As more and more people have gotten concealed carry licenses over the past few years, many have figured out that inside the waistband carry is not always the best method. Many people find that carrying the gun inside the waistband leads to chafing, uncomfortable pressure against their skin, and ultimately leaving the gun at home where it is no use to anybody.
When most people think of a pistol holster it is normally an outside the waistband style holster that they would conjure up in their minds eye but now that inside the waistband holsters are so popular and easily accessible there are a lot of people who wouldn’t even consider an outside the waistband holster for concealed carry.
Obviously in States where open carry is permitted outside the waistband carry is fine, because of the popularity of outside the waistband carry most reputable manufacturers have at least a few products on offer but the market is also cluttered with sub par products aimed at airsofters and casual shooters.
Here are the five best owb holster and how to choose the best one for you. Whether you are concealed carrying, open carrying, or even hunting with your pistol, there is an option out there for you to carry outside the waistband comfortably and effectively.
Is OWB Safe or Concealable?
Many people fear carrying outside the waistband because they feel it leaves their gun more vulnerable than inside the waistband. While inside the waistband carry certainly makes it easier to conceal your weapon than outside the waistband, you’re at no more risk of a gun grab or assault as long as your gun is properly covered up.
Men who wear suits and women who wear overcoats should have no problem carrying a concealed firearm outside the waistband because they will already be wearing an outer garment that will cover up their guns.
Carrying outside the waistband in winter environments is also very easy. However in Summer or without a jacket or coat outside the waistband carry isn’t always a viable option for concealed carry.
If you are overly concerned about a gun grab or assault because someone sees your firearm consider using a holster that includes a mechanical retention device and doesn’t rely on just the friction of the holster to keep the firearm in place.
A retention holster has either a thumb snap or mechanical device that holds your gun in place, this does add an element of security to your holster but is a trade-off in the speed of your draw and you will need to train and practice with your holster to make sure you can draw fluently and smoothly.
Carefully consider how you are willing to dress and whether or not you want to carry concealed when choosing an outside the waistband holster.
Best OWB Holster on the Market Reviews
1 R&R HOLSTERS: OWB Kydex Holster
When it comes OWB holsters, you want to look for something that isn’t so large it will snag on everything you walk past or on your own clothing or kit. Anyone who has carried a firearm outside the waistband for an extended period will know that it is very easy to slam your pistol against door frames, car doors, and even damage furniture while you’re sitting so a small slim-line holster is preferable.
This OWB kydex pancake holster from R&R is a great example of a holster that is just big enough to do what it needs to yet small enough to be unobtrusive in your daily life. This is a solid holster that is well-made and will serve you well under all circumstances.
The clip included on the holster attaches securely to your belt but can can slide around laterally. There are no retention devices added to the holster but the friction fit around the gun is plenty to hold it in place during a jog or run.
Consider this best owb kydex holster if you are going to be carrying while wearing a suit or overcoat because it is low-profile enough to not print too badly, but is still big enough to hold your gun securely and distribute the weight evenly.
2 BLACKHAWK! Omnivore Multifit
When it comes outside the waistband carrying on a range, you want to have a holster that can accommodate many different guns, this is one of the new holsters from Blackhawk equipment and they have hit it out of the park with a holster called ‘Omnivore’.
Essentially, this is an active retention holster that is disengaged with a thumb button that locks onto a piece that you install on the rail of your gun. Any gun with an under barrel rail will fit in this holster well.
They even produce a model that can hold a pistol equipped with a tactical flashlight. It is a tad bulky and has an awkward draw, with a thumb activated retention system which takes a little getting used to but this single holster will fit many different guns, hence the ‘Omnivore’ name.
If you’re looking for a simple holster that will serve you well on the range or even in concealed carry, this is a great option.
3 Galco Cop 3 Slot Holster for Glock 17, 22, 31
Galco has been known as one of the best holster manufacturers for a long time. They do everything in-house from leather tanning to the assembly of their holsters. This is one of their oldest and most popular designs, a three-slot holster that is available for a wide variety of guns and carries outside the waistband.
The third slot on the design of the holster allows you to adjust the cant of the pistol to have a more comfortable draw stroke. The holster itself is made from a very high quality full grain leather that is tanned a matte black color.
