4. Rinse and repeat.
     
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