OWB vs IWB for concealed carry?


July 10, 2008, 12:35 PM
On most days, I usually carry a G26 IWB. I really have never carried OWB. However, the other day at a friends house, I put on his OWB rig. Wow, what a tremendous difference in comfort! So now it has got me thinking. Can I pull off concealed carry with an OWB holster? I live in Florida and usually wear shorts and a button down shirt untucked. I'd like to hear from you guys that conceal OWB every day. What are your holster recommendations? Has anybody gone from IWB carrying to OWB carrying? Do you find you can conceal as well? Thanks for any intel you can provide.

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July 10, 2008, 12:52 PM
The difference in comfort between owb and iwb is huge in my opinion. I can see where iwb is necessary especially when your cover garment is shorter. If your untucked shirts are long enough then you will be fine especially with a G26. Do a search regarding the Glock Sport Holster and see what people think. It's fairly cheap (about 15 bucks) and can be found everywhere. You can customze it's ride (low or high) and if you don't like OWB carry your only out 15 bucks. Many people just stick with this holster from what I read but even if you want to move to a different one you only risk a little money to see if OWB carry even works for you.

Side note: I'm sure you have a good belt as is always recommended but if you don't I have found I can get away with a cheap belt with IWB carry but not OWB so make sure you have a good belt before testing OWB.

July 10, 2008, 01:19 PM
Odd. I don't find my IWB holsters uncomfortable. Maybe you need to buy your pants one size larger and a longer belt.

Standing Wolf
July 10, 2008, 01:21 PM
Outside the waist band holsters with paddles are the best, in my admittedly slightly less than humble opinion.

July 10, 2008, 01:39 PM
I am an IWB guy when not pocket carrying. I worry too much about blowing concealment.

July 10, 2008, 01:48 PM
OWB can work quite well. I used to OWB with a Galco pancake rig and Witness 40, but had to wear a long covering garment, usually XXL t shirt in AZ heat. I like IWB, using an HBE COMIII rig now with the much lighter CZ P01, and covering it is easier. But it can be done.

July 10, 2008, 02:13 PM
I have used OWB holster almost exclusively for years now, as I find them WAY more comfortable, most IWB holsters have no retention strap, which gives me the willies, persoanlly (YMMV), and I find a gun in an OWB holster is, for me, WAY faster and easier to access, even when it,s concealed with clothing, than an IWB holster under clothes.Also, and OWB holster is a lot easier to shift foreward or back slightly when needed for comfort to avoid the seatbelt latch when driving (or sitting in a chair/couch where the arm would press on it), then shifted back to the preferred position when not. Shifting an IWB holster just isnt as fast or easy IMHO.

That said, I carry either open, or "sloppily"/minimally concealed here in OR, so I dont need to worry about the little extar difficulty in avoiding the bulge that many OWB holster are more likely to give. I grant that IWB holster are a lot easier to use for when you really want to minimize the possibility of anyone knowing you are carrying though, and on the super rare occasion I want that, I do use an IWB holster with my small S&W m637. Otherwise, its the 1911 in an Uncle Mikes "duty" style retention holster OWB, or very occasionally the S&W in an old leather S&W OWB holster with retention strap.

1911 guy
July 10, 2008, 02:27 PM
I use both when the situation warrants. I find my OWB to be a bit more comfortable, but the IWB conceals a bit better. When I can wear whatever I want, it's an untucked shirt and OWB. When I think I need the extra concealment, I use the IWB and nicer shirts.

Frank Ettin
July 10, 2008, 02:42 PM
IWB is more concealable. I can see with a something bulky like a Glock, OWB would be a lot more comfortable. I find IWB very comfortable for either a 1911 or my H&K P7M8 -- both rather thin guns.

Flame Red
July 10, 2008, 02:59 PM
I am an IWB guy when not pocket carrying. I worry too much about blowing concealment.

+1 - a lot of this is subjective, so do what works for you best.

July 10, 2008, 03:12 PM

I even worry about concealment when carrying IWB. I find myself constantly hoping the grip hasn't caught my t-shirt, and pulling my shirt down.

July 10, 2008, 03:36 PM
I don't worry about maintaining perfect concealment much (I often open carry) and prefer the comfort of an OWB holster. I think it's more important to have a gun than to make sure your gun isn't seen. If your rig is too uncomfortable, you'll be less inclined to wear it all the time.

Most people won't notice your shirt hanging funny or a bit of leather poking out below your shirt.

Based on my experience so far, most people won't notice an chrome Desert Eagle with blinking lights on the grips carried in a tactical drop holster.

July 10, 2008, 03:41 PM
I like my IWB because I can clip into my right front or right rear pocket. My shirt covers it fine.:)

July 10, 2008, 03:48 PM
My IWB holster has started collecting dust since I got my Blackhawk Serpa and my Bianchi m82 Carry-lock.

OWB is SOOO much more comfortable and easier to draw from. With slightly longer shirts they conceal OK (although I don't care a whole lot since I open carry a fair amount).

