How to Choose the Right IWB vs. OWB Holster for Your Concealed Carry Weapon?

IWB (Inside the Waistband) or OWB (Outside the Waistband)? It really depends on how you wear your pants. If you wear baggy or flowy pants, an IWB holster will feel more natural and comfortable to you. However, if you wear tighter-fitting slacks, an OWB holster will provide a more secure fit and comfort for your gun.

Who needs an IWB or OWB (“inside the waistband”) concealment holster? The answer is simple: Anyone who carries a concealed weapon. Concealment holsters are designed to be worn outside the waistband in order to be easily accessible if you need to pull out your weapon. If you don’t have one yet, get one. You never know when you might need it.

What is IWB Holster?

IWB (Inside-The-Waistband) holsters are the most common type of handgun holster. They’re usually made of a thick nylon or polyester material and fastened with an adjustable belt clip. They are the most comfortable style of carrying, but they also allow for the fastest draw when speed is critical.

What is OWB Holster?

OWB (Outside-The-Waistband) holsters are a close second. They’re made of a much thinner material and are held in place by the natural pressure of the wearer’s body against the outside of the holster. OWB holsters are slightly less comfortable than IWB holsters, but they provide superior concealment and are great for when speed isn’t as important.

Feature differences between OWB vs IWB holster

The best tactical holsters on the market have one thing in common—they make it easy to carry your pistol quickly and safely, whether you’re walking, running or riding.


The two major categories of holsters that are available are the IWB (inside-the-waistband) and the OWB (outside-the-waistband).

Both types provide security for your firearm and allow you to carry it concealed. However, the way they work and their pros and cons are slightly different.

Concealment is perhaps the most important factor when choosing a holster. You want to be able to conceal your weapon in a manner that makes you comfortable with your own personal preference. So, it’s important to know what holster type suits your body better, and how that may impact your performance.

IWB Holsters are ideal for people who prefer more concealment. They are typically worn inside the waistband and are usually worn by those who have a slim build.

OWB holsters are usually worn outside the waistband but still allow for a secure fit. They are often worn by those who have a wider build.

Concealment isn’t always about being able to hide your weapon. It’s also about keeping it close at hand and out of sight of others. So, the holster type you choose should be comfortable enough for you to feel confident carrying it while performing your duties.


If you’re going to wear your IWB (In-Waist-Band) holster often, you want it to be as comfortable as possible. There are two common types of holsters: One that goes over your hip (OWB) and one that goes under your hip (IWB). The difference is which side of your waistline the belt goes across.

Both types of holsters have their advantages and disadvantages. A major advantage of the IWB holster is the extra comfort it provides. It has a “pinch point” where the belt crosses your hip, which helps distribute pressure from the weight of the weapon over a larger area and reduces any pressure on just one small part of your body. This makes the IWB holster much more comfortable. On the other hand, the IWB holster is harder to put on and take off. This is because you have to unbutton the top two buttons on your trousers, unzip them, and then push the belt through the loop.

With the OWB holster, all you have to do is unclip the top button of your trousers, pull the belt through the loop, and then re-button your trousers. This makes putting on and taking off the holster faster and easier.

In general, if you plan to wear your weapon often, the IWB holster is preferable. However, this is only true if the comfort of the IWB holster outweighs the convenience of the OWB holster. If you are dead-set on getting the most out of your IWB holster, you can use a product like HolsterLok. This product works by cutting an indentation in the material where the belt crosses your hip. This eliminates the “pinch point” and makes the IWB holster much more comfortable. On the other hand, this means that you will no longer be able to wear your trousers unbuttoned. If this is a problem for you, you should look into the OWBHolster or the Hybrid holster. These two products combine the comfort of the IWB holster with the convenience of the OWB holster.

Ease of Use

When you are looking for an IWB or OWB holster, you want one that is simple and easy to use. You don’t want to have to spend hours trying to figure out how to work the device, and you definitely don’t want to accidentally fire your gun when you are trying to get the perfect shot.

If you do the research, you will find that many of the best holsters available are made by top manufacturers like Wilson Combat, Smith & Wesson, Kahr Arms, and Glock Armorers, just to name a few.

The biggest benefit of having a good holster is that it makes it easier to get that perfect shot when you need it, as you won’t have to fumble around with your gun.

When you are using an IWB or OWB holster, there is no need to remove your gun from its case or clip. You can simply pull out your gun and put it in your holster as easily as if you were putting on a jacket.


The difference between IWB and OWB (outer-wear-based) holsters is that one has retention features inside the strap itself, and the other has them outside. The main reason you would use an IWB holster is if you are concerned about the gun falling out of the holster. But even then, there is some disagreement on whether this is a valid concern or not. If you do have this concern, you can always add extra retention features yourself with things like lock washers and steel plates. For most people though, an IWB holster will be more than sufficient.

Durable Construction

Both types of holsters are generally made out of high-quality materials like leather and metal. They both hold a gun very securely in your pocket or in your bag.

However, there are differences between IWB (inside-the-waistband) and OWB (outside-the-waistband) holsters. For example, IWB holsters are more secure than OWB holsters, but they have a smaller range of motion, making it more difficult to quickly draw and fire the weapon.

