When it comes to concealed carry holsters, I have a few rules:
1. If it is not on your body, you don’t have it.
2. Carry the same weapon, the same way, all the time.
3. Get a holster that is safe, practical, reasonably comfortable, and fits your preferences.
My preference is a strong-side holster on the belt. I have carried (or tried to carry) pistols in many different types of holsters. My problem is that at 6 feet tall and a massive 135 pounds, most holsters leave the pistol hanging out from my side like the handle on a high-lift jack. Like many skinny people, I found that inside the waistband holsters, with a good belt holding the pistol tight against my body, works best for daily carry. I wear jeans and various shirts and jackets (depending on weather) most days, and suits on Sundays. The problem is that I live in Alaska, where, as the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. I may be in and out of a jacket or warm shirt several times in a day. Additionally, most buildings up here are not air conditioned. Take a church on a warm day (or heated in the winter), add a bunch of people, and a suit can become uncomfortable. With a holster on my belt, how could I take off my suit jacket? I needed a holster that could be used regardless of how I was dressed.
Front-Line came to the rescue with their Hidden Inner-Waistband Holster. This holster, designed for Israeli operatives who work under deep cover, may be worn under a tucked-in shirt. Built of top quality leather or kydex, the Hidden Inner-Waistband holster rides in the normal position for an IWB holster. Instead of a standard metal clip or loops, the Kydex belt attachment slides between the belt and the pants and the belt runs over two hooks that hold the holster to the belt. A tab above the belt prevents it from riding up.
The holster can be worn like a standard IWB holster, with the holster inside the pants but outside the shirt and another shirt or jacket worn over it. My problem is that I hate to wear an untucked shirt. To me that equals sloppiness. It doesn’t bother me when others wear their shirts untucked, I just can’t do it myself. The beauty of the Hidden Inner-Waistband Holster is that a shirt can be worn tucked in over the pistol. This allows me to carry under a tucked-in t-shirt or dress shirt.
When a shirt, especially a dress shirt, is tucked in, normal movement causes the shirt to untuck a little in the back. The back and sides of the shirt naturally blouse out and provide the perfect place to conceal a pistol. A pistol may be concealed more effectively this way than under a suit jacket. Shirts made from stretchy or clingy material offer less concealment, but concealment is generally good regardless, and better than with an untucked shirt.
The pistol is drawn by lifting the shirt with the support hand as the firing hand grips the pistol. This also keeps the support hand out of danger during the draw. It is essentially the same action that is taken to draw a pistol from under an untucked shirt, so it is not a hard transition to make. I push backward on the shirt as I lift it to ensure that the heel of the grip frame clears.
Does it work? I bought a Hidden Inner-Waistband Holster about two years ago and wore a 4″ Service Model Springfield Armory XD under a dress shirt to church the next Sunday. When I got to church I asked another church member if he liked my new holster. He looked at me and said, “What holster? You’re not carrying today?”
I told him I was.
“Where?” he asked.
“You figure it out,” I told him.
Throughout the day I saw him following me around and staring at me, quite puzzled. After the evening service he approached my wife. “Is he wearing a 5.11 holster shirt?” he asked. He initially thought she was kidding when she told him where the pistol was. That was enough to convince me. These holsters work.
The final touch for complete invisibility would be to wear a small knife pouch, PDA pouch, etc. on the outside of the belt, so long as it would not interfere with a draw.
The Hidden Inner-Waistband holster is manufactured in Israel by Front-Line. In addition to using traditional materials like leather, Kydex, and Cordura, Front-Line has pioneered the use of advanced multi-layer materials in the construction of holsters. The Hidden Inner-Waistband Holster is available in a traditional smooth-side-out leather, hand-molded to each particular firearm model. This leather version is available with or without an Alpha Lining, which is a Teflon based material. The Alpha Lining protects the pistol’s finish and offers a smooth, consistent draw. No break-in period is needed for Alpha Lined holsters. For those who prefer non-leather holsters, the Hidden Inner-Waistband holster is also available in Kydex.
The leather holster features a reinforced mouth for safe one-handed re-holstering and a sight track to protect the front sight from snagging on the holster during the draw. The hard-moulded leather holds it’s shape well and the Alpa Lined version is further stiffened by the lining, which is also moulded to the shape of the pistol. The leather is attractively finished in either tan or black and marked with the Front-Line logo and model number.
As with all belt holsters, a belt designed for carrying a pistol is a necessity. I use a Front-Line 40mm (1.5″) pistol belt for daily wear, and a Front-Line 30mm (1.2″) pistol belt with formal attire. The Front-Line Belts are available in several attractive styles. I have been amazed with the durability. I have no noticeable wear other than some polished areas on the buckle on the 40mm belt after four years of daily wear. I have never had another belt that held up so well. With a good pistol belt the Hidden Inner-Waistband holster stays where you put it throughout the day. Most importantly, it does not move during the draw. It is also very comfortable. It has to be. I carry a pistol on my belt at all times, except for those times that I go to an area where weapons are restricted, such as a federal building. Other than that, in or out of the home, if awake, I am wearing a pistol.
The best feature of the Front-Line holsters is the price. While not in the cheap ($12 universal nylon) price range, they can be as low as half the price of similar quality holsters from other well-known brands. While this is a benefit for end users, it is especially good for dealers who can offer a top quality holster with the sale of a pistol without exceeding the customer’s financial limits. Many customers purchase pistols at the upper limit of what they can afford. When a man’s wife is already steamed about the $900 he is dropping on a carry pistol, it is way easier to sell him a $45 Front Line holster than an equal quality $150 holster from another manufacturer. The lower price makes it far easier for the dealer to carry an assortment of holster models as well.
If you ask me to recommend a holster, chances are high that I’ll recommend one of Front Line’s excellent holsters.
Suggested retail prices for these holsters are:
Dealers and distributors may contact 7.62 Precision for appropriate pricing.
- With a light application of KG-9 Leather-Kote a tight new holster worked like it was well broken in. KG-9 does not damage or loosen the leather, but acts as a surface lube on the inside of the holster. It does not soak into or change the colour of the leather. The results are amazing – my break-in technique for a new holster now consists of applying KG9 Leather-Kote to the inside of the holster and holstering the pistol.