Outside the waistband holsters are an excellent option for gun owners who want to carry their gun outdoors aside from using IWB holsters. Both holsters are good for concealed carry if your clothing covers your holster well.
However, the best OWB holster can also be an excellent gun holstering device for open carry in places where carrying a gun even in plain view is allowed and you have the permit.
Today, more gun owners are going the OWB carry route because it’s more comfortable and offers quick and easy gun access. Outside the waistband carry is also a great way of carrying your weapon conveniently.
But before these benefits of outside the waistband holsters, you must be able to find a comfortable, adjustable, and durable one.
In today’s featured buying guide, I am highlighting the top 9 OWB holsters and discussing the things to consider so that you can make a good decision later.
What is an OWB Holster?
OWB stands for Outside Waistband, and so OWB holsters are worn outside the waistband of the user.
These holsters are more or less one of the most popular choices for a gun holster because it is quite versatile for open or concealed carry.
Typically designed with a belt loop and belt clip, this gun holster can be secured outside one’s belt, and then usually will be covered under a shirt or jacket for concealed carry. Alternatively, it can be used for an open carry style.
People who want a very comfortable carry position might opt for this type of holster because it doesn’t make much or have almost no contact with the body. Many also consider it for safety.
In an OWB carry style, their weapon is away from their body by a few more inches; this reduces any chances of injuries in the event of an accidental discharge or negligent firing when compared to an inside the waistband (IWB) carry style.
For example, an OWB competition holster can also help users conceal their larger handguns better, and it can allow for an easier drawing of their firearm because there are fewer separation layers between them and their gun.
What to Look for When Buying an OWB holster?
Shopping around for a good holster, you’ll be presented with a lot of choices from brands like Concealment Express, Safariland, Bravo Concealment, and DeSantis to name some.
OWB holsters can have different features, including threaded barrels, belt slide, belt clips, thumb break, retention screw, secure grip, a paddle attachment, and compatibility for multiple firearms.
But before making the decision, it is important to know certain factors to look for. Here are some things to consider when buying OWB holsters.
OWB holster type
Open carry or concealed carry or both are available for picking. But generally, outside the waistband holsters are for open carry. These holsters are designed for law enforcement and competition shooting. They’re also available for shooters and other civilians who want an easy concealment or security for their firearm.
The best OWB holsters can also be meant for duty officers. Unlike concealed carry holsters, duty holsters make it obvious that the person is carrying a gun on their hip.
A duty holster is durable and is designed with a passive retention system. This holstering gear can accommodate larger handguns, too. Then, there are also duty holsters that are worn with other gears, such as battle belts and plate carriers.
Some would assume that these OWB holsters are like range holsters, but they’re not. An OWB competition holster should be compliant with the rules of the organizers of the competition. It must also have a reliable passive retention and some adjustable features.
They can be Kydex holsters or leather holsters, but most range holsters are very simple and straightforward.
Many of them are designed to support a firearm, and that’s all. For range use, an OWB holster can be universal and it can fit almost all similar style guns. But then, it’s still good to have a fully covered trigger guard for safety.
Concealed carry holster
The holster will fit close to your body and shouldn’t cause much printing or unsightly bulges. If you do choose to use OWB for concealed carry, you might not want or need active retention device.
An OWB paddle holster and belt holster are the two styles of OWB holsters. You might want to check out a belt holster if you want a more secure fit. However, it can be more difficult to put on and remove.
Meanwhile, there is also the paddle holster, which the others pick because it is easier to put on and remove, although can offer less security than a belt holster.
Safety and fitment
First and foremost, a gun holster should give you peace of mind and what better to achieve than a holster that can reduce chances of an accidental discharge.
Most manufacturers will mold their holsters for a specific or several gun models and ensure they add a full cover for the trigger guard in the design.
While there are different holsters out there, check that the paddle holster, concealed carry holster, or OWB holster you’re getting is designed for the model and make of your firearm, ensuring it will snugly fit around it – and without any gaps. This must also be the right fit that allows you to draw and re-holster it without any hassle.
A waistband holster should also be effective in allowing better access to your firearm, and that means only you can have access to it. That’s why outside the waistband holsters are designed and manufactured with adjustments. This will allow you to wear it in a position that makes your gun most accessible for you.
