OWB (Outside the Waistband) holsters work well for competition shooting, and are a favorite option for law enforcement. They can also be used for civilian carry, and with a little planning and forethought, can even be used for concealed carry.
If you’re searching for the best OWB holster to meet your shooting needs, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we cover all the ins and outs of OWB carry. We even review what we consider the “cream of the crop” in OWB holsters.
If you do not have time for the details, here are our top picks for OWB Holsters:
- Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB Holster
- Safariland 7362 Hi-Ride Duty Holster
- Concealment Express OWB Paddle Holster
- Tagua Thumb Break Belt Holster
- We The People OWB Holster
- T.Rex Arms Ragnarok
- G-Code OSH (Operational Series Holster) Standard
- Crossbreed Holsters DropSlide OWB Holster
- Versacarry Guardian Holster Arc Angel Edition
Table of Contents
- Why Choose an OWB Holster?
- What to Look for in an OWB Holster?
- Best OWB Holsters on the Market Reviews
- 1 Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB Holster
- 2 Safariland 7362 Hi-Ride Duty Holster
- 3 Concealment Express OWB Paddle Holster
- 4 Tagua Thumb Break Belt Holster
- 5 We The People OWB Holster
- 6 T.Rex Arms Ragnarok
- 7 G-Code OSH (Operational Series Holster) Standard
- 8 Crossbreed Holsters DropSlide OWB Holster
- 9 Versacarry Guardian Holster Arc Angel Edition
- The Verdict
Why Choose an OWB Holster?
While IWB (Inside the Waistband) holsters are the most popular option for concealed carry, the OWB holster has plenty of advantages. Far more comfortable than cramming a holster and firearm down your pants, OWB carry makes drawing and re-holstering easier and more consistent than any other holster option.
OWB holsters also allow shooters to carry their firearm in a variety of positions, including on the hip, small of the back, 4 o’clock, and cross draw. If you prefer using a full-size handgun, using an OWB holster can make EDC much easier.
OWB holsters can make concealing a firearm a bit tricky. However, with the right wardrobe choices, concealment isn’t impossible. Most OWB options can be hidden under a jacket, sweatshirt, or sweater.
What to Look for in an OWB Holster?
Choosing any holster is a matter of personal preference. What works perfectly for one shooter, may be a nightmare for another. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when shopping for a new OWB holster.
If your holster isn’t comfortable, you might be tempted to leave it and your firearm at home. A gun worn on your person is more effective for self-defense than one that sits in a safe.
Your holster should be lightweight, so it doesn’t drag down your pants. You also don’t want a holstre that pinches or rubs. Wearing a holster as you go about your day is the best way to test its comfort level. If at all possible, you should test drive any prospective holster before you commit to it.
Retention is what keeps your firearm securely inside of your holster until you remove it. Holsters with adjustable retention allow you to customize the amount of effort it takes to draw. Carriers who are physically active may prefer extra tension to ensure their firearm stays put when running, stretching, or otherwise moving about.
For extra security, you may want a holster that offers a second source of retention, such as a thumb break or rotating strap. While these devices definitely help keep your weapon inside the holster, they can make accessing your weapon in a self-defense situation much more complicated.
Best OWB Holsters on the Market Reviews
Not all OWB holsters are created equal. If you aren’t sure what to look for, here are a few of our favorite options.
1 Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB Holster
This comfortable holster from Alien Gear makes you want to carry your sidearm everywhere. It features a curved paddle that grips your waistband to help keep your holster right where you want it.
The holster is strong and durable. It is made with an extra thermo elastomer retention membrane between your firearm and the holster’s steel flex plate. This thick layer snaps the sidearm into place and keeps it there, providing excellent weapon retention. The holster also has a wide, open mouth, which makes reholstering simple and easy.
Carriers can easily adjust cant and angle, as well as retention level.
For serious versatility, the Cloak Mod OWB comes with both a paddle and a belt slide. Shooters who prefer lacing their belt through their OWB holster, can simply swap the paddle component with the belt slide.
2 Safariland 7362 Hi-Ride Duty Holster
Designed with law enforcement officers in mind, the Safariland Hi-Ride Duty Holster is rugged, lightweight, and features two separate retention systems for extra security. The first is the ALS (Automatic Locking System), which is an internal locking device that secures your weapon in all directions when holstered. The second is the SLS (Self Locking System). This rotating hood flips over your sidearm when it is in the holster to prevent others from drawing your weapon. These two systems combine to provide Level III retention.
This particular Safariland holster fits sidearms with red dot optics. The interior of the holster is lined with a proprietary SafariSeven non-abrasive material to prevent weapon wear. Safariland also incorporated raised surfaces into the holster. These raised areas are designed to create airflow, allowing dirt, sweat, and moisture to clear contact and prevent weapon corrosion.
This tactical-style holster is engineered to ride 1 ½ inches above the waistline. The hi-ride belt loop also keeps your weapon close to your body for easier concealment.
