If you’re a firearm enthusiast or a concealed carry permit holder, finding the right holster is crucial for safety and convenience. While there are various holster options available, an OWB (Outside the Waistband) holster is a popular choice for its comfort, accessibility, and versatility. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through buying the perfect OWB holster to meet your needs.

Why Choose an OWB Holster?

Before diving into the details of choosing the right OWB holster, it’s essential to understand why you might prefer this type of holster:

  1. Accessibility: OWB holsters are worn outside your waistband, making it easier to draw your firearm quickly when needed.
  2. Comfort: These holsters provide a comfortable and secure fit for your firearm while reducing the risk of discomfort or chafing.
  3. Versatility: OWB holsters suit various activities, including daily carry, range shooting, and competition.

Now, let’s explore the key factors when buying an OWB holster.

Material Matters

The first thing to consider is the material of the holster. The most common materials for OWB holsters are:

  • Kydex: Kydex holsters are lightweight, durable, and offer excellent retention. They’re resistant to moisture and can withstand harsh conditions.
  • Leather: Leather holsters are known for their comfort and classic appearance. They mould to your firearm over time, providing a snug fit.
  • Nylon: Nylon holsters are budget-friendly and flexible. They may offer a different retention level than Kydex or leather, but they are a good option for those on a budget.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid holsters combine materials like Kydex and leather to balance comfort and retention.

Consider your priorities when choosing a material, such as comfort, durability, and budget.

Fit and Compatibility

Your OWB holster should provide a secure and snug fit for your firearm. It’s crucial to choose a holster that’s compatible with your specific handgun model. Many reputable holster manufacturers offer various options for different gun models, ensuring a perfect fit.

Retention Mechanism

The retention mechanism determines how your firearm is held in the holster. Common retention mechanisms include:

  • Thumb Break: This mechanism uses a strap you release with your thumb before drawing your firearm. It provides a high level of security.
  • Tension Screw: Some holsters feature adjustable tension screws to customize the retention level according to your preference.
  • Click Retention: Holsters with audible “clicks” when the firearm is properly holstered offer a reassuring sense of security.

Choose a retention mechanism that you are comfortable with, providing the level of security you require.

Belt Attachment Options

OWB holsters typically attach to your belt, and there are several attachment options to consider:

  • Paddle Attachment: Paddle holsters are easy to put on and remove without removing your belt. They are famous for their convenience.
  • Belt Loops: These holsters feature loops that slide onto your belt. They provide a secure and stable fit but may take more effort to put on.
  • MOLLE Attachment: If you plan on using your holster with tactical gear, consider a MOLLE attachment for versatility.


While OWB holsters are designed to be worn openly, some are more concealable. Look for holsters that ride close to the body to minimise printing (when the outline of your firearm is visible through your clothing). This is especially important if you need to maintain a low profile.

Comfort and Adjustability

Comfort is paramount when choosing a holster. Look for features like padding, adjustable cant (the angle at which the holster is carried), and ergonomic design. These factors can make a significant difference in how comfortable the holster feels throughout the day.

Brand Reputation and Reviews

Before making a final decision, it’s a good idea to research OWB holster brands and read reviews. Reputable brands often have a track record of quality and customer satisfaction. Seek out feedback from experienced firearm enthusiasts to gain insights into the performance and reliability of specific holsters.

Legal Considerations

Ensure you know your local and state laws regarding concealed carry and holsters. Some places have specific regulations regarding the type of holster and carry method you can use.

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Choosing the right OWB holster is a crucial decision for firearm owners. By considering the material, fit, retention, belt attachment, concealability, comfort, brand reputation, and legal considerations, you can make an informed choice that ensures the safety and convenience of carrying your firearm. Take your time to research, test, and choose the holster OWB that suits your needs and preferences, and enjoy a secure and accessible carrying experience.

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