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Leather What is OWB Holster? A Complete Guide 2024

  • 6 min read

OWB, or Outside the Waistband holsters, are comfortable and reliable ways of carrying a firearm. This holster style allows you to carry your gun and gain access to it immediately and securely. Shooters and armed professionals who don't want to carry their weapons discreetly benefit immensely from OWB holsters. This style is also ideal for those who wish to carry a larger gun for a prolonged period.

As a one-stop destination for premier leather holsters in the United States, Wright Leather Works offers a variety of OWB holsters molded to fit your specific gun model. Today, in this blog, we'll explain OWB holsters in complete detail.
Outside the Waistband Holsters: A Stylish Choice

OWB Holster - A Broad Overview

As the name suggests, OWB holster is a concealed carry setup worn outside your waistband, usually attached to a belt. You carry the gun through the holster on your strong side, which is at the hip. So you will feel the weapon under your hand when it's time to draw. In contrast to IWB or the Inside-the-Waistband carry style, OWB holsters prevent the gun from contacting your body or allow minimal contact. This is a classic way of carrying a pistol. To date, OWB remains one of the most comfortable carrying methods that allows easy access when needed.

What Are the Advantages of OWB Carry Style?

OWB carry style offers several advantages, including increased comfort, accessibility, and safety. Let's explain them in detail.

1. Comfort

Regardless of the size of the pistol, OWB imparts greater comfort. The holster dispenses the weapon's weight evenly and guarantees an easy carry experience for an extended time daily. Also, for plus-sized women and men, the OWB carry style proves more comfortable than IWB as the weapon does not press against the body. You can carry the gun securely without adjusting it frequently.

2. Ease of Access

OWB holsters feel comfortable when you are seated in a vehicle. The holster makes the gun accessible around a seat belt. You don't need to find it by putting your hands under the clothing. This easy accessibility also leads to fast drawing. So, the OWB carry style is perfect when you are more often in an environment where the ability to access the firearm, draw quickly, and shoot swiftly is paramount.

3. Safety and Security

OWB style is often the first way concealed carriers learn during training. This is because carrying a weapon outside the waistband with minimal contact with your body in controlled environments is much safer. If an accidental discharge occurs, the probability of getting hurt will be lower in this carry style. Also, faster access to the pistol and quicker draw times make OWB carry a highly safe option. Wright Leather Works further prioritizes your safety and crafts OWB-style holsters that allow for one-handed re-holstering. There's no need to open the holster mouth with your support hand.

Can You Conceal Carry With an OWB Holster?

It is not entirely impossible to conceal-carry an OWB holster. By making some adjustments, you can minimize the visibility of the gun. Here are some ways to carry concealed with an OWB holster.

  • Choose a holster with a slim profile or streamlined design. At Wright Leather Works, you can find a variety of OWB holsters that conform to the shape of the gun and minimize printing.
  • Use a sturdy gun belt to keep the gun safe and steady, keeping the holster high on the waistline.
  • Wear loose clothing to conceal the gun and the holster. Some examples include a light jacket, loose-fitting or untucked shirt, or a vest.
  • Carry compact handguns in OWB style. They are easier to disguise than a larger handgun.

Major Types of OWB Holsters

Wright Leather Works: Your Source for Premium OWB Holsters

Pancake, paddle, and belt slide are the major types of OWB holsters. Pancake holster has two pieces of material attached. Your gun goes between the two pieces. They are slim holsters in which the sewn material makes a flat pouch. The pouch is held against your body.

Paddle holsters are constructed to match your gun's dimensions. They have a paddle that holds your holster securely. Through a paddle-style clip that tucks inside your waistband, you can wear and take them off your waist without the need to remove the belt.

Belt slide holsters are designed for those who want to slide their belt right through the holster. They have a sleeve of material through which you push the gun's muzzle. This style of OWB holster keeps the muzzle open. It is a much more discreet type of OWB holster.

Best Positions for OWB Carry

There are no specific OWB carry positions. You can try 3 to 6 o'clock positions or event cross-draw or 10-11 o'clock if that feels comfortable.

