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Help me convert to OWB holsters!

1584 Views 11 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  David III
As posted on another gun-forum:

I'm a dummy.

I've always been an IWB kind of guy.

Recently, I was at a coworker's ogling his guns, when I saw this SERPA Blackhawk holster for his Glock. it's a kydex type of paddle holster.
"Hey, how well does that plastic piece of **** feel? Does it work?"
So he let me try it on.

Oh God.

I've been so used to the bumping and scraping of IWB-carry, and for some stupid reason, i'd love to try and carry concealed with an OWB. Any of you folks have any tips/recommendations for OWB gear for someone that usually dresses in polo shirts, etc?

My big problem with this SERPA (yes, I am borrowing it for the day) is that with the few shirts i've tried it with, it prints like crazy.

Now I know some of you carry concealed with OWB holsters. How exactly do you "get away" with it?
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· Premium Member
25,596 Posts
I am lucky - my dress is my choice - to suit self and no other. I also am broad of shoulder so shirts hang and leave a slight space - printing for me is a non issue. I am total OWB.

I use long open shirts this time of year and in summer - a Smith & Alexander vest.

Re body type considerations - this thread is where I look at body types re whether OWB might work or not - just food for thought.

Ignore my old belt in this pic - I have a new one now, plus - slight sag is no problem - it does just fine. Notice how tight that holds in but again - I am quite broad which helps.

Oh and to add - one thing personal to me - whatever my belt I do not cinch very tight, therefore some belt sag is always evident - it is tho self-limiting and what works for me. I doubt gun sits more than 1/2 to 1" lower.


· Registered
750 Posts
Before I go any further, I have a Laredo Defender leather holster and belt on order from K&D Holsters. :image035:

But I do carry my Glock 23 in a Blackhawk SERPA holster and have NO problem with concealment.

Most of the time, I use the paddle attachment, but I have found that the belt attachment does seem to hold it tighter against the body. The reason I use the paddle instead is that I like to be able to put the holster on, and take it off, quickly and easily, without having to partially remove my belt. (Kind of awkward, while sitting in a car.)

Now, the "stats." I'm 5'8" and weigh 165lbs (today, but can drift up to 170lbs.) I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida and that does make a difference!

When not at work, I wear jeans and a dark T shirt, with an unbuttoned cotton "cover shirt," usually one with a Hawaiian print, or at least some sort of print pattern, as that really does help make any "printing" less noticeable.

I find that cotton shirts tend to drape in a fashion so as not to magnify any "printing." The lighter, more "filmy" synthetics tend to billow too much in the wind to suit my taste.

In other locals, this mode of dress might "scream gun!" as some are so fond of saying. But here, simply NOT so. The cover shirt does not have to be a loud Hawaiian print, just about any full-cut shirt with a pattern would do.

When trying out any new carry method, try not to be hyper-critical and remember that the majority of people are in a constant "condition white" and will not notice much at all. Of course, do the best you can, just don't be so demanding that you critique yourself into staying home all the time.

I first carried with the G23 about halfway between my strong-side hip and my spine. After wearing the gun around the house for several weeks, I discovered that moving it to a point just behind my hip, about 3:30, gave the best concealment and quickest draw, after I fine-tuned the adjustable cant of the Blackhawk holster.

If IWB works best for you, then stick with it. Otherwise, join the ranks of the many who prefer OWB.


· Registered
770 Posts
Well OWB carry suits alot of needs.....comfort bring the main reason people go that direction.

You have Askins Avenger Belt style holsters...they wrap around the gun and have a tunnel loop directly behind the gun...the rear loop is a belt slot (like a pancake) and is to the rear of the gun.
These provide moderate concealment and great gun access...used a lot for range/concealment/competition.

You have the typical pancake...a front and rear pc of leather stitched togethor with belt slots for and aft of the gun. This design is the best, IMO :blink: , OWB for concealment as it pulls the gun in tight to the body and requires less cover. Another benefit to those who carry IWB also, is the pancake can duplicate the carry position of most IWB holsters. That way you dont relearn your grip location when switching from OWB/IWB.

You have a paddle which the main body of the holster is like the AA Belt style but has the Paddle portion of the holster that goes in the pants. Due to this design the gun is pushed farther away from the body than any other OWB design and requires a very large cover garment. They are great for convenience, quick on and off. One problem with this style is the paddles are usually molded plastic and at times, the curve of the plastic just doesnt conform to the body like the user needs it too. Possible problems for some people who try them is, they can be uncomfortable and/or pinch you and not stay in place like they should....the latter is the biggest problem, IMO.

If you are really to be converted to OWB carry....Id say "go for it" but look around at the style holster you want. Like everything in concealed carry.....everything is about compromise.

Shoot well.......

· Registered
2,194 Posts
I am almost exclusively OWB. With a loose fitting shirt with the tail out the gun is not discernible. I wear it at about the 4:00 to 4:30 position, and find that a pancake such as Sparks I-BAK or Gary's Def-Con lays so tight against the body that the gun disappears.

I do not wear a full size 1911, and the longer the butt, the more difficult to conceal. A 20 or 25 degree cant helps a little as the butt of the gun is more in line with the verticle cl of the body.

If the cover garment is long enough to conceal the holster muzzle, OWB is about as concealable as IWB, and more comfortable.


· Registered
811 Posts
I think madmike really made a good point - virtually everyone is in condition white. You'll notice you're printing because you are looking at you in the mirror and looking for your gun. Pick some comfortable clothes and if they cover the gun, you're likely to be just fine. I am IWB virtually all the time (I dress very strange.... old cowboy stuff with vests, so the vest covers the gun). Meanwhile, my off side is OWB mag carrier. The bottom is quite visible -- as a knife case, at least that's what the few people who have noticed have even said.
On weekends, I carry a big Ruger single action OWB with a denim shirt hanging over it. Nobody has ever noticed it.
In fact, several times on my own property, I've walked up to people who've pulled in the drive or something (usually lost) with nothing covering my handgun. None noticed. Sheep really don't notice much.
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