The Best Outside the Waistband (OWB) Holsters of 2020 | Buyer’s Guide

The OWB holster has become a major option for dedicated concealed carriers and those who can legally open carry in public. The best outside waistband holster– the one that actually performs like you need it to, with the longevity of materials and smart design features – does exist.

Looking for the right OWB holster can be a daunting challenge, as a wide variety of holsters exist, from synthetic materials to leather, and soft-sided to rigid holsters. What you need to know to select the perfect holster for you, is contained in this article.

This list will give you the resources and understanding you need to pick an excellent holster that will serve you well for years.

Comparison Chart of the Best Outside the Waistband (OWB) Holsters

PRODUCT
gm2-table__image

BLACKHAWK!! SERPA CQC Concealment Holster

  • Best OWB holster on our list
  • Patented SERPA lock for flawless retention and quick-draw
  • Modular mounting platform and paddle adjustable for cant and ride height
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

BLACKHAWK!! Serpa Sportster Holster

  • OWB holster runner-up
  • Durable and lightweight polymer construction and paddle-mounted operation
  • Great OWB holster for civillian use and range carry
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Sumtop Taurus Millennium G2 Paddle Holster

  • OWB holster second runner-up
  • Index-finger actuated active retention button lock for extra safety
  • 360-degree adjustable paddle and ideal for duty and range use
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

R&R Holsters: OWB Kydex Holster

  • Best OWB Kydex holster for durability
  • 0-15-degree cant adjustments and partial sweat-guard backing
  • One-year replacement warranty and variants available for different handguns
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

DTOM Premium Leather Universal OWB

  • Best leather OWB holster
  • Works both IWB and OWB with belt clip and belt loops
  • Compact and ambidextrous design works with most large and compact frames
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

K Pounds LLC OWB Pancake Holster

  • Best OWB Kydex pancake holster
  • Two removable OWB belt loops properly spaced for weight displacement
  • Adjustable retention and genuine contouring to ensure minimal printing every time
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Galco Fletch High Ride Belt Holster for Sig-Sauer P226, P220

  • Best high-ride OWB holster
  • Specially designed for Sig Sauer P220 and P226
  • Full high-grade leather design to ensure safety and comfort
View Latest Price

The Benefits of Carrying OWB

Outside Waistband holsters fit a specific, but relatively broad range of uses. They are an extremely versatile option that can be accessed quickly in stressful situations and are incredibly intuitive.

There are few ways to go wrong with the placement and design of a quality, well-engineered OWB holster.

An OWB holster is a perfect fit for those who carry openly. There is no more versatile or proven design of a holster for this carry type.  

It will be easily indexed in the same place every time, and the retention, access, and positioning are unparalleled compared to other options.

For some concealed carriers, particularly those who sit or stand a lot during the day will benefit from the comfort of an Outside Waistband Holster.

True, it is not the easiest holster to conceal, though it can still be hidden under a concealed carry jacket or a larger shirt.

Larger people may have an improved experience with regards to avoiding having “gun print” (depending on their clothing choices).

Gun print is when a gun or gun profile/outline can be seen under/through the clothing you are wearing. Sometimes printing is unavoidable.

Quick Take - The Best OWB Holsters

Review of the Best OWB Holsters

Here are some of the best OWB Gun Holsters available in the market and we have closely examined each of them for you. You can find more details along with Pros and cons of each of them below.

BLACKHAWK SERPA CQC Concealment Holster - Matte Finish

Pros

  • Well made
  • Lightweight
  • Proven design

Cons

  • Will Print Heavily Under Tighter Clothing; Not Easiest to Conceal

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users found this holster to be perfect for those concealed carry situations where timing was everything in the draw. Aside from quick drawing, a lot of new users were able to keep their pistols nice and secure without any slippage or wiggling to contend with. One user said he was super confident in the locking ability so no one would try to swipe the pistol out of his holster and use it against him.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This holster is available in either a right-hand or left-hand orientation. So if you are a left-handed shooter, for instance, you are able to draw it with your left hand in a straight draw or a cross-draw (if that’s your thing). This holster is hardcore in quality and will prepare you for any self-defense or tactical situation. Simply put, this sucker was built for high-stress situations. And you would be hard-pressed to find a holster that won’t fall apart on you, especially when you need it most.

