Interested in carrying your favorite small pistol but aren’t sure where or how you want to carry?

Well, today I’ll be digging into the world of small of back holsters. These holsters rest normally at 6 o’clock on your body. They’re positioned near your waist for easy access.

Wearing this type of holster definitely, has its pros and cons. So we’ll be answering some basic questions and going through who this type of holster works best for.

Afterward, I’ll review 7 different small of back holsters so you can find the best one for you.

Alright, let’s dig in.

**For those of you who have short attention spans or are in a rush, the best holster reviewed is the ActiveProGear SOB holster. It’s specifically designed to protect your back and kidneys, works for several handguns and great for women as well. Find the current price and any discounts on Amazon here.  For the best over the waistband SOB holster, the Gould & Goodrich ranked #1 for Glocks.  Find it here on Amazon.

What is a small of back holster?

A small of back or “SOB” holster is a type of holster that can be used for effective concealed carry.

Some SOB holsters are similar in design to IWB holster that we have talked about previously. With the main difference being that a SOB holster, for the most part, doesn’t have a hip plate, as it is not designed to be carried on the hip. It just slides right into your pants and uses a clip to attach to your belt.

You’ll likely feel this throughout the day as it’s against your skin. If you sit for long periods of time, get ready to really feel it.

The other design is referred to as “reverse configuration” and is carried outside of your waistband, by hooking onto your belt. What is unique about these is that the firearm is held with the butt of the weapon facing upwards.

Alright, there’s a test I want you to try.

Put your hand behind your back and pretend to be reaching for your gun. Are your palm and fingers facing inwards or outwards?

With this holster design, there are two styles are referred to as “palm out” or “palm in,

Depending on which way your hand will be facing when you reach for your firearm, you’ll notice your palm is facing your body or facing outward.

Both styles have their pros and cons, but as a whole, the SOB style of holster has its merits to those who don’t want to use an IWB style of holster but are still looking for a comfortable and effective concealed carry.

How to wear a SOB holster?

For visual learners, here’s an excellent instructional video on wearing a SOB holster.

There are not too many ways to wear a SOB holster. The palm out style is worn very similarly to your standard IWB holster, and the palm in style is used by hooking your belt into it. Unlike a lot of other holsters most of these don’t have clips, but rather your belt is woven into the holster which increases how sturdy it is, and makes it less likely to be taken off you.

For the purposes of honesty, it should be noted that when wearing a SOB holster most people would naturally want to wear it in the 6 o’clock position on their back. This is very much not recommended, your firearm should never be in a position where it is resting directly on your spine. Not only is sitting much less comfortable but if you were to be hit or fall on your back, the firearm could cause serious pain, injury or even irreparable paralysis due to shattered spinal vertebrae.

This being said, if you wear your firearm off your spine in their the 5 or 7 o’clock position, depending on your dominant hand. This will prevent spinal injury, increase your draw speed and make sitting more comfortable. Admittedly the chances of an injury to that degree occurring are low, but when it comes to your health you can’t take chances. And all it takes you prevent it is wearing your gun slightly left or right.

Pros and Cons

I find that the easiest way to make an educated decision about whether you want to spend your hard earned money on something is to establish if it will fit your needs, and if the downsides of the product outright the positives.


Conceal with comfort. The SOB holster naturally places your firearm in the hollow of your lower back. And exploits the fact that unless fitted, your shirt is most baggy around your lower back. Meaning you can carry your firearm with minimal imprinting.

Very little break in time. Because the holster doesn’t fit against your skin, you don’t have to wear it until the material breaks in and starts to form fit to your body. Meaning it is comfortable right out of the box.

No weapon sway. Your hips move a lot when you do, so a holster either in and out of your waistband is going to jostle around while you’re running, lifting or jumping. A SOB holster will cut down in this.

Pocket Access. A lot of other holsters interfere with your ability to store things in, or otherwise access your pockets. A SOB holster gets out of the way of this, allowing you to access your pockets easily, and to not have to worry about accidentally revealing your firearm in the process.


Sitting can be uncomfortable. Even wearing this holster in a slightly canted position away from your spine can make sitting difficult as the firearm is going to press into your lower back. Though it should be said that this is no less comfortable than an IWB holster which juts uncomfortably into your leg while you’re sitting or driving.

Furthermore, for non-compact weapons with a more textured grip, there is a real possibility that the grip itself will rub against your lower back, which can be slightly uncomfortable.

Injury. As previously stated, if not worn in the proper position, and allowed to press against your spine. Your firearm can cause serious and irreparable damage to your body and your mobility.

