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Old 12-03-2010, 09:31 PM
JohnHarden JohnHarden is offline
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Default IWB - vs- OWB

Hello,

Recently got my CCW, but like most folks, I've been researching holsters for quite awhile and have built up quite a collection.

I sort of figured that IWB would work best for me here in SoCal as it is hot and in the summer, I often wear shorts and a long shirt.

Got myself a Comptac Minotaur, IWB holster, tried it out with my Springfield XD-sub compact and discovered I don't like it at all.

It pushes my pants and belt line out noticably (and uncomfortably). So much so, that I feel that it is obvious that I have something large tucked in my trousers. Very clunky to put on and off and it just feels "wrong".

As a result, I've come to really like OWB holsters, specifically the Blackhawk Serpa. I'm fairly active and they give very positive retention, are comfortable, and while they may print a bit more, I just feel more comfortable over all.

I'm sure I'm not alone on this, so what is the collective wisdom on this?

Am I missing something with the IWB holsters? Is it my double stack magazine and how it makes even a small gun wide?

IWB holsters just seem to make too much sense to give up on so quickly, so I'd appreciate the advice of those more experienced than I am.

I'm 5'10 and about 180" or so. A bit wide around the waist, so that certainly doesn't help, but I'm actively working on that.

Any suggestions?

Regards,

John
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:39 PM
Aurelius Aurelius is offline
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There is no one right answer--it is whatever works best for you. I don't have a drawerful yet, but all of the OWB holsters I've bought allow the grip of my guns to hang off the body, instead of being pressed into my side. And at 3 o'clock, it "feels" like there is a big lump on my side that is obvious to everyone. IWB at appendix works best for me because the belt brings the grip in, and it fits under the curve of my ribs.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:53 PM
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adodderer adodderer is offline
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I'm about your build, maybe a bit taller and IWB works best for me at about 3:30 or 4:00. But you are right OWB is more comfortable. And if you can find a nice leather holster that holds the gun like a Marine's hair cut, High and Tight, it will print much less..In my experience something that's leather and is attached via a belt will print much less.
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Is it my double stack magazine and how it makes even a small gun wide?
IMO yes, single stack is much easier to conceal.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
There is no one right answer--it is whatever works best for you.
^^^ This

You will eventually have your own drawer full of holsters. Some things work with some clothes/gun combos, some don't. I have the Minotaur also and I am comfortable with it at appendix. I don't really worry too much about printing any more. MOST people just think that bulge is your cell phone nowadays. It does help to wear darker colored clothes with large patterns. It will take a while but you will get comfortable after a while.

Keith
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:21 PM
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In addition to choosing the right OWB holster, it is critically important to choose the right belt so that the gun will be held closely to your body and not flop around. There are specialty belts for this purpose that are reinforced. I recommend the B21 belt made by Aker. It is a high quality leather belt with a reinforcing material inside to make it stiff where it needs to be stiff. It is designed to hold handcuffs, a flashlight, gun, etc. firmly in place and it it used by plainclothes police officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. It comes in black and tan. I have tried other belts, but Aker is the company I recommend.

I used to wear my gun OWB with a regular belt, but it was too loose. Then I switched to an Aker B21 belt and found a huge difference. It became much more comfortable, the gun/holster never slipped downward anymore, and everything just felt right. I still wear OWB, but with the correct belt.
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:16 AM
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There are some belt makers that will insert a kydex strip between two leather strips, making a very stiff belt that will distribute the weight around your waist better.
There are some belt makers who cater to the gun crowd and provide good belt with support, most not cheap, some fair, some outlandish as far as cost.
The other thing is, body type. Some people are physically built in such a way that strong side, waist carry, may not be quite the ideal thing. they go to pocket carry, if the firearm you carry allows it, or ankle carry, probably least ideal, to avoid obvious printing. Some CCW carriers will have different size guns for seasonal dress variations.
The thing is to try different combinations to find what suits you. This may lead to the proverbial box full of holsters.
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Old 12-04-2010, 06:01 AM
davbog44 davbog44 is offline
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The replies so far are pretty much spot on. You absolutely can't overlook the right belt.

Also, if you are getting that unsightly bulge, try wearing the pistol a little further back. On a lot of people, an IWB will sort of distort the fit of the pants if it's worn at, or near, 3 O'Clock.

An yes, a single stack pistol, and a pistol with a shorter butt (like a sub compact) will print less generally. But what really matters is the butt pressing against your body, and where on the body it does so.

I would say that if you decide you absolutely must go OWB that you look at a Galco Concealable or other similar design. These are about the flattest OWB holsters I have seen. If you go that route, also carefully consider your outer (cover) garments. Button down shirts come both tapered and straight hanging. And the material will make a huge difference as to whether it prints or not too. The same with the pattern. So much so that when I see someone wearing a Hawaiian shirt, my first thought is, "are the carrying?"

One final plus / minus aspect to IWB vs OWB. With IWB, half the gun is concealed all the time. If you go OWB, you will need a longer cover garment, and need to be that much more careful reaching for things, bending over, etc.