Very few OWB holsters are as proven as this holster. It is a powerhouse; well made, retains your firearm substantially; is versatile, and offers inexpensive options.

For a shooter who needs the best option for their OWB holster, and can handle a rigid, composite material holster, this is a great piece.

Who Will Use This Most

This is perfect for law enforcement, military, and civilian users who prefer not only an OWB holster that allows for quick access but also a holster where you are almost guaranteed a much quicker draw than some holsters. You can strap this onto your belt or waistband with ease and be able to carry with confidence no matter where you go.

Bottom Line

The Blackhawk SERPA CQC Concealment Holster will be one of the most promising holsters on the market that pertains to OWB carrying. You will get the best quality, the fastest drawing, and the sturdiest construction compared to most holsters. All others might give it a run for its money (unless there is one other holster out there that can beat it).

A proven company and a proven design, this is a fantastic competition rig, concealed carry (with a bit more bulk being acceptable), and duty option. This has all the best features of the OWB holster and takes a top spot relative to most peers.

COMP-TAC.COM International Holster - H&K VP9 - Right Hand - Black (Competition, Range, General Carry, IDPA, USPSA)

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Made to Last
  • Great Retention
  • Full Grip Available at All Times

Cons

  • A Bit Bulkier on Profile, due to Full Retention Clip/Trigger Guard Piece

What Recent Buyers Report 

This holster was a hit with a handful of users who used it for either concealed carry, competitive shooting, or both. They said that it allowed for quick drawing and re-holstering without a single hint of snagging ever occurring. One user said that he considers this as his “multi-purpose” holster that doesn’t wear, tear, or makes it difficult to clean. He added that he actually prefers this to his old leather holster that had sagged on him after a couple of years of use. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This holster is made from high-quality polymer. The best thing about it is that it won’t sag, tear, or frays like some materials like leather or nylon. And it makes cleaning and maintenance easy to do. So if you want a holster that is not afraid to get down and dirty, this is the one you’ll want. And best of all, it can have the potential to last you a long period of time. Why replace it every couple of years when you have a material that won’t change shape or lose its quality over the years and decades you use it? 

If you want the best grip for a sure-handed draw, and want OWB styling without the extra bulk, this is a solid option. It is tough, good-looking, and features benefits that are hard to compete with for the money.

You will appreciate the adjustable retention and tensioners, as well as the fully accessible grip frame of your firearm. Excellent variability and gun specific models are available.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will be more useful for competitive shooters, but don’t discount this as a useless holster in a concealed carry situation. It will definitely put you at an advantage against your competition if you are able to draw your pistol quicker than when using your current holster that you want to replace. It’s no slouch in terms of quality and it will hold any compact or full-size pistol that you can rely on.

Bottom Line

If you are a competitive shooter or a concealed carry user that is looking for a holster that will give your drawing times the speed it deserves, the Blackhawk Serpa Sports Holster might just be your cup of coffee. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly have a bit of a time advantage over your competition the next time you competing in a shooting contest or if you are defending yourself against an attacker. 

This is the best choice for those who MUST have the trigger guard clip and the multiple tension points. This is a best-in-class, non-leather duty holster and will work very well for concealed carry needs also.

Serious competition and law enforcement chops, as well as the ability to confidently carry concealed (though there might be a small amount of printing). This is a serious option for any dedicated OWB loyalist.

CYTAC Taurus PT111 G2 Holsters, OWB Holster for Taurus G2C G3 9MM Millennium G2 PT132 PT138 PT145 PT745(NO PRO), Tactical Outside The Waistband Belt Holsters with 360°Adjustable Paddle - Right Hand

Pros

  • Simple design
  • Great aesthetics
  • Solidly built and the retention is very good

Cons

  • Made Specifically for the Taurus family of Semi-Autos

What Recent Buyers Report

This holster was a huge hit with new users that intended to conceal or open carry (where it’s legal) on a regular basis. Regardless, the holster was quite stable and did its job in holding their pistol of choice. One user said that this was the closest thing he could find to a universal holster since he had multiple pistols that he depended on for concealed carry. To add, he said that on some days he would use it for open carry while on other days, he just conceals it under his shirt.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This holster was designed for those who are looking for excellent retention for their pistols. This meant it being able to keep itself in place without any wiggling around inside the holster or slipping out. It also has the ability to fit up to 60 pistols. If you have a good idea of which pistol it’s compatible with, there’s a good chance you may be able to fit it on there. Glocks, SIGs, or Smith and Wessons it doesn’t matter.

