Concealed Carry When New: IWB VS OWB

Featured | Gun and holster with bullets | Concealed Carry When New: IWB VS OWB

New to concealed carry? Know and decide which method is more suitable for you as a gun owner as you read on!

RELATED: Concealed Vs Open Carry: Pros And Cons

In this article:

  1. Inside or Outside the Waistband
  2. Advantages of OWB Carry
  3. Switching to IWB

Concealed Carry | What New Gun Owners Need to Know

Inside or Outside the Waistband

Congratulations. You’ve made the decision that carrying a concealed weapon is not only a good idea to protect you and your family, but anyone else who may need it.

Therefore, the question isn’t: should I carry? We’ve already established that you’re here reading this blog because you understand how important carrying a weapon is.

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The more crucial question is: as a newbie, should I carry a gun inside or outside the waistband?

The answer depends heavily on a couple of different preferences. Namely, what you feel more comfortable with.

In all actuality, there are benefits to both types of concealed carry holsters. However, if you’re new to the wonderful world of carrying a gun, I recommend that you learn how to carry a concealed weapon with an outside the waistband holster (or, OWB), for a few different reasons (make sure you’re up to date on your local gun laws, first).

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After you’ve carried this way for a while, and you’ve gained confidence in carrying a gun it’s safe to move to IWB as long as you practice.

Advantages of OWB Carry

Even though it may be harder to conceal a weapon that sits outside your waistband, there are a few positives to this method of carrying that far outweigh its negative of lesser concealment.

For example, OWB is a very comfortable option for everyday use. If you’re walking around town, you barely even notice that the weapon is there.

Perhaps more importantly, outside the waistband carry offers a much faster weapon draw than the other option does. This is mainly because the pistol grip sits off of your skin (as opposed to right up close to it) allowing for easy access.

Furthermore, as you reach for your pistol, you can actually have a more confident grip on it before you even pull it out of the holster. This, in turn, enables you to be more accurate because your hand is more likely to grip it where you’re supposed to without having to re-position the weapon after it’s out in the open.

You should never re-position because each second counts. (Keep in mind that people who carry IWB train more often to get a good shooting grip from the holster, so it is possible. It just takes longer to learn.)

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In a life or death situation, every second counts.

Another plus to OWB is just how easy it is to re-holster your weapon after you’re done with it. The last thing you need is an accidental discharge as you fight your adrenaline (and your holster) to get your gun back into its resting place.

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RELATED: Concealed Carry Facts Every Gun Enthusiast Should Know

Switching to IWB

Obviously, it should go without saying that an OWB holster doesn’t give as much concealment as an inside the waistband one does.

However, there are holsters on the market (like the ones from Alien Gear) made with a lower profile. Thus, giving it greater concealment.

Once you’ve become a more confident concealed gun carrier, feel free to begin practicing with an IWB holster.

Get a feel for where your hand is on the grip when you draw it out. And of course, you’ll want to practice re-holstering it without shooting yourself.

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Always practice with an unloaded gun, for a while first–until you get to a range that has a draw-and-fire lane on it (sometimes known as a pit).

When you’re new to firearms, the best thing you could ever do is practice shooting, de-holstering and re-holstering your weapon. You must get proficient with all three of those.

The main point is you want to develop muscle memory so that when the time comes, your body can take over when your mind is a mess of adrenaline.

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Check out this video by Alien Gear Holsters about OWB holster for concealed carry:


Although it’s more difficult to conceal a gun carrying it outside-the-waistband, this method has its advantages. Allow yourself to be proficient with it before you transition to IWB.

Once you’re confident with de-holstering and re-holstering using both methods, you’re good to go!

Which of these two methods in carrying a gun do you prefer? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 22, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

13 Responses to :
Concealed Carry When New: IWB VS OWB

  1. grantar2 says:

    I think this advice needs a regional caveat. OWB concealment doesn’t really work in warm Southern California. A CCW that is spotted and reported will lose their license quickly. Since the weather is not conducive to conceal garments such as jackets it’s better work IWB first.

