If you’re a gun owner who wants to carry your weapon outside your property’s limits, you have two choices – outside-the-waistband or OWB, or inside-the-waistband or IWB.
Both methods of holstering can be considered concealed carrying, but sometimes, if the firearm is in plain view, an OWB holster is regarded as an open carry. If you’re wearing an OWB holster, but you have a jacket that covers it, it’s considered a concealed carry.
The primary function of a quality holster is to protect your gun from accidental discharge. Secondary purposes include protecting the gun’s finish and providing a secure way to transport your weapon on your person.
Many people prefer carrying their gun outside their waistband in a holster rather than inside because it is more comfortable, provides easier access, and is the most minimal way to carry your firearm without being laden with extra gear.
Your OWB holster should be comfortable and adjustable to make it useful. Here are six reasons that you should consider carrying your weapon OWB.
1. You Can Easily Draw With An Outside The Waistband Holster
The number one reason that gun owners prefer an OWB holster to an IWB is the ease of drawing your weapon.
With an IWB holster, there’s a chance that some part of the gun can snag on your clothing or your belt as you draw it. With an OWB holster, you simply unsnap and draw swiftly and smoothly.
Reholstering becomes less of an issue with OWB holsters as well. In high-pressure situations, you don’t want to have to break your line of sight to look down and holster your weapon. An OWB holster makes this maneuver seamless because you can holster without having to look down.
2. Outside The Waistband Holsters Are A Deterrent
Handguns carried outside the waistband are more of a deterrent to armed attackers than one that is hidden. Perpetrators often scout out potential crime scenarios, and if they spot someone who is visibly carrying, they may think twice.
Most criminals, especially thieves, aren’t looking for a shoot-out. They may want to steal, but they probably don’t want to get into a blow-out gunfight with a stranger. If they see you with your handgun, still holstered but visible, it may give them pause.
3. Outside The Waisteband Holsters Are More Comfortable
IWB holsters are generally strapped to your body around your waist, between your clothing and your hips. One or two spring metal clips secure the holster and gun by clipping directly to your waistband, which should be substantial enough to carry the weapon (1.5 inches wide or more).
If you don't get a quality IWB holster, you may be moderately uncomfortable while you carry, and you’ll be more likely not to wear the holster at all. You also need to take care with the clothing you’re wearing because, for IWB holsters, you need your clothing to be more loose-fitting to draw effectively. With an OWB holster, your holster does not rub against your waist.
4. Outside The Waistband Gives You More Variety in Carrying Styles
An OWB holster gives you more latitude in carrying styles than an IWB holster, mainly because it has more space to maneuver. The three most popular ways to carry when using an OWB are on the hip, on the small of the back, or a cross-draw.
On the Hip
This is the most common style to wear an OWB holster, and the most practical. The gun sits at a 90˚ angle to your belt, although several gun tilt modifications are easily accommodated. Your hand should fall directly onto your gun grip, making a draw absolutely seamless.
Small of the Back
The farther behind you the gun is placed, the more tilted the weapon should be so that an easy draw is still accessible. This is not the most efficient place to carry your gun since you cannot draw it if you’re lying on your back, and it can be quickly taken away from you. It does provide ample opportunities for carrying concealed because a jacket or shirt easily hides it.
This carry position is located on the opposite hip of your shooting hand, which is the left side for many. The primary benefit of carrying a gun in this manner is that it makes it easier to draw if your right side is your dominant one. However, if your dominant hand is blocked, it is increasingly difficult to draw with your non-dominant hand if your holster is in a cross-draw position.
5. Outside The Waistband Holsters Are Safer
Whether you use an IWB or an OWB holster, your training and attentiveness define how safe a situation is.
That being said, an IWB holster secures your handgun to the inside of your pants, which positions the gun toward your lower body. An OWB holster, on the other hand, secures your firearm pointing away from your body.
6. Larger Handguns are More Comfortable in an OWB Holster
Since an IWB holster secures your gun inside your waistband, it won’t fit all handguns comfortably because there is only so much space with which to work.
With an OWB, you can wear larger and longer handguns without discomfort. Since an OWB holster is positioned over the waistband and clothing, your gun’s size is not dictated by how much room you have in your pants.
The Last Word On Outside The Waistband Holsters
When you’re considering which type of holster to use to carry a weapon in public, you have two choices: An OWB or IWB holster. IWB holsters are great if you want a deeply concealed weapon, but they can be more uncomfortable if you carry for long periods.
OWB holsters are more favorable for a slew of reasons. They are safer, offer more position variety, let you carry more massive weapons, and may deter a criminal from making a move if they see that you’re carrying a gun.
At We the People Holsters, we have a wide variety of American-made, customizable holsters. The best way to figure out whether you’re a fan of outside the waistband holsters is to strap one on and try it yourself.