Purpose-built for the Taurus lineup of smaller framed firearms made for OWB carry specifically, this is a great option for those who require sure retention, easy access, and a lightweight holster.

The simple design is still loaded with creature comforts and the price is definitely right. It is very specific in its use, but this is a perfect companion for the Taurus semi-autos.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a beginner that is starting out with concealed carry, then this might be the holster for you. For one, it will be fitting for so many holsters. It takes the guesswork out of whether or not your pistol will fit in this holster or not. Second, it’s actually one of the best quality holsters that you can afford. So if you are looking for the best quality and performance at an affordable price, this might be the holster that you can depend on.

Bottom Line

The Sumtop Taurus Millenium G2 Paddle Holster is the ideal holster for the newbie user that will be quite happy with their first-ever holster (assuming they are new to concealed carry). It can fit a good number of pistols, plus it will be able to handle all the drawing and re-holstering that some holsters won’t even handle. For a holster that is reliable, long-lasting, and will prepare you for any kind of situation where using a pistol is warranted this holster might be your best choice.

The Taurus Millennium G2 and other similar models, (like the PT745), are great concealed carry options. This holster is improved for the day-to-day carrier. This match up is excellent.

The quality and capabilities of this holster far outweigh its price. Don’t be thrown off by the model specificity, this is a company that makes quality goods and you can order a different fitment if needed.

Best OWB Kydex Holster:
R&R Holsters: OWB Kydex Holster

R&R Holsters: OWB Kydex Holster - Black

Pros

  • Well-Made Units
  • Massive Fitment Chart/Options

Cons

  • Kydex Vacuum-Formed Holsters Aren’t for Everyone

What Recent Buyers Report

This holster was a pretty solid holster in quality according to one user. To add, he had heard of Kydex before purchasing this but wasn’t sure of how great it was in quality. After purchasing this and giving it a try, he was pretty ecstatic with how fast the drawing was and how it was able to keep itself sturdy in his waistband. Overall, the retention was good and kept the holster in position without sliding around all over his waistband.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Kydex is a material that is fast growing in popularity. And there are a few reasons why. For one, it was super sturdy in construction and has the potential to keep itself in shape after long-term use. In plain English, this means it won’t rip, tear or sag like some other materials. It’s also scratch-resistant. In short, it’s a holster that is pretty much indestructible. If you want a holster that might as well last you forever, this could be the go-to option for you.

This is a best-in-class contender for the mass-produced Kydex OWB holster that actually is an effective straight up-and-down or slightly angled option.

The vast range of fitments makes this an easy choice for variability in makes and models. Robust build quality and good adjustability make it an excellent choice.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are someone who holds quality to a high standard, then you’re going to love putting this holster to good use. Yes, it will give you consistently quick drawing, stable retention, and the ability to fit any given pistol you can think of. For a concealed carry holster that won’t quit, this might just be what you need for yourself.

Bottom Line

The R&R OWB Kydex Holster might just be one of, if not, the longest-lasting holsters that you might come across. If you really want to see what the excitement is all about, you may want to give this bad boy a spin. Some time down the road, you’ll know that Kydex will be the material of the future for all kinds of pistol holsters.

If you like Kydex and you want an OWB, this one won’t disappoint. The price is affordable and has a range of features. The simple straightforward adjustment and options make this a future-proof option.

Don't Tread on Me Conceal and Carry Holsters DTOM Premium Leather (not Synthetic) Universal IWB or OWB Ambidextrous Belt Slide Holster

Pros

  • Intuitive use
  • Variable Configuration
  • Inexpensive and Well Made
  • Universal Simple Sleeve Design Methodology

Cons

  • Too Simple for Many Carry Scenarios

What Recent Buyers Report

This was a holster that’s fit for so many Glock users. No matter if it was a Glock 17, 19, or anything similar it will fit the holster quite nicely. The quality is nice and sturdy and really held the pistol in place without leaving any wiggle room. One user said that the drawing time was much faster than his last leather holster, which slowed down after a year of use due to the interior getting rough. 

