I have been carrying concealed for many years now and until recently have not found a comfortable inside the waistband holster. Being armed is comforting but why must it be uncomfortable? I began with cheap off-the-shelf varieties and did not like any of them. Then I went to a custom-built Kydex holster, which was an improvement. It held my 1911 well and the leather prevented gouging from the lever safety and hammer but after a long day I found it hot and it promoted sweating. Granted, there are lighter firearms than a 1911 and so I tried a custom leather and Kydex holster to fit my Smith & Wesson M & P Shield, which due to the lighter weight and smaller size, alleviated belt sagging though it was still not comfortable.
I had mentioned this issue to one of our traveling customers. He was a plainclothes policeman on vacation and visiting Alaska and had shipped his gun through our company, Wolfhawk Gun Shipping. “Check out Stealthgear USA,” he had said. “They make the most comfortable holsters I have ever worn and believe me, I have tried a lot.”
I made it a point to give Stealthgear USA a try. This man, after all, had carried concealed firearms as part of his occupation for 20 years, which to me, made him an expert authority on holsters.
I began with an inexpensive kit version of the AIWB Revolution that they call the Liberty series that was designed to fit my 9 mm Smith & Wesson M & P Shield. They have two types of liners that go against your skin; a rubberized plastic that they use on the Revolution models and a fabric material that comes on the Ventcore versions. The appendix inside the waistband holster was a disappointment but that is probably because I do not like carrying my weapon in the front. It is a great position for quick retrieval but there is something unsettling about having the muzzle pointed anywhere near my nether regions.
The synthetic material of the Revolution made me sweat and itch. When I took it off, my skin was red except for the areas cut out for breathing. When wearing the holster, it worked fine when standing but it tended to gouge me when I sat so I ended up moving it around to the side. The AIWB is narrow and does not distribute the belt pressure as well as other Stealthgear holsters and this contributed to hip bruising and discomfort.
I then ordered a standard inside the waistband holster for the same weapon, which had a much wider rubberized plastic carrier. This distributed the weight much better and I found it to be the most comfortable holster I had, at that time, ever worn. However, the material still made me sweat and itch as well as leaving my skin red. I found that I had to wear a tank top or T-shirt between my skin and the holster but the comfort was wonderful. I had to try the Ventcore. When I tried out the Stealthgear Ventcore, I was blown away. No more hot holster. No more itchy or sweaty skin. No more belt sag. This was by far the most comfortable holster I have ever worn. The IWB Stealthgear Ventcore Standard size is a fantastic holster. I would not go for the mini version just because it does not spread the weight the way the standard does. The Ventcore holster is considerably more expensive than the Revolution but in my opinion, it is worth every penny. I have tried out the IWB Ventcore with my 9 mm Smith & Wesson M & P Shield as well as with my titanium snub nose Smith & Wesson J frame .357 revolver. The revolver adds a little more pressure to the hip due to the width of the cylinder but all in all I have found these IWB holsters one of the best innovations since sliced bread. I have also tried out the OWB Stealthgear Ventcore for my 1911 and also give 5 stars to this holster as well.