Never before has concealed carry but so common. There are more people getting your concealed carry permits every day, learning how to use the firearms safely and effectively and choosing from a larger array of equipment than ever before.
OWB holster have seen a resurgence as many people who started with IWB holsters and realized that there aren’t comfortable for their body type. OWB holsters are great solution for fat guys, petite women, or anybody who has a problem carrying inside the waistband and doesn’t mind the extra bulk and profile along the waist. OWB carry is just as popular with urban carry permit holders as it is with hunters and range officers.
The market is littered with products, most good but some bad and there’s never been a better time to purchase holsters. Here are a few of the best owb holsters for concealed carry as well as some tips and tricks to make sure that you are using it the best way you can.
- Why Use an OWB Holster?
- Concealed Carrying an OWB Holster
- Pancake Vs Paddle Holster
- Kydex vs Polymer vs Leather OWB Holster
- Top 7 Best OWB Holster on the Market
- Reasons to Own an OWB Holster
- The Importance of Having a Good Belt for OWB Holsters
- How to Draw from an OWB Holster?
- How to Dress CCW an OWB Holster?
- How to Make the Most Out of Your OWB Holster - Tips & Tricks
- Final Verdict
Why Use an OWB Holster?
Using outside the waistband holster can be a tough sell. Especially these days with so many amazing inside the waistband holsters available. Outside the ways, been holsters are less concealable, require you to wear specialized clothing, and polymer wear and tear in your gun in the holster itself.
This is me that they don’t have their distinct advantage. They’re the most comfortable way to carry and allow you to carry much heavier and thicker guns then what normally would be possible. Especially for bigger guys, without a doubt outside the waistband carry is the most comfortable method.
Other than that, a faster draw and easier holstering are also very compelling reasons to carry OWB. For people with disabilities, arthritis or other special circumstances that make inside the waistband or even shoulder holster carry difficult, outside the waistband carry is a simple and effective substitute.
While outside the waistband carry certainly offers up a few challenges, always benefits for most people can be easily enjoyed with a little prior planning. Getting the most out of an outside the waistband holster is extremely easy once you buy the necessary clothing to comfortably and reliably hide your gun.
Concealed Carrying an OWB Holster
Concealed carrying outside the waistband holster essentially means covering it up from Plainview. While most people who carry OWB for concealed carry don’t necessarily care as much as people who carry inside the waistband or a shoulder holster, you should still meet all local laws and expectations for concealed carry.
It’s no secret that in some parts of the country concealed carry is much more common than others. If you’re in an area that is very openly pro-gun like in Southeast or West, showing the bottom of your holster and light printing isn’t going to be nearly as offensive as if you were to do the same in California or Massachusetts.
For the most part, all you need to do is obscure the outline and contents of your holster from Plainview. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be completely and covertly disguised, just hard to see. Many people get wrapped around the axle bow printing, showing the very bottom tip of the holster, or even the bulge that the holster causes a long your waist.
As long as you are complying with all local laws and regulations concerning concealed carry, don’t worry too much about concealed carrying OWB. The vast majority people who are looking at you won’t notice, and a very few that do will most likely be concealed carriers themselves. Even if a person does notice some printing or the tip of your holster, nowhere in the United States does this count as brandishing a firearm.
It bothers you, use a holster with active retention and wear a jacket. These are the two biggest things you can do to make sure you won’t be the victim of a gun grab and no one will see your gun in the first place.
Pancake Vs Paddle Holster
The two largest designs for owb holsters are pancake and paddle holsters. The differences between the two largely comes down to personal preference and what you want your holster to do for you. Here’s a breakdown of each type and how to know which owb holster is best for you.
Pancake style holsters are holsters that have belt loops either directly behind or in line with the body of the holster. They’re meant to be threaded onto your belt and attach as close to your body as possible. These holsters are great if you are going to wear your gun all day, and are not particularly worried how long it takes you get your gun on and off.
Pancake holsters are vastly superior for concealed carry because they offer the slimmest profile of all owb holsters. Usually made from two pieces of material sandwich together with the belt loops built into those two pieces, they are then and flexible to distribute the weight of your gun along your belt line rather than concentrating it on one spot.
The only real downside to these holsters is how long it takes them to get on and off. You have to remove your belt halfway, thread it through the holster put the belt back on.
Paddle holsters are common for people who take their guns on and off throughout the day. These holsters rather than having belt loops utilize a large piece of material that attaches to the body of the holster that is used to slide inside your waistband and act as an anchor.
This is helpful for making sure that you can slide your holster on and off easily, but a bad idea if you’re going to wear your holster all day and conceal carry. Many people find these holsters to be uncomfortable because the large piece of paddle can be bulky and chafe against your skin.