Depending on the configuration you choose, it can be difficult to reach your weapon. The palm out style holsters require you to place your hand in between your firearms grip, and your back to draw it. Which is a fairly narrow space and can be difficult to do quickly. This will reduce your draw speed, which can be seen as some as a very big negative.

Ok let’s look at some SOB holsters worn on the outside of your pants.

Elite Survival

Made from high-quality leather and ballistic nylon, this holster is available in a number of sizes to accommodate various pistols.

Because of the materials used this product only weighs in at 1 pound, meaning it won’t add much to the overall weight of your gun while you’re carrying it.

The back plate to which the belt loops attach is wide, meaning the holster distributes the weight across a larger area of your back making it more comfortable and reducing vertical movement.

One of the things I like most is that the gun is held in by a thumb release retention strap, seeing as you won’t be able to see the holster, something that releases the weapon easily is a must. Plus it gives you that added security that it’s tightly held in place.

Another benefit of this holster is that you can purchase this and use whichever weapons you like with it because it is not form fitted.

Some people have complained that it’s bulky. This is a small of back holster that is exposed and not tucked into your pants. So it will be noticeable and harder to conceal than holsters that clip inside your pants.

This holster is best made for someone that lives in a cold climate where bulkiness of the holster doesn’t matter.

Find the Elite Survival here on Amazon.

G&G back holster

This holster is form fitted and made entirely from high-quality leather and stitching.

It includes fixed belt loops, as opposed to a snap on. Meaning that to put it on or remove it you will need to remove your belt entirely.

This holster does away with a retention strap and instead relies on the shape of the holster and tension from the leather. This keeps your gun securely in place. If you find that your firearm is fitting too loosely, you can tighten the retention screw. So you will never have to worry about your firearm falling out. Another benefit to no retention strap is the quickness you’ll get when drawing your weapon.

It’s made right here in the USA. It’s a palm in holster, meaning you’ll reach for it with your palm facing your back. So if you did the exercise above and naturally reached for your gun ‘palm in’, this is a great holster option for you.

This holster mainly fits Glocks with one exception for the Sig Sauer P220.

Find the G&G small of back holster at Amazon here.

Galco SOB Holster for Springfield XDS

We have discussed Galco many times previously in other articles, and have found them to be an excellent manufacturer of holsters. They have maintained their quality here as well.

Available in black or tan, and carefully crafted using the highest quality leathers and stitching.

This Galco product is another that has done away with the retention band. Instead of using a tension screw to ensure the fastest and smoothest draw. And made from molded leather to keep your firearm in this a snug fit.

This holster only holds the Springfield XDS pistol. Reviewers have mentioned that it makes for a great holster when you have to walk around a lot. It’s comfortable and you can barely notice that it’s there.

Find the Galco SOB Holster at Amazon here.

DeSantis SOB Holster

This is arguably the most streamlined holster, weighing in at only 3.2 ounces, you will barely notice you’re wearing it. Once more made from high-quality leather and stitching.

This is a holster that has chosen to do without a retention band, choosing to use the natural angle of the holster and a retention screw. The leather guard on this also runs more than half way up the gun, which means that your firearm is going to fit more snugly than it will in others.

DeSantis has done away with any material they consider excess, meaning this product is concealed more easily and weighs slightly less than others on the market.

It slips onto your belt through a loop, so you’ll have to remove your belt to put it on and take it off. It fits Glocks very well and it conceals nicely under a baggy shirt.

Find the DeSantis SOB holster at Amazon here.

ActiveProGear SOB Holster

This product is exactly as the name implies, one for people who are slightly more active. Rather than being made from leather or Kydex, this SOB holster is made from waterproof foam and Nylon.

Remember the biggest danger to carrying a SOB holster? That you’ll injure your spine if you fall on your back? Well, ActiveProGear engineered to be “Kidney Carried” so you won’t suffer any back injuries.

And designed with two belt loops, this holster can be pulled tightly to make sure your firearm rides as closely to your body as possible.

It’s available for left or right handed styles.

And it’s designed with a thumb activated retention strap, so it will take an extra step to unholster your gun. But on the upside, your gun is now more secure in the holster.

It’s supremely comfortable while standing or moving and made to accommodate a number of different types of pistols.

This is one of the best and most versatile SOB holsters available for the price point.

Find the ActiveProGear SOB holster here and protect your kidneys!

We have discussed inside waistband holsters before. A SOB inside the waistband holster typically does without a waist plate for both the purposes of concealment and movement. These are quite possibly some of the most easily concealable holsters on the market and are worn in a place that cannot be seen when you are facing someone directly.

These holsters are ‘palm out’. Meaning they’re handled differently when pulling them out of the holster. Your hand will be facing outwards as you grab the grip of your gun.

