Alright, by now most of you know I am constantly on the quest for the next "best" holster. I realize "best" is a subjective term and will be different for each person based on more factors than I care to list. "Best" can also vary by firearm (for the same person) or based on the particular task at hand … IWB vs OWB, CC vs OC, carry vs range/class, etc.
Let me preface the following review/recommendation by saying I have tried a good number of holsters by most of the big names in the industry. I have named most of them in another thread recently.
I have always recommended Comp-Tac over and above all other kydex holsters I've tried. Their product, price, and customer service has always been second to none. The CTAC is still my hands down favorite kydex IWB holster. It is my go-to and I don't see that changing. The Comp-Tac regular paddle has always been my staple for range/class use. It was a given that I would order one for whatever firearm I had at the moment. Wel l, that's recently changed. Yes, I said it. I've sold the last of my Comp-Tac paddles as I wanted to find something that attached with snap belt loops rather than the paddle. Frankly, I didn't need the quick on/off a paddle offers and wanted something that was even more stable and had even less risk of coming free of my belt in a scuffle or during fast draw drills. I have never had a Comp-Tac paddle come loose but in a recent class I let another student borrow one and it happened to him. I blame his poor belt choice but I suppose the risk is still there even with a good belt.
When I began looking for kydex to replace the Comp-Tac paddles the following features were a must;
- Adjustable retention
- Snap belt loops
- Sturdy/thick enough kydex to hold up to abuse
- Sweat shield to help keep t-shirt, etc. out of opening during re-holstering
I had recently purchased a Pwii IWB for my LCP from Alan Miller of Aholster and recall seeing a decent looking OWB on his site. I also recall reading an article by Tiger McKee where he named Aholster as the brand he uses on the range. For those not familiar with Tiger he is the director/owner of Shootrite Firearms Academy over in Alabama and is a protégé of Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch.
I looked at a good number of others besides Aholster but none really appealed to me. I'm very happy with the Pwii so I decided to order the OWB Belt Holster and see how I liked it. I purchased one for my Govt 1911 and another for my G19. The online order process was very easy and payments accepted include credit card and PayPal. Aholster currently offers kydex in several colors, including black, tan, OD green, and gun metal gray.
My holsters arrived yesterday. It is notable that Alan is trying to keep production time to 10 days or less. My order arrived well within that time frame. In fact, it took less time to receive these holsters than my last few Comp-Tac orders.
Upon inspection I was very pleased with the relative simplicity of the holsters. I'll try to hit on each the major design elements in the next few paragraphs.
The holster body provides full coverage of the muzzle end of the slide but is open so as not to trap moisture and debris. Retention is easily adjusted tighter/looser by a small screw, same as with Comp-Tac and many other makers. I found a positive "snap" upon re-holstering, same as with my Comp-Tac holsters. The kydex appears to be a good compromise between thin (for concealment) and thick (for durability). I expect it will hold up plenty well to range/class abuse. While the inside of the holster is custom molded to the particular firearm the outside is pretty rounded or smoothed out such that the outline of the pistol is not readily noticeable.
The holster body and arms/wings where the snap belt loops attach are curved to follow the contour of your body. This aids in both comfort and concealment as it hold the butt of the pistol very snug to the body.
The sweat shield is present but seems abbreviated compared to other holster makers. I like this because it allows a full firing grip on the pistol without interference and is not in the way of the mag release button. This is good for class or range use as it allows you to remove a partially empty mag from your pistol (to top it off) without removing the pistol from your holster. BIG PLUS. (I used a CTAC in my last class and had to pull the pistol slightly out of the holster to access the mag release.)
The snap belt loops are adjustable to 1.25", 1.5", and 1.75" by moving a single screw on each side. The loops are made from rubber so they have a bit of stretch in them in case your belt is extra thick. I think this is a clever design element. I don't see the belt loops breaking/tearing/cracking but if something were to ever happen to them they are easily replaceable. The snap is the standard one-way variety common on most quality holsters.
I put the G19 holster on immediately and wore it until bed time, including a trip to the vet with my dog, grilling steaks, playing WII with my daughter, and some couch time with the wife. My G19 was easily concealed under just a short sleeved button down. The shirt has shorter tails … styled to be worn untucked without being long and sloppy. I was VERY pleased with both the concealment and comfort.
I recommend this holster without hesitation. It is a bonus that the price is fair and the wait/production time is very reasonable. It's a double bonus the holster maker is located in Tennessee. GO VOLS!!!
The down side is limited availability of pistol models. You should be good-to-go if you carry a GLOCK, 1911, XD, or J-frame. There are other models offered for some of their other holster models though so don't discount Aholster just because you don't shoot the pistols I mentioned.
Here are some quick pics I snapped yesterday followed by some info taken directly from the Aholster website.
- BELT Holster - $69.95
Right or Left handed. 15% Rake. Adjustable rubber belt loops 1.25" to 1.75". Adjustable retention. Sweat guard. Open bottom design. Mag release is accessible while firearm is holstered. Molded to conform to the curve of your hip to reduce printing and keep firearm tucked tight against body. Distributes the weight of the firearm evenly across your belt unlike many traditional single point carry holsters. (Excellent for concealed carry.) Holster can be canted outward for the female pattern.