No one wants an uncomfortable holster that is also inconvenient to use. That’s why it also matters to find the right ride height that an OWB holster offers.
Remember, a certain kind of purpose will be best served depending on the ride heights that the holster offers.
Concealed style of carry holsters will typically ride higher, allowing users to better conceal their weapon with clothing. Meanwhile, competition and duty guns should be riding low for a quick draw.
However, you’ll find OWB holsters offering adjustable ride heights, while an OWB competition holster or duty holster is designed to be compatible with an offset drop adapter.
Retention has to do with the holstering gear’s ability to keep a firearm secure well in place. The two retention systems are active and passive.
A holster with an active retention is designed with a switch or a button, which users need to access in order to access their gun. Examples of active retention devices are those using release mechanisms that the user needs to unlock or engage first.
Meanwhile, an OWB with a passive system uses tension or friction from the holster to the gun. Typically, this is in molded or friction fit carry holsters.
Consider your level of experience and training when thinking about the kind of good retention you need for an outside the waistband holster.
Modularity and adjustability
An outside the waistband holster can be modular, allowing you to swap out certain parts of the OWB holster to match your preferences.
You can make adjustments to the cant and ride height so that you can set it for your concealment needs and preferences.
Many of these modular concealed carry OWB holsters will let you change belt loops, belt clips, and paddle to ensure their right fit for your gear and clothing.
When choosing OWB carry holsters, think about the gun accessories your firearm wears.
Does it use red dot sights, suppressor height sights, threaded barrels, or a weapon light? So depending on the accessories you’re using, check that the holster for concealed carry or open carry will accommodate them.
How much concealment do you need? If you are not for concealed carry, then open carry holsters will be for you.
It’s the opposite if you’re buying for concealment. In this case, you must look for a paddle holster or belt holster that offers concealment options. More so, check for a low profile design for added concealability.
Another consideration when buying open or concealed carry holsters is its durability to ensure that they can withstand the different elements, heavy abuse and use, and other factors that will lead to wear and tear.
Durability has to do with the holster material. If it’s sturdy, then it will not fall apart sooner.
A leather holster is a popular choice for holsters. It is because leather material is aesthetically-pleasing and rugged, although can be prone to water and moisture damage.
That’s why it also needs more care than any other holster material like Kydex. If buying an OWB leather holster, you might also want to invest in leather lotions and creams.
On the other hand, there are also Kydex holsters, which are super durable and resistant to both heat and water. For its downside, Kydex may be challenging to clean and may not be the most comfortable holster.
The last type is nylon, which is used in manufacturing affordable holsters. I don’t really recommend this one because it may not be able to hold up well and not very resistant to water damage.
Choose an OWB carry holster, whether leather holsters or Kydex holsters, that is comfortable to wear, especially if you’re a duty officer who needs to wear one all day.
An OWB carry holster should let you draw from it easily and quickly, allowing you to get your firearm fast, while also having a nice firing grip.
You’ll find OWB holsters that can offer a quick draw in the standing position, and the others are also good even when you draw your gun while sitting, kneeling, or being in any prone position. Re-holstering must also be easy with the OWB holster.
When you’re wearing tactical gear, backpack, battle belts, or plate carriers, an OWB holster is good to have provided you’d choose a comfortable OWB holster for any of these.
The cost of an OWB rig varies per model, maker, and holster material.
You might be able to find one with a price between 35 and 50 USD for your firearm model. Although they can be good for concealed carry or range use. However, they might not be the best option for duty use. And as they’re very affordable, you should be able to expect them to be mass produced.
For the middle range priced holsters, you’ll find quality ones that can be compatible with gear like a light, suppressor height sights, or even a red dot.
Retention can be passive or active and designs can be modular. If you need the best OWB holsters for concealed carry, range use, or competition, you might be able to find one with a mid-price between 50 and 75 USD.
High range OWB holsters are typically more expensive, and you can find a well-compatible holster for your gun make and model. There are duty holsters and different options for one’s everyday carry requirements. Other holsters can also be multi-purpose and modular and are often heavy-duty.
Premium holsters are also available. They are stellar in quality and can be expected for long-term use. These holsters can have multiple features and offer different options for carrying with firearm accessories.
