OWB.. Outside the Waistband Holsters

In the earlier article we discussed listed some of the requirements that need to be met when buying a holster. In this segment I will discuss a specific holster type. There are different categories of holsters IWB, OWB, ankle holsters, off the body type holsters such as backpacks, fanny packs, purses and variations of these. OWB is meant to be Outside of the waistband while the other is Inside the waistband. There are some variations on the OWB type holsters that will be discussed. Hip holster on the belt are one of the most common. Some times referred to as an OWB (Outside The Waist Band) type holster. There are several holsters that fall into this category of holsters. The more popular are worn on your strong side or the side in which you hold your gun. These by far are the most comfortable for all day carry and they are capable of carrying a large to small Handgun or Pistol with no difficulty. Except for the smallest of concealed carry handguns or Pistols these holsters will rely on some type of 2nd layer outer garment for their concealment.

Some are designed to have a reinforced mouth to enable re-holstering with little difficulty. Some will have adjustable cant as well as a tension adjustable screw. These are an excellent choice when Training or when you carry your gun concealed. These holsters are made from Leather, Kydex (type of high speed plastic ) and a Kydex Leather Hybrid.You will find the retention on the the Kydex while excellent it can be quite noisy and will wear the finish off of some guns. In some I have  found it difficult to adjust the  tension screw to the point where I could draw smoothly. I have found that the Kydex/Leather Hybrid is the best of both worlds as it offers a quiet draw, easy on the finish on my gun, hard exterior shell protects the gun, most are retention adjustable and or cant adjustable. Some holsters are specially made to be used on the range and are not meant to be a concealed, so when making a selection be sure to ask your salesperson for advice.

Most are going to be dependent on having the belt threaded through the slots on holster but there are others that have a belt snap designs or IWB paddles that can be taken off with out unbuckling your belt.These holsters are designed to be worn in certain positions on your body.

The most popular position is the 3, 4,or 5 position. This is if your are right handed, if you are a lefty you would refer to this in a mirror image. I think the behind the hip is the most comfortable carry position for me. The FBI tilt of 15 degrees enhances proper grip angle (when sitting) by reducing stress on the wrist. This ensure that you get a strong (purchase) and proper grip on our weapon before drawing. Wearing a holster in this position is not going to give you quick access while your back is up against a seat, as it is when driving. If you have zero angle on the holster it would be better to wear it in the 3 or 9 position depending on which is your strong or gun hand.

When you sit with a strong side holster that has a 15 degree cant in the 3 o’clock position it is actually very vertical when you sit down, giving you easier access for a good draw. When you are standing with the holster at 3 o’clock in a 15 degree cant you will find the grip angle slightly un-natural, but if you move it more to the rear behind the hip it is a more comfortable draw.

There is the Cross Draw holster that is designed to be used when in a sitting position such as in a car while driving. This could be a solution if you have a job that entails a large amount of sitting. It normally does not conceal that well as it has a tendency to push the butt of the handgun out from the body. It also takes much practice in drawing so as not to muzzle your legs when drawing from sitting. When drawing from this type of holster it is very easy to muzzle innocent bystanders if you do not exercise caution.

Ladies will most likely find it a difficult task to find a holster OWB or IWB that conceals well and is comfortable. Frequently you will have one or the other, not both. Yes, you may find one but it will not be an easy task. There are other options for comfort and concealment in other systems yet to be discussed.

I want to encourage your participation if you have some personal experience, insight or comments I would like to hear from you. Please go to comments on this page or go to FB and make a post.

Until next time be Vigilant and be safe..Lou