Top Five Outside-the-Waistband Holsters

Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.

Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:

Handguns are meant to be carried in holsters. And while inside the waistband (IWB) holsters excel in carry and concealment, outside the waistband (OWB) holsters excel in deployment and comfort. Concealment then, for an OWB holster, simply becomes a function of wearing the right cover garments.

Belt-mounted pouches for carrying handguns go way back and, over the years, have gone through significant transformations. Today’s OWB holsters are far superior to yesterday’s and worth a close look if you prefer to carry this way. Here are my top five and why I chose them.

1. Galco Side Snap Scabbard ($111.95)

Galco Side Snap retails for $111.95. (Photo: Author)

A stalwart in the firearms industry, Galco offers a broad range of handgun holsters including their venerable Side Snap Scabbard. Made from black premium saddle leather, this holster feels luxurious while being rock solid and comfortable at the same time. But it gets my vote for being the easiest OWB holster to put on and off, thanks to the side-snap belt loops that affix it to your gun belt.

With gun-in-holster, just slide the open belt loops under your belt and bring them up and around to snap in place. After they’re attached, your gun is held close, rides with stability at a slight forward cant and offers a fine combat grip. Working in conjunction with the tightness of your gun belt, a tensioning screw adjusts the holster’s grip on your gun.

Visit GalcoGunLeather.com to learn more about the Side Snap.

2. Crossbreed SnapSlide ($48.50)

Crossbreed SnapSlide retails for $48.50. (Photo: Author)

A perennial favorite in the holster category, Crossbreed continues to innovate with leather and Kydex combinations. More famous for their excellent IWB holsters, Crossbreed also offers OWB units, such as this SnapSlide. A simple construction of leather backer and Kydex carrier, this holster’s design draws your gun in very close. As such, concealment is very good with this holster — so good that it gets my vote for being the best concealing holster of this OWB lot.

Available in natural tan horsehide (when available), tan premium hard-rolled cowhide, and black cowhide, this is a durable and strong holster that is available with or without a sweat guard. I actually prefer it without the sweat guard as it offers just a bit more space to get a combat grip on the gun carried in it. If you carry a smallish gun, get it in a straight drop. If your gun is medium to large, go for the slight forward cant version.

Visit CrossbreedHolsters.com to learn more about the SnapSlide.

3. DeSantis Yaqui Paddle ($64.99)

The DeSantis Yaqui Paddle retails for $64.99. (Photo: DeSantis)

Both DeSantis and the Yaqui style of holster have been around for a long time, and it’s no surprise DeSantis offers a version of this classic, high-ride holster. This one happens to be a paddle, so it’s relatively easy to get on and off as needed. Yaqui holsters seem to do best when paired with a 1911. The gun’s slim profile works with the holster for a stable ride, and while belt slide Yaqui holsters are minimal, this paddle mounted Yaqui offers two tensioning screws to make sure the draw is just right.

DeSantis offers this model of holster for many sizes and shapes of guns, in black and tan premium unlined saddle leather. While it’s technically possible to wear this holster without a belt, it’s simply better to wear it with one, and a real gun belt at that. This holster gets my vote for best high-ride and, if I’m really going to nitpick, best high-ride for a 1911.

Visit DeSantisHolsters.com to learn more about the Yaqui Paddle.

4. Multi Holsters Elite Quick Ship 2-in-1 ($74.95)

The Multi Holsters Elite Quick Ship 2-in-1 retails for $74.95.  (Photo: Multi Holsters)

A relative newcomer to the holster category, Multi Holsters makes excellent gear, including this Elite Quick-Ship 2-in-1 OWB holster. This is a basic OWB holster — plastic carrier and belt loops — with zero flex. And that’s its strength. Worn with a real gun belt, the gun carried in it rides with maximum stability. Because the plastic carrier is molded perfectly to the gun it carries, drawing and reholstering occur with fantastic tactile feel.

The holster’s gun belt loops are attached via nuts and bolts so they are movable to adjust for cant, but I prefer a straight drop. The holster is also available with a sweat shield and belt loops to accommodate either a 1.5-inch or 1.75-inch-wide belt. Moreover, you can set this same holster up as an IWB using the SpeedEase Nylon Clips. As such, this holster gets my vote for being the most versatile. But it’s also one of the most solid platforms I’ve experienced.

