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IWB vs OWB Holsters

The choice between inside the waistband (IWB) holsters and outside the waistband (OWB) holsters is a topic of much discussion among firearm enthusiasts and concealed carry practitioners. Both have their merits and downsides. Here, we break it down to help guide your choice.

The debate between inside the waistband (IWB) holsters and outside the waistband (OWB) holsters is one that has been around for a while now.

When considering a holster, two of the most common styles that emerge are IWB and OWB. Each has a dedicated following and is designed for specific scenarios and preferences.

IWB holsters are more concealable but can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. OWB holsters are less concealable but are generally more comfortable.

For many concealed carriers, the primary decision point hinges on concealment versus comfort. IWB holsters tuck inside the pants, providing a higher level of concealment, especially under a tucked-in shirt or jacket. However, this intimate positioning can also cause discomfort, especially when sitting. On the other hand, OWB holsters ride outside the pants, providing a more comfortable fit, but at the potential cost of print-through or exposure, especially when bending or reaching.

IWB Holsters VS OWB Holsters. Pros and Cons ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Choosing a holster often means weighing various factors, including concealment needs, comfort levels, body type, clothing choices, and even the specific firearm you're carrying.

Advantages and disadvantages of each type of holster so you can make an informed decision about which is right for you.

IWB vs OWB Holsters. Pros and Cons.

IWB Holsters:


  • Concealment: Offers superior concealment, especially useful in areas or situations where discretion is crucial.

  • Stability: Because they are tucked into the pants, there's less risk of them being accidentally knocked or grabbed.


  • Comfort: They can become uncomfortable during prolonged wear or when sitting.

  • Draw Speed: Drawing from an IWB can be a tad slower, especially if tucked under a shirt.

OWB Holsters:


  • Comfort: Generally more comfortable, especially over longer periods.

  • Fast Draw: Easier and quicker draw compared to IWB.


  • Concealment: More challenging to conceal, especially under tight or light clothing.

  • Exposure Risk: A risk of exposing the firearm during physical activities.

IWB holsters offer better concealment because they sit inside your pants, close to your body.

This positioning makes it easier to hide the firearm, especially beneficial in regions with strict concealment laws or in situations where discretion is critical. A well-fitted IWB holster can effectively make even larger sidearms "disappear."

IWB holsters can take time to getting used to.

Adapting to the feel of an IWB holster can take time. It may require adjusting the cant or ride height, experimenting with different positions around the waist, or even altering clothing choices. Over time, however, many find that they can acclimate to the feel and even forget they're wearing it.


Choosing between IWB vs OWB holsters and the Pros and Cons often comes down to your unique needs and preferences. Consider your daily activities, clothing choices, body type, and the specific contexts in which you'll be carrying. Test both types and adjust as needed, and you'll find the perfect fit for your concealed carry journey.


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