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How do you pick IWB or OWB?

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by JPinOhio, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. JPinOhio

    JPinOhio Millennium Member

    May 13, 1999
    I am in the process of getting my CCW license, and getting my equipment purchases lined up. I just purchased a G27 (gen 4) for this.

    Years ago I did IDPA with my G22, and have an OWB holster from an old sponsor here (Mike Waldon). It prints fairly easily if I move around trying it out in my home - the gun handle tends to be 1/2" to 1" off my body.

    But for CCW, how do I decide whether to go IWB or OWB? Once you make the decision, there's a lot of great info here, but not much about how to decide inside or outside. Seems like IWB might require more clothing purchases.

    Or do many of you use a mix of both?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Oh, I'm 6'2" and around 225 lbs.
  2. islw2863


    Nov 29, 2005
    Soggy Northwest
    When I was making the same choice/decision l several years ago I read everything I could on the topic then tried both carry methods. OWB won by a substantial margin, for comfort reasons.

    I found there is only a small difference in concealability between OWB and IWB, but a large difference in comfort.

    Your experience may be different.

  3. For me, the IWB is the obvious win. I carry all the time. Lots of days in a year, lots of places to be seen, lots of times wearing a t-shirt and jeans or shorts.

    But no matter what, the IWB does not show below the top most line of your pants. But if you go OWB, there is more to expose.

    Over time, all pants are bought to be 1 size loose. Since I always IWB, they always fit :)

    I carry a Glock 26, or Kahr PM9, S&W 642. All IWB.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  4. mad220860


    Aug 6, 2012
    I am leaning this exact way due to comfort! With IWB i have to buy 2 sizes up on jeans. And then dress around the gun. I usually carry a glock 19. I think OWB is gonna be the way to go for me just need to find a good one. If im gonna have to dress around the gun might as well be comfortable! And i have tried all the most comfortable IWB holsters out there. Just my 2 cents
  5. Mark9Fogger

    Mark9Fogger Headed to WA

    Just try the different types of IWBs and OWBs out there. IWBs conceal your gun better than OWBs, but not as comfy as OWBs. However, legions of folks on here conceal carry OWB in all seasons with no issues. Some holsters are crap and some are good and some are outstanding. Trial and error. I hope your box of holsters is small.
  6. jack76590


    Aug 15, 2004
    Only so much IWB space so I chose to use IWB holster and an OWB mag carrier. Not a big fan of kydex for holsters (at least IWB) as I want leather that conforms to my body over time. But I like kydex mag holders carried OWB as they do not need to conform to my body and I find leather can bind draw of mags, esp the short mags ie mini glock mags.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  7. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

    Aug 20, 2010
    Out On The Tiles
    I use a mix of both. I have the usual Tupperware tub of holsters. :rofl:

    I guess when one particular holster I have doesn't work out with a mode of dress, weather, whatever, then I look to add something to the tub that would fill that niche. Some work, some don't.

    I think it's a good idea to have an IWB holster and a good OWB holster on hand.

    For leather I would go with Galco Fletch OWB and Galco SC2 IWB.

    For Kydex I like the Comptac Infidel IWB and Safariland ALS for OWB.

    I seem to reach for one of the above 9/10 times these days. Why I go back and forth between leather and Kydex? I dunno. I usually use Kydex in the summer or when doing outdoor things. Sometimes leather is more comfortable but I prefer the easy clean up of Kydex and the sweat protection.
  8. IndyGunFreak


    Jan 26, 2001
    That's typically a good indication of a crappy belt.

    What kind of belt are you using? Get a proper GUN BELT.. it will hold the gun in tight. Do a search here on the gazillion gun belt threads for lots of recommendations.
  9. azbuckeye


    Jan 15, 2011
    On the beach
    It's been my experience that you have to try both methods to see which works best for you. Personally, I prefer OWB.......
  10. xmanhockey7


    Dec 6, 2010
    Depends on how you dress. For me I wear normal size t-shirts so unless I'm OCing IWB is my choice.
  11. ca survivor

    ca survivor

    Dec 25, 2011
    I have IWB ans OWB holsters for every gun I have in the carry rotation, note, on OWB buy a good holster.
  12. tnedator

    tnedator Lifetime Member

    May 22, 2009
    I'm curious, do any of you that OWB work in an office? How do you dress around it? Other that a sports coat, I struggle to see how you dress around OWB in an office environment.
  13. WT

    WT Millennium Member

    Jan 12, 1999
    G26 here.

    OWB when I wear a sport jacket.
    IWB when I wear an untucked golf shirt.

    Rarely, an AIWB under a sweatshirt.
  14. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005
    I tried IWB and couldn't do it. Not comfortable, reholstering and securing is not as easy, and IWB doesn't have enough retention. I prefer a leather OWB with thumsnap and belt slots, no paddles for me.

    Carrying OWB may not conceal as well, but its more comfortable and more secure IMO.
  15. The Retired Sarge

    The Retired Sarge "The Sarge"

    Feb 23, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I have carried serious, service sized pistols for over 36 years and continue to do so now retired from LE. I carry all the time and it is just a way of life for me and normal. There is a big difference between IWB and OWB concerning concealment and detection. OWB is more comfortable but IWB, with the right gear, can be comfortable too. You have to get used to it. There is an old saying: "guns are comforting not comfortable". Concealment is an art that you will learn. You will buy clothes with carry in mind and try many holsters before finding the ones that work for you. In the hot summer months I carry IWB under a t-shirt. Cooler/cold months it is OWB under heavier cover clothes.

    The foundation of any carry and most important, is a true, double thickness belt and one with internal stiffner all the better. I can't stress the importance of a good gun belt enough. My preference in holsters is good, custom leather. Go to Lots of information on that sight and superb belts and holsters. They are the only gear I use. Bill
  16. sappy13


    Sep 30, 2007
    Bremen, GA
    I go by what im wearing and where im going. If its iwb its a Kimber solo and owb its a glock 19. Soon as i get a 1911 for my new Milt Sparks Nexus holster ill be carrying that a good bit iwb. If you are new to carrying I would prolly recommend a iwb holster to start. Get a good quality belt and holster. Flimsy belt or crappy holster make for uncomfy carry.
  17. SCmasterblaster

    SCmasterblaster Millennium Member

    Sep 24, 1999
    Hartford, Vermont
    Id try for a test run. If you buy a holster untried, and find that it is uncomfortable, then you are stuck. BTW, I'd trust an OWB to be more comfortable.
  18. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    I pick by my level of expected concealment. IWB.
  19. JPinOhio

    JPinOhio Millennium Member

    May 13, 1999
    Thanks everyone - this was helpful. I do have a gunbelt on order; my old one must have shrunk over the years. I had to give it to my younger son.

    I noted the large number of trial and error comments, and the tupperware container of holsters, so looks like I'll budget accordingly. Hopefully I can find the right ones for me with only a few trials. Some manufacturers offer a return policy and I may try those first.