Typically, premium holsters are what professionals use for competition and daily use. If you have more to spend for your holster and for better concealment and quick and easy draw, then going for a great OWB holster, like high-end paddle holsters, priced from 150 USD and up can be for you.
9 Best OWB Holster: in-depth reviews
1. Best 1911 Holster OWB BLACKHAWK SERPA Concealment Holster
If you’re shopping around for a comfortable OWB holster for your 1911, I recommend this Blackhawk SERPA holster. This doesn’t rub against your waist when compared to an IWB carry holster. You can wear this all day without feeling uncomfortable.
Let me also mention that the gun holster is classic looking for its color and matte finish. It’s not only comfortable but also aesthetically pleasing.
This BLACKHAWK! SERPA CQC Concealment Holster features different technologies like an automatic locking system and auto lock release, adding to the convenience and ease of use of this model.
It is also a total package in that it already comes with a OWB paddle holster platform and belt loop platform. These elements in the design allows for easier use of this holstering gear.
Speaking of design, this SERPA holster for 1911 also offers a quick and easy access to a gun for its speed cut design. This also allows for fast re-holstering.
It is important especially in situations when you need to draw your firearm quickly to save yourself and the people around you.
This lock allows users to engage the trigger guard, while they’re holstering their firearm. It will not let go unless they release the lock.
This release is designed and strategically made using natural drawing motion, while the trigger finger is right beside the body of the Blackhawk SERPA holster, which doesn’t also have a thumb break or any middle finger that can hinder draw.
It increases the safety of using a gun, and definitely should be one of the features to look for when buying an OWB holster.
I also find this product versatile in that it can also accommodate Springfield XD Compact guns or service models.
Also, I discovered that it can fit S.T.R.I.K.E. quick disconnect as well as tactical holster platforms, making it versatile and really useful. More so, this holster also features a full firing grip and easy retention upon re-holster.
Overall, it’s a great holster for its performance, quality, and durability.
- SERPA lock technology
- Paddle holster and belt loop platform
- Easy and safe re-holster
- Quick and smooth draw
- Unmatched firearm security
- Compact and sleek package
- Not for left-handed users
2. Best OWB Holster for Glock 19: BLACKHAWK Serpa Sportster Holster
The Glock 19 is a popular firearm of choice among professional and civilian users as well as law enforcement. It is also chosen for concealed carry and personal protection.
This handgun, which is known for its nice ergonomics and excellent reliability, is best paired with a good OWB like this Serpa Sportster tactical gear holster.
I noticed that this left-handed orientation holster also features the SERPA auto lock release like the previous we’ve reviewed. This feature in the design of the SERPA holster increases weapon security and user safety.
SERPA holsters, like this one, offer a retention device in the design, which is deactivated with the user’s trigger finger. Its primary mission is to ensure the retention’s deactivation is as natural to a human’s natural draw stroke.
BLACKHAWK Serpa Sportster Holster is one of our recommend best OWB holster for Glock 19. This holster is unlike universal holsters because it is designed for a specific model, ensuring the perfect fit for the Glock 19. That is why I recommend that you check your gun’s model before buying this one to ensure that it can offer the right fit for your firearm.
I also liked that the holster has a pistol retention system to maintain the position of your gun, while preventing it from falling out when you’re moving. If you need to un-holster, you just need to press the release mechanism on the side of the holster, too, adding to its ease of use.
I also appreciate that you can choose how loose or tight the retention mechanism is according to your preferences.
This holster is also super durable in that it will not warp over time. It also has a skeletal frame, allowing for breathability versus other paddle holsters.
And for quick draw, it has a speed cut design that allows you to do it easily, while allowing faster target acquisition and re-holstering. For versatility, this model can fit tactical holster and STRIKE quick disconnect platforms.
- SERPA lock technology
- Ease of use and comfort
- Automatic locking system
- Easy adjustment screws
- Good retention system
- Issues about receiving missing components
3. Best OWB Holster For Glock 17: CYTAC OWB Holster for Glock 17
CYTAC OWB Holster is one of our recommend best OWB holster for Glock 17. This holster for Glock 17 is another cool choice for an outside the waistband style of carrying. It is loaded with all the features that I am looking for a comfortable and convenient to use holster.
