OWB Concealed Carry Holsters

OWB – Outside The Waistband

OWB concealed carry holsters are by far the most common form of carrying a firearm. They are made by at least as many companies as there are that make handguns. They can be carried concealed or not. If not concealed, then this is referred to as “open carry”, which is forbidden in many states around the country.

I was raised and lived most of my life in Southern California. Open carry was legal there until January of 2012. I spent a lot of my time on horseback in the wilderness and carried a sidearm everywhere I went.

belt slide

Basically, the OWB concealed carry holster is usually mounted on the belt. It can be located on either side, depending on which is your strong hand. By that, I mean right or left handed. Then you can wear it forward or behind the centerline of the body.

Appendix Carry

Appendix carry is referring to about the one o’clock position right in front of your appendix ( assuming you still have one). This position is very easy to reach in an urgent situation, but may be somewhat uncomfortable for some people. When you sit, the barrel of the gun can poke into the groin area, and this also means that you get severely injured in case of a negligent discharge.

People, for various reasons, will carry their firearm in just about any position you can think of. Some are carried on either side, in the small of the back, or at any location all around the belt line. It primarily depends on the comfort level of the carrier and the wardrobe in use at the time.

There is a holster designed for every use imaginable. These include, but are not limited to, belt holsters, shoulder holsters, ankle holsters, cross draw, backward hand draw, etc. Any of these styles wound be considered OWB concealed carry holsters.

Belt Holsters

rangerBelt holsters can have clips or loops. They can be designed into the fabric (either leather, nylon or Kydex), or they can be made separately and attached to the holster. The holster itself can also be made of these different materials. The earlier holsters were all made of leather. Leather holsters were all handmade and were getting rather expensive to produce, so other methods were developed.

This was when nylon was introduced into the mix. Holster Manufacturers could be very creative with nylon because it was cheaper than leather and easier to work with. And they could be designed for any form of carry that a leather holster could.

The design of handgun retention in the holster was also pretty much the same; a strap around the hammer on a revolver, a strap around the slide on a semi-auto pistol. These were referred to as a thumb break because the carrier would use their thumb to release the snap of the strap during the draw.


Most recently, during the past twenty years or so, Kydex holsters became very popular. They are made of a mixture of acrylic and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The Kydex is heated to around 300 to 350 degrees, then molded to the precise shape of the gun.

The retention is usually molded right into the holster at the trigger guard. These holsters can be made to any configuration, as well.

The belt loops and clips can be of the same material or can be metal clips, all made separately and attached with Chicago screws or eyelets. They can also be made with a combination of Kydex and leather, commonly called Hybrid Holsters, and can be made adjustable for ride height and angled forward or back ( referred to as cant ).20151025_115527

Shoulder Holsters

Shoulder holsters are OWB as well in that they are carried outside the waistband. They are, however, carried under the armpit in a holster covered by an outer garment, usually a coat or business jacket. These holsters are made from either leather or nylon with straps around the shoulders and behind the neck. Some have magazine pouches on the opposite side from the gun.shoulder holster

Deep Concealment

Deep concealment can be considered either OWB or IWB (inside the waistband). The gun is carried inside the clothing most of the time, in a belly band, compression type t-shirt or in 5463270e80b7402b702b42b03901b6e7compression style undershorts as discussed in an earlier article.

Magazine Carriers

Carriers for extra ammunition magazines are produced by the same companies making the holsters. They are also made of the same materials as the holsters and can be made to hold one or more spare magazines.

They are held to the belt with either clips or belt loops just like the holsters and are carried on the opposite side of the body as the gun.20151025_115448



OWB concealed carry holsters still remain the most popular way to carry a handgun due to the ease of use and comfort. This is my preferred method for those very reasons. If you would like to ask about this carry method or anything else I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to send a comment or email. I will be happy to answer all inquiries.






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