Today we’ll be reviewing an excellent holster for concealed carry, the Theis Holsters IWB. This is the flagship holster of Tommy Theis, who hand makes all — yes, all — of his products in his small one man shop in Arkansas.
HYBRID IWB DESIGN
“IWB” stands for Inside the Waist Band, and is a type of holster designed specifically for concealed carry and to be worn, you guessed it, inside whatever pants/shorts/bottoms you happen to be wearing, completely concealing the majority of the firearm. These types of holsters have been around for ages, in many iterations. Mr. Theis’ holster is a hybrid variation. Hybrid IWB holsters are constructed by riveting a Kydex — which is a heat-moldable, durable polymer — backing to an almost comically large piece of leather. What does this do for the wearer?
First and foremost, that large swath of leather helps to spread the weight and imprint of the handgun out across more of your body/belt, making the holster incredibly comfortable. As you wear the holster, the leather backing will mold to your body, again increasing comfort. You’ll notice that my holster in the picture above has a clear curvature in the leather. It didn’t arrive that way.
Secondly, the Kydex sheath is heat molded to exactly match the dimensions of your chosen firearm (in this case, my Springfield XDm Compact). This greatly aids retention and makes every holster an exact fit. Here, Tommy goes the extra mile (as he does in many other areas of this holster’s construction). From Mr. Theis himself:
When you get your holster you will find a few marks on the leather where a gun has been! That is because I put your holster on and stuck a gun in it! I drew it and re-holstered several times, making sure it works like it is supposed to. That is the difference in a truly handmade holster, I do them all that way. Not only because my name is on it, but because your life may depend on it!
Finally, the size of the holster and consequently the distance between the 2 clips allows the holster to flex naturally with your body, and helps to hug the weapon closer to you, making concealing your firearm easier. In this case, bigger is better!
Am I carrying a firearm?
Why yes, yes I am!
The IWB holster is fully adjustable for cant and ride height. Cant is the tilt angle of the firearm forwards or backwards, measured in degrees. Most people prefer forward cant, as it makes the firearm easier to grip during the draw. Ride Height is where the handgun sits in relation to the belt. A low ride height places more of the firearm concealed into your pants, but may make the weapon more difficult to grasp during a quick draw. Theis IWB holsters are fully adjustable for both.
Taking a look at the clips, we can see a series of punched holes in the leather. By unscrewing the clips and moving them to different positions, we can adjust the ride height and cant of the holstered weapon. I recommend adding some blue Loc-Tite or similar product to the screw threads once you find the position that works for you, as the screws can tend to work loose with wear.
A customer can further customize his holster by selecting full or partial slide coverage, as well as regular or premium leather. I chose full slide coverage and premium leather for my holster. The full slide coverage protects my entire handgun from undue wear, as well as completely ensuring there isn’t anything to snag on during a draw, which I consider extremely important. Theis states that his premium leather is top of the line cowhide, treated and hand-rubbed to make it sweat-resistant, softer, and smooth on both sides. The premium leather is also slightly thinner, making break in time quicker. Both of these options cost an additional $10, but I find the money to be well spent.
(A quick note: Tommy used to offer a horsehide version of his holsters, but has since discontinued the option as the quality of horsehide has seen a serious decline. He replaced it with the premium leather option because he will not compromise the quality of his product.)
Tommy Theis’ customer service is legendary. He offers a full lifetime warranty as well as a 2 week money-back guarantee on every product he sells, and is always available to help his customers. If you call with an issue, you can rest assured that you’re going to talk to the man himself, and he’s incredibly accommodating to his customers. In my case, my holster got held up for about a week in Memphis during the shipping process. I sent an email to Tommy and got a reply the same day, telling me not only where my holster was, but that if I didn’t receive it within a few days, he’d make me another one and ship it free of charge! Mr. Theis takes great pride in his name, and it shows in his products and his customer service. He’s truly a pleasure to deal with.
As Tommy makes all of his products by hand, he claims about a 2 to 3 week turnaround from the time you place your order to the time he finishes and ships your holster. However, he will frequently get products out the door to customers sooner than that. Mine shipped 11 days after placing the order, well under his stated turnaround time.
In closing, the Theis IWB holster is a high quality, made in USA product that has so far exceeded all of my expectations. Because of it’s comfort, durability, customization, and warranty, the IWB holster offers incredible value for the money. If you’re in the holster market, I would highly recommend giving Theis Holsters a look. You won’t be disappointed.
THEIS IWB HOLSTER
Price: $55.00 (Add $10 each for full slide coverage and premium leather)