Why It Stands Out To Us

Glocks are considered to be one of the best pistols you can find for concealed carry. And believe it or not, they are reliable for long-term use. This means you won’t be able to deal with a single jam or malfunction ever. It doesn’t matter how many rounds you fire off. This holster is exclusive to Glock users who want a holster that is just as reliable as their pistols themselves. 

Versatility is the name of the game for this holster. It can be used in OWB and IWB carry or as a sleeve fit holster. This holster can pull double duty.

The simplicity, ingenuity, and intuitiveness of the design make this a hit with just about any shooter in need of a solid carry, and excellent universality.

Who Would Use This Most?

If you want an OWB holster that will fit your Glock perfectly, then you would probably want nothing less than the CYTAC Glock 19 Holster. It is the ultimate concealed carry holster that will put you ahead of the curve when dealing with dangerous assailants. That’s because you’ll have a much quicker draw and you won’t be able to deal with any snagging in the process. 

Bottom Line

The CYTAC Glock 19 Holster is the proven OWB holster that will handle any Glock that you come across. Do not doubt it’s retention abilities or its sturdy construction for a second. This can handle the high-stress situations that will allow some holsters to fall apart. Don’t let a holster with bad integrity ruin your concealed carry experience.

If you want simplicity and universal usage, this is the top choice. If you need a more robust build, this might be a bit too simplistic. The materials and design make this a holster that is hard to hate and hard to beat up.

The design is timeless and isn’t overcomplicated. This is a no novelty, no-frills piece that can easily revolutionize the way you think about holsters.

Best OWB Kydex Pancake Holster:
K Pounds LLC OWB Pancake Holster

Fobus Standard Holster RH Paddle SWMP S&W M&P 9mm, .40, .45 (compact & full size), SD 9 &40

Pros

  • Form-fitting
  • Top Quality Materials
  • Excellent Fit and Finish
  • Excellent Draw Angle Choice
  • Good Aesthetics and Edge Designs

Cons

  • Made Only for the CZ P-01
  • Pricey Compared to Other Offerings

What Recent Buyers Report 

This holster was designed for right-handed shooters that were looking for something that allowed for straight drawing. And they got exactly what they needed. Quick drawing, easy access, and a reliable holster that maintained its sturdiness for every day carrying purposes. Users also added that the attachment to belts and waistbands was quite easy and it was easy to change positions (hip to appendix and vice versa). 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Why settle for a holster that will be hard to maintain and a real pain in the butt to clean? This holster has high-quality, hard to damage material. But it never should have to be maintained. And if it does get down and dirty, you can easily clean it up with some good old-fashioned soap and water. That’s it. You don’t need to machine wash or dry it. All and all, it’s a holster that will take great care of you when all you have to do is take care of it from time to time. Also, it has the ability to fit a good number of pistols as well, so this might be a holster that’s as close to universal as you can get. 

A great pancake style holster made of Kydex that combines classic design architecture with the newest material to hit the holster world.  

This has an amazing design and offers great perks for a holster that normally costs significantly more for a custom build.

This is well suited to the lines of the gun it’s made for, (the CXP-01), a gun that often top-tier carry gear.

The multiple design aspects harness the best design features from each of the different design inspirations and make this a truly hybrid offering that doesn’t discount form or function.

Who Will Use This Most 

If you want a holster that will be solid in quality and will be easy to clean, the Fobus Standard Holster might be what you need. Especially when you have a compact or full-size pistol that will be able to stick to your side on an everyday basis. Whether it’s everyday carry or a day at the range, this holster can do it all. 

Bottom Line

The Fobus Standard Holster is probably the only holster that you might own for the long-term. That’s because the polymer material is hard enough to handle all the drawing and re-holstering. And it’s easy to clean when you need to do so. Why settle for a holster that has materials that will cheapen the integrity of a holster?

If you own a CZ P-01, this is a serious contender for your accessory dollars – the price is worth every penny. The design philosophy is much better than most Kydex holsters available.

As a result, you get a much better, snag-free fit and finish, an attention to detail rarely seen on mass-produced products, and the best-in-class holster for this particular gun.

