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Gear Review: Three ideal AIWB choices, three price points (VIDEO)

I’ve come to love the appendix, inside-waistband method (AIWB) of carry and concealment because it keeps my everyday carry gun entirely under my control and the drawstroke is fast and simple. I also like the no-fuss installation procedure for most AIWB holsters.

In years of experimentation with AIWB holsters, I’ve found a small handful that are especially comfortable and secure. They’ve become my go-to choices. Taken in context of the typical daily activities when worn, they also meet safety criteria of trigger guard protection and secure retention of the gun.  Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of each.

– JM4Tactical.com, $79.95-$94.95

Just a gun sticking to a car. Magnets are the secret behind the superb retention of small guns in the Quick Click & Carry High Ride holster by JM4 Tactical. (Photo: Eve Flanigan/Guns.com)

Pros:

  • Extraordinarily secure retention of smaller pistols
  • Complete protection of the gun from sweat
  • Easiest of the three to wear on pants without a belt
  • One holster fits many guns

Cons:

  • Dyed versions bleed onto skin and clothing
  • Metal objects can stick to magnetic retention device, making for occasional awkward moments that aren’t as obvious as they feel 

– ClingerHolsters.com, $19.99

The Comfort Cling holster accommodates a wide variety of guns, but some sights, like these by XS, may catch on the binding if the gun is inserted all the way. (Photo: Eve Flanigan/Guns.com)

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • One holster fits many guns
  • Doubles as pocket holster

Cons:

  • Must remove holster from waistband for re-holstering
  • Very snug belt/drawstring required for adequate retention
  • Some models’ sights can catch on binding during draw

– JM4Tactical.com, $94.97

Retention and cant are both adjustable on the JM4 Tactical RELIC. (Photo: Eve Flanigan/Guns.com)

Pros:

  • Protects frame finish
  • Adjustable angle and ride height
  • Custom fit for model of handgun

Cons:

  • Different belt widths require different clip installation; extra clips are an additional purchase
  • Retention is adjustable but screws can come loose during experimentation period; must apply thread-securing product (included)
  • Rigid case can be less forgiving for comfort

Conclusion

Choosing a holster is a personal process. In the words of another instructor, “everyone who’s done concealed carry for any number of years has a drawer full of holsters they tried and didn’t like.” The choices presented here are ones I currently use after 14 years of experimentation. These holsters are what work for me, but I’ve had to give up low-rise jeans and tucked-in shirts to make AIWB work. To me, the added confidence of knowing I can safely carry and quickly deploy the gun has been worth the wardrobe adjustment.

AIWB carry is convenient, but it, as well as many other modes of carry, is not safe for people who don’t consistently exercise finger discipline.  Neither Guns.com nor I bear any responsibility for unwanted consequences resulting from uninformed or negligent firearm handling.

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