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Concealed Carry For Fat Guys

Husky? A bit pleasantly plump?

You can call it whatever you wish but some of us are carrying more than just a concealed pistol in our waistline. And for people with a bit extra around the waist, sometimes an inside the waistband concealed carry holster can be a bit uncomfortable.

In this article, we'll discuss some concealed carry techniques and positioning that are helpful for us huskier gentlemen.

Inside The Waistband Concealed Carry For The Extra Jovial

An inside the waistband concealed carry holster with high retention and a good trigger guard is always worth it. Even though some prefer to go to a shoulder holster or an outside the waistband holster, IWB holsters provide the best concealability.

Unfortunately, some carriage styles may not work depending on one's waistline distribution. An important consideration is sitting and standing. If an IWB holster configuration doesn't work for you while seated, it's not going to work.

What Holster Position is best for bigger guys?
2 O'Clock Truffle Shuffle

We always recommend starting at 2 o'clock because there is a natural valley between the front girth and the love handles. This valley can be taken advantage of by placing your IWB concealed carry holster within it. Not only is it highly concealable, it's adaptable for sitting and standing.

Obviously, if you're carrying left-handed, 2 o'clock becomes 10 o'clock.

An appendix carry holster has a lower profile than a typical classic IWB holster, which may improve comfort at the 2 o'clock position if it has a smaller footprint.

It's all about balancing comfort with utility, and a lightweight holster in this position will be less noticeable.

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere

A decent alternate to 2 o'clock is 5 o'clock (or 7 o'clock for lefties). This is right behind the love handle and is reasonably comfortable and accessible. For those with back problems and drive long hours, this may get a bit tiresome but for those who are walking around a lot and only drive casual hours (commuting to/from work), this will work.

When In Doubt - 3 O'Clock Rock It

The only issue with 3 o'clock is it's not very concealable even for a normally proportional person. An inside the waistband concealed carry holster will inevitably jut out at least an inch or two from the waistline. Most people shouldn't notice and it is truly a great position to grip your pistol and draw – it's just unfortunate that in terms of concealability, it's not always the best move. But when in doubt – this is a position that is usually comfortable for sitting and standing.

Appendix Carry For Chubby Guys: Taming The Tactical Muffin Top

So, you're wondering if appendix carry for chubby guys is viable? If you're carrying a tactical muffin top, the answer is…

It depends.

Appendix carry with an appendix carry holster either works for a person or it doesn't. The lynch pin in the enterprise is where your gun rides.

So, what makes appendix carry tenable for most folks is whether the holster and pistol interfere with your hips hinging. If you can put on an appendix holster and bend over or squat without the gun sticking in your craw...you're good to go. If it does, then appendix carry isn't for you.

In other words, if you have a relatively high natural waist - meaning your pants naturally set near your belly button rather than your hips - then you're suited to appendix carry. If your jeans ride a little lower, then no.

However, what about the gun and holster protruding outward thanks to your spare tire?

This is where a little strategic placement can do wonders.

The standard trick is to move the holster closer to the front pants pocket rather than the button/tab. The reason is the rounded edge of the belly will help camouflage the bulge of the holster.

This way...the one bulge helps cover the other. Place it right and you'll have no problem with the draw, either.

So...it's totally possible! IF, however, you're suited for it, which comes down mostly to your specific shape and proportions.

Holster Comfort and Printing

If you live in a place that's incredibly restrictive about printing, make sure to check out our other articles which discuss various ways to prevent printing or getting spotted.

No matter what size you are – an inside the waistband holster with a backpad should help distribute some of the pressure from carrying a firearm in your trousers. Especially for the warmer months or if you're stuck in a hot environment – get an inside the waistband holster with neoprene backing. That will wick away sweat much easier than leather – which can stick to the skin.

For the skinny guys, we have not forgot about you here is our article: Concealed Carry For Skinny Guys

Have you found any particularly good carry techniques which have supported your weight? Tell us about them in the comments section.
 

About The Author

James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.

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Best Holster For When You Have To Tuck In Your Shirt

Not all of us like to have long, droopy clothing that hangs loose. Some people like to dress up, wear a nice button-up shirt, and maybe some good slacks. For those of you that do, you may have been traditionally stuck either carrying outside the waistband or wrapping your dress shirt over and around an inside the waistband concealed carry holster that clips directly onto your gun belt.

