The April question of the month was: Are IWB/AIWB holsters allowed in USPSA Competition Rules matches? For those of you asking what IWB means, it stands for “inside the waistband,” which is what a lot of people use for concealed carry. AIWB is just the abbreviation for “appendix inside the waistband” and refers to the location of where the holster is carried. So are these holsters legal in USPSA? Survey says:
|Answer Choice||Number of Responses|
|No, USPSA does not allow drawing from concealment||23.7% (28 votes)|
|Yes, they are allowed in certain divisions||76.3% (90 votes)|
The majority is correct on this one. These holsters are allowed in certain divisions and this is specified under rule 5.2.6.
Providing the Division does not restrict the type or physical location of the holster, IWB or concealment holsters are legal, as long as the firearms can safely be drawn and replaced, and so doing does not break any safety rules.Taken from RUle 5.2.6
What does this mean in relation to the USPSA divisions? The holster first has to satisfy the requirements for the division. In reality, most IWB holsters will meet the requirements for all divisions, even Production, as long as they are worn in a position to comply with the division. But, AIWB holsters can not be used in divisions which restrict holster position to behind the hip bone (Production, Carry Optics, and Single Stack).
Users of IWB/AIWB can draw from concealment, but need to follow the safety rules when drawing and holstering. Both holster types have the danger of sweeping the upper extremities if the competitor is not careful when holding their shirt out of the way or need a second hand to help insert the pistol back in the holster. AIWB holster users also need to be very aware of where the 180 is when drawing and holstering.
There are some competitors/ROs/MDs that have strong opinions about whether these holster types are safe in USPSA, but the rules are clear. They are allowed! It’s on the competitor to use the holster safely. If they break a safety rule, issue the DQ. But, if they are being safe and not breaking the rules, then let them shoot the match and keep any negative opinions to yourself. I have seen shooters who use AIWB holsters shoot a stage much faster than competitors with “normal” holsters. Don’t knock it until you try it.