    Holster choice is going to be a function of body type, gun type, clothing style and activity, desired carry location on the body, and around the clock (AIWB, 3 O’clock, 4 O’clock, etc).
    The difficulty is that most people pick a holster online, with little experience, and don’t consider how they will employ the system in the 4 second window from denial to weapon on threat. They also don’t consider that they will more than likely have to draw from physical contact, in a confrontation. Weak hand engaged in defending, on your side, on your back.

    As the owner of Southern California’s largest Concealed Carry Only store Packin’ Fur Defense in Mission Viejo, I have some background in helping people carry concealed. In Arizona, or Nevada for example the advice would be spot on. Both states allow open carry, and a CCW enhances your carry options, but the CCW isn’t at risk legally for brandishing, and the cultures are more gun friendly.

    Stay Safe

    1. Joshua Gillem says:

      I tend to agree with what you’re saying. Unfortunately, this is one of the many reasons why we need laws that are consistent within all 50 states. Thanks for commenting.

  2. stan says:

    Myself:..I like and carry outside the waste band..I carry the Springfield XDS .45..It comes with a holster that clips right on your belt..Very comfortable..The mag only holds 6 rounds..But my Glock 23 holds 13..

  3. stan says:

    This message is for “James Maxwell”.Welcome home brother…I did two tours in Viet Nam with the 1st
    Marine Div..DaNang 67 and 68..I carried the 1911 daily.Even to the shower and mess hall..I also had the M-14 with a selector to full auto…My MOS was 2531 field radio operator….Shoot me an e-mail….
    [email protected]……….

  4. Pete Dudenhefer says:

    I am fixing to take a trip to California -I hold a concealed carry permit from Louisiana-will I be able to carry concealed in Ca or should I leave my weapon in my vehicle while in Ca-thanks

    1. Joshua Gillem says:

      Pete, California does not reciprocate a concealed carry license/permit with your home state. While we aren’t attorneys, we recommend not bringing your firearm into California because they generally tend to look down upon them and have a lot of laws and restrictions. For example, they are one of the few states with a magazine restriction. If your magazine holds more than 10 rounds, you are illegal. Proceed with caution.

  5. John says:

    I have been around firearms all my life. Received my first .22 rifle at age 6. I am retired Air Force and retired law enforcement. I have carried open and concealed regularly since about 1985. However, as I aged I have found the need for suspenders a necessity and this causes a major problem in the summer months. When it is impossible to wear even a light outer shirt or jacket due to the heat, the only option that is left is open carry or no carry and I don’t like either choice. Does anyone have a reasonable answer to this problem? I carry a Glock 17. I’m hoping that some inventive person at Gun Carrier might have already addressed this issue and can email me the solution.

    1. Joshua Gillem says:

      John, that is an excellent question. As someone who doesn’t wear suspenders, I can’t really give you an honest answer. However, I do believe you have a few options. If you also wear a belt, you may want to try a holster company called Urban Carry. I’m actually in the middle of an evaluation and writing up a review on this product, and they may answer your problem. https://guncarrier.com/great-american-outdoor-show-urban-carry/

      In my honest opinion, this is a high quality product that will be getting a great review from me. I do want to say, however, that it does take some practice getting a large firearm out. For example, I carry a full size Springfield, and it took some practice.

      There is another holster that you may want to try if you do not wear a belt. I already did a review on this one, and overall, I gave it a positive review. Though there were some minor issues with it. In this case, the entire holster sits under your pants in a concealed manner, and you can decide how concealed you want it. It is a velcro belt/holster that may do exactly what you need it to. Check it out: https://guncarrier.com/my-new-holster-is-better-than-yours/

      I hope this helps answer your question. If I can help you out any further, please don’t hesitate.

  6. Mark Warren says:

    I carry a snub nose 38 special revolver because it’s small and concealable. However, I have concerns about my belt loop holster not fitting snug enough.

    What holster options do I have with a revolver iwb and owb?

    I also have a hi-point 9mm, but the owb holster that came with it is not very comfortable.

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