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.
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.
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.
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.
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.