I’ve come to view inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters in a more favorable light recently for two reasons. Manufacturers of IWB holsters are increasing the comfort of various designs, making them much more tolerable. Because skin thins as we age, the nerves are more sensitive to irritation. I’ve found myself less tolerant of IWB designs even having worn IWB styles for undercover police work and off-duty carry for years. Additionally, I find myself wanting to carry higher capacity handguns in more situations due to continued unrest. It is easier to conceal a larger handgun in a well-designed IWB rig than with an outside-the-waistband rig.
My 9mm SIG Sauer M17 pistol, with extreme accuracy and 17-round magazine capacity, was one of the guns I wanted to carry more often. However, it is difficult to deeply conceal using an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster. IWB holsters allow most of the handgun to be carried below the beltline. I needed to find an IWB rig that fit the M17 comfortably for long-term carry. For that I turned to DeSantis Gunhide.
My main contact at DeSantis, Christina Barnes, immediately recommended the Vanquisher IWB holster, and it turned out to be a perfect choice.
DeSantis Vanquisher Holster
The Vanquisher is constructed entirely of padded ballistic nylon except for the polymer belt clips, which are adjustable for height and cant (tilt) of the holster. Further, the Vanquisher features an ambidextrous, universal gun fit. The Vanquisher is designed to fit every semi-auto pistol and most revolvers designed for concealed carry without modification.
To prove the claim, I tried the Vanquisher out with some of the contents of my safe. It easily fit:
- 1911s (including the slightly outsized ATI FHX-45 Moxie)
- Beretta 92
- Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard .38 Special revolver
- Bodyguard .380 ACP (although it is a little hard to grasp the grip for a solid draw)
- S&W Model 65 .357 K frame revolver, though it did not fit my L frame 686
Each gun fit snugly and securely.
The ambidextrous fit capability is accomplished by the mirror image hourglass-shaped open bottom holster pouch. Simply holster the pistol in the pouch for right-hand or left-hand use. There is no need to adjust or change anything. It’s an ingenious and simple setup.
The ballistic nylon construction makes the Vanquisher lightweight and comfortable! Unlike cowhide or horsehide, it allows for some breathability. It is flexible and shaped with an inward bend to mold around the leg and hip bone — something which can’t be done with cowhide.
Another standout feature on the Vanquisher are the clips, positioned 1/4 inch above the holster itself. Many competing brands place the clips in contact with the backing portion of the holster. This makes the Vanquisher much easier to tuck a shirt over it. If you plan on taking advantage of an IWB holster’s tuckability, the Vanquisher is certainly an IWB to consider!
Wearing It Out
I started out my tests of the DeSantis Vanquisher by carrying my SIG Sauer M17 in it as planned, beginning with my 1-mile daily walk. I actually found that wearing the M17 in the Vanquisher holster was more comfortable than wearing it in an OWB belt holster, even with the barrel peeking out of the bottom. So far so good.
The next test was wearing the M17 to church, where we get up and down a lot during worship. The M17 showed no propensity for pushing up out of the holster during those movements. And it remained comfortable throughout the service.
If the Vanquisher passed the M17 test, it would pass it with any concealed handgun. I did, however, want to test the S&W 9mm M&P 2.0 4-inch Compact with CTC 1250 Red Dot Reflex Sight attached.
I wasn’t sure how or if the CTC 1250 would affect carrying the M&P, but I quickly found that I needn’t have had any concerns about it. The optic-equipped M&P fit perfectly. I wore the combo out most of the day to the store and restaurants and found the optic-equipped M&P and the Vanquisher an ideal pairing.
With an MSRP of $79.99, the DeSantis Vanquisher represents an outstanding bargain. This holster is an ideal start for those who have never tried IWB but are interested. If you found certain other IWB designs uncomfortable, it would be worth giving the Vanquisher a try.