They also tend to not ride as high as pancake holsters and getting a high ride paddle holster is nearly impossible. This makes paddle holsters, along with their extra weight and bulk more difficult to conceal.
Kydex vs Polymer vs Leather OWB Holster
There’s essentially three main materials run into in the world of owb holsters. Kydex, leather and polymer designs dominate the market and comprise vast majority of holsters sold. They all have their advantages and disadvantages and here’s a quick breakdown of each type.
Kydex holsters dominate the market and every category exceptional holsters. When it comes outside the waistband holsters these are the cheapest, but also the type with the least amount of features. Kydex holsters can be extremely comfortable, or extraordinarily uncomfortable depending on your body type and how you choose to carry.
It’s not as simple as telling everybody run on by Kydex holster, but they are the most maintenance friendly and easiest to replace. They have the most amount of options on the market and just about every Kydex holster that is designed and made well is going perform equally as well as others. The small differences in Kydex manufacturers amount to differences in quality, adjustable features, and slight differences in workmanship.
Overall, you get what you pay for but most Kydex holsters cost about the same and you’re better off buying from a company that you enjoy rather than sticking to one that is supposedly, vastly superior than others.
Leather holsters of the most comfortable outside the waistband holster and are the most expensive. You can go all the way from mass-produce imported leather goods, all the way up to custom heirloom quality holsters that will last a lifetime. More so with a leather holsters any other type, you get what you pay for.
In this case, what you pay for is going to be a mix of comfort, quality, and durability. Because the vast majority of leather holsters on the market are handmade, imperfections or comments of buying from a well-known reputable manufacturer is strongly recommended.
Leather holsters while being the most comfortable are the least durable and will require the most amount of maintenance. Conditioning leather and keeping a clean and dry is going to go along way to not only keeping your holster in top condition but also making sure the holster is not holding moisture against your firearm rusting and ruining it.
Polymer holsters making of the market are different from Kydex holsters and that they are made from injection molded nylon, rather than thermoplastic. Kydex holsters are all made from sheets of plastic that are formed with heat to the shape of a gun whereas injection molded nylon is made specifically for raw material for each gun that is being sold.
Because of this, it’s very important that you buy the correct holster for your model gun. Some manufacturer stock dozens of different models for virtually every gun on the market, while others only cater to full size military and law-enforcement style pistols.
These holsters feature the most amount of active retention, adjustability, and cost the most. They are often the book is to heaviest but are the most durable and are easy to find. These holsters are excellent for duty and open carry use because you can get active retention mechanisms added to the holsters, but are extraordinarily difficult to conceal carry with.
Top 7 Best OWB Holster on the Market
1 Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB Paddle Holster
Alien gear is most known for their innovative and comfortable inside the waistband holsters. This is their best outside the waistband paddle holster that is perfect for concealed carry. Designed as a lightweight low-profile carry holster, this holster has excellent retention and adjustability than just about anyone can use.
This holster is flexible enough to be comfortable to use, but distribute and supports the weight of your pistol well enough that was small guns like a Smith & Wesson shield or even a Glock 19 you won’t even notice.
The only downside this holster is the durability and bulkiness of the powder design. Because this holster was designed to be as easy as possible to get on and off, making it perfect for fat guys, the portion of the holster that attaches the paddle to the body of the holster is both bulky and has questionable durability. Other than that, this is an ideal of the waistband holster for concealed carry or open carry.
2 Bravo Concealment Outside the WaistBand BCA Gun Holster
Few companies in the firearms industry can hold a candle to Bravo concealment. They make some the finest production Kydex holsters available. Each and every one of their products has the fit and finish of a custom holster.
This is their most common, and best outside the waistband holster made for both concealed and open carry. The benefits of this holster clear, it is very low-profile with excellent fit and finish the most other holsters cannot achieve. However, this holster is much more expensive than other options on the market and for Kydex holster, it is a bit pricey.The adjustable retention, adjustable belt loops, and overall design are extremely well executed and this holster is the very top of most reviewers recommendation list. If you are inclined spend type of money on this holster, especially for Kydex model, you can’t go wrong with an outside waistband holster from Bravo concealment.
3 R&R Holsters OWB Kydex Holster
Most people think Kydex holsters, they think of value and durability. R&R holsters makes this holster is a classic Kydex outside the waistband holster that is perfect for people who are looking for a cheap holster or experimenting with outside the waistband carry.
The best thing about this holster is that you can get off the shelf. It has decent quality and is an excellent value that you don’t have to wait several weeks for. Custom Kydex manufacturers will be able to put out a higher quality product, with more bells and whistles but will not be able to have it in stock year-round like R&R holsters does.