Good news – there's easy solutions to this. You can stay concealed AND tuck in your dress shirt without any worry. The big element you have to pay attention to is the belt clip. Inside the waistband holsters that clip directly from holster to belt don't allow you to tuck your shirt between the two. If you see a belt clip that hooks up like an upside down letter “J”, you have the ability to tuck down into the space between the clip and the holster. But that's where carrying with a tucked-in shirt begins.

Cloak Tuck Belt Clips: Why Two Is Better Than One

When you're tucking in your shirt into your trousers, wrapping into a single cloak tuck belt clip is convenient – but at what cost? A single point of contact between belt and holster is also a single point of failure. It may also bunch up throughout the course of repeatedly sitting and standing.

Having two belt clips that allow you to tuck in your dress shirt is far better. This enables you to smooth out the profile of your handgun in its inside the waistband holster. Add a suit coat over the top and you are good to go throughout the day.

What's The Best Position For A Tucked In IWB?

This is a question we get asked pretty often. The Cloak Tuck iwb holster series was made to be tucked beneath a polo or dress shirt. As such, different users may find different degrees of concealment depending upon where they position the holster.

In general, we usually recommend starting off at a standard 3 o'clock position on the waistline. This is a good general place to start. Tuck in your shirt and look at yourself in the mirror. If the outline of your gun is clearly visible or stands out prominently, try moving the holster back to 4 o'clock or, conversely, forward to 2 o'clock.

The good news is that with an IWB with a neoprene backpad, no matter where you decide to tuck in, it's always going to be a comfortable fit. The backpad helps distribute the weight of the firearm evenly across the waistline.

How to use an IWB Holster

When looking for the ideal position for your tucked-in IWB holster, look for flat contours in your waistline. This is the best way to add an additional inch or two of width to your waistline without attracting as much attention. Again, depending upon the gun you use, some models will fit more flush with the waistline than others. Just stay patient and definitely consider adding a sweater, jacket, or suit coat over top.

e to draw, present, aim and fire the pistol should it be needed.

Since the shirt is tucked behind the waistband and belt, it's harder to get it out of the way compared to wearing an untucked shirt over your concealed carry gun and holster or a cover garment like a jacket. Untucked shirts are rather easy to clear; you basically move them out of the way.

A tucked shirt can get a little trickier. Not by too much, but by a bit. Therefore, make sure that you train for clearing the cover garment on a regular basis.

Drawing From A Concealed Carry Holster Behind A Tucked Shirt

If your concealed carry holster is concealed in this manner, there are some techniques for clearing the cover garment.

Watch the following clip for a good idea:

The grip must be strong; you have to rip the shirt clear of the holster to get onto the grip. When you clear the cover garment, it has to fully clear the pistol. If clearing the cover garment with one hand, grasp your shirt near the holster. If possible, use your support hand as an assist.

Much of the literature about the draw stroke suggests the support hand is supposed to be used to clear cover garments. There are some caveats, though. Not all people carry their pistol in a location easily accessed by the support hand. Also, that presumes you'd have use of that arm to begin with; most defensive shootings occur within a few feet so that's not an assumption you should necessarily make.

Therefore, make sure you train to clear your cover garment one-handed.

Grasping the cover garment near the holster is essential. Since the shirt is held in place by some tension from being tucked behind the belt and waistband, you can't move as much of the shirt as you could with one that wasn't tucked.

Wherever on the waistband you carry your pistol, make sure to train the draw. The more you've trained for it, the more you can rely on muscle memory should the moment you need to use it ever arise.

 

About The Author

James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.

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CZ 75 vs Beretta 92: Clash Of The Classics

Which Wonder Nine should you get between the CZ 75 vs Beretta 92? Both have a lot to offer. Both pistols are known to be accurate, very shootable, and have been proven in military and police service as well as in competitive shooting.

In other words, these guns are known to run. Proven in combat, proven in sport. Only a few other pistols have the same kind of pedigree. The 1911 platform, the various Glocks, the Browning Hi Power, Sig Sauer P226...not too many more to mention in the same company.

But which to get? You'd find yourself considering these classic Wonder Nines if you wanted a big, all-steel DA/SA 9mm pistol and both are excellent choices. But which should you get? There are a few things that might tilt you in one direction over another. Let's talk about that a bit.

CZ 75: Hold My Beer And Czech This Out

The CZ 75 pistol was designed behind the Iron Curtain during (former) Czechoslovakia's time as a Soviet satellite state. The interesting thing is that it was never designed as a police or military sidearm; it was designed for target shooting, a popular pastime in that country.

