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Top 12 Pros and Cons – IWB vs. OWB Holster Carry

February 19, 2024

There are numerous factors to consider with choosing between IWB and OWB holster designs. This is a simple, easy to read list of the top 12 pros and cons associated with IWB and OWB holster designs.

Inside the Waistband (IWB) Holsters:

Pros:

  1. Better concealment under clothing.
  2. Provides better retention against the body.
  3. Reduced risk of printing (outline of the firearm showing through clothing).
  4. Offers more stability and security due to being closer to the body.
  5. Generally more comfortable for daily carry for smaller firearms.
  6. Concealment is easier with lighter clothing.
  7. Typically easier to access when sitting or driving.
  8. Less likely to interfere with outer layers of clothing.
  9. Provides better retention in active situations.
  10. Allows for a faster draw with practice.
  11. Less likely to be dislodged or snagged during physical activities.
  12. May be more suitable for appendix carry positions.

Cons:

  1. Can be less comfortable when carrying larger firearms.
  2. May require a larger size of pants to accommodate the holster.
  3. Slower draw speed for some users, especially with clothing layers.
  4. Potential for discomfort due to pressure against the body.
  5. Limited space for accessories such as extra magazines.
  6. May cause sweat buildup against the body in warmer climates.
  7. Can be more difficult to re-holster securely.
  8. Requires practice to effectively draw from a concealed position.
  9. Less suitable for larger individuals or those with limited mobility.
  10. May require a specific type of belt for proper support.
  11. Can be challenging to find a comfortable position for all-day wear.
  12. May cause irritation or chafing during extended use.

Outside the Waistband (OWB) Holsters:

Pros:

  1. Generally more comfortable for larger firearms.
  2. Easier and faster to draw, especially with larger clothing.
  3. Provides better ventilation for the firearm, reducing sweat buildup.
  4. Typically offers more space for accessories like extra magazines.
  5. Easier to re-holster securely.
  6. Less likely to cause discomfort due to pressure against the body.
  7. Can accommodate a wider range of firearm sizes and types.
  8. Provides a more consistent draw position for some users.
  9. Suitable for a wider range of body types and clothing styles.
  10. May offer better weight distribution for larger firearms.
  11. Allows for easier adjustment of holster position.
  12. Generally more suitable for open carry situations.

Cons:

  1. Less concealment under clothing, leading to potential printing.
  2. Can be less stable and secure, especially when bending or twisting.
  3. Requires larger clothing to effectively conceal.
  4. More likely to interfere with outer layers of clothing.
  5. May be less comfortable for daily wear, especially in warmer climates.
  6. Potential for snagging or catching on objects or clothing.
  7. May be more difficult to access when sitting or driving.
  8. Can be uncomfortable when carrying while seated for extended periods.
  9. Less suitable for appendix carry positions.
  10. Requires more attention to clothing choices to avoid exposure.
  11. May cause discomfort during extended use.
  12. Concealment can be more challenging with tighter-fitting clothing.



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