July 10, 2008, 08:39 PM
Thanks for all the responses so far guys.

July 10, 2008, 08:49 PM
For comfort I'll take the OWB, but here also, concealment isn't an issue.

July 10, 2008, 08:53 PM
Like many here i carry both ways tho primarily iwb . My rule of thumb is that i will carry an owb if i have 2" of shirt tail below the lowest point of the holster/handgun . That way casual shoulder movements wont expose the firearm and i can kneel to pick up objects ect .

July 10, 2008, 08:58 PM
"flip" to a pancake and you'll be soooooo happy.

I sure am....

fleace vest or sweater in the winter (that's September to May up this way)...

Camp style shirt untucked over a t-shirt in the summer.

When it's really hot I can put the clip draw back on and go Mexican. :eek:

July 10, 2008, 09:36 PM
I used to carry IWB until I discovered the comfort of OWB. Like you I need a holster that conceals well with my active lifestyle. I recommend a high ride belt slide. I am ordering a Don Hume H721 OT.


July 11, 2008, 03:11 AM
I alternate depending on weather.

July 11, 2008, 08:47 AM
For me, IWB works great in the summer in shorts/tee shirt. In the winter, I'll use an OWB that I can cover up with my jacket (Don Hume Open Top). Recently, though, I've just been using either my Don Hume or a Galco kydex paddle holster I bought for IDPA to OC, because it's so much easier!

July 11, 2008, 08:52 AM
I'm not a big guy (5'9 and fairly thin) and I carry a commander-size 1911 OWB here in Florida. I can't stand IWB, so that option was out. I normally wear an untucked t-shirt and a lightweight casual shirt over top, unbuttoned and untucked.

I used to have some printing issues, but made 2 changes which solved the problem. I switched to thin grips, and a Galco Concealable OWB holster. I carry at about the 3:30 position, and the Galco has a more aggressive cant (carrying angle) than most other OWB holsters - so the gun butt is angled up more towards my armpit, which did wonders to reducing printing.


Eric F
July 11, 2008, 09:15 AM
I live in Va along the coast. So the heat and humidity are similar to Florida. Fall and winter I use a Blackhawk serpa for my 1911. Then I wear some sort of over shirt like a button bown shirt or a jacket. Spring and summer I carry iwb right up front with no holster and an untucked loose fitting t-shirt, it works for me. I am a large type guy and "big" guns are easily concealable for me. I have a fewer smaller friends that can not get away with it like I can.

Mark K. C.
July 11, 2008, 09:19 AM
If you like the OWB , which I also prefer, try a shoulder rig on for size. It will be easier to conceal on a hot day. At least that is my experience.

July 11, 2008, 10:13 AM
I have carried a government or commander 1911 in all weather OWB for years. Where there's a will - and a good rig and belt - there's a way...

July 11, 2008, 10:25 AM
My G30 rides in a Sidearmor IWB. My 1911 rides in an Aker Flatsider. I might get a Flatsider for my G30 but am too lazy to order one.

July 11, 2008, 03:13 PM
I carry a G21SF in a Comp-Tac CTAC IWB rig. :eek: I am sure a decent OWB setup would be much more comfy, but I work with the mentally ill and concealment is most important. The bump in the front of my shirt is rarely glanced at, and if anyone gets too pesky I'll probably just tell 'em it's a TENS unit/battery pack for a spinal stimulator.

What I wouldn't give to get away with OWB or open carry, but in the uber-liberal atmosphere of mental health one cannot take chances, plus this population is one where the old "inciting panic" argument might have something to it... :(

So yeah, chalk me up as one who finds OWB to be more comfortable.


July 11, 2008, 04:28 PM
I carry a G27 or G23 in a Don Hume IWB. cross draw. I have found this is very comfortable especially for driving.

July 12, 2008, 11:04 AM
Crossdraw IWB is an interesting thought. Thanks for all the great responses guys.

July 12, 2008, 11:42 AM
I carry a Ruger P90 in a Minotaur MTAC holster IWB. I don't even realize that it's there most of the time. More than once I’ve had to return to the house when leaving for work. I forgot about it until I got into my truck. I get a nudge from it when I get into a vehicle.

July 12, 2008, 07:54 PM
Alright so obviously OWB concealed carry can be done but what's the best holster for it? I know "what's the best holster" is a pretty stupid question but i'm sure most of you know what i mean. What holster can you use to get away with concealing OWB. What holster will minimize printing?

July 13, 2008, 12:41 PM
Well...thats honestly like asking what combination of mouthwash,toothpaste and tooth brush is the best?!?!

There is no best holster, trust me...Ive been trying to make it for years.
Look at what you want it to do......is comfort or concealment or reholstering or stability or tuckable or spring clips/snap loops????????? Your number one requirement? what is your second? Third??????????

Analyze what you want it to do and look for the best you can find given the criteria you come up with........

If your still lost, call me and Ill help steer you the right way.

Shoot well and god bless

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