When it comes to your carry gun, one of the great debates is always inside the waistband (IWB) or outside the waistband (OWB). Both have strengths and weaknesses, so what are you to choose?
My answer: “Yes.” Just like shoes or outerwear, you have to pick based on conditions. And those conditions change unless you happen to live in San Diego. You lot can go surf or build sandcastles, while the rest of us talk about real life.
I am currently carrying a SIG P365, which you may remember from my review I called it the “all-purpose gun.” It is small enough to carry concealed, but of high enough capacity and easy enough to shoot to outclass even some duty-sized guns. It is, in short, perfect. Now I needed something to let me carry it in all conditions. Which I found from a company called Crucial Concealment.
Let’s start with IWB, since that is the most common. Why would we IWB? For most of us, that is the optimal way of concealing in our normal dress. With a small gun and a good holster, I can carry under a t-shirt. Which is what I normally desire, as I wear a t-shirt 99.9% of the time in warmer months.
Crucial Concealment’s Covert IWB is an absolute winner. It is small, as in small footprint of kydex. It is an absolute failure to purchase a tiny gun, then stick it in 5 pounds of leather and try to cram it in your pants. Not only is a massive holster uncomfortable, but it also prints badly, which defeats the point of concealment anyway. I also like the simplistic approach Crucial Concealment uses to secure the holster to your belt.
As the kydex itself is minimalist, the Crucial Concealment model attaches with a solitary belt clip. The clip has an underhook that prevents it from sliding off when you draw, but is easy to dislodge when you want to. I like this style for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I don’t carry inside my home.
Why don’t I carry inside my home? I have strategic guns stashed, for one. And two, I have male children that spend most of their time indoors re-enacting a WWE Cage match. My gun is secure in the holster, but it can be uncomfortable when handing out a suplex off the top rope. The easy on/ easy off clip makes it a snap to put on when I leave or need to answer the door.
Now what about OWB? Why do I need that too? For starters, it may be a better choice seasonally. IWB is great under a t-shirt, but can turn unreliable when it’s under a t-shirt, fuzzy layer, and outer shell. That is a lot of garment clearance. But it isn’t the only reason.
It is a fact of life that while OWB may be less socially acceptable in places like NYC or LA, it is much more comfortable on a long day. I don’t care whose magic holster you are wearing. And it is 100% socially acceptable in your own yard: working in the garden, tending to livestock, BBQing, etc. In my state at least, it also won’t even draw a frowny face in the woods, off-roading, or really anywhere that isn’t downtown.
OWB also packs very real advantages in those places. If you need to shoot an attacking mountain lion or panther, speed is of the essence. They move faster than any human attacker ever could, and are sneaky as hell. It is a fact that an OWB draw is not only faster but less likely to be fouled. I know, I know, training. Yes, I concur. But don’t tell me you have never tangled your carry gun in your shirt on the draw.
I train it all the time, and I’ve done it too. We hope, in a street encounter, that one of two things happens. Either we can draw our IWB gun from behind cover, or we get it right that time in a Wyatt Earp contest. In a street fight, our opponent may actually miss too. An animal has no such weaknesses. There is no cover or out running, and you get one chance to whip that heater out. Better not screw it up.
Which is where the Crucial Concealment Covert OWB comes in. A fantastic complement to the IWB, the OWB is built to hug close to your body. Crucial Concealment calls it a precision bend, and it works. It has an extremely flexible, but tough, set of loops that pull it in tight on your belt. It also allows 4 distinct carry positions.
Out of the box, it is configured for lower height carry. You can also flip the loops around for raised carry, such as OWB under a light shirt. If you prefer forward or reverse cant, you can flip the appropriate front or rear loop alone. I also very much like that the Covert has an adjustable tensioner. I like my OWB holsters to retain my gun even if I need to run. Again, children. But you may prefer an easier draw stroke, as the holster is configured out of the box.
I’m going to make a bold statement on the OWB here. I’ve always been an IWB guy, but this one has changed my religion. Even with just a t-shirt on, this one hides incredibly well. And the comfort level is off the charts!
Last but not least, the age-old question: To carry a reload or not to carry a reload? In keeping with my heretical theme, I don’t always carry a spare magazine. But I do like having that option to do so. Crucial Concealement has that covered with the Covert Mag pouch. It utilizes a similar clip to the holster, so easy on easy off. But, it has some subtleties built-in.
First, it is non-directional on the magazine, so it can be worn IWB or OWB. Depending on your concealment and comfort needs. It has an adjustable ride height, so you can prime your spare where it works for you. And unique in this class of mag carrier, you can also adjust the cant. This is a really nice feature, especially if concealment is the most important factor for you. Like the OWB holster, it also features adjustable tension.
So there you go. When it comes to your carry gun, it’s not IWB or OWB. It’s both. Train and equip yourself accordingly. Make your firearm work for you, in whatever role you demand.
To learn more about Crucial Concealment visit their website.
To learn more about the SIG P365 visit SIGSauer.com.