When women are considering concealed carry at the waist, the most important discussion for them is the convenience and the comfort of the methods available. Many will select off-body carry because what is available to women for comfortable on-body carry is limited. This limitation exists because women are different than men in the length of their torsos and the “rise” of their pants. When you consider this in addition to our curves, it is indeed a challenge.
In my analysis of Inside the Waist Band carry, I determined that it is possible to comfortably carry with the alteration of my clothing choices. For this article I’m utilizing this premise to examine the Galco Triton Kydex IWB Holster (TR440) for my Springfield XD9, 4” semi-auto.
Finding a comfort zone with my body shape and style of clothing has been an adventure. The length of my torso determines the position of the holster around the waist. If you notice in most advertising for IWB for women, the models are tall, slim and have long torsos. The holsters appear in a variety of locations on the waist. As most women don’t have the height, nor the slender body length, the comfort of the waist holster is determined by the pressure exerted on their bones and organs.
The “rise” of the waist of my pants also determines whether the pressure exerted against the bones and organs is tolerable. I enjoy clothing that sits naturally on my body. In pants it’s called the “natural or high rise.” The high rise is where the top of the hips end and the lower portion of the ribs begin. The waistband of the pants sits right at the level of the navel.
If I attach an IWB Holster to my high rise pants, it is very uncomfortable. I feel like I’m suffocating because of the pressure exerted against the stomach (appendix draw) or kidney (behind the hip draw). At the hip level or behind it, pressure would be directed right into the ribs. Drawing the pistol would be extremely difficult. I have had to lean over to my left to give my right-hand room to grab the grip to pull the pistol out of the holster directly into my arm pit.
For me to be comfortable wearing my high rise pants and the Galco Triton, I’d either buy a larger size of pants (larger at the waist) or a different style of pants (medium or low rise). Many women will resist a larger size of pants because it makes them look fatter and more difficult to wear (extra material) and the need to wear a belt. Women rarely wear belts and many of women’s pant styles do not have belt loops.
The solution for me is the “low rise” style of pants with a sturdy belt. Even though I don’t like this style because I feel like my pants are falling off, the Galco Triton Kydex IWB Holster is comfortable. The appendix position is not good for me as I have a short waist and when I sit, my thigh pushes the holster upward into my belly. If I’m not wearing a belt, the holster unhinges from my waistband. The hip position is “do-able” as it holds the holster away from the waist and permits a good grip when pulling my XD9. The only problem is that it interferes with the seatbelt in a vehicle. The behind the hip position corrects the issue with the seat belt and will permit a good grip if your clothing does not interfere.
All three positions, appendix, hip and behind the hip, have a problem. Without a belt the holster comes with the pistol when drawn. The belt is the anchor. It is important to note that women’s belts are thin and flimsy, because they’re created for style. Therefore, a woman serious about carrying IWB must select pants with belt loops and a heavier belt, either a man’s belt or a belt specifically designed for holster carry for women. When selecting pants and a belt, it is important for me to take this holster and firearm with me to the store to assure the style of the pants does not compromise my comfort and the conceal-ability of the holster.
The Springfield XD9 is large for a concealed carry pistol, however the XD9 is the size that many women purchase because it is comfortable to shoot. It is also the best size for them to master their shooting skills before they transition to a smaller pistol. So, if I choose to carry a large pistol because I am more accurate with it, I must make clothing concessions. My concession in this situation is to wear low rise pants with the holster behind the hip.
The Galco Holster is thin and lightweight. My XD9 is solidly secured and I’m able to maneuver without fear of dislodging it and subsequently having it fall from the holster. This also applies when I must remove the holster and pistol for the call of “mother nature.” The upper extension of the holster, which separates the slide of the pistol from my body, does an excellent job of keeping any rough edges away from the skin or the clothing. I choose not to have this extension against my bare skin because an extra amount of cushioning is necessary to avoid the Kydex rubbing against the skin. A shirt tucked into the pants at this location cushions the extension.
In conclusion, by wearing “low rise” pants and positioning this holster behind the hip I can comfortably wear it with my XD9 for an extended period. I would like to see this style of holster made of a different material other than Kydex. The solid anchoring of the pistol into the holster is of primary importance but if a softer or more flexible material is used, women might favorably consider this holster as a viable option. A belt-less option will also give women something to consider. Ultimately, convenience and comfort will dictate a woman’s choice.
The Galco TR440 Kydex Holster is also available for the XD40 – 4”, and the XDM 3.8”, 9/40 Caliber.