For one, it has a paddle attachment along with a 360-degree tooth gear that allows it for rotating in multiple directions.
It is also versatile enough that it can be worn with web belts up to two inches wide or duty belts, making it so much suitable for security officers. In addition, the design of this holster has smooth backs that can allow for an easier way of sliding it into the user’s belt.
And if you need to adjust the fit, all you need to do is to modify the looseness or tightness of the back screws. This allows for easy installation and removal of gun accessories.
In addition, the daily carry holster is versatile for shooting coaches, personal users, off duty security officers, and military people. You can count on it for your Glock 17.
I’d also like to note that it has an excellent design, while also being made of hard polymer material.
It’s known for its rigidity, toughness, and resistance against wear and tear. This means that you don’t need to replace your holster sooner with this high quality holster. I love that it’s also maintenance free and easy to clean, making it always ready for everyday use.
It is also lightweight, offering more convenience for long hours of wear. This is ideal for those in the field, range, or tactical operation individuals.
The design is also simple in the internals of this holster. It has a slightly protruding button that allows for easy and quick touching. Not to forget, it also has a skid-proof stripe, which makes it super easy to recognize.
- Open end style to support longer barrels
- Level II retention for more security
- Excellent concealment abilities
- Paddle attachment
- All-day comfortable wearing
- Wiggling issues for some users
4. Best OWB Holster For Glock 26: Bravo Concealment Holster
Say no to cheap holsters and hi to quality well made holsters for your Glock 26, 27, and 33. This holster offers shooters, tactical operators, hunters, and civilian gun owners a reliable holstering device to keep their handgun safe in place.
It is not a universal holster that might have fitting issues, too, but it is a greatly designed holster for your Glock concealed carry firearm.
Bravo Concealment has again done their job in creating dependable holsters that can deliver comfort even for wearing long hours.
This OWB Concealed Carry Holster sits well in place and doesn’t cause any printing issues. It will not leave a bulge in your clothing provided you wear the right one for carrying it.
I also liked its adjustable screw for retention, ensuring I can modify it easily for the perfect fit. It doesn’t also require any special tools to do it. Thus, getting the right fit all the time will not be a problem with this dependable holster for Glock 26, 27, and 33.
This model is also designed with a semi-full sweat guard that prevents any gun slide discomfort. In addition, this element in the construction also ensures that I can easily re-holster because it works like a guide to do that.
The Bravo concealment holster is also designed with a 10-degree forward cant, which can improve concealment. It is one of its best features that you might also want to look for when buying a holster.
It is also an adaptive holster that allows adding the brand’s pancake holsters wings if you want a closer fit to your body with an easy to adjust ride height and cant.
More about its versatility and adaptability, I liked that I have the option of adding IWB clips, which can convert this to an IWB holster. Nevertheless, this is one flexible, quality holster that allows different positions for a comfortable all-day carry.
- Easy concealment
- Can be converted to IWB
- Snug fit and comfort
- Semi-full sweat guard
- No printing issues
- No red dot sight clearance
5. Best OWB Holster for Sig P365: CYTAC Sig P365 Holsters
This CYTAC Sig P365 Holster is another to check out if you’re looking for a good holster type. For one, I noticed its sufficient thickness that can deliver more durability. I can expect this affordable holstering gear to last longer, and that is thanks to its rugged polymer construction.
This particular model has a tension adjustment system, ensuring no shaking and more security. I can simply use an Allen Key to adjust it according to my preferences.
It also offers Level II retention, locking the trigger automatically when I place my firearm in it.
In addition, I’ve noticed how the buttons are hidden in it, keeping a flat and smooth surface along with its skid-proof stripe that helps me easily recognize it.
For added security, this product also has an internal screw in the design, reducing any risk of falling out even with movement.
I’d also like to note that this holster has a paddle holster attachment, allowing for multiple direction rotation. This allows for quick replacement of different accessories that you might be using with it.
Speaking of that, I can easily wear any web belt or a duty belt with it provided it is within 2 ¼ inches wide for a holster tight fit.
And if I want to, this holster also allows me to use silicone padding on its back, adding to comfort when wearing it into my jeans.
I want to add that this holster is suitable for different situations and adaptable for daily concealed carry needs.