The standard iteration features a 4.7-inch barrel, with dimensions being 8.1 inches long, 5.4 inches tall and just under 1.3 inches wide at the controls. Unloaded weight is 35 ounces. The standard magazine holds 15+1 of 9x19mm.

The CZ 75 has some novelties. First is the ergonomics, with a generous beavertail on the frame for a high, tight shooting grip, and a palm swell reminiscent of the Hi Power which comfortably fits the hand. This makes the CZ 75 very comfortable to hold, and one of the most naturally-pointing pistols this side of the 1911.

The slide rides inside the frame rails, which makes lock-up tight. This lends itself to great accuracy. The bore axis is often said to be low, but in truth is barely any lower than most pistols of its size.

The CZ 75 is DA/SA, with a manual safety for carrying cocked and locked. However, the manual safety can only be engaged when the hammer is cocked. Carrying in double-action mode is accomplished by manually lowering the hammer.

Without doubt, one of the best of all-time. The standard CZ 75B model remains one of CZ's top sellers, for good reason…but the onslaught of time has brought around plenty more variations besides, including railed tactical models, compacts like the CZ 75 Compact vs PCR models, and many more.

Beretta 92: The Standard Wonder Nine

The Beretta 92, released the same year as the CZ 75 (which was...you'll never guess it...1975) was not made behind the Iron Curtain and could therefore be patented and sold wherever Beretta wanted to sell them. The US armed forces bought the Beretta to replace the 1911 pistol leading to it becoming one of the most popular service pistols worldwide.

The Beretta 92 started with design cues from the Walther P38. The slide is open-top, which aids in ejection. The barrel is a falling-block design, a bit different than fixed-link barrels (such as the CZ 75) in that there is no feed ramp. Every cartridge is fed straight across into the chamber. Thus, there's no issue using hollow points and reliable feeding is all but guaranteed.

The 92 also made use of Walther's DA/SA operating system and controls, with a slide-mounted decocker/safety. Rotate it down and it drops the hammer, but puts the gun on safe. Flip back up, and you're in DA mode. This lets you carry in DA mode with the safety on or off, at your discretion.

Dimensions are stout, with a 4.9-inch barrel, and overall dimensions of 8.5 inches long by 5.5 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide. The standard model carries 15+1 of 9mm onboard (some versions 17+1 with newer magazines) and weighs 34 ounces unloaded.

The Beretta 92 beat out the Sig Sauer P226 to be the new service pistol for the US armed forces in the 1980s, and it quickly became a popular service pistol for other militaries as well as many police departments ever since.

Some revisions were made over the years, of course, and there are now a number of variants to be had besides the base 92FS model.

The same is true of the CZ 75, of course, but you can get a Beretta 92 to fit multiple tastes. Tactical models, compact versions for easier concealment, whatever you might want.

CZ 75 vs Beretta 92...What Sets Them Apart?

On paper, there's not much to set the CZ 75 vs Beretta 92 apart. Frankly, you get a great gun either way. Both are known to be reliable, accurate, and well-suited to almost any application. Concealed carry of either firearm is...complicated to say the least, due to sheer size, but then again, plenty of people carry one or the other without issue.

So...let's get into the nitty-gritty.

The main drawback to the CZ is the operating system. It makes no sense to have a DA/SA pistol with a manual safety, since that pretty much defeats the purpose of having a double-action system to begin with. You can get a model with a decocker instead, though.

The CZ is also a little harder to find in stores, and a little harder to source aftermarket parts for. Not impossible by any means, but getting sights or a holster for one yields fewer options than it does for other guns.

The Beretta has a few drawbacks as well. First, it's like holding a brick. The grip is huge, as it's 1.5 inches wide with factory grips. It's also enormous front-to-back; trigger reach (the distance from the back of the grip to the front face of the trigger in double-action mode) is 2.9 inches. (The CZ 75 is about 2.75 inches, a little more manageable.) A constant complaint from service personnel was that it was hard for personnel with smaller hands to shoot it, and for precisely this reason.

Second, the controls are on the slide. First, this makes one-handed operation all but impossible unless you're Johnny Bench. Second, actuating the slide with the support hand over the slide can inadvertently activate the safety.

Not all Beretta 92 pistols can be equipped with new sights, so you have to make sure to pick a model with dovetailed front sights.

By contrast, CZ puts the controls on the frame between the top of the grip panels and the frame rails. Like the 1911 pistol, it's easily operated one-handed...unless you don't have thumbs. All sights are dovetailed, so they can be swapped if desired.