To learn more about the Elite Quick Ship 2-in-1 visit MultiHolsters.com.

5. Diamond D Leather Pancake ($75)

The Diamond D Pancake retails for $75. (Photo: Diamond D)

Known for hunting holsters produced in Alaska, Diamond D Leather offers a pancake holster for concealed carry made from premium leather and available in black, brown or natural. Here is a good-looking, back-to-basics OWB holster that protects your gun right to the muzzle while keeping it close at your side.

Diamond D’s pancake comes with a 20-degree forward cant and as such, it’s ideal for longer or larger guns. (You’ll need a fairly lengthy covering garment to hide it.) Double D Leather holsters are nothing short of robust — thick, strong and durable. They’re made to last a lifetime or more and will likely get handed down through the generations. This holster gets my vote for the most traditional and protective. It’s also great for open carrying, whether with your “BBQ” gun or your backcountry gun.

To learn more about the Diamond D Pancake, visit DiamondDCustomLeather.com.

Conclusion

Admittedly, choosing just five OWB holsters is hardly fair, given the vast number available today. So let us know your thoughts on these or other holsters we should consider for OWB carry.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Green tip March 2, 2018, 11:49 pm

    What HAS to be remembered are, these are HIS choices. I have none of these particular holsters & of course that doesn’t make them any less intriguing to some. I have Blade-Tech, Fobus, Wilson Combat, Bravo Concealment, another I’ve just at the Waco Gun Show and several others to include leather, not just kydex. As most any serious pistol ‘enthusiast’ would certainly say, it’s more often than not we have a DRAWER FULL before you find that ‘right one’. The question IS…right one for WHICH pistol?!

  • Ben Mitchell March 2, 2018, 5:24 pm

    How about the Fobus fixed paddle holster? Only $20 +/- and been using them for my Glock concealed carry pistols for nearly 15 yrs and absolutely love them with 0 issues…

  • Gary Varda March 2, 2018, 9:50 am

    If the vendor where you purchased your SideArm does not offer a matching holster for the gun where would be a good place to start looking for one?

    • Paul Hubenette March 2, 2018, 8:02 pm

      If you know what style you are looking for eBay is your best bet. It takes some trial and error to come up with the style holster that works best for you. My favorite holsters I have were bought used on eBay.

  • Richard Sands March 2, 2018, 9:41 am

    The author clearly hasn’t tried any holster from Blackpoint Tactical. Their “leather winged” holster finally addresses the conflict between leather and kydex. They put leather on the outside wings and use perfectly molded Kydex to hold the weapon. All held together with extremely strong steel fasteners and belt loops. The result is absolutely stunning. These holsters conform to the body, are comfortable with perfect “snap-in” retention, and smooth draw. I bought one for my new Sig Scorpion .45 from their web store. It was so nice I ordered four more direct from Blackpoint for my Sig P229 Legion, Sig P226, Walther PPQ, and H&K P30L which arrived yesterday. All fit perfectly. Like most of us I’ve got several drawers worth of fine leather holsters from the leading makers. From this point forward they’ll stay in there.

  • Ben smith March 2, 2018, 7:55 am

    The best OWB holster I’ve used, and have 3 of them is RM Holster ECP. No other company has the same design to attach to belt/pants.

  • Mark N. February 28, 2018, 12:48 am

    I have two High Noon “Outback” IWB all leather holsters that are all day comfortable, well made of premium leather, and reasonably priced. They come with the rough side out, protecting your gun’s finish, and a sweatshield which protects well against hammer gouge for my 1911. And their turnaround on orders is very fast. They also make a selection of OWB holsters that I have not samples.
    Kirkpatrick Leather, which I believe started making Western holsters, makes premium leather CCW holsters; I have one OWB for a Kahr CW9 that ensured I will be purchasing more holsters from them. It doesn’t have a retention adjustment screw–but it doesn’t need one either. Interior of the holster is suede. They just came out with a new holster that converts from a shoulder holster to an OWB canted two-slot pancake; holster and harness are a reasonable $170. All their holsters are US made in Texas.
    Mitch Rosen has always been rated as one of the top makers. I can’t comment on their work because their lead times are long and their prices are very high.

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