OWB carry

OWB Carry

What does the abbreviation stand for? What are the Pros & Cons of carrying OWB holsters? Why does they fit amongst most popular types? What possibilities does this system offer us? These and even more questions will be answered below.  

Kydex is the most popular material for the holsters.

“The gun carry is limited by the authorization of the shooter “

OWB is the abbreviation of” Outside the Waist Band “, It stands for outside gun carry system-the holster is attached to the belt from the outside. The OWB holsters always belonged and will belong to the most favorite holster designs.

OWB allows to carry styles. Open, and concealed. In certain countries the lawsuit does not allow open Gun Carry except at the shooting rage or sport contests. However, the concealed carry OWB holsters brings some negatives to the table, that we will talk about.

It is usually special forces who use the OWB carry.

The Greatest Advantages

- Greater wearing comfort. The gun is placed further from the body what eliminates the pressure on your skin.

- The Gun Draw. There is no significant difference between drawing from an IWB or OWB (under the same condition of keeping your gun under the shirt)

- Various possibilities. Unlike IWB or Shoulder Rigs, the OWB category offers a wide range of material and design options.  

- Safety. It is the gun user that defines safety and the gun draw and re-holstering rely on the training.  Although, the re-holstering while using OWB is easier, because they provide more comfortable movement zone. Plus, while with IWB holsters the gun points at your lower body, the OWB holsters have the gun pointing away from you.

Leather holsters offer a great variability and can be worn in different angles.

The Greatest Disadvantages

- Psychological Effects. You need to realize that the concealed carry is difficult, especially during Summer. If you only wear a shirt or light jacket, the gun is much more visible. This brings up the question if you want to show that you are carrying a gun. There are two sides to the problematic. This might discourage the aggressor, but if he nevertheless decides to attack you, he will be aware of the gun you carry, and the attack will be that much stronger.

- Gun Draw. In Winter, while wearing a buttoned coat, any gun draw is problematic, but the OWB holster will cost you more effort than IWB one.

How to choose an ideal OWB?

Honestly? There is no ideal holster. The choice depends on individual needs and requirements of a person that carries a gun, and from the occasions in which the gun Is needed. The most ideal is a combination of several gun holsters. At least one OWB holster per gun is advised. If you want to choose the best solution for you, answer the following questions:

Nylon is the most versatile material.
  1. What material?

As we mentioned before, OWB holsters belong to the most popular ones, and so there exist a lot of material and design variations. Amongst the commonly used you find Leather, Kydex and Nylon. So naturally this will by your first question to answer.

Leather – a traditional material for holster production. These holsters are long lasting and firm. Plus, they are gentle not only to the weapon but also to your skin. Leather holsters are not only functional, but also aesthetical. If you take care of such a holster from time to time, it will serve you for years.

Nylon – in comparison to leather, Nylon offers different advantages. It is lighter, more resistant to abrasion, offers higher sweat resistance- all of this while staying soft and comfortable to wear.

Kydex – is a current trend in holster producing. Kydex holsters are compact, light, firm, long lasting and water and abrasion resistant. They are self-retaining and hold the gun in fixed position, allowing amazingly fast gun draw.

The drawing from our Kydex holster is the fastest.
  1. Lock

Another question is whether to opt for a lock. In most cases you will see various thumb-breaks (straps connected by a button, broken by a thumb), trigger locks (manual lock holding the trigger guard of a gun, released by pushing). In some holster designs the retention screw might be incorporated, to regulate the force of resistance while drawing.  

Left: Holster with a thumb-break, Right: Holster with a security lock

Belt Attachment

Commonly used belt attachment styles are belt loop. Steel clip, and occasionally tuckable system, allowing you to tuck your shirt in front of a holster and a gun. The wider the holster is, the better it sits on the belt and shapes around the body. Especially important think Is choosing the right belt. The belt widths of 1.5” and 2” are the most often used standards. The belts are commonly made from Leather, Neoprene, Nylon or different variations, for example Nylon reinforced with plastic. 

Left: Holster with a paddle attachment, Right: Belt look combined with a clip
  1. Holster Design

Everyone has a different taste. That is why choosing a holster type is very individual. In every case, the especially important is to have the holster custom made for your specific gun. For the effective gun draw it is essential to take a correct grip of the weapon, so the holster must be made in a way that holds the gun in the right position. If the holster is not designed well, the wrong gun grip might cost you time and make your self-defense ineffective.

  1. Carry Style

OWB holsters offer the 3 common Carry Styles:

Different positions for carrying on your belt.
  • a) Cross Draw

Carrying a gun on the left hip and drawing across your body is not effective in Self-defense, because of the long trajectory the gun must follow, this prolongate the time needed for Gun Draw.  Also, if somebody blocks your primary hand, drawing the gun with your left hand in this case is almost impossible. The main potential of this carry style is while driving, or at work.

  • b) On the Hip

The most practical and common carry style for OWB holsters. The gun usually sits in 90° angle to the belt. Of course, the carry is possible under different angles too, according to your individual needs and requirements. Every person has different biomechanics and so the ideal tilt varies accordingly. With this carry style, the hand falls straight at the grip of a gun and the gun draw is simple.  

  • c) Small of The Back

Stands for carrying gun further on the back and slightly tilted. The further to back the gun is carried, the bigger the tilt must be, to enable smooth gun draw. This carry style offers the best gun concealment but is less comfortable and far from ideal concerning the Self-defense. In a case of unexpected physical attack, you cannot reach your back to draw a gun. Moreover, mostconflicts end on the ground, making the gun draw from this position impossible.  In fact, the gun might be easily taken from you. The only potential of small of the back carry is while wearing a suit or unzipped jacket.  

Left: Holster without a Sweat-guard, Reft: Holster with a Sweat-guard.
  1. Sweat Guard

Sweat Guard is almost a standard for all IWB holsters, it is a prolongated rear part of the holster, reaching up to the hammer of a gun.  Its main purpose is to create a barrier between the gun and your skin. Also, it keeps the moisture and oils away from your skin or shirt. However, with certain gun designs the sweat guard might not be comfortable during the longer carrying periods.


The final advice. If you just plan buying your EDC, consider its size and weight. It is recommended to keep at least one OWB holster for each gun of yours. The price-quality ratio is present, although it is a quality you can rely on every time. Yu need to be sure that the gun is always in the place where it is supposed to be.

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