Granted, the Beretta 92 can be had in their "G" models, which replaces the decocking safety with a decocking lever instead.

The 92's safety/decocking levers are ambidextrous; the CZ's are not...unless you order the CZ 85 model, which is a 75 with ambi controls.

If you actually intend on carrying one of these pistols, the CZ is going to be a little easier in that department. While it's wide by Glock 43 standards, the 1.3-inch width can be tamed with thin grips, which bring overall width down to more like 1.1 inches. The Beretta can likewise be slimmed by about that margin, down to about 1.3 inches with slim grips. The CZ 75 is also slightly shorter, though only by half an inch.

If asked for my opinion, I prefer the CZ 75. The Beretta is a fine pistol, without doubt, and I would have no problem betting my life on one if I had to. It's one of the most popular service pistols to this day, and with good reason. However, I prefer the ergonomics of the CZ 75 to that of the Beretta. I also prefer the control layout as - to my mind - I want to be able to run the controls one-handed and as intuitively as possible.

You might find yourself totally swayed in the other direction.

Ultimately, the best of the two is the one that's best for you. Handle and shoot both. The one that fits best and that you run best is the one to get. You won't go wrong either way.

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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Lightweight Concealed Carry Pistols For Easy Packing

The modern ethos is that concealed carry pistols should be compact and lightweight. This makes them easy to carry, easy to conceal and therefore doesn't make concealed carry uncomfortable.

Heck, it's barely a modern idea; Colt and Smith and Wesson were making lightweight .38 Special revolvers by the 60s. Colt created an alloy frame version of their Commander 1911 soon after they developed the Commander for the US Army in the 50s.

What are some of the best to get? Here are 7 solid lightweight CCW pistols.

M&P Shield

The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield quickly became one of the most popular concealed carry pistols on the market and for good reason. It's compact, at around 6 inches long, less than 5 inches tall and an inch wide, carries 7+1 or 8+1 (depending on the magazine) of 9mm and weighs just over 18 oz unloaded. They're reliable, accurate and far easier to shoot than lightweight pistols of the past ever were.

It also doesn't hurt that you can pick them up for a song (a Shield for less than $300 is easily found) and aftermarket accessories abound. Holsters for this pistol are some of our best-sellers.

M&P Shield Holsters
Sig P365

A lot of people would argue the Sig P365 is the perfect concealed carry pistol. If you look at the specs, it's not hard to see why. Dimensions are near as makes no difference the same as the M&P Shield, though it's about half an ounce lighter. The party piece is the P365's half-staggered magazine, bringing capacity of the flush-fit magazine to 10+1 of 9mm. Extended models of 12+1 and 15+1 are available as well.

Night sights are standard to boot. While there are pistols out there that have one or two little things better than the P365 (more ergonomic grip, better trigger) there really isn't another pistol that's as complete a package available from anyone else.

Sig P365 Holsters
Glock 43

For those who prefer Glock architecture, the Glock 43 is their slim single-stack striker pistol. If a Glock is your thing, it's perfect for daily carry if you prefer a minimalist and lightweight pistol (not much in terms of controls, specs are basically the same as the Shield, it weighs 18 oz) or as a backup gun carried in ankle holster or other location.

It's one of Glock's most popular models. While Glock was late to the single-stack subcompact party, it's a mainstay of the concealed carry market.

Glock 43 Holsters
Smith and Wesson Airweight

Some people like old-school, and that's exactly what the Smith and Wesson Airweight series is. The Airweight line is a series of J-frame revolvers. People who concealed and carried decades ago and plainclothes police officers - as well as some Air Force personnel, who were issued J-frame snubbies - often carried one of these or the equivalent model by Colt.

S&W Airweight pistols are made with an aluminum alloy frame to reduce weight, with most models weighing less than 15 ounces unloaded. All models have five-shot cylinders, with most models being chambered for .38 Special and a couple in .357 Magnum...though a tiny revolver with a light frame is going to be nothing but pain if you shoot .357 Magnum. You do have some choices, though, as there are more than a half-dozen Airweights to choose from.

You can select one of several DAO models like the 642, classic hammer-fired models like the 637 and shrouded-hammer models like the 638. A few different cosmetic options are available too. Yes, it's an old design...but it works.

S&W J-Frame Holsters
Sig P938

The Sig P938 is definitely a lightweight subcompact, being broadly the same size as the P365 (though only holding 6+1/7+1 depending on the magazine) but it takes a commitment to the single-action firing system. It's one of several companies making a micro 1911 scaled up from .380 to 9mm and many people are convinced its the best of the type.