3 Concealment Express OWB Paddle Holster
Although Concealment Express is best known for its IWB Kydex holsters, the company recently branched out into the world of OWB, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. This minimalist paddle holster is durable, lightweight, and perfect for EDC.
Concealment Express thermoforms each holster around precision-crafted aluminum molds. Their molds are milled in house, and their holsters are guaranteed to fit your firearm perfectly. The company offers holsters crafted for every major handgun from the ever popular Glock 19 to the S&W M&P Shield and beyond.
This high-quality paddle holster fits comfortably, although it works best with wide belts to prevent extra wiggle when you’re walking.
Each Concealment Express Paddle Holster features an adjustable ‘Posi-Click’ retention system, so you always know when your firearm has been properly holstered. Carriers can adjust weapon cant from -5 to +20 degrees for a customized carry experience.
4 Tagua Thumb Break Belt Holster
Leather holsters are a stylish way to carry your sidearm, and it doesn’t get much classier than Tagua Gunleather. Although some leather OWB holsters offer little in the way of weapon retention, Tagua addressed the issue by implementing a handy thumb break. This reinforced strip of leather has a positive snap release that holds your weapon in your holster during EDC, yet allows quick, easy access when you need to engage a threat.
Each holster is made from premium American steer hide. The leather is double stitched for serious durability and covers the entire barrel for extra protection from dirt and debris.
Tagua’s Thumb Break holster allows your sidearm to ride straight at a forward facing cant that works well for larger firearms like the Glock 17, Sig P226, and the Kimber 1911. It is also available for both right- and left-handed shooters.
5 We The People OWB Holster
Ideal for open carry, these American-made OWB holsters are made from durable Kydex. This holster is waterproof, washable, and will never rot or degrade.
Carriers can easily adjust the holster to achieve the perfect height and angle for a smooth, customized draw. You simply unscrew the holster paddle, position it as desired, and then screw the paddle back into place.
The holster is designed to be lightweight and minimize uncomfortable pressure, making it a smart option for big guys. It also features a protective sweat guard to minimize contact between your gun and body.
6 T.Rex Arms Ragnarok
As tough as the company’s name implies, T.Rex Arms holsters are crafted from heavy-duty precision-formed Kydex. These holsters are absolute beasts, built to stand up to rough use in rugged conditions.
T.Rex designed their Ragnarok OWB to be extremely modular. The holster’s unique modular hole system accommodates a plethora of mounting options. It can be used in conjunction with clips, paddles, and offset mounts from Safariland, G-Code, Blackhawk, and more.
The Ragnarok works well for competition, range, and duty use, as well as civilian open carry. Although the Ragnarok is a passive retention holster, the retention is easily adjustable using simple screws around the holster’s edge.
T.Rex Arms offers their Ragnarok holster in models to fit most popular handguns, including the Glock 23, Walther PPS, and plenty more. Be sure to order the Ragnarok designed for your specific sidearm to ensure a proper fit.
7 G-Code OSH (Operational Series Holster) Standard
G-Code offers serious quality holsters at seriously affordable prices. Their Operational Series Holsters are built for rough, everyday use.
This safe, functional holster is made from heavy-duty, precision -formed Kydex.It features a fold/wrap design with adjustable Pro-Safe Tensioning that allows you to easily adjust weapon retention to suit your personal needs.
G-Code’s OSH series is their most popular line. All holsters in this series are compatible with all of the company’s accessory mounting adapters, so you can choose the perfect set-up for your carry lifestyle.
8 Crossbreed Holsters DropSlide OWB Holster
The DropSlide from Crossbreed Holsters is a hybrid OWB that features a soft, pliable leather backing and a tough Kydex shell. The leather is made with 1 ¾-inch belt slots so you can easily attach it to a standard size men’s belt.
The leather is specifically cut to fully grip when you draw your weapon, helping keep your holster in place. The leather also extends beyond the bottom of the barrel, to prevent it from rubbing against your clothes or body.
Lightweight and comfortable, the DropSlide works well for open carry, yet is concealed easily with a simple cover garment.
Crossbreed covers all of their holsters with a rock-solid lifetime warranty. If the holster fails due to normal use, the company will repair or replace your holster without hassle.
9 Versacarry Guardian Holster Arc Angel Edition
The Versacarry Guardian Arc Angle OWB holster is made from strikingly handsome, vegetable-tanned water buffalo leather. It has a double ply backing, and is stitched together with industrial-grade, bonded nylon thread for extra durability.
The holster threads conveniently onto a standard 1 ½-inch belt and has a forward cant that works well for hip carry or cross draw (just order the holster designed for your non-dominant hand to facilitate the proper angle).
Holsters are sized to be compatible with multiple handgun models, providing serious versatility. However, you’ll have to sacrifice some security in the process. Because the retention isn’t adjustable, and the holster isn’t firearm-specific, there could be issues with safety, especially for physically active shooters.
There are many reasons shooters choose to use an OWB holster. Whether you like the extra comfort, the easy draw, or the variety of carry positions these holsters provide, the best OWB holster is a great way to carry a handgun.