  • 3 o'clock or strong-side carry - It is the most common OWB position. The 3 o'clock is for right-handed users, while it is 9 o'clock for left-handed users. It is not a concealed carry position since your gun in the holster is right above your hip. But it facilitates rapid access to the pistol.
  • 4-5 o'clock or kidney carry - Kidney carry is seven to eight o'clock for left-handed shooters. It has a forward cant, and your weapon is right behind your hip. The position is ideal for OWB carrying compact guns.
  • 5-6 o'clock or small of back carry - This position is 6-7 o'clock for left-handed shooters. You place the gun almost in line with your spine. Although this position offers the advantage of concealability, it is unsafe. Additionally, this OWB carry position makes it challenging to draw the gun fast, as you need to reach behind your back.
  • 10-11 o'clock or cross-draw carry - In cross-draw carry, you wear the holster on the side of the body, which is not dominant, for example, in front of the hip. For lefties, this position is 1-3 o'clock. If you carry in a right-hand cross-draw holster, it will sit on your left hip. The opposite of it is also true. This OWB carries position needs practice because reaching across your body with your dominant shooting hand can be a bit time-consuming.

How to Ensure Optimal OWB Carry?

OWB-carry is hands-down one of the most comfortable and safest ways of concealed carrying your pistol. However, you must follow certain best practices to get the most benefits.

A. Have a Strong Concealed Carry Belt

A robust leather belt holds the holster steady and securely to your body. It also creates space between your body and clothing, which, in turn, gives concealability. While investing in a strong leather belt, be sure to have high-quality, stretchable tactical pants.

B. Hold the Holster up Without Sagging

While carrying a weapon in a holster, you aim to grip it firmly when needed. If you sag or flop down, it will prevent you from securely holding and gripping the firearm tightly. This will prevent you from drawing it smoothly and shooting the target.

C. Wear the Holster to the Curve at Your Waist's Back

If you are concerned about concealment, keep the holster to the curve at the back of your waist. Securing an OWB carry holster in the curved parts rather than directly on the hips imparts concealability.

D. Train Properly

It is imperative to train yourself properly when using an OWB carry-style holster. The more you practice drawing the gun from different positions and using it, the better you will become at using the holster optimally. Besides, learn to shoot in different ways and positions wearing your holster.

Tips to Select the Perfect OWB Carry Holster

Keep in mind the following points while selecting an OWB holster.

1. Concealability

Although the OWB carry style is not particularly suitable for concealed carry, if you wish to maintain a discrete look, find a holster that allows for less printing. Wright Leather Works has holsters that align with the body's natural curves. This keeps the gun close to you and minimizes printing under clothing.

2. Positive Retention

Adequate, positive retention is crucial when choosing an OWB holster. The ideal retention secures the gun and facilitates quick access. The holster has natural retention if it is made from a precise molding process. The friction-fit retention does not feel too tight or too loose. You don't need to keep adjusting the holster. The retention thus enhances your security without any loss in accessibility.

3. Material of Construction

Find an OWB holster in a soft yet rigid material. The leather holsters at Wright Leather Works are a perfect balance between durability and comfort. Such a material does not experience damage. It gives rigidity to the weapon, while the smooth contours prevent the user from feeling uncomfortable.

The construction material should also be resistant to environmental factors and easy to maintain. Leather holsters in OWB styles are a perfect example of that.

4. Level of Comfort

Find bell-designed OWB holsters with no hard edges or poking points. You should be able to sit, bend, and perform daily activities without trouble. The holster should distribute the firearm's weight evenly. So you don't feel like you are carrying a load.

Concluding Words

OWB holsters are quite popular among armed professionals and military personnel because of the many advantages they provide. You can find three major varieties in them, all of which cater to different preferences of users who want to carry their guns openly. Wright Leather Works crafts custom leather holsters for different gun models. You just need to provide the specifications of your gun to get a perfectly fitting OWB-style leather holster with built-in retention. The customized design ensures enhanced safety, easy accessibility, and long-lasting comfort.

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