If there’s a downside, this holster is slightly bulky compared to other models and has a bit more material around the belt loops and edges of the holster but is not uncomfortable for outside the waistband carry. There is also not enough retention to reliably open carry for most people. For hiking or hunting with a pistol, this holster has plenty of retention.
You can’t go wrong with this holster from R&R for a budget friendly outside the waistband Kydex holster.
4 Taurus Millennium G2 Paddle Holster
Injection molded nylon holsters are synonymous with outside the waistband carry. Especially models featuring active retention found on many military style holsters. This holster is a combination of military and civilian style holster that is perfect for open carry or hunting.
This is a heavy-duty, but lightweight holster that is available for just about any compactor full-size gun on the market. You won’t find this holster from the small guns like the Glock 43, maybe for smaller guns like a Glock 26, but larger guns a Glock 23 are extremely easy to find.
This is largely a plain jane holster that has an active retention mechanism, the disengages of your thumb, clean molding lines and a cheap price tag. This is the perfect holster for anyone looking for a very basic way to carry the gun but is going to put up with the lack and refinement that this holster provides.
5 1791 GUNLEATHER 3-WAY SIG P938 Holster
If you prefer a leather holster, but don’t want to pay the high price that custom makers or high dollar brands command, is the perfect holster for you. Leather holsters are some of the best for comfort, and outside the waistband, carry can get uncomfortable if you’re bigger guy or petite female that has trouble concealing a firearm.
The leather that makes up his holster as high-quality but is plenty malleable so that it hugs both the curse of your firearm for good retention, but also molds to the shape of your hip for concealment. For people who are looking for an open carry holster, try a different one. Other than the national retention from the leather, there isn’t enough retention this holster for you to be able to reliably open carry.
The only downside this holster, other than the maintenance of the leather would need, is the durability of the stitching. Some people have reported a short service life with his holster. This is the perfect holster for small guns like a S&W Shield or a Ruger Lc9 and other small guns like a S&W bodyguard or even mid sized guns like a Sig p239 or a Springfield XDs.
Taking into account the cost, this is a perfect holster for anyone looking for a comfortable outside the waistband leather holster for cheap.
6 Galco Combat Master OWB Holster
Galco is one of the largest, and finest also manufactures in the world. They stock dozens of holsters, that fit hundreds of guns and ammunition carrying components that you can bet your life on.
The best and primary reason to buy this holster is that it provides extremely comfortable exceptional quality that can be had right off the rack. Few other leather holsters in the world provide the same level of quality and comfort that this holster does, and all of them are custom.
Galco is known for having exceptional quality control and all their products are made in the United States. This holster, in particular, is handmade and while it is more expensive than almost every other outside the waistband option and it does require maintenance to keep it in top shape, is well worth it if you prefer a leather holster.
7 BLACKHAWK Omnivore MultiFit Holster
While BLACKHAWK is a major producer of military style holsters, but only recently began producing holsters with conceal carry in mind. This is one of their best outside the waistband holsters that allows you to utilize any pistol that has a picatinny rail.
Most autoloading pistols have a picatinny rail mounted underneath the barrel these days. BLACKHAWK has specifically designed this holster for those pistols by designing a mechanism that latches onto a piece of plastic that attaches to your handguns picatinny rail.
This means that literally any pistol with a picatinny rail, including some revolvers and specialty guns like H&K Vp9 and USP, can be used inside this holster. There are models produce for both light bearing and plain pistols and the holster is built around a thumb break active retention system.
This is a great holster made from injection molded nylon that is durable enough to use day in and day out as an outside the waistband carry holster and is great for open carry because of its active retention. If you carry multiple guns or want a hard shell conceal carry holster there’s none better than this one from BLACKHAWK.
Reasons to Own an OWB Holster
Many people conceal carry, day in and day out use an inside the waistband holster, or other deep concealment method and don’t ever consider the reasons to own an OWB holster. Other than the fact that is extremely comfortable way carry, there are some utility reason to your own an OWB holster.
The Importance of Having a Good Belt for OWB Holsters
Having the right belt for owb carry isn’t optional. Having the right kind of belt for concealed carry means having the right level of thickness, and flexibility. Using a belt that is stiff enough to support the weight for your gun is very important.
Hanks Gunner - Concealed Carry CCW Leather Gun Belt
This gun belt from Hanks gunner is one of the best gun belts on the market, especially for CCW because it walks the fine line between support and comfort that many belts pick one side of.
In the world of belts design for concealed carry, you have belts that are extraordinarily stiff and uncomfortable and you have belts that are not stiff enough and flop around but are very comfortable to wear all day. This belt made from 100% genuine leather with a heavy-duty buckle is perfect because it is thick enough to support the weight of most any gun you will be carrying in an OWB holster but thin enough that it doesn’t feel like you have a band of steel wrapped around your waist.
