What Should You Look For In An OWB Holster?

If you are looking to open carry, an OWB Kydex holster is a solid choice.  With a little planning, it is also a great concealed carry option as well.  OWB stands for “outside the waistband”.  If you are having a problem visualizing it just think about an old-timey western where everyone is walking around with strong-side Colt pistols acting like they own the place.  If you want a modern example, here is our Prodigy OWB Kydex Holster.

People like to debate open carry versus concealed carry but in our opinion, there is no wrong way to do it.  It is a matter of personal preference and what the law where you live allows for (cough).  Sure, there are all sorts of situational concerns as well but we will go into at another time.  If you want to check out our thoughts on concealed carry you can do that here: What Should You Look For In An IWB Holster.  The purpose of this article is to examine if OWB is for you.  The best way to do that is to start with some old-school political theory

“Speak softly, and carry a big stick, and you will go far.” - Theodore Roosevelt

Here at FDO Industries, we are politically agnostic for most things outside the 2A domain.  Unlike our fellow men who have inexplicable communist leanings, we believe that every citizen should be able to own a firearm without restriction.  This does not mean that we can’t appreciate a solid take in the political sphere when we see one.  Regardless of what you think of Theodore Roosevelt (and our Co-Founder Scott is not a fan), I see some parallels with his foreign policy approach of “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Roosevelt’s big stick at the time was the United States Navy.  He felt that the Western hemisphere was our neck of the woods and that everybody in it would benefit by pulling in the same direction as long as that direction was in the interests of the United States.  He made sure everybody was aware of his position on things and this approach worked out pretty well.  

If you are wondering why we are talking about old-school political theory, it is because this philosophy is one of the reasons some people choose to open carry with an OWB Kydex Holster.

(If you are unsure of what material an OWB holster should be made out of, let me sing the praises once more of choosing Kydex for holsters generally and point you to an entire post we made on the topic here:  What You Should Look For In A Kydex Holster).

The Big Stick Philosophy of the OWB Holster

Let us begin with Teddy's “carry a big stick philosophy”.  Just like people did not mess with the United States back in the day because they knew they would have to deal with our Navy, if you use an OWB holster you will ‘open carrying’.  This means that anyone contemplating starting a ruckus with you, or anyone else in the immediate vicinity, will have to deal with you first.  The threat of force many times is enough to prevent anything from happening in the first place.  Criminals prefer easy targets and will most likely move on to a situation they feel they have the advantage in.

There are a lot of pro-gun law groups that try to say that open carry actually results in more crime because they theorize that criminals get guns themselves in response to an armed citizenry.  This is a really dumb take that two minutes of critical thinking debunks.  Even if it were true, we are not concerned about crime at a 30,000 foot view.  For our purposes, we have an audience of one and that is you.  Common sense tells us that a smart criminal will avoid you if possible if they know you are armed.

But What About The Dumb Ones?  What If The Deterrence of OWB Doesn’t Work?

Ok, so someone wants to FAFO.  What are the benefits of an OWB Holster versus an IWB Holster?  There are three main benefits to open carry.

First, you can get to your gun fast.  An OWB holster secures your firearm on the outside of any clothing.  You don’t have to mess around with moving your shirt out of the way and can go immediately to the draw.  This also has the added benefit of leaving your off-hand free to fend off a possible physical attack or push a loved one out of the way.  Almost everyone can draw faster from an OWB holster than from concealment.

Second, if you open carry you can carry the firearm of your choice with all the fixins.  This means that if you want to rock a full-size Glock 17 with an extended mag, light, laser, suppressor, and optic nothing is going to prevent you from doing that.  The key to being proficient with your firearm is reps, and if you don’t have to train two different guns you will automatically get more proficient.  Your comfort level will be higher in an emergency situation and you won’t have to deal with a lower amount of ammunition capacity that comes from smaller concealed options.  The utility factor goes way up when you have unlimited options.

The third benefit is comfort.  OWB holsters are easier to take on and off.  They handle driving and sitting down much better than IWB options (especially appendix carry).  You also get to avoid turning your entire wardrobe into a math problem because printing is not a problem for OWB.  It is kind of the whole point.  The entire goal is to make your firearm comfortable to wear so you carry it every day.  The last thing you want to have happen is you don’t have your gun when you need it because it is at home because you didn’t feel like wearing it that day.  If it feels like second nature to put on an FDO Industries OWB holster when you get dressed, then we have done our job.

OWB Holster Quick Fire Questions

What is the best OWB Holster?

One that fits your firearm perfectly and can be adjusted to fit your specific needs.  Like the holster here:  The Grey Man OWB Kydex Holster

What is the most comfortable OWB Carry Position?

This is one hundred percent personal preference so there is no “right” answer.  Something to consider is that instead of placing it directly on your hip, try it a bit behind at the 4 o’clock position.  This can help with ease of draw and comfort.

Can you conceal carry with an OWB holster?

I can see that they don’t have coats, suits, sweaters, or hoodies where you are from.  Yes.  You can definitely come up with strategies to conceal your OWB holster.

I hope this answers most of your questions for today.

Have a good one,


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