Concealed Carry for Women

Do’s and Don’ts of OWB Concealed Carry

OWB concealed carry (on-the-waistband carry) is not only a great way to carry your gun, it’s the most comfortable way. Let’s look at some simple dos and don’ts of OWB carry so you can ensure you are doing it effectively.

Here are a few Do’s when you are OWB concealed carrying

  • DO Have a Solid Waistband For OWB Concealed Carry.

This means your waistband has to be stable and secure enough around your waist that it can perform two major duties.

1. Hold your holster and gun up without sagging or flopping down. Your pants or skirt waistband must be of a firm enough fabric and snug to your body.  Flopping and sagging can seriously impede your ability to get a good grip and draw quickly when precious fractions of a second count.

2. Stay put and provide a stable and solid platform for when you go to draw your gun from your holster. The thrust you use to grasp and pull your gun out of the holster is powerful and should only result in unholstering your gun –  not your waistband coming up with your holster.

The optimal way to achieve this stability is to wear a sturdy EDC belt such as our Precise Nylon EDC belt or Precise Leather EDC belts. In most cases, OWB holsters require a belt to attach to. If this will be one of your preferred ways of carrying, I would strongly suggest getting a good belt.

  • DO Wear a Curved OWB Holster.

Not all OWB holsters are created equal. Think about it, where you will be wearing this holster is rounded – the human body is rounded. So, why wear a holster that is flat? Years ago, I designed an OWB holster that does just this. The TWAW OWB holster “hugs” your body creating more comfortable wear and helps to keep the grip of your gun close to your body for better concealment.

  • DO Use A Form Fit Holster For Best Retention.

When you are wearing an OWB holster, there is no additional pressure or tightness of your waistband to add more retention to your gun such as when you are carrying IWB (in-the-waistband). This means you want to make sure the holster you use has good retention that literally “grasps” your gun. Your gun needs to stay seated securely in the holster with no wiggle room, no matter what activities you do throughout the day.

Using a Holster that is made from Kydex is a great option. This type of holster is made by molding the plastic over each different gun model so they provide a precise fit to your specific gun. Our Minimalist Holster is just that! You can also find leather holsters that can be form-fitted to your gun aiding in retention.

  • DO Wear OWB Concealed Carry Friendly Clothing.

When wearing an OWB concealed carry holster, concealing it can be easy. You can wear longer, looser shirts. Preferably ones with a good distracting pattern or style. Keep in mind it should be long enough to continue concealing if you were to bend over and loose enough for you to quickly grasp your gun.

Another tactic- one of my favorites – is to wear an unbuttoned overshirt, vest, or cardigan sweater. You can find all types of cover shirts to wear that will lay over your OWB perfectly. There are so many different patterns, lengths, and styles to choose from.

OWB conceal carry

Here are a few Don’ts when you are OWB concealed carrying

  • DON’T Use a Holster That Rides High On Your Waist.

This is an important point as it can interfere with your drawing. When using an OWB holster, you will need to have enough space for your hand with gripped gunarm to come high enough to pull the gun from the holster and clear it. Many women are short-waisted, leaving little room to draw. A holster that sits up high off of your waistband only exacerbates this. If you are not able to get the gun up high enough during your draw, you will not be able to draw your gun properly. Select an OWB holster that rides low, allowing for as much of the gun to sit below your waistband. Need help visualizing this more? Check out our Drawing From Concealment Series.

Wearing low-rise pants may aid in giving you more room to draw.

  • DON’T Allow Your Cover Clothing To Get Hung-up On Your Grip.

As mentioned before, cover clothing can make wearing an OWB concealed carry holster a lot easier to conceal. However, wearing this type of cover-up requires practice clearing the clothing and drawing your gun.

When you go to draw your gun with a cover vest, open jacket or shirt, you will need to quickly move your coverup out of the way with your dominant hand to get a good grip on your gun. When wearing a long shirt or sweater or sweatshirt, you will clear the clothing upward toward your chest with your non-dominant hand. Whatever coverup you choose- you must practice your draw (with an unloaded gun as always).

  • DON’T Position Your OWB Concealed Carry Holster Directly On Your Hip.

If you wear your holster directly on your hip, it is more likely you will create a bulge when trying to conceal it. When you move it slightly off your hip, you are using your body’s natural shape to hide it better.

TWAW OWB
  • DON’T Constantly Check Your Gun.

Once you have placed your holster for the day just leave it. If you continuously are trying to adjust your shirt or waistband trying to hide the holster because you think others can see it, you are just drawing attention to the area. Most people are oblivious to the holster bulge. Want more tips on printing? Read Printing…What Can You Do?

Final Thoughts

OWB carry is often overlooked when trying to find the best way to concealed carry, but it is truly one of the best ways to carry and certainly, the most comfortable. There are just so many benefits to not consider carrying this way. The gun is in the ideal location and position for you to quickly and effectively draw your gun should you need it and the comfort it provides is unparalleled.  Simply follow these simple Do’s and Don’ts and you will be able to conceal carry OWB confidently.

5 thoughts on “Do’s and Don’ts of OWB Concealed Carry

  1. Brittany says:

    can you conceal carry with a CCW OWB in California?

    1. Carrie Lightfoot says:

      Hi Brittany, I am not familiar with the ever-changing laws in CA, so it would be best for you to find a good resource that can tell you exactly what the CC laws are in your area. I would start here: https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-gun-laws/

  2. Glenda Edmonson says:

    I wear a lot of elastic waistband pants so wearing a belt for the most part is not an option. So what’s the next best way to carry.

    I actually like the old western style holster that you just buckle over any type of pants that you wear.

  3. Sabrina says:

    good article! When we go to the mountains I carry my husband’s XDS and he wears his Glock 19 (that one is too big for my hands). I purchased a G48 not too long ago because I loved the way it shoots, but it’s way too big to on-body carry (for me), so I just purchased a 43x. I will try to find a good OWB holster, I purchased an IWB with the pistol, but reading this reminded me how comfortable carrying the XDS on my hip was.
    Thanks!

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