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From novice to an expert: Ultimate Guide to OWB holstersIf you are an experienced carrier as me, responsibility and comfort are your prirorities. As a Falco holsters employee I get to try various carry options. Thank to that I know, that OWB holsters are an excellent option when you are looking for accesibility and comfort.They are not only a perfect fit for my needs. They are a „go to“ holster for law enforcement, military personnel, and of course civilian gun owners. In the paragraps below you´ll learn why.

Custom - Made Pancake OWB  Holster
Custom - Made Pancake OWB Holster

Introduction to OWB Holsters: What is an OWB Holster?

OWB holsters, which stand for 'Outside the Waistband', have become a popular choice for both law enforcement and civilian carriers, especially for those who prioritize gun holster OWB usage.

The definition of the best OWB holster often revolves around a balance of essential factors:

  • Comfort – because the gun is carried off the body, and there is no inside printing
  • Ease of access – shortest drawing time
  • and the ability to conceal effectively - it is important to choose the right gun holster for your personal needs

For revolver enthusiasts, OWB revolver holsters are specifically tailored to fit the unique shape and size of revolvers, ensuring a secure and custom fit. For example, on the holster shown below, you may notice that the thumb safety is released with the index finger and not with the thumb as standard.

Revolver OWB Holster with Retention Strap
Revolver OWB Holster with Retention Strap

A significant aspect of Falco OWB gun holsters is their customizable nature, with many designs offering adjustable retention and cant angles to suit individual preferences. In addition to the above, you can also choose from Falco's following custom options:

  • Leather Underlay – the second layer of leather. Makes the holster gentler on your gun's surface. The holster made with the leather underlay is more firm. I do not recommend this option if the gun has high/ tritium sights or sharp edges.
  • Retention Screw – with such an option you can control the amount of force needed to draw the firearm. You can use this option even if you carry the holster as a concealed carry but also at the shooting range. To make it easier to pull out of the holster, loosen the retention screw.
  • Sweat Guard – the piece of leather that separates the body from the firearm. It makes the gun carry more comfortable and holstering quicker and easier.
  • Preferred holster feature – trigger guard preference. This custom option includes two possible ways – a fully covered trigger guard or a good grip of the firearm. Neither option is bad, you just need to know what you will use the holster for in order to choose the right one.
  • Holsters Initials Embossing – Falco will emboss you the 5 letters of your choice on the front or rare side of the holster, so you won't mistake your holster for someone else's.
  • Laser Engraving of the Simple Image - Engraving a holster with a specific logo or image can hold sentimental value, perhaps commemorating a special event, achievement, or remembering a loved one.

It's a versatile type of holster that can be made from various materials like:

Leather OWB Holsters

Among the various styles, leather holster OWB designs are particularly renowned for their durability and classic aesthetic, making them a favorite among traditionalists. Modern OWB leather holsters have evolved to combine the timeless appeal of leather with advanced design features, enhancing functionality without sacrificing style.

OWB Holsters Made of Nylon 

Their adjustable features allow for a comfortable fit, catering to a wide range of firearm sizes. The affordability and practical design of nylon OWB holsters make them a popular choice for both novice and experienced firearm carriers. Another reason why customers often reach for nylon holsters is the universal size that fits several models.

Nylon OWB Cross Draw holster
Nylon OWB Cross Draw holster

Kydex Outside of the Waistband Holsters

Kydex OWB holsters are highly valued for their robust and slim profile, providing a secure and snug fit for firearms. Made from a thermoplastic material, these holsters maintain their shape under varying temperatures, ensuring consistent firearm retention. Kydex holsters are specifically (gun specific) made according to the exact customer’s requirements. Once the holster is made it won´t fit any other gun that the one ordered for.

Hybrid (Leather & Kydex) Belt Holsters

Hybrid OWB holsters combine the durability of materials like Kydex with the comfort of leather, offering a best-of-both-worlds solution for firearm carriers. These holsters provide the sturdy retention of Kydex while the leather backing ensures comfort against the body. Nowadays, hybrid holsters are becoming more and more popular among shooters, as they are a great choice for an EDC gun.

OWB holsters can come in different styles of attachment, such as those with

  • belt loops
  • belt tunnels,
  • or paddle attachments.

Paddle Holster OWB with open bottom
Paddle Holster OWB with open bottom

    Lesson III.: OWB Holsters benefits

    • Easy to Put on and Take Off: Unlike IWB holsters, you can attach or remove OWB holsters from your belt more easily.
    • Comfortable to Wear: They sit outside your pants, offering a more comfortable carry, especially if you spend long hours seated. If this is your case I definetely recommend a cross-draw holster.
    • Quick Access to Your Firearm: OWB holsters provide faster draw times, which is crucial in defensive situations.

    Lesson IV.: Choose the Right OWB Holster

    Understanding what OWB holsters mean is essential in choosing the right style for your carrying needs, blah, blah, blah...

    You are right! Let´s get to something practical. In the next paragraphs I explain several key factors, you have to keep in mind to ensure you´ll get comfort, accessibility, and safety in one holster. To select the best OWB holster, you must must consider the materialfit, retention capabilities, your carry style and design.

    For example: For 9mm firearm owners, a 9mm gun holster specifically designed for your weapon is crucial for a secure fit. If you are a left-handed shooter and you carry a revolver you should look for left-handed revolver holsters that answer to the specific draw style.

    Considering Carry Style:

    Whether you prefer concealed or open carry, there's an OWB holster to suit your needs. For example, a leather OWB holster can offer a classic look for open-carry.