It's been around for some time now, and while you'd think that since striker pistols are the flavor du jour that the P938 (or it's .380 stablemate the P238) would necessarily be a terribly popular choice...but we sell more holsters for these than we do for some very popular striker guns.

Sig P938 Holsters
Ruger EC9s

Ruger has always had a strong presence in selling working-class guns, and the Ruger EC9s is no exception. No frills, no gimmicks, what you need and nothing you don't. The EC9s is a slim, subcompact single-stack striker gun with little adornment. The sights aren't even adjustable; they're milled into the slide. There's a tabbed striker trigger, it holds 7+1 of 9mm, weighs just over 17 ounces unloaded, and that's about all there is to write home about.

Those after a minimalist gun that does what it needs to and doesn't break the bank, it's a fantastic choice at $300 MSRP...and around $250 in most stores.

SCCY CPX-2

The SCCY CPX-2 is one of the best concealed carry pistols that's easy on the wallet, as MSRP is a mere $270. It's also easy to tote, at 15 oz unloaded. It's a bit wider than some of the other guns in its class, at 1.26 inches in overall width, but in a way that isn't actually a bad thing. The grip fills the hand a little more than slim single-stack pistols do, which gives you a firmer grasp.

SCCY pistols have a simple operating system as they are double-action only, with about an 8-lb trigger pull. There are some kits out there that reduce it, but it's smoother than the double-action pull on many pistols that cost twice as much (or more) so it's hardly untenable.

The odd thing about SCCY pistols is that they're more cleanly made than you'd think they should be for the price point, and feature some pretty good ergonomics. You also have some choice in finish, as they offer nine finish options for the frame and two for the slide.

SCCY CPX-2 Holsters

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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Glock 19 vs H&K VP9: Does H&K Make A Better Workhorse?

A lot of people insist there's no comparison between the H&K VP9 vs Glock 19; the H&K is just better. It's like comparing a Ferrari with a Ford, they say; the former is a really good gun and the latter, while certainly not bad, is just a workhorse.

Is it really that much better? Or are gun hipsters at it again and the Glock 19 is actually the near-perfect pistol people say?

Let's square the two off and talk about it.

VP9 vs Glock 19: Dimensions

Let us begin a VP9 vs Glock 19 comparison with sheer dimensions. They're pretty close in many regards...though not as close in some.

The Glock 19 has 4.01-inch barrel. It stands 5 inches tall, 7.36 inches long and is either 1.26 inches or 1.34 inches wide, depending on the model generation you purchase. Glock Gen 5 models are wider, with the addition of the Glock Marksman Barrel and beefed up internals. Unloaded weight is just over 21 ounces unloaded. The G19 holds 15+1 of 9mm.

The VP9 is similar, though it is slightly beefier. The H&K VP9 has a 4-inch barrel, with dimensions of 7.34 inches long by 5.41 inches tall by 1.32 inches wide. It also carrie 15+1 of 9mm, and weighs 25.56 ounces unloaded.

Glock no longer publishes MSRP, but you can expect to snag a G19 for about $500. A VP9 will run you a bit more, but not too terribly much; $550 to $600 is to be expected. The lowest price I could find for a VP9 was $499, and the lowest price I could find for a new Glock 19 was $429.

Features: Extra Bits Of The VP9 vs Glock 19

Size alone might not sell you on the VP9 vs Glock 19, but where a lot of people start to lean towards the former is the features list.

Both pistols are ambidextrous. The Glock 19 and VP9 both have ambidextrous slide release levers. Lefties can also swap the magazine release button on the Glock 19 to the left side if they prefer.

The VP9, however, has ambidextrous magazine release paddles on the back of the trigger guard. Some people don't like them, which is why Heckler and Koch also makes a version with a button release, the VP9-B, which has a swappable button for left-handed operators. The takedown lever, however, is not ambidextrous.

Gen 4 and Gen 5 Glock pistols have swappable backstraps, and the gun comes with three sizes. The VP9 also comes with three swappable backstrap panels but also six (three sizes) side panels as well.

Gen 4 and previous Glock pistols have finger grooves on the front of the grip housing. The VP9 does as well, though they are lower-profile than Glock's. The trigger guard of the VP9 has a more generous undercut and the rear shelf of the frame is a little longer, which gives more shooters the ability to get a high, tight grip.

The Glock 19 comes standard with Glock's polymer sights though steel sights and night sights can be had as optional upgrades, as can the MOS slide with an RMR plate for mounting an optic. The VP9 comes standard with tritium three-dot night sights, both drift-adjustable with a front blade and rear ramp.