Overall, having the proper belt for concealed carry means that you won’t have to worry about your gun constantly shifting or flopping around as you move about in your daily life it having the proper belt holster combination also means that you are assured adequate retention on your gun and a consistent draw stroke because it will always be in the same place.
Look for a high-quality belt like this one from Hanks gunner but make sure you’re going to be able to use it. If you have a job where you have to wear a suit every day, a Velcro and nylon belt is not going to be useful every day. Get a belt that you like, and make sure you have it on you all the time.
How to Draw from an OWB Holster?
Drawing from an OWB holster can be tricky. It’s extremely important that you master safely and effectively drawing your weapon from concealment, or from open before you carry it. Most self-inflicted gunshot wounds occur during drawing and re-holstering, make sure to get in several dozen reps with a dummy gun or an unloaded pistol before you try it with the real thing.
The use of a holster is not technically get difficult but does require some training. Here is a quick video to illustrate how to draw from an outside the waistband holster.
How to Dress CCW an OWB Holster?
If you’re going to use an OWB holster on a regular basis, you’re going to want to buy a few pieces of clothing that can act as an outer garment. To concealed carrying outside the waistband holster you’re going to need a jacket, or long shirt that can be worn untucked that extends at least three or 4 inches below your belt.
This will you plenty of material to prevent printing or revealing your gun if you have to reach for something above your head. In most states printing or accidentally revealing your firearm does not constitute a crime but can lead to some awkward social situations.
Carrying outside the waistband is much more comfortable than carrying inside the waistband but does come with less security and the need to plan what you’re wearing out more closely.
How to Make the Most Out of Your OWB Holster - Tips & Tricks
Concealed carry is not just about having the equipment, you have to have the knowledge to successfully and safely carry gun. Here are a few lessons learned from the field when it comes specifically to OWB holsters.
Math Your Holster to Your Outfit
Match the holster to your outfit. With inside the waistband carry you can get away with using Kydex or nylon with any attire. However, when it comes to OWB carry you are going to want to match the holster to the level of dress that you are wearing. For example, you don’t want to wear a tactical style belt holster with the suit.
Even if you do a great job of concealment, there’s still a chance that the very bottom portion of your holster will be visible and if that holster matches the level of dress that you are wearing, it is more likely to be mistaken for a cell phone case or other accessory, rather than a gun.
When in doubt, a simple black leather holster goes with just about anything and you never have to worry about it looking specifically like a firearm. Many people use leather pouches or other accessories that can look like your holster to the untrained eye.
Match Your Belt to Your Belt Loops
When you are buying your holster, make sure to match the belt loop size to not only your belt but also the pant you will be wearing. Most genes will accommodate up to a 2 inch belt, whereas many suits will only accommodate an inch and a half wide belt. This makes a big difference when you draw quickly or with a heavy gun.
Pay extra close attention to the size of the belt loops and make sure that you are planning to use everything in conjunction. Outside the waistband, holsters are much more susceptible to these problems than other holsters.
Wear Longer Garments
If you are going to be concealed carrying with an outside the waistband holster, wear longer shirts. That doesn’t necessarily mean or the Messiah stops that they are too baggy, which can be a dead giveaway to people who are trained to look for concealed firearms.
Rather, look for styles of shirts that are meant to be worn untucked or wear a jacket. This will give you a few extra inches to cover up your belt and the very bottom of your holster even if you have to raise your arms or bend at the waist to reach for something.
Get Rid of “Extras” on Your Clothing
The clothing that you wear to go with your outside the waistband holster is almost as important as the holster itself. The clothing that you’re wearing should be thought of as an extension of the holster. One of the biggest problems of people run into is wearing an outer garment to conceal an OWB holster and having small toggles for shock cord adjustment along the bottom hem of their coat or shirt.Get rid of anything that dangles in and around your holster while wearing this garment. Inevitably, the small toggle, shock cord or other piece of debris is going to find its way in your holster and cause a negligent discharge, or worse prevents you from drawing your gun when you need it.
Whether you are concealed carrying for the first time, or you switching to an outside the waistband holster after years of experience, this is an excellent carry method that you can make good use of. Everyone should own outside the waistband holster for each firearm they have, if for no other reason then it’s very handy to have at the range.
You can’t go wrong with any of the models listed here, or any of the other holsters made by these manufacturers. Just make sure that you get your hands on the best owb holster that you can afford based on your specific situation, and use it.
The best holster in the world doesn’t do you any good if it’s at home when you need it.