But really, as has already been mentioned, putting a successful C at the front of CCW means trial and error and finding the right recipe of belt, holster, gun, clothing and position .... for you. CCW is a commitment. To paraphrase (horribly .... no doubt he is spinning in his grave) Ben Franklin, "those who would choose comfort and style over concealment and capability deserve neither."
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:18 AM
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I'm your size and my favorites are OWB slide holsters, a t-shirt, and a loose button down shirt left open. I sew weights into the front bottoms of the shirt to keep it from flapping around too much. I IWB only when I absolutely have to, in that no holster has ever made that "comfortable enough"
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davbog44 View Post
One final plus / minus aspect to IWB vs OWB. With IWB, half the gun is concealed all the time. If you go OWB, you will need a longer cover garment, and need to be that much more careful reaching for things, bending over, etc.

"
I agree with the above about half the gun is inside your pants, and have gone to all single stack guns for my ccw. I only have one OWB and I have used it twice. I carry at 3:30 IWB with a nice cant in the holster and single stack and it is invisible to all the sheeple.
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:40 AM
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i guess i am very fortunate. i own only 7 holsters and use 5 of them for 3 weapons regularly

of course i read up on others mistakes and made notes to not repeat them.

i also did not skimp on a holster on my way to finding the right one (well once).

my iwb holsters are a miltsparks vm 2 and kramer #2.

my owb holsters are galco silohettes.

i bought all of them used from the guys that had drawers full

the ms vm2 and the kramer are in the $150 range and ms has an 6-8 month waiting list. i paid nothing close to that and my ms was purchased already done so no wait.

the galcos(largest holster maker in the world) are top notch but as was stated, they don't conceal quite as well. they are slightly more comfortable and certainly perform their functions well.

the iwb's are very good at holding the weapon close to your body and both have a reinforced mouth, and absolute necessity for reholstering, as well as ease of draw. comfort. once broken in and fitted to the right area of your body(i am built like you) they are extremely comfortable and you will even forget you have them on at times.

i have found appendix and 4 the best positions as they conceal better, are held closer to the body in those "pockets" and it doesn't "grind on your hipbone" or stick out too far.

expensive holsters , $100-175 , are priced that way for a reason

imagine walking all day in a pair of $12 walmart shoes. yeah, they keep your feet off the ground but that's about it.

i find it odd that folks will pay $100-400 for permit and training/qualifications, $450-1200 for a weapon and want to carry it around all day in a $39 holster.


Quote:
So much so, that I feel that it is obvious that I have something large tucked in my trousers.
this has never been a problem for me. as a matter of fact, quite the opposite
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Old 12-04-2010, 06:03 PM
JohnHarden JohnHarden is offline
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Default Holsters

Thanks for all the replies. Agreed on the belt. I bought a couple of belts designed to hold holsters and they are very rigid. Actually, my favorite belt is an extra thick and wide one I bought at Bass Pro last week for $25. Works great with the Blackhawk Serpa holsters.

Right now it is winter, so I don't have a problem concealing an OWB as I routinely wear a "big shirt" that hangs well below my waist. Even reaching up high the gun and holster are still concealed.

I'm going to need to work with the Comptac to break it in to see if it get's more comfortable. Come summer time when it routinely get's above 100, I'll likely need to switch over to IWB.

I'm a lefty, so I tend to carry at about 8 o'clock. Works very well in the truck as the seat belt attaches on the other side, so I can reach the pistol very easily if necessary and it doesn't poke me.

Regards,

John
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davbog44 View Post
An yes, a single stack pistol, and a pistol with a shorter butt (like a sub compact) will print less generally. But what really matters is the butt pressing against your body, and where on the body it does so.

It's always my butt that's the problem too.


Ok.....sorry....to compose myself....back to the OP....

There really is so much to consider with body type and holsters. Short-waisted, long waisted, male, female, weight, height, gun, etc....there is no one right answer.

So far, I have not been able to find an IWB that works for me, except for the belly band, which isn't really IWB but a type all its own. I'm only 5'2" and 130 lbs. It just doesn't work with my body type, unless I wore really loose pants. I can, however, conceal a full-sized M&P 9mm in an OWB at 4:00 with the right clothing. I've pretty much given up on IWB.
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3boyzmom View Post
It's always my butt that's the problem too.


Ok.....sorry....to compose myself....back to the OP....

There really is so much to consider with body type and holsters. Short-waisted, long waisted, male, female, weight, height, gun, etc....there is no one right answer.

So far, I have not been able to find an IWB that works for me, except for the belly band, which isn't really IWB but a type all its own. I'm only 5'2" and 130 lbs. It just doesn't work with my body type, unless I wore really loose pants. I can, however, conceal a full-sized M&P 9mm in an OWB at 4:00 with the right clothing. I've pretty much given up on IWB.
3BZ has a waist-butt ratio that wouldn't look good at all if she wore really loose pants. In her case, IWB wouldn't work without a LOT of work. So, she's gone to carry methods that DO work for her body type. I'm not saying that she doesn't look good... just that for IWB, it doesn't work.

I only say this because I have met her in person and count her as one of my friends from the forum.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:40 PM
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I use a Galco nylon belt with a Crossbreed IWB holding a sub-compact .40, it goes on my side @ approx. 3 o'clock position.

I put in on around 4:30am & remove it about 8:00pm everyday, I am a road mechanic climbing on & under objects to repair.

I have the basic body type you describe and I have no discomfort with no printing, I honestly feel so comfortable with this set up there are times I forget I have it on.

RK
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