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A few days back, Dan asked how many holsters we have. Our man DZ reckons he’s got about 30 or so, and looking through my drawers, I’m certain I’m gaining ground on him. Most of that can be chalked up to my position at TTAG as the de facto holster tester. I’ve got buckets o’ holsters from all over, but occasionally, I need one for a specific gun, and for a specific purpose. After much heartbreak, frustration, and anger, I’ve realized that when I need an OWB holster, no matter the gun, I turn to K Rounds . . .

I don’t often carry OWB on my hip as I’m more of an appendix carry guy. But there’s a time and a place for OWB strong side hip carry. Like when you want to tuck in your collared shirt, but still have a concealed pistol in tow. Simply pop on a cover garment and you’re good to go.

As long as Texas doesn’t have legal open carry, strong side OWB carry is going to be a winter-only activity for me since that cover garment is usually a jacket to complement the aforementioned collared shirt.

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Almost like GLOCK vs. Smith, there’s a vigorous debate to be had on the merits of OWB and IWB holsters. Our head honcho, RF, ran a QoTD many years back asking just that. It attracted 33 responses which in May of 2011 made it probably a top 5 post of all time. If we ran that one today, we’d probably crest 200.

RF made a good point then that still holds now. There’s simply no replacement for the initial grip offered by OWB. IWB, for the most part, offers better concealment, but when the need arises, OWB carry puts the gun away from your hip just enough to give your thumb the purchase it needs for a firm, confident grip. The downside of course is that there’s a big hunk of metal and Kydex (or leather) affixed to the outside of your pants.

Assuming you’ve decided to get on the OWB carry wagon, you run smack dab into a few complications. First, there are almost too many options out there. The whole thing becomes confusing and consumers eventually throw in the towel and buy whatever is closest (or cheapest). Second, many of them are poorly designed and offer poor retention or stability. Third, about the time you find a holster maker you like, they don’t make a rig for the particular gun you want to carry. And finally, few of the OWB holsters I’ve found offer good concealment. As things often go, the holsters that are both well designed and offer good concealment are sometimes priced into the stratosphere.

After trying out lots of options, I have formed some pretty hard opinions on OWB holsters. First among them is that a good OWB holster should be made of Kydex. Say what you will, I realize Kydex is not as pretty as animal skin, but it is super slick and doesn’t shrink or swell with the weather making it ideal for a fast draw every time. Kydex doesn’t hold moisture so it won’t rust your guns. It’s flexible, but has some elastic memory so it can be formed in such a way as to “snap” into place around your trigger guard.

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Second among my requirements for an OWB holster is that it has belt attachment points either side of the gun. I’ve messed around plenty with other attachment systems, and nothing replaces a solid two-point mounting system sized appropriately for the belt you normally use. Quick detach systems are nice, but I’ve found that I spend the same amount of time goofing with them as I do just removing my belt, threading the loops, and cinching my belt back up.

Lastly, an OWB holster should be as unobtrusive and minimalist as possible. It should cover the trigger guard, and it’s certainly a positive if it covers the muzzle as well. It should suck the firearm in close to the body and be canted in such a way to reduce printing from the butt of the pistol poking out awkwardly. It should be curved in such a way as to work with the body instead of against it.

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I’ve now had the opportunity to test the K Rounds OWB holsters on two different guns. The first being the diminutive GLOCK 42 and that’s the holster that actually sold me on getting one for a full sized gun. The problem I had was that I wanted very badly to carry my FNS-9 at the time, and holster options for that gun are not so very “GLOCKish.” Not quite hen’s teeth, but not exactly readily available either. So I headed over to the K-Rounds site and sure enough, FNS-9 holsters for right and left handed shooters in either straight drop or 15 degree cant, sized for either 1.5″ or 1.75″ belts. And just like Henry Ford, you can have it in any color you like as long as its black.

