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If you’re going to carry a gun with you, you want a holster.
Just sticking it in your pocket won’t cut it, and people might think you’re just a little too happy to see them.
Some people prefer their holster to be inside their waistband. Other people prefer it outside. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Holsters inside the waistband (IWB) are easier to conceal but can be uncomfortable and slow to draw.
Wearing a holster outside your waistband (OWB) is more comfortable, allows for a faster draw, and is still concealable under, say, a jacket or Hawaiian shirt.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best OWB holsters if you prefer speed and comfort when carrying every day.
|Galco Gunleather Concealable Belt Holster||Leather||Yes||4.6||$$$
|Safariland Leather OWB Holster||Leather||No||4.4||$$
|Tucker Gun Leather Holster||Leather||No||N/A||$$$
|Galco Gunleather Double Time OWB/IWB Holster||Kydex||Yes||3.3||$$
|We the People Adjustable OWB Kydex Holster||Kydex||No||4.1||$$
Best Leather OWB Holsters
For a long time, leather was the predominate holster material. It’s tough and forms around the shape of the gun.
Despite the advent of Kydex and injection molded holsters, leather is still a good choice for an OWB holster.
Related: Best Belly Band Holsters for Your Firearm
Galco Gunleather Concealable Belt Holster
A great leather holster is the Concealable Belt Holster by Galco Gunleather.
This holster is inspired by traditional pancake holsters, but the molding is a bit different. They call it forward molding, and it turns the gun so the grip sits closer to your body.
The slots for the belt are also cut in a way to minimize the amount your belt has to curve to hold the holster to your hip, further hiding the holster.
Made from black or brown steerhide, the Concealable is hand-molded to your specific pistol or revolver.
Safariland is one of the most well-known holster manufacturers, and for good reason.
They produce the holsters used by many police departments, and also produce gear for the military. So you know they produce very durable holsters.
Their leather holsters come pre-formed to the model of gun you own and are available in both belt slide and pancake styles.
The individual holster models do not have many customization options; typically you only have your choice between left and right-hand draw.
But they have many different models for high or low carry, different angles, and so on.
Tucker Gun Leather
With a lead time from 4-6 weeks, Tucker Gun Leather makes high-quality custom pancake holsters specifically for you.
Nearly every aspect of the holster, from belt width to the color of the thread, is customizable.
Decorative stamping is available as well, so their holsters can be as beautiful or as plain as you’d like.
A nifty feature is what they call a sweat shield, which is an extension of the leather which keeps the gun from rubbing against your shirt. The tab of leather also makes re-holstering easier.
Tucker Gun Leather also has paddle and cross draw holsters available if you have a different preference for carrying OWB.
Best Kydex OWB Holsters
Kydex is a combination of acrylic and PVC. It is thin and tough, and can be accurately formed around a gun’s shape.
It’s also more weather resistant and has less friction than leather, and so is a good choice for people who want the best holster technology.
Leather is comfortable, and Kydex is thin and tough. Why not combine the two?
The Crossbreed Snapslide holster does just that. Kydex holds onto the gun and leather holds onto you.
This hybrid holster keeps your pistol tight to your body. For more comfort, you can add a sweat guard.
And if you think that sweat guard might interfere with your draw it is available with a combat cut so there’s nothing under the grip to prevent you from easily drawing the gun.
If you like having more leather between your gun and yourself, and like having the choice of a forward or reverse cant, the Crossbreed also offers the Superslide.
Galco Gunleather Double Time OWB/IWB Holster
If you can’t figure out whether you prefer OWB or IWB holsters for concealed carry, why not try one that does both?
The Double Time is made entirely out of Kydex, except for the straps which hold it to your belt.
Those straps are reversible so you can use the same holster either inside or outside your waistband. The only tool you need is a flat-headed screwdriver
The top is open for an easy draw and you can adjust the amount of tension by which the holster holds the gun inside.
The option to wear it inside the waistband or outside makes it a very versatile holster.
We the People OWB Holster
We the People doesn’t have a wide variety of holster styles because they’ve focused on making just a few holsters very well.
Their OWB holster is a fine all-Kydex paddle holster.
It’s not as wide as the Snapslide or Double Time but it does project out a hair further, making it better for some people and worse than others.
What I like about it so much is how many adjustments you can make. You can adjust cant, ride height, and draw tension.
There’s also a small sweatguard portion to protect your handgun and the trigger guard cover is undercut for a faster, easier draw!
If I were to choose an all leather holster, then I would order one from Tucker Gun Leather. The workmanship and customizability are well worth it, even if Tucker is the more expensive option.
As for an all Kydex holster, I prefer We the People’s OWB holster because of its adjustability.
However, my choice of the entire bunch is the Crossbreed Snapslide. It meshes the benefits of both leather and Kydex and does so at a very affordable price point.
What’s your favorite concealable OWB leather or Kydex holster?
A Holster to Avoid
The holster has been implicated in several negligent discharge events recently so I’ve stopped recommending it.
I do like the locking design but the next generation should move that lock away from the trigger…
You can find Blackhawk holsters at your local Walmart, but those won’t be high-quality SERPA holsters.
SERPA is a type of technology that locks your handgun into the holster. A button alongside the trigger allows you to draw the firearm.
Once best choice for concealed carry is the SERPA CQC Concealment holster, which comes in either a matte or carbon fiber finish.
You also have your choice of colors; black, coyote tan, foliage green, and olive drab are all available.
If your concealed carry handgun has a light on it they have a light-bearing version as well.
However, these holsters have a problem:
The unlock button is in line with the trigger so, as you draw, your trigger finger is pushing inward, toward the trigger.
This increases the potential for a negligent discharge. Try another holster.
5 thoughts on “2023‘s Best Leather and Kydex OWB Holsters for Concealed Carry”
I like the first picture of the Galco Gunleather Concealable Belt Holster. My son is going to participate in a wild bunch play next month. Thank you for sharing these gun leather pictures.
I recently got my concealed carry permit. I don’t have a holster for my gun but I do need one. The third one down that you listed, I really like. I’ll see about finding one like it.
Give me a break. The Blackhawk Serpa line has continually been proven to fail. No professional should waist their time or money in this failed holster system. Furthermore, if the author of this article actually prefers the Serpa, it really shows the lack of experience they have.
While my experience with the SERPA has been great (same with the other people I know), I’ve been exposed to several stories of its failings recently. So, I updated the article and replaced it with a holster I’ve recently started to like better that doesn’t have the same potential for NDs.
Thank you for the reminder to keep this article up-to-date!
Just like choosing between IWB and OWB, there is a question as to what type of material you want your holster made of. Leather has been the traditional material used in crafting holsters for well over 100 years. Because of this, softening techniques are widely known now and leather holsters are more comfortable than ever. Coupling innovative holster designs and placement of belt loop holes or attachment clips has made leather holsters some of the best options.