It can also deal with even the harshest weather conditions and is ideal for different users like law enforcers, shooting coaches, and military personnel. It also works well for off duty officers and civilian gun owners.
- Can be used with a web belt or duty belt
- Ergonomic and sleek design
- Comes with a paddle holster attachment
- Durable polymer construction
- Thick and smooth surface
- Not compatible with a Sig Sauer P365 with light or laser
6. Best OWB Holster for Sig P320 TEGE OWB Holster for Sig P320
The Sig Sauer P320 has a good grip and easy to reach controls and people love that it is a greatly setup gun. It works well and is quite versatile in its magazine capacity. For more out of it especially for concealment and safety, I recommend this holster for a P320.
This Holster offers Level II retention, an auto lock system, which can keep my gun in it no matter the movement. It can ensure utmost safety when concealed carrying.
Before I can access the gun, I should activate its release through pressing the button. It is one of its useful features that I appreciate when it comes to safety and security.
In addition, this model comes with a belt clip, offering more versatility for wearing either vest or belt carrying. I can also just push the side buttons for quick opening and closing.
I recommend this holster for security personnel, law enforcement officers, civilian users, and competitive shooters.
Moreover, this holster is fully adjustable to one’s preference. You can simply rotate the paddle, which offers multidirectional rotations to help you achieve the carry angle you need, whether cross draw, small of back, or strong side. All I have to do is push the side panel to achieve it.
This holster can also be worn with a belt up to two inches wide.
When it comes to durability, this holster is excellent because it is made of polymer material. I find it more rugged than leather, while also offering a custom mold to my P320.
For maintenance, this TEGE holster doesn’t need any and it can be used in different environments and temperatures.
Overall, this right-handed belt holster is certainly one of the best OWB holsters for its useful features and optimal performance.
- Versatile for belt or vest wearing
- Nice custom molded fit
- Durable polymer material
- Secure Level II retention
- No maintenance needed
- Concerns with how it’s connected to the belt loop
7. Best OWB Holster for M&P Shield 9mm: Bravo Concealment Holster for S&W Shield 9/40
The Bravo Concealment Holster for S&W Shield 9/40 is an excellent OWB holster that offers effective concealment, comfort, and custom fit for your gun. It is also packed with features that you will love about it, including its durability.
It is made of polymer, which makes it resistant to wear and tear and different elements. This material is also more durable than leather, as far as I can tell.
Its polymer plastic material offers you with a balance of rigidity, hardness, and impact strength for protection of your firearm.
This OWB holster also has a slim profile for more concealment.
In addition, it doesn’t require maintenance, so it is perfect for everyday carry. This holstering device also comes with a semi-full sweat guard that protects you from slide discomfort, while also serving as a guide if you need to re-holster.
Off duty officers, law enforcement officers, civilian users, and other gun owners can rely on this holster for safety and security. It is with a standard 10-degree cant, which works perfectly for increasing concealment.
This OWB holster, which is a right-handed model, is also comfortable for all-day wear. It can sit flat on the body better than other holsters on the market.
For the right fit, this model is designed with an adjustment for retention that requires no special tools for adjustment.
The brand also offers a great lifetime warranty on this product. If you meet an issue and they cannot fix it, you’ll get a replacement.
I’d also like to note that you have the option to wear it low, middle, or high in your waist. If you choose the lowest position for it, you’ll get the least retention amount, while the highest position will give you a very firm retention.
Nevertheless, this holster is one of the best in OWB concealment. Check it out for yourself.
- Hard, rigid, and durable polymer
- Great OWB concealment
- Retention adjustments
- 10-degree cant
- Comfortable for all-day wear
- Not red dot sight compatible
8. Best OWB Holster for Hellcat Pro: Blade-Tech Springfield Hellcat Pro OWB Holster
Do you want to get the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and concealment for your Hellcat Pro? Then, check out this Blade-Tech Springfield Hellcat Pro Holster. It can help you achieve ultimate comfort and effective concealment for your gun under your clothing.
I liked the positive lock trigger guard along with its adjustable retention. This particular model is designed and made with an adjustable retention system for a superior fit all the time, preventing your gun from slipping or falling out especially if you move a lot.