Cebeci Arms

At first glance, this holster appears very simple and has a price point to match that.

But upon further review we realized the potential myriad of uses that can be gained from such a stripped down product. Hand stitched and made from high-quality leather and a sturdy metal clip.

This SOB holster can accommodate a fair number of firearms, is universal for both left and right handed draw. Is low imprint and easily concealed, and can be worn in practically any position inside the waistband, or even outside.

Though if worn outside the waistband, there is very little firearm retention which could be an issue. Furthermore, when driving you can remove it and place your firearm in the glove box or clip it to somewhere it won’t slide away.

For women, you can clip the holster and firearm into your purse if you’re wearing something that may make concealed carry impractical, or if you simply don’t want to. The Cebeci SOB holster is definitely one of the most universal and underrated on the market.

Grab yours from Amazon here!


This holster takes SOB holsters in another direction. Rather than being tucked into your waistband or attached to your belt, it goes around your whole waist.

This holster is made from lightweight ventilated elastic and uses a velcro closure. The product fits around the lower half of your torso and tucks your firearm snugly into your back. When you wear a shirt over it, you would hardly know you are carrying a firearm.

Also, because the material distributes the weight around your torso, much like a weightlifting belt would. No matter the weight of the gun you are carrying, it will feel lighter than it would with any other holster.

The only drawback is the difficulty reaching your firearm, which is not a fault of this holster specifically, but inherent to the style of holster. Because the gun is held on your back, you will need to reach up and under your shirt to grab it. And the retention strap is not a thumb break, so it may take you an extra few seconds to draw your firearm.

But we think it’s worth it for the level of comfort and utility this product offers.

Check out the current price of the AlphaHolster here on Amazon.

The Verdict

Alright, we looked at 7 different small of back holsters.

You can certainly make the argument that not all of these are all that great. For instance, I’d definitely steer clear of recommending the Elite Survival for someone who lives in a warm climate and doesn’t want the gun to imprint.

But there are definitely some good ones in this list.

For instance, the ActiveProGear SOB holster is my favorite. It can hold several different types of pistols. And I love the fact that they specifically designed it to protect your back from typical damages.

I also love that it’s useful for women as well as men. The design is very efficient. To grab your ActiveProGear holster, head to Amazon here.

Alright, that wraps up this review. Check out some similar articles below if you want to keep digging into the realm of holsters.

Related Articles:
Walther P22 Holster Reviews
1911 Shoulder Holster Reviews
Best Ankle Holster Reviews

Leave a Comment:

Gabe Szekeres says October 31, 2017

Thanks cavearmor for a comprehensive review.
I’m doing the research at this point and am on the fence about a SOB or cross draw style holster.
The firearm in question is a Gen 3 IMI Baby Eagle; 40 S&W. It is categorized as a semi-compact pistol. My basic requirements are consealability and comfort of course. I’m drawn to the Active Pro gear SOB due the fact that it can carry various firearms. The price point is nice also.
Again, thanks for the reviews and let me know your thoughts on a cross draw opinion for the baby eagle. G. in Las Vegas.

    Lauren says November 18, 2017

    Hi Gabe,

    We’re actually working on a review of several cross-draw holsters. Not to give too much away, but one of our favorites for concealing a gun is the Alpha Holster Cross Draw Belly Band holster. It sounds like being able to hold different types of guns is also important to you which is why this holster seems great as a cross-draw option for you.

    Thanks for stopping by!

Jim McNeese says February 9, 2018

Thanks for the review Cavearmor. It was very informative. I’d like you to tell me something if you can. I’m new to concealed carry. But unfortunately I really need to carry because of the city I live in. I carry a S&W SD9VE. I love it. I’ve got a owb holster, iwb holster, belly band holster, and there all uncomfortable for all day wear. That’s why your review was so interesting to me. I’m considering trying a leather shoulder holster to get the weight off my belt and on my shoulders. Problem is no one seems to have anything in leather to fit the SD9VE. Long story short. Could you review shoulder rigs for the SD9VE. Also who has a leather sob rig for SD9VE. Might as well try them all
Thanks again

Name says February 17, 2020

What a great article, I am really pleased with the quality of content and information which you are providing. I am glad I’ve found your article because it is giving me soo much information that I can’t believe. Thanks for your effort.

Nick Anonymous says March 15, 2020

Very well done article! I’ve been carrying pistols for the better part of two decades, with a wide variety of weapons as well as holsters. I’m a Detroit Police Officer so a fast draw is high on my priority list. You made many good points and touched on several things I did not think of myself. The bottom line is, I think you sold me on the Desantis for my Glock 19 during off duty carry. Keep up the great work. I look forward to reading more of your reviews in the future.

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