OWB may not be how the cool kids are carrying but it's my EDC choice. Now get off my lawn!
We live (mostly) in the glorious age of concealed carry! There are holsters for nearly every type of gun on the market as well as options that will accommodate lights, lasers, and more.
We also live in a day and age where inside the waistband (IWB) holsters are most carriers' method of choice, of which the current most popular method of carrying is appendix. For a lot of people, IWB is the way to go but I'm old school and prefer to carry outside the waistband (OWB).
Some might say OWB carry is an outdated carry option, at least when it comes to concealed carry. While OWB is famous for duty wear, for concealed carry, it’s seemingly fallen out of favor in many circles. Not the type to begroan others' method of carry - I choose instead to outline exactly why I still OWB carry.
I have experimented with other forms of carry and still use IWB and appendix, often depending on how I’m dressed. Sometimes OWB isn’t possible, and in this situation, I do alternate how I carry, but my preferred method and most common method is OWB. I carry my SIG P365 Hybrid in a DropSlide holster with a TLR 6 attached daily and see no reason to change it.
Comfort is the big reason why I carry with OWB holsters. Regardless of how big the gun is, OWB always feels more comfortable and that's a big factor in guaranteeing you'll carry your gun day in, and day out. While comfort is generally low on the list of priorities, it’s still somewhat relevant. Being able to carry without constantly adjusting yourself or your gun also ensures you don’t compromise concealment displaying telltale signs you’re carrying.
I started carrying OWB when driving for work was a big part of my career. While accessing a gun carried appendix or IWB is... problematic, OWB is easy: it's comfortable to wear while seated in a vehicle and accessible around a seat belt. My job also included transporting a lot of cash at some points, and a gun with easy access was a necessity. Most individuals in that same situation would also appreciate the ability to draw quickly, fire swiftly, and be decisive.
I also found OWB to be easier all around, not just behind the wheel of my vehicle. From crouching down behind low cover to moving swiftly forward, I find OWB to be the swiftest and easiest means to draw a weapon. Should someone start shooting around me, my goal would be to get to cover and off the X first. If I can draw behind cover, or on the way to cover, that seems invaluable to me.
Obviously, after 13 years carrying OWB, it’s tough to transition to a new method, especially with hundreds of hours working with and perfecting it. From training courses to gun reviews to plinking with friends and family, I've worked hard to become highly proficient clearing my cover garment, drawing from my holster, and shooting efficiently.
But I also believe that if you find something that works better, it's silly to cling firmly to any method simply because you're comfortable with it. That being said, I don’t have a significant reason to change from OWB to another technique just yet.
Nothing is without its downsides but I try not to be dogmatic about anything regarding guns, concealed carry, or self-defense. I can see the disadvantages and admit that OWB is far from perfect as a form of concealed carry.
Admittedly, when you carry OWB, it's sometimes harder to conceal guns - that's just a matter of fact. I’m lucky enough to be six foot five inches and about 250 pounds, so hiding my P365 hybrid model is plenty easy. Not everyone is so fortunate. The smaller you are, the harder it is to carry concealed. A good holster goes a long way, and the DropSlide bends to fit the body and hides the gun well under nothing but a t-shirt.
In a situation in which I’m standing, or just walking, I will say appendix is a faster means to draw and get on target. I can draw faster from the Reckoning holster than my DropSlide even though my everyday carry holster is the DropSlide. However, OWB is more accessible in various positions.
Outside the waistband carry is fast, comfortable, and accessible means to carry a handgun. While appendix carry may be quite fashionable, I feel OWB is more versatile to various body positions and more comfortable when sitting, driving, and more. OWB might not be the most fashionable means to carry, but with a good holster, like the DropSlide, you can conceal comfortably and achieve a quick draw.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms based hobbies.
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