How Do You Carry? Best Practices For OWB Carry

Once you’ve gotten your concealed carry permit, figuring our how you want to carry can be a daunting prospect.

What kind of holster do you need? Inside-the-waistband (IWB), outside-the-waistband (OWB), or appendix carry? Kydex, leather, or nylon?

Thankfully, our friends over at The Truth About Guns have teamed up with DeSantis Holsters to publish a list of best practices for carrying concealed with an outside the waistband (OWB) holster.

What can a person do if they’re determined to carry OWB but still want to stay on the down low?

The older salts among us are already aware of a lot of this, so this is really more for the newbies. There are a few tricks, tips and so on that will help. Your mileage, of course, may vary, so you’ll have to figure out what works for you.

To start with, you need to pick the right gun and gear.

As for pistols, compacts and subcompacts are the best starting point, with pistols of shorter lengths being better suited. The typical CCW gun – especially the single-stack poly subcompact that most people carry these days – is going to do just fine.

Those of us preferring a full-size gun for daily carry (and there are plenty of people who do) will find that the Beretta 92, GLOCK 17 or — better yet —  a government frame 1911 will either barely skate by or you’ll probably have to resort to another concealment scheme. Full frame guns are awfully difficult to conceal when carried outside the waistband.

Also, the thinner the pistol the better. Part of concealment is being able to keep that bump from being noticeable and that’s harder to do outside the waistband.

You might be able to get away with a K-frame revolver, but an N-frame just won’t cut it in all likelihood. Not to mention that you’re liable to give yourself back problems toting one of those every day.

Next is your carry gear, specifically a holster. You’ll do well to choose an OWB holster that rides high and tight. The closer the muzzle is the bottom edge of your belt, the better. Too far down and an untucked shirt won’t cover it. If it sticks too far out away from your body, it prints. Or leads people to think you have a little brother named Kuato.

There are plenty of examples of such holsters out there. The old timers carried with leather pancake or Askins holsters, which work well for this purpose with a compact gun. Modern takes on the high-ride OWB are available from some pretty good gear makers as well.

Next is clothing. You can stick with the CCW vest with the sash and CCW badge if you want. However, if you’d like to avoid those cliches, here are some fashion tips.

Try shirts in tall sizes, if they aren’t ridiculous on you. Another inch or two in the hem length can make a big difference.

Short-sleeve button-up shirts with a straight hem around the bottom are a great option as they satisfy most dress codes and can conceal a pistol fairly well. You can wear them untucked and still look presentable enough for the office. A nice roomy polo also works well.

That said, placement matters a great deal. If you pick a good gun and holster, you’ll find it virtually disappears when carried in the right spot but sticks out in others. You’ll have to find the best place for it to ride on your belt.

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