Galco Fletch High Ride Belt Holster for Sig-Sauer P226, P220 (Black, Right-Hand)

Pros

  • Proven Design
  • Proven Brand Name
  • Beautiful Construction
  • Long Lasting Durability

Cons

  • Slightly Expensive

What Recent Buyers Report 

This holster was exclusive to Sig Sauer owners. They included civilians, law enforcement officers, and members of the military. As expected, they were able to fit their pistols in this without any fitting issues. They also added that the holster was able to attach to a good number of tactical belts and waistbands and remained stable in their preferred carrying position and didn’t slip out of place while they were in motion.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Like the Glocks, SIG Sauers is considered to be one of the few names that often get talks about in conversations where reliability is the topic. So a pistol like the SIG Sauer deserves a holster that’s just as reliable, right? Indeed. And this holster is the best possible option you can find for any SIG Sauer pistol that’s ideal for self-defense or tactical situations. You get grip accessibility for fast drawing, a security feature that keeps the pistol in place preventing anyone from yanking it out, and sturdy construction thanks to high-quality leather that maintains its firmness even through a few years or more of use. 

A time-tested, proven design from one of the oldest makers of premium holsters still in existence. This is a holster that has been well vetted and well used by many hardcore users of OWB holster.

The fact that it has not been discontinued or changed significantly since its inception proves its wherewithal and the serious design chops from many years ago.

If you want a leather holster for your Sig P220 or P226 it is very hard to beat this one.

Who Will Use This Most 

If you are a member of law enforcement, a member of the military or a government agent that relies on the government-issued Sig Sauer pistols then you may want to consider using this holster to your advantage. Likewise, civilians will also benefit from this holster for as long as they have a SIG Sauer holster that is compact in size. This holster ain’t picky. Name a pistol within the SIG Sauer family and chances are it will take it. 

Bottom Line

If you want a holster that will handle the high-stress situations that law enforcement and military members face regularly or if you are a concealed carry user looking for a holster that will handle your SIG Sauer pistol that is best used for self-defense purposes, then you may want to consider the Galco Fletch High Ride Belt Holster as your next holster. Made from high-quality materials that won’t scratch, rip, or fray it will last you quite a while and will be the most reliable holster yet for your SIG Sauer pistol. And best of all, it’s got all the security features and quick drawing ability that you’ll even want in a holster whether you know it or not. 

Galco has always been a premium maker of OWB holsters. The Fletch is a gorgeous option that you’ll almost be sad to conceal. The high ride position and the good grip angle gives a lot of versatility for carrying positions.

The robust leather build and sure fit of the leather against the gun mean you won’t have to rely on gimmicks for retention. When all is said and done, you will enjoy the way the Galco crew has handled this holster on the market since it was introduced so many years ago. Some things are timeless for a reason.

Which is Best: IWB vs. OWB?

This is a less cut and dry answer than a situational answer. Sometimes one will make sense over the other. There are definitely times when OWB is a better option.

Listed below are those times when an OWB holster will be best:

  • When you are open carrying and want the most comfort.

  • When you have a heavy gun and need good support, but cannot afford for hesitation or for your firearm to be stuck when drawn.

  • An outside waistband holster is excellent for smaller or thinner guns that you need to be grabbed quickly.

  • OWB makes incredible sense when you spend a lot of time sitting or have a daily routine that requires frequent vehicle travel

  • An outside waistband holster is the undisputed champion when the frequent use of the firearm is mandated, such as duty weapons/law enforcement or when there is a legitimate chance for unholstering your weapon frequently, like high-risk public facing professions. (Note: this is not an endorsement for frequently unholstering your weapon, simply an understanding that some jobs are higher risk than others.)

Conclusion

An outside waistband holster can be an easy choice as a holster style for many users; particularly those who need quick, unrestricted access to their firearms, will be transitioning from sitting to standing frequently, or those who will be traveling in a vehicle often as they carry.

The OWB market is very broad and there are many pretenders that mimic the best versions.

We suggest you look past the cheap replicas and find a quality, capable OWB gun holster that will meet all your needs. It doesn’t have to have a high price tag to be a high-quality holster.

This list is proof that the best holsters have a wide range of capabilities and price points.

Leave a Comment