Because this was designed for professional duty use, a thumb break retention strap is added that is easy to disengage with a flick of your thumb. The entire holster is extremely high-quality and you shouldn’t have any problems with it.
The holster is extremely comfortable overall with the leather flexing and bending as you move around and the thumb break takes care of any retention problems.
The holster does absorb sweat and water and you’ll have to keep the leather conditioned to avoid it deteriorating and beginning to smell. This is one of the best owb leather holster on the market for someone looking for a daily carry holster that is easy to live with.
4 Outlaw Holster Kryptek Typhon Kydex OWB Holster - for Glock 17, 19, 23...
If you’re looking for a more personalized and modern rendition of a handmade kydex holster, Outlaw Holsters has you covered with this Typhon pattern kydex holster.
Most civilian outside the waistband holsters are carried at the range or openly, so there is no need to go for a low key option if you're not trying to hide your firearm. This means that you can get a bit creative with customizable options, colours and accessories and this holster is a perfect option.
It features very new and modern-looking mandrake pattern camouflage but is also available in a wide variety of other patterns and colors. This holster is made from two pieces of kydex sandwich together with rivets and secured with two excellent belt loops.
While it’s very simple, this holster has an excellent amount of friction retention and rigidity and is well worth the price it is being sold for. The manufacturer makes these holsters for a huge number of guns. All of which carry the same levels of quality features and attention to detail that you need for a reliable concealed or open carry holster.
If you’re looking for a more personalized holster for outside the waistband carry but don’t need mechanical retention, this holster is an excellent option.
5 Blade-Tech Black Ice OWB Holster
Blade Tech offer some of the highest-quality kydex holsters on the market. This is one of their most popular designs. This is a supremely durable outside the waistband holster that is available for many different firearms.
This is a pretty unremarkable holster in terms of its appearance but the excellent quality sets it apart from the competition. The only downside to these holsters, especially in a concealed carry role, is how stiff they are. This is great for durability and supporting the weight of the gun, but can be a bit uncomfortable when carrying every day.
Every component of this holster is extremely high-quality and you shouldn’t have any problems with durability or concealment especially considering these holsters are matte black in color and finish. Blade Tech also has excellent customer service should you run into any problems.
Do You Need Retention?
Many people feel that active retention in the form of a mechanical retention device or strap on a holster is absolutely essential. While the added security can offer piece of mind you are missguided if you won’t consider a holster without active retention.
The retention provided just by friction or the ‘snap’ of a well fitting kydex holster is ample in many situations and a retention device won’t necessarily give you any significant added security. Additionally a mechanical retention device is another thing to learn and practice and train for and may slow you down in the heat of the moment should you ever need to use your pistol to defend yourself.
The added dexterity and force required by the fingers to manipulate a mechanical device or snap to disengage the retention of the holster can be inconvenient but a gun carried outside the waistband, especially openly is more likely to be grabbed or snatched than a properly concealed inside the waistband holster. In this sort of scenario an active retention device does help.
If you are absolutely sold and committed to a holster which features a retention device, you need to practice, practice, practice until you could draw that pistol blindfolded. Drill disengaging the retention devices into your mind and muscles until you absolutely cannot forget it. Then do it some more!
Practice drawing your gun without having to constantly look down and make sure that you are properly flipping away a hood, moving the strap, or pressing down with your thumb. Otherwise, you may do that at the worst possible moment. It should be second nature until it feels odd to not have to disengage retention devices.
For many shooters, the decision to move to an outside the waistband holster is a pivotal moment and will allow them to carry more comfortably and therefore more often. Carrying a gun every day is a huge commitment that is aided by having the correct equipment and know-how for the job.
Outside the waistband holsters have come on leaps and bounds in recent years in terms of material and retention mechanisms and never have there been more models offered with more accessories available to make concealed or open carry easier.
Just remember, concealed carry is a skill that needs to be sharpened just like shooting. If you are going to effectively conceal a firearm on your person it takes a fair amount of knowledge and experience to successfully pull it off.
Get your hands on the best owb holster and start carrying your gun whenever you legally can. The more you do it the better you’ll become and the more likely you are to be prepared for when you need your gun!