In addition to this, it is important to consider the type of gun you will be using, as it is more or less recommended for certain types of weapons. For example, a 1911-style pistol will require a more secure holster.

There is also a difference in how comfortable they feel for your body. If you prefer to carry a weapon more discreetly, then the OWB holster may be more appropriate. But if you want a holster that is more comfortable, you should choose an IWB holster.


If you are looking for a high-end product, then the IWB (Inside the Waistband) model will be your best bet. However, keep in mind that these holsters are made to order, and therefore, they will cost you around $30 to $60 more than the standard OWB (Outside the Waistband) model.

However, if you are looking for a more economical option, then you should go with the standard OWB model, since it will still provide you with all the features of an IWB model but at a much lower price point.

How IWB is different from OWB holsters?

  1. IWB the most popular and versatile option can be worn around the beltline or under your shirt. While OWB is a little more “formal” than the IWB, but still super comfortable and allows for a very quick draw when needed.
  2. IWB holsters are designed for comfort and ease of drawing, while OWB holsters are better suited for people who want a little more “security” when carrying a loaded gun.
  3. Research has shown that when people pull out a handgun from an IWB holster, they tend to stand out more than when they draw their gun from an OWB holster. Therefore, by wearing an IWB holster, you increase your chance of not being noticed when you need to use your weapon.
  4. An IWB holster mounts below your weapon, and therefore protects your handgun from snagging on your pants. An OWB holster mounts outside your weapon, and therefore allows your pants to remain tucked into your boots.
  5. If you use an IWB holster, you should always carry your weapon inside your belt. If you use an OWB holster, you should wear long pants.
  6. The main difference is that the IWB holster has a spring-loaded striker. This allows you to draw your weapon faster than if you were wearing an OWB holster. On the other hand, the IWB holster does not give you as high a percentage of being able to quickly re-holster your weapon.
  7. IWB is concealed beneath your clothing, it is easy to grab and go. OWB goes on like a belt, so you can wear it under your clothing or over your clothing. It can be worn discreetly beneath a suit jacket or shirt.
  8. “IWB” holster goes where your pant waistband would be if you were wearing a belt. “OWB” holster goes where your outside pants pocket would be if you were wearing a belt.

Side-by-Side comparison between OWB and IWB holster

IWB holster OWB holster
The most common method of carrying a handgun. Also known as “cOWBoy” or “conventional” carry. This is the second most popular method of carrying a handgun. It is also called “trench coat”, “government”, “modern”, “Euro” or “utility” carry.
IWB holster is the most popular option. It is the easiest to draw from. OWB holster is slightly more complicated to draw from.
The most comfortable way to carry a gun. An OWB holster is a little more formal than the IWB.
Quick access when you need it most. Helps prevent your hand from getting tired of holding your gun while running or walking.
IWB holsters are more concealment. OWB holsters are usually worn outside the waistband.
An IWB holster mounts below your weapon An OWB holster mounts outside your weapon
Concealed beneath clothing Exposed to view
You must constantly readjust to maintain your grip. Once you get the hang of it, you won’t have to readjust at all.
Expensive over the OWB holster. Comparatively cheaper than an IWB holster.
It’s harder to quickly draw and reholster. Draws faster than IWB.
Can be uncomfortable for women Comfortable for women


Which is better inside or outside holster?

Both are good options, but if you have a lot of guns, it’s better to go with the inside holster, as they’re safer for you. They are usually made with soft materials that don’t get scratched, and they allow your gun to remain fully loaded and ready for action. On the other hand, if you only have a few guns, then you might want to consider the outside holster, as they’re much more practical and convenient.

Can you conceal carry with an OWB holster?

Yes, you can conceal carry with an OWB holster. Conceal carry allows you to carry a loaded gun on your person without having it visibly visible, which makes you less of a target for would-be criminals. However, you should still be aware of your surroundings and know how to use proper gun safety. Also, you should only carry a concealed weapon if you are trained and properly licensed to do so.

Can you wear an IWB holster on the outside?

Yes, you can wear an IWB (Inside the Waistband) holster on the outside. This is very useful for concealed carry in certain situations, and it allows you to access your gun faster without having to take it out of the holster. It’s a good idea to practice with this type of holster if you are new to it since it takes a while to get used to wearing one. But once you do, you’ll find that it makes a world of difference in your ability to draw and use your weapon quickly.

Are IWB holsters comfortable?

Yes, they are comfortable. The main reason people don’t like them is that they prevent you from using a strong grip on your handgun. But this also makes it easy for you to draw your weapon quickly and effectively if needed. On the other hand, if you use a traditional shoulder holster, you will need to have a strong grip on your handgun in order to remove it quickly. In such cases, a person might experience discomfort or even pain when drawing their weapon. Hence, you should only use a shoulder holster if you are absolutely certain that you will not need to use your gun for any type of physical confrontation.


In conclusion, IWB (inside waistband) holsters are popular because they’re comfortable and discreet. If you want an extra level of security and convenience, it’s worth the small investment. They offer a more discreet option when out on the town. This is true for most men and women, but if you want to draw attention away from your weapon and your holster, then the option of an outside-the-waistband holster may be a better choice. In fact, I prefer an IWB holster, but many people find they need something a little more discreet.

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