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OWB Holsters - Pros and Cons

A man carrying an outside the waistband holster A man carrying an outside the waistband holster A man carrying an outside the waistband holster


Any real gun lover is well familiar with the term OWB. Outside the waistband holsters have always been one of the most favorite holster types and a very popular carry style, even nowadays, when concealment is a must, mainly due to ever stricter gun laws. In this article, we’ll have a brief look at what makes OWBs stand out, especially in comparison with other carry options, and I’ll also show you a couple of OWB holsters that Craft Holsters can offer you.


As the full name suggests, outside the waistband holsters are worn around one’s waist area. More specifically, these holsters are attached to one’s belt, from the outside. OWBs represent one of the biggest holster groups and they are a direct alternative to IWB holsters (inside the waistband). Based on the name, one might think that the only difference between these holsters is the fact that they are attached to the opposite side of pants, however, this is far from truth. These holster groups differ also in many other aspects, such as concealment level, draw and re-holstering time, comfort, capacity, accessibility, security, etc.


Accessibility, draw speed, personal security as well as comfortable carrying – all of these are probably the biggest pluses of these holsters. The first two benefits are quite obvious. If you don’t have to reach for your gun under your garments, it becomes more accessible. Accessibility is the key when it comes to unexpected situations in which you need to get hold of your gun as quick as possible. Unlike IWBs, you don’t carry an OWB holster tucked inside your pants, which grants a much easier access to your gun. And the more accessible your gun is, the faster it can be drawn. Another great plus of OWBs is that they are carried quite comfortably also when seated, which is ideal for people with office jobs and drivers.

Although your gun can be snatched more easily than when carried IWB, overall personal security is much higher than in case of holsters attached on the inside of your pants, such as IWB or appendix holsters. The reason is quite logical, as there is no risk of you getting accidentally shot by your gun when re-holstering on the outside (but you still need to be careful!). In order to render the downside of your gun being exposed when carried OWB nearly insignificant, most of OWB holsters come with various retention devices, such as screws, snaps, or thumb breaks. All of these prevent your gun from being taken from you easily and they also make it nearly impossible for your gun to slip out when holstered, no matter the cant angle.

Probably the biggest downside of these holsters is the mentioned concealment level and various restrictions that have been imposed recently, known as CCW laws. However, if you want to carry your gun OWB, your only option isn’t applying for a duty job. Many OWBs can be concealed if you wear appropriate clothing, or if you pick holsters that are closefitting and of low profile, such as ours.


At Craft Holsters, we currently offer almost 30 different OWB designs. I’ll show you a couple of them that feature all of the advantages mentioned above, but also compensate for the disadvantages of OWBs, thanks to the special features these holsters offer.


Last year, we proudly introduced our very own Open Top Leather Pancake Holster, a.k.a. Panther. Featuring double stitched wide belt loops, Panther is your no.1 option in terms of safety and convenience of attachment. Although the leather is quite thick and robust, the holster’s slim profile enables for very easy concealment under any garment, so there's no concealment issue. Panther also features a partial sweat guard, which means carrying the holster won’t cause damage to the leather from body sweat, as during warmer months you will probably conceal it only with a t-shirt. Get yours here.

Craftsman's Choice OWB Holster

Panther has its rival in the Craftsman's Choice OWB Holster. On top of everything the Panther holster offers, this piece of art from the workshop of our Custom Shop craftsman feature unique, one-of-a-kind hand engravings. The open top makes it possible to carry even revolvers of larger frames in it. This spectacular OWB pancake holster is available in three different styles - Sherridan Mahogany Leather, Stingray Black Leather, and Buffalo Ebony Leather. Get yours here.

Leather Pancake Holster with 2 Carry Positions

Another holster you won’t regret buying is the Leather Pancake Holster with 2 Carry Positions. One disadvantage of OWBs is that it becomes easier for others to get hold of your gun, which is why this holster comes with a snap and thumb break. Moreover, getting this holster will result in a 2 in 1 bargain, as it can be worn in two different positions – 3 and 4 o’clock. Thus, the holster can be carried on one’s dominant as well as opposite side, making it also a very decent cross-draw holster. Get yours here.

Belt Side Leather Holster

If you are not a fan of pancake holsters, don’t worry, there is this stylish Belt Side Leather Holster waiting for you. This tight fitting OWB holster is best carried on one’s dominant side, however, it also enables you for cross-draw carry. The holster is made of thin wet-molded Italian leather and it features a partially cut out trigger guard, which is meant to lower the draw and re-holstering time. The thumb break and snap are designed to make you feel much safer about your gun, which is essential when it comes to OWB carry. Get yours here.

Leather Paddle Holster w/ Thumb Break

Leather Paddle Holster with Thumb Break is a great option for those, who aren’t fans of belt loop holsters. This holster is ideal for any gun carrier looking for high security as well as versatility and comfort of use and carry. The rotary plastic paddle makes it easy to attach the holster anywhere on the wearer’s belt. The entire barrel is covered, which enhances safety this holster offers. Get yours here.



The answer to this question is quite simple. On duty professionals, such as law enforcement officers, security guards, or army members, can make use of any OWB holster, as they don’t have to face concealed carry restrictions. However, even if you are just a regular citizen, you can carry our OWB holsters too. All of the holsters listed above can be easily concealed, and not just in winter. As long as you get one of these holsters, all coming in low profile, you will be just fine even in states with stricter concealment law, just don’t forget to put your shirt on. BTW, if you are a law enforcement officer, we have good news for you. As we have all the respect for on duty professionals, we introduced a special Law enforcement discount way back in the past. The discount doesn’t apply only to those who are currently working for the police, but we offer it to retired officers, firefighters, emergency medical services, and, of course, to all veterans out there. If you want to find out more about our LE discount and how to get yours, click here.


Now that we’ve been through some pros and cons of outside the waistband holsters, you can do the math and decide whether they are the right choice for you. If yes, then look through our selection here or just compare the holsters I suggested you to above and see which one is the best for you. Most of our OWBs are made to fit a wide range of guns and they all come with a 5 year warranty, plus there's always our customer-friendly returns policy in case you don't find what you've been looking for. If you aren’t an on duty professional or if the CCW restrictions put you off, don’t worry, you can pick from many other carry styles that we offer. After all, here at Craft holsters we make custom holsters for everyone, not just for OWB lovers. So just pick yours, get ready, and draw!


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