January 12, 2022

Buying your first concealed carry holster might sound straightforward, but various factors affect which is best for your needs. For example, one of the most significant considerations you must make is the choice between IWB vs. OWB concealed carry holsters. Holsters are critical parts of gun safety, comfort, and control, so making informed decisions here is essential.

Given that both IWBs and OWBs have their pros and cons, making the right choice can be unclear to newcomers. Don’t worry; you can dive into the guide below to learn what you need to know before choosing between the titular holster options.

What Do IWB & OWB Stand For?

First, let’s break down exactly what the acronyms mean. IWB stands for “inside the waistband.” You can probably think back to various movies in which the hero or villain conceals a handgun by sliding it into their pants with only the handle sticking out.

In real life, this isn’t a safe way to carry guns in your waistband. Holsters protect the trigger guard. This means that the holster prevents accidental discharges while you’re at work, the grocery store, and anywhere else. IWB holsters provide a way to conceal your firearm below your beltline safely.

OWB stands for “outside the waistband.” Simply put, this means the holster rests against the outside of your pants. These acronyms are relatively straightforward, but we’re only scratching the surface of what you should know before purchasing one. Next, let’s dive into the pros and cons that these holsters bring to the table.

The Pros & Cons

The best choice between an IWB and OWB concealed carry holster really comes down to what you’re looking for in a holster. More specifically, you should consider your preferences for comfort, access, and concealment.

For instance, if you want a holster that will provide a quick draw, you should consider an OWB type due to the exterior placement. Likewise, OWBs tend to be a more comfortable holster because you don’t have to fit them into your pants. Instead, you securely strap them on and call it a day.

Comfort and draw speed are great attributes to prioritize, but, of course, discreet concealment is equally essential to some firearm owners. The IWB is the best solution if you want maximum discretion because it snuggly slides into your waistband. But this doesn’t mean OWBs are completely noticeable. After all, a jacket is an easy way to keep your holster from sticking out like a sore thumb.

However, that means you’d have to move the jacket out of your way as your draw. As you can see, there’s a give and take. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about finding the right balance for you.

Plus, the type of OWB or IWB you choose substantially impacts performance expectations. Although OWBs are typically the more comfortable fit, low-quality options won’t deliver the best performance. Let’s discuss how to choose quality concealed carry holsters that deliver on their potential.

Choosing Quality IWB & OWB Holsters

The key to finding quality holsters is time and research. Browsing online vendors will reveal the wide range of holster options available, but you should also read through the information the vendor provides.

For example, when you sift through our selection of hidden gun holsters, you’ll find that each has a detailed description. These descriptions lay out the various materials, size options, firearm compatibilities, water-resistance capabilities, and more. If you want to buy a durable nylon holster, sift through the technical specs to find whether you’re looking at the right model; simple steps like this will make purchases much smoother.

In this context, “firearm compatibility” simply describes which firearms are suitable for the designated holster design. After all, handguns come in many shapes and sizes. Holster designs must follow suit.

Considering Critical Details

Beyond a manufacturer’s list of details, you should always search for online reviews for any given holster. Of course, not every holster available online has a bunch of reviews available. That said, if you spot customer feedback on a product page, it’s worth looking into to see how people feel about the performance. Plus, some reviews will have pictures, giving you a new perspective on how the OWB or IWB looks upon arrival.

As mentioned in the previous section, comfort is among the most critical factors to consider when comparing IWB vs. OWB concealed carry holsters. Of course, if you want an OWB holster for the comfort and convenient draw, browsing reputable brands will help you find a good match. However, you can also browse IWBs that prioritize comfort more than other IWB options.

Another critical detail to consider when shopping for IWB and OWB concealed carry holsters is whether it’s ambidextrous. For those unfamiliar, an ambidextrous holster can accommodate left-handed and right-handed firearm owners conveniently. As you can see, there are many critical details to consider when buying firearm holsters, but it’s well worth the effort, thanks to the wide range of versatile options available.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned above, buying holsters can sound very straightforward to newcomers. At the end of the day, you just buy one that looks and feels nice, right? Well, as you now know, the search isn’t that simple. When it comes to this purchase, diving into the complexities of IWB and OWB holster options only makes the search broader.

Even with all this information under your belt, it’s understandable for beginners to have a lot of questions when shopping for firearm holsters. This is because the IWB and OWB distinctions are only the tip of the holster design iceberg. For instance, firearm owners can find fanny pack holsters, chest holsters, back holsters, crotch holsters, shoulder holders, and other convenient models.

When in doubt, you can always consult your holster vendor to help you find the best model for your needs. If you’re working with a reputable, knowledgeable vendor, then assisting in your search shouldn’t be difficult. Thankfully, now that you know the essentials of OWBs and IWBs, you can have a more in-depth conversation with your vendor, which will make the search go smoother.

IWB vs. OWB Concealed Carry Holsters: Which Do You Need?

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