IWB or OWB, The Concealed Carry Conundrum: Guns For Beginners

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Lots of concealed carriers choose either inside the waistband or outside the waistband and stick with it. Then there are those of us who switch back and forth depending on circumstances, time of year and how you’ll need to dress.

IWB gives you ultimate concealment while OWB enhances comfort while carrying your shootin’ iron all day long. The key: choose a good holster that’s custom made for your particular EDC gun and wear it with a quality gun belt. Oh and carry it…every damn day.


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  1. avatar Joe R. says:

    EIAWB Carry

    Eight Inches Above the Waiste Band Carry

    Shoulder Holster

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Nevah hafta take it off

      No nevah

      1. avatar ironicatbest says:

        Yours is horizontal correct. I’ve got a vertical and don’t like it that much, plus it’s cordura or some shit. I like leather

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          Falco Roto-Tilt shoulder holster. End of your problems… after the lead time to make it… and ship it from Europe.

          Very, very nice. I’ve had one for my 941 for years. Now they make one with a double mag pouch on the other side too. The list of pistols they will make it for is, quite literally, the most extensive list I’ve seen from any manufacturer, ever. I have my scroll wheel turned up very, very high and it take more than a dozen rolls down to get through the list.


        2. avatar Joe R. says:

          Yep, shoulder holsters.

          Conundrum free for nearly 650 years.

        3. avatar ironicatbest says:

          @ strych9 , just looked at them thru ur link , I was figuring cost prohibitive, but that’s a really good price. However I only pay cash for gun related items, so have to find one in G S. Good luck with that right.

        4. avatar mark s. says:

          I own my share of shoulder rigs and for my 2 and three pounders they’re great , but unless you are Clint Eastwood or a Dirty Harry wannabe , I can’t see wearing a jacket all the time over a boat weight unless your potential environment calls for one , i.e. bear country .

        5. avatar Tristen Howard says:

          @strych9 – thanks for the link to the Falco shoulder holster. I’ve been wanting to carry shoulder holster, but have not been able to find a vertical holster for my glock 26. Galco said they won’t do them for glock 26, except in horizontal. Falco is the first one I’ve seen for vertical. Hopefully my quest for a vertical shoulder holster is done. Thanks.

    2. avatar Art out West says:

      The easy answer for most new gun owner/carriers is neither IWB nor OWB.

      Pocket carry, and you will actually carry a gun all the time.

      Get an AirWeight or LCR revolver in .38sp, and a pocket holster. Good to go

      If the snubby is too big, then go with an LCP/TCP/P3AT/G42/Bodyguard .380.

      If you want a 9mm, go with a Shield/LC9/G43 etc.

      Pocket carry is a great gateway to CCW.

      You can always buy a bigger better gun down the road.

      1. avatar Joel says:

        I second the pocket carry option, but few pocket/9mm options compliment each other well. The list of pocketable guns I’ve carried in the last 5 years in order of purchase are

        Taurus 85ch steel frame (a little heavy)
        Kel-tec PF9 (looked so good on paper)
        Taurus TCP (my Goldilocks gun)
        Ruger LC9s (wife’s gun)
        1st gen Charter Undercover (it worked)
        S&W 637 (sadly the worst of my snubs)
        NNA black Widow (forget its there)

        I still have the TCP, LC9s, and the Black Widow. The LC9s is pocketable in only one or two pairs of shorts I own, but it carries well IWB. All the snubs were pocketable, but feel heavy in most pants. The Smith was the lightest, but didn’t shoot point of aim, so I traded it off after a couple range sessions. I thought it was going to be the Perfect CCW too. I’ll probably try an LCR sometime in the near future. I love shooting wheel guns and they carry well for me.

  2. avatar Mark N. says:

    I have both kinds of holsters, but my ED holster is a High Noon IWB that is slim, leather, and quite comfortable when in the exact right place. Gunbelt is a Bull Belt from DaltechForce that is sturdy, discrete, and holding up very well after several years of continuous daily wear. Would I rather carry OWB? Sure, why not? I have a pancake holster from Kirkpatrick that is perfect for the task. Such holsters are quite comfy; but this is California and I don’t want to run the risk.

  3. avatar pwrserge says:

    After much experimentation, I’ve switched to a 3 o’clock OWB holster full time. It’s tight enough to my body that it can be covered by a sweatshirt in winter or loose shirt in summer while not getting in my way as I spend most of my work day sitting on my ass. I’ve gotten to the point where the holster never comes off my pants and the pistol moves from the night stand to the holster and back as needed. Sometimes being a relatively stocky dude works to my advantage. (and the swivel chair spread provide ample camouflage)

  4. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

    I can’t even stand a few coins in my pockets so there is no way I would go IWB. I’ve got a pancake from MASC Holster generally about 8:00 that has been exceptional and a custom fit for my Steyr’s.

  5. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    This “conundrum” used to keep me up all night and then I realized I could do both!

  6. avatar ironicatbest says:

    I use a cheap IWB above my hip pocket, for a ” here’s my wallet” situation. The OWB is bb gun 1911 carried on side for ” here’s my gun”situation’s, the .25 is in front pocket opposite from the OWB , the 25 is sans holster. ,,,,,. ,,, These pop-up adds r giving me fits tonite

  7. avatar Michael says:

    Mostly OWB (with a retention snap), sometimes an open top OWB and occasionally a shoulder holster. Always wear a gun belt…2 Akers and one Bigfoot.

  8. avatar epickett says:

    It seems like the shoulder holster posted by Joe R. would print like MAD. Looks like the butt of the gun would be poking out under your shirt…
    I’m still trying to find a good rig that’s comfortable to wear and still NOT advertise what I’m carrying.

  9. avatar mark s. says:

    If you want a durable , simple , low cost , made to fit , super light weight , no fuss holster , go to ‘ Dead Eye Luke holsters ‘ and give one a try , $35.00 and no looking back . If you want to pay a lot for a complicated , over thought , takes 5 minutes to take your britches off , over priced , heavy , belt necessary and fussy holster , start shopping elsewhere . Believe me , I have a trunk full of ‘ never wear again’s ‘ , like most of us here , and since I’m not walking the beat or cruising the street rounding up bad guys , I just need simple , straight forward comfort , that wont break , or come out of my pants when I draw .

  10. avatar raptor jesus says:

    OWB is just asking to be hit with a brandishing charge.

    1. avatar WI Patriot says:

      You need to look up the definition of “brandishing”, wearing an OWB is NOT brandishing…

  11. avatar fishydude says:

    Because my YMCA has a daycare/after school, it is a GFZ. So I wear a Clinger Stingray IWB holster. Very easy to safely remove the holster and the gun with one move. But the clip keeps in in place and is difficult to remove accidentally.
    I recently bought a Sig P320 full size and the subcompact kit. I’m considering getting an OWB kydex hybrid made with the leather backing sided to the full side and the kydex sized for the subcompact. I already have a Clinger for the subcompact.

  12. once in a while an open best OWB and infrequently a shoulder holster. Continuously wear a firearm belt… 2 Akers and one Bigfoot.


  13. avatar former water walker says:

    I pocket carry a Taurus 709 sometimes in a Nemesis. No big deal. Just bought a Taurus 85 SS Ultralite ostensibly for the wife. Also easily pocketed. Really don’t want another 380…I carried a Kimber Pepper Blaster in my pocket for over 4 years and was NEVER made. Light but over an inch thick.

  14. avatar Rick says:

    Yes! you are right, IWB gives you more concealment option. On the contrary, OWB is more comfortable.

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