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IWB vs OWB Holsters

IWB vs OWB Holsters: Which Is the Best for You?

When it comes to concealed carry, there are two main types of holsters: IWB and OWB. Each holster type has its own set of pros and cons, which can make it difficult to decide which one is the best for you.

In this article, we will take a closer look at each holster type and we will discuss the pros and cons of IWB vs OWB holsters. We will also help you determine which holster is the most comfortable, best for concealment, safest, and easiest to access and draw from.

So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at each type of holster, and see what makes them unique!

Table of Contents

IWB and OWB Holsters – What Are They?

IWB holster

What Is an IWB Holster?

IWB holsters are popular among gun owners because they provide a high level of concealment. IWB stands for “inside the waistband,” and as the name suggests, these holsters are designed to be worn on the inside of the waistband. This makes them ideal for carrying a concealed weapon, as they are much less likely to print than other types of holsters. 

What Is an OWB Holster?

An OWB holster is a type of gun holster that is worn on the outside of the waistband. OWB stands for Outside the Waistband, and these holsters are usually attached to a belt or pants waistband. There are many different types of OWB holsters such as pancake holsters, paddle holsters, and belt slide holsters.

Table of Contents

Pros and Cons of IWB vs OWB Holsters

Now that we have a better understanding of IWB and OWB holsters, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each holster type.

IWB Holster Pros

  • IWB holsters are very concealable. They hug close to your body and can be tucked into your pants so that they’re almost invisible
  • They offer good stability which is important for drawing your gun quickly and smoothly.
  • Can be carried in different ways (strong side, appendix carry, and even the small of your back)

OWB Holster Pros

  • OWB holsters are a lot more comfortable to wear compared to IWB holsters as they don’t press against your skin and they don’t cause discomfort.
  • They’re much easier (and faster) to draw from as you don’t have to fight your clothing to get to your gun.
  • They offer a good level of retention (the ability to keep your gun securely in the holster) which is important for safety.
  • Takes time to get used to
  • Can cause discomfort when worn for long periods of time
  • Harder to access and draw your weapon from than OWB holsters
  • Not the best choice for larger guns as they can be difficult to conceal and also they can really dig into your side and be rather uncomfortable
  • It’s harder to conceal carry with an OWB holster. You may have to wear a larger shirt or jacket to cover up the gun
  • Can be uncomfortable when sitting down or driving

IWB vs OWB: Which Holster Is Better?

Okei, so we have gone through what IWB and OWB stand for and discussed the overall pros and cons of IWB and OWB holsters. Now, the big question is: which holster type is better?

The short answer is that it depends on your specific needs and preferences. Both IWB and OWB holsters offer their own set of advantages and disadvantages. So, the best way to choose a holster is to consider your needs and then decide which type of holster will best meet those needs.

Now, let’s take a closer look at IWB and OWB holsters and see which is the best for specific needs such as concealment, comfort, accessibility, and safety.

Concealment

IWB vs OWB for concealment is a common debate among gun owners. But when it comes to concealment, IWB holsters are the clear winner.

IWB holsters hug close to your body and can be tucked into your pants so that they’re almost invisible. OWB holsters, on the other hand, are worn on the outside of the waistband and are much more difficult to conceal.

Now, that doesn’t mean OWB holsters can’t be concealed carried. You can still conceal carry with an OWB holster, but you may have to wear a larger shirt or jacket to cover up the gun. Also, you need to choose the best OWB holster for concealed carry.

So, if concealment is your top priority and you’re looking for a holster that will help you keep your gun hidden, then IWB is the way to go.

Comfort

Comfort is an important factor when it comes to holsters. After all, you’re going to be wearing your holster for long periods of time, so you want to make sure it’s comfortable. 

In my opinion, OWB holsters are the clear winner in terms of comfort. IWB holsters tend to press against your skin and can cause discomfort when worn for long periods of time. OWB holsters, on the other hand, keep away from your body.

But, when it comes to comfort, it really depends on the person. For some, an IWB (inside the waistband) holster is more comfortable because it doesn’t add any bulk to the waistline. Others (like me) find that an OWB (outside the waistband) holster is more comfortable because it doesn’t rub against the skin.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference. Some people find that they don’t even notice the weight of their gun when wearing an IWB holster, while others find that an OWB holster allows them to move and sit more comfortably. 

Although I would say that OWB holsters are generally more comfortable, it’s really up to the individual to decide which one is more comfortable for them.

IWB holster on the back

Accessibility and Draw Speed

Accessibility is important for a number of reasons. First, you want to be able to access your gun quickly and easily if you need to use it in self-defense. Second, you want to be able to practice drawing your gun regularly so that you’re comfortable and confident with the process.

In terms of both accessibility and draw speed, OWB holsters are the clear winner. IWB holsters are tucked away inside your pants and can be difficult to access, especially if you’re wearing tight clothing. Also, IWB holsters tend to push the weapon a bit into your body, so it’s harder to get a good grip on the gun when you draw.

With an OWB holster, on the other hand, you can easily access your gun and you don’t have to worry about getting a good grip because the gun is already in a good position.

So, if you’re looking for a holster that will allow you to access your gun quickly and easily, then OWB is the way to go.

Safety

Safety is always a top priority when it comes to guns. And when it comes to holsters. When we are talking about safety there are two different factors to consider: gun safety and personal safety.

In terms of gun safety, IWB holsters are the clear winner. IWB holsters keep the gun close to your body and make it more difficult for someone to grab your gun. OWB holsters, on the other hand, leave the gun more exposed and make it easier for someone to grab it.

In terms of personal safety, OWB holsters have the upper hand. Because OWB holsters are a bit further away from your body, it’s less likely that you’ll accidentally shoot yourself. IWB holsters, on the other hand, are close to your body and there is a greater chance that you could accidentally shoot yourself if you’re not careful.

So, when it comes to safety, IWB holsters are better for gun safety and OWB holsters are better for personal safety.

So In Conclusion

IWB vs OWB holsters is a tough decision and it really depends on what you’re looking for in a holster.

IWB holsters are better for concealment, while OWB holsters are better for comfort and accessibility. IWB holsters are also safer for the gun, while OWB holsters are safer for the person carrying the gun.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference and you’ll have to decide what’s more important to you.

IWB vs OWB by Garand Thumb

FAQ About IWB and OWB Holsters

John-Caspar Jaanus

Written by John-Caspar

John-Caspar Jaanus is an Estonian military, tactical gear, and survival expert and author. He has an extensive military background and has been involved with the Estonian defense structure for over 10 years. Read bio!

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