    Other carry styles of the holsters are:

    SOB (small of back) holster: In this case you wear your holster at 6 o'clock. Excellent for wearing during the summer, a longer T-shirt easily covers a holster

    Pancake-style holster: two pieces of material sewn together to craft a flat-type case

    Lower on belt-style holster: readily accessible and free in movement, yet challenging to conceal 

    Cross-draw Holster: a great option for sedentary activities such as driving 

      Design of the OWB Holster: 

      Attachment style: You can choose from holsters with belt loops, belt tunnel designs for extra stability, or paddle holsters for ease of removal.

      Optics ready: Characterized by optics cut. If you choose an optics ready holster from us at Falco, such a holster is immediately adapted for high sights (up to .32")

      Light bearing holster/ WML holster: a holster customized for the combination of weapon and light. Falco has most of the required models covered, such as:

      Surefire X300U, XC1, X400U, XSC for Sig Sauer P365

      Olight PL-Mini, Baldr S, Baldr Pro, Valkyrie PL-2, ..

      Streamlight TLR 1, TLR 8, TLR 8A, TLR 7 Sub, TLR 9,..

      Nightstick TCM-550XL, TWM-850XL, TWM-30, TSM-12G, ...

      Viridian C5L-R Red Laser,  X5L GEN 2 Green Laser,  X5L GEN 3 Green Laser, Viridian E-Series Laser,...

      Crimson Trace 204, 201, 206, 208, 207, LG-412 HBT Laserguard, ..

      Fenix Light GL06, GL06-365, GL19R, GL22

      Inforce WILD 2, WILD 1

      Lesson V.: Carry Your Holster Comfortably and Safely  

      Here I´ve got a few tips on how to maximize comfort and ensure safety while carrying an OWB holster:

      Choose the Right Belt: A belt that´s sturdy is a holster worthy. A sturdy belt provides a necessary support for your holster and firearm. Such a belt consists of double layers of robust leather. Its material and hues harmonize with the gun holster, forming an aesthetically pleasing and practical pairing. Find more in our BLOG.

      Sturdy CCW Leather Gun Belt
      Sturdy CCW Leather Gun Belt

      Position the Holster Correctly: Placement on your waist can affect comfort and accessibility. Experiment with different positions to find what works best for you. The most popular outside-of-waistband holster position nowadays is 3 o´clock, SOB.

      Use a Cover Garment: Especially for concealed carry, a cover garment can help conceal your OWB concealed carry holster. Think carefully about what holster you need for your purposes. Next, think about the situations you will find yourself in during the day and adapt your choice accordingly.

      Additional Tips/ FAQ on OWB Holsters

      Maintaining Your OWB Holster: 

      Regular maintenance is key, especially for leather (OWB) holsters. Keep leather conditioned to prevent drying and cracking. Read more here: BLOG.
      For synthetic materials like Kydex, periodic cleaning with mild soap and water is sufficient.

      Customizing for Better Fit and Comfort: 

      Many gun owners opt for custom holster OWB solutions for a perfect fit. Custom holsters can be tailored to your body shape, gun model, and personal style preferences.
      Consider OWB holster leather options for a blend of tradition and customizability.

      Safety Precautions: 

      Always practice safe firearm handling, especially when holstering and holstering your gun.
      Ensure the holster for a 9 mm or any other firearm is designed with safety features like trigger guard covers. With Falco, you can choose between two designs of the trigger guard - one adjusted for a fully covered trigger guard, the second perfectly developed for quick draw.

      What does OWB Holster Mean in terms of concealment?

      OWB holster meaning encompasses a range of styles. While traditionally not as concealable as IWB holsters, many OWB holsters for concealed carry are designed to sit close to the body for effective concealment under a jacket or shirt.

      Are OWB Holsters Suitable for All-Day Wear?

      Yes, many find OWB holsters to be the most comfortable OWB holster option for extended periods, especially when paired with a good belt and positioned correctly.

      Can OWB Holsters Be Customized for Specific Firearms?

      Absolutely. Custom owb holster options are available for almost any firearm, including specialized models like a Smith and Wesson L frame holster or 9mm Luger holster.

      What are the best materials for OWB holsters?

      The best OWB holster material depends on personal preference. Leather OWB holsters offer a classic look and feel, while materials like Kydex provide durability and a modern aesthetic.

      How do I Choose the Best OWB Holster for Conceal Carry?

      Look for slim designs, such as the best OWB concealment holster, which are intended to minimize printing. The best OWB concealed carry holster is one that balances comfort, accessibility, and discretion.

      OWB holster with optics cut
      OWB holster with optics cut

      Are there OWB holsters for left-handed shooters?

      Yes, left-handed OWB holster options are widely available, catering to the ergonomic needs of left-handed shooters.

      If you reading this, you should be an expert on OWB holsters, or you should be at least able to make the right choice for you. Understanding the nuances of OWB holsters is essential if you want to carry a firearm comfortably and responsibly. From the variety of designs like belt holsters, and revolver belt holsters, to specific types like 9mm pistol holsters or custom holsters OWB, there's a lot to consider.

      With the vast array of options available, the best OWB holsters stand out by providing a reliable, comfortable, and discreet method of carrying firearms. Whether for professional use or personal defense, choosing the right OWB holster can significantly enhance your carrying experience.

      Note: This mine article is intended to be informative and is based on extensive experience and research in the field of firearms and holsters. Always prioritize safety and legal compliance when carrying a firearm.

      Author: Veronika Mojzisova
      Date: November 20th, 2023