This OWB device is also suitable for law enforcement people in that it can accommodate optics. This product can work well with different optics platforms that also include suppressor height sights and RMRs.
For the adjustments, it’s quite easy because the holster is made with adjustable retention screws, which you can easily loosen or tighten around your firearm’s fit. This is also designed with a positive lock trigger guard, offering you tactile feedback, letting you know when your firearm is fully secure in place.
In addition, this holster comes with a lifetime warranty for added peace of mind. This gives me the confidence that help is available when something bad happens to it. I also liked that it is made in the USA to ensure quality.
Unlike the other OWB holsters we’ve featured earlier, this one is ambidextrous, meaning it can be used for either the left or right strong side.
It is made from heat resistant and high strength polymer material, which is tough to deal with even the extremes of temperatures and weathers, translating to long-term use and better value for your money.
Overall, this is definitely one of the best OWB holsters that money can buy today. Blade-Tech has done another excellent job in this product that offers just the right concealment and all-day comfortable concealed carry for your Hellcat Pro.
- Comfortable concealed carry solution
- No maintenance required
- Easy adjustment options
- Handles extreme temperatures
- Compatible for optics platforms
- Belt loops might not be compatible with wider belts
9. Best OWB Holster For Ruger LCP Max: TacX Pro Gear
This TacX Pro Gear holster for the Ruger LCP Max is a decent quality and durable holstering gear. I liked its convenient CCW travel system that allows me to carry my firearm and important everyday carry accessories.
Its belly belt has a 6-inch waterproof pocket along with a sewn-in magazine holster. This can be used in keeping gun accessories, mags, pepper spray, knife, and flashlight.
If you’re someone who is always on the go and doing activities like running errands, working out, and traveling, then this holster can be for you. The tactical gun belt will not curl down, roll up, slip off, or dig in.
This product is made of quality neoprene material in its band, which is adjustable for almost all types of body. It is also ideal for both men and women and draw models right and left are available.
It also has a universal design that doesn’t only fit Ruger LCP Max but also other mid size, compact, and subcompact guns, but that’s not all. I found out that it can also work for full size pistols as well as revolvers. That makes this holster very functional and useful for most gun carrying needs.
Another thing I liked about it is its comfort of carrying in any position. This band is designed with micro air holes, which can improve breathability, while also minimizing sweat buildup.
Plus, I appreciate that it can be worn outside the waistband, inside the waistband, appendix, cross draw, and small of back, to name some.
In addition, I am impressed that I can also wear it high and use it like a shoulder holster or be concealed carry under a shirt. More so, the good holster is perfect for airsoft use, too.
However, this product only fits small waist sizes up to 30 inches. It is not for pants over this size.
Lastly, the manufacturer has included a free tactical light in every purchase, and that’s so cool.
- Available in left or right hand draws
- Free tactical light
- Also good for airsoft
- Can be carried in almost any position
- Universal design to fit all guns
- Can fit waist only up to 30 inches
Is an OWB holster considered open carry?
OWB holsters, which are worn outside the waistband, are useful for either open or concealed carry. They can be attached and worn quickly and can offer convenience especially for users who move a lot. In an OWB, the gun will move with the wearer as long as they’re not covering it up. They are also easily visible, one the requirements for an open carry.
Which holster is better IWB or OWB?
An IWB holster can work better in situations when you need to conceal or keep your gun out of sight of other people for your safety, like in everyday carry. On the other hand, an OWB can be the better choice when you don’t have to keep your gun concealed like when hiking in the woods or on duty.
So, which is better? It depends on personal preference, purpose, and carry style. For the best of both worlds, you might want to get both and then use one based on what you need.
For example, some days you need to conceal your firearm like when you’re on a date, or some days you may not need to keep the gun out of sight like when mountain climbing or working as a duty officer.
There you have the best OWB holsters that you can compare and choose from when shopping around one for you.
While there is no specific formula that fits all gun owners on what will work best for them, as we also have our unique purpose, body type, gun make and model, I do hope that the above reviews have enlightened you on the characteristics of comfortable OWB holsters on the market.
Compare the different types, brands, prices, and models to understand and ensure that the OWB suits your needs.
And for one last bit of advice, choose a holster that will give you comfort, offer quick access to your gun and won’t damage or scratch it, and can retain its integrity for a long time.