June 2014

Outside-the-Waistband Holsters: We Test 20, Part I This Month

We do listen to our readers, and when we got a request for an OWB test, we went to work. We look at leather and other hides and Kydex entries this month. Best Buys from Wright, Bullard.

You have to have a suitable handgun for personal defense — one that fits your hand, is reliable and effective, and that fits your needs. The same is true of a holster. The primary reason permit holders do not carry on a 24-hour basis is because of comfort. A handgun and the load-bearing holster should be comforting and as comfortable as possible. We tend to go through a number of holsters before finding the right fit. That can get expensive!

Recently, a reader took us to task over our extensive coverage of IWB holsters. He said that not everyone can tolerate an inside-the-waistband holster. Despite the advantages in concealed carry, the IWB requires the trousers be purchased an inch larger in size, and most shooters are not willing to revamp their entire wardrobe when obtaining their CWP, he says. Others simply cannot acclimate to the design.

The outside-the-waistband holster has many advantages, including speed and security. Some will wear a high-riding OWB and a pulled-out sports shirt and have the same concealment with the OWB as the IWB but with greater comfort. While we believe the IWB has advantages when maximum concealment is needed, there are times when the OWB can be concealed. If you can do that, you are ahead of the game in speed and comfort.

In this two-part installment, we cover more than 20 holsters of the OWB type including specialized alternatives to the IWB. As always, we gauged them on a few important attributes. The handgun cannot shift in the holster. The holster cannot sag on the belt, so it must be properly fitted to the belt. The holster must be tight against the body for concealed carry, but it cannot give you a punch in the kidney when you hit a speed bump in the road or step off of a curb. The gun must present the proper grip angle for a rapid presentation from concealment. The trigger guard must be covered. The holster must be well made of good material.

While most of our testers prefer a concealment holster without retention straps, we included some with thumb-break retention or other devices. Quite a few experienced raters are adamant about their choices. One deemed the thumb break a “suicide strap” and another would not use a holster without a thumb break of some type. The majority prefer the open top holster.

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Gun Tests

Get the next year of Gun Tests for just $24. Don’t wait another minute to get the knowledge you need to make the best possible firearms investment. Our offer is guaranteed. You can cancel at any time and we'll send a full refund for any unmailed copies. No strings, no hassle.

Or get 12 months of Gun Tests Digital. You get unlimited access to everything on the site including all current and past monthly issues in PDF format.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.