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Once strapped in place, the K Rounds OWB Pancake is snag free, super secure, and keeps a firm grip on my pistol. And like a lot of gun owners, I own a couple different types of pistols. Having the exact same type of holster that I know I like cuts down on the BS of switching between guns. K Rounds makes holsters for so many guns, I think you’d be hard pressed to find that they don’t make one for the gun of your choice. But, if that is somehow the case, they take custom requests. I found the K Rounds OWB pancake to be about as minimalist as possible for an OWB holster.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Overall Rating * * * * *

It fits my gun like a glove, it fits my body like one too, and while a touch on the expensive side, I think it is well worth the $64.99 price of admission.

15 Responses to Gear Review: K Rounds OWB Holster

  1. I prefer IWB. Made correctly, and IWB does not hinder your grip whatsoever. IWB holds the gun tighter to your body so it flops around less and is therefore more comfortable. IWB also hides much of the gun inside your pants giving you more freedom (lift your arm up) to move without exposing your gun. IWB takes longer to get used to wearing, but in the long run I find more comfortable.

    I started with leather, moved to kydex and have recently returned to leather. Leather is quieter than plastic on the draw so I can draw slow and silent if I needed

    • “I started with leather, moved to kydex and have recently returned to leather. Leather is quieter than plastic on the draw so I can draw slow and silent if I needed”

      Serious question.
      When would one need to draw slow and silent in a DGU? If you have time to assess the need for a slow, silent draw, wouldn’t bugging out be better? Shouldn’t you be bugging out?

      Sorry to get OT, Tyler.

      • Bugging out is always a better option if it is available, but it may not be. I am all about giving myself as many options as possible in my training and my gear. One circumstance where a bug out is not appropriate would be if I come into a situation where a family member is in trouble. Its all about having options.

  2. NO offense, but this isn’t a review, it’s a history of OWB vs IWB and your infatuation with “also ran” striker fired guns.

    Why would I buy this if I had a Glock?

    EDIT: I am waiting to take delivery on a leather high ride 1911 OWB. Why would I buy this over that? Further, it doesn’t ride quite high enough, as I find with many kydex designs to really conceal a long gun (5″).

  3. I will check in out.

    For IWB, I really like the SHTF Holsters. I’ve got them for a bunch of different pistols now, and have retired all my other IWB holsters.

    http://www.shtfgear.com/

    I really like being able to adjust how deep the holster sits.

  4. Are Fobus holsters made of Kydex? The reason I ask is that I had a Fobus paddle holster, and fit and retention were good, but the material was very hard. It wasn’t doing the finish on my Sig any kindness, so I dumped it in favor of a G&G 3-slot pancake.

    • I believe that the Fobus are injection molded plastic. Fobus is the Yugo of holsters. Friends don’t let friends carry Fobus.

      • Ahhh. Thanks!

        There’s not a great selection of holsters in this burg. Besides the LEO store they’re mostly the Uncle Mike’s “One size fits all” type. So what I know about holsters I learned from the ones I bought on-line.

        I see K Rounds makes a holster for the CZ-75 (which most people don’t). Mine’s wearing a G&G 803 that really belongs on a P226, so I will check it out.

  5. I loved my K Rounds holsters that I used in the past. If K Rounds had a version for my Sig Sauer 320, which is my new EDC, I would still be using their products I was absolutely loyal to their brand until I was forced to look elsewhere. Their holsters are rather good, and if they happen to have a holster fitted for your gun, I highly recommend taking a look. If they do not support your firearm, I found it a waste of time to ask them. They will promise to have a new holster fitted for your gun in two weeks, but months will pass before you finally give up waiting. But, do not blame them, though, for it is just the reality of holster shopping.

    • I’ve had K Rounds build up 2 specialty holsters for myself and both were done in less time then they originally quoted me, one in less then a week. Both were for popular pistols that had a lot of choices on the market, but both guns had auxiliary pieces on them that made them almost impossible to find a Holster that would fit. Both times I told them what I wanted and both times I got exactly what I asked for. This is the great part of these types of holsters, I ask them to make it, and from there on they have a mold for anyone else who wants the same thing.

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