Both pistols feature an accessory rail.

The party piece of the VP9 is forward cocking serrations in addition to rear cocking serrations, but also the charging handles at the rear of the slide. This makes racking the slide ridiculously easy, as well as tactical reloads.

H&K VP9 vs. Glock 19: What Sets Each Apart From The Other

Comparing the H&K VP9 vs Glock 19 is not quite comparing chalk and cheese. Both are compact-ish striker-fired pistols that work as service pistols and carry pistols. Both are used by police in the line of duty, both are used by competitive shooters. You could bet your life on either gun and have no worries.

What's going to set them apart? There are a few different things that could tilt the table in one or the other gun's favor.

The VP9 has the better trigger, and at that by miles. It's the best striker trigger there is, full-stop. Only the Walther PPQ rivals it.

The VP9 is considered to be more comfortable, though there are some people that prefer Glocks to other pistols on the basis of ergonomics.

In favor of the Glock 19 is the aftermarket support. No pistol besides the 1911 enjoys as much aftermarket support as Glock pistols and the 19 in particular. It is the standard by which most guns are judged, and as a result you can do almost anything you want with one in terms of upgrades. The VP9? Well, there is aftermarket stuff out there...but not nearly as much.

Another potential point in favor of the Glock 19 is the magazines. Not so much the magazine design, but more the fact that Glock 19 magazines are easily found and are generally affordable. Factory units go for less than $30 online; some aftermarket models for less than $20. H&K, however, wants you to shell out $50 per.

Granted, you can actually keep magazines running perfectly if you change springs every now and again. Springs for H&K magazines will run you more like $5, but still.

What about for daily carry? The selling point of the Glock 19 has always been that it's compact enough to carry every day, but big enough to be a service pistol. The VP9 is about the same size, just a bit taller and a bit wider and at that barely, but enough for some people to consider it too large to be a daily carry gun. Gen 3 and Gen 4 G19s are definitely a bit slimmer, no doubt, and the Glock is also a few ounces lighter.

Both are easy to shoot. In fact, the Glock is one of the easiest pistols to pick up and hit the range with. They are accurate, they do not recoil harshly and they run forever. The VP9 is equally (if not more so) accurate, reliable and easy on the shooter.

If you asked me? I'd buy the VP9. It's more comfortable. It has more and better features. It's better made. Frankly, the VP9's reputation as the best factory striker pistol is, I think, richly deserved. I've shot a few Glock 19s in my day, and they don't really do anything for me. I don't feel a connection to them; they feel like a tool that I used and put back. The VP9 has that X factor, the je ne sais quoi that just makes you like something and that makes it worth the hassle, in my opinion.

But if you really were weighing whether or not the extra cash was worth it, get out there and handle both. Shoot both, if you can. The one that feels better, that you run better, is the one to get. Both are excellent pistols.

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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Carry Compact Attack: Glock 19 vs CZ P07

You might find yourself torn between the CZ P07 vs Glock 19 if you're looking for a practical, tactical compact that can do it all. Both of these pistols are definitely Goldilocks guns; they're small enough to pack on a daily basis but big enough to use as a duty gun, competition gun, whatever you want.

These guns are very alike in many ways. The frames are polymer, so they're fairly light. There's a rail for lasers or lights. Aftermarket support abounds. Both are accurate, reliable, affordable and very available.

However, the operating systems are quite different. The CZ P07 is a DA/SA with CZ's Omega system (you can use a decocker or manual safety) and the Glock 19, of course, is primus inter pares of striker pistols. Will that make one better for the average Joe than the other?

CZ P07 vs Glock 19: Run Down The Czech List

So if you actually were deciding between the CZ P07 vs Glock 19, let's talk first about the CZ P07.

The P07 is a 21st century version update of CZ's classic format, a hammer-fired double-action semi-auto pistol. The slide still rides inside the frame rails, so lock-up is tight but the frame is changed to polymer instead of steel or alloy. As a result, the slide got a little fatter compared to the CZ 75 family of pistols.

Specs consist of a 3.75-inch barrel, with overall dimensions of 7.2 inches long by 5.3 inches tall by 1.46 inches wide. The frame is about an inch wide, so the girth is in the ambidextrous controls as it has ambi decocking levers or manual safety levers. It weighs in just under 28 ounces unloaded, and carries 15+1 of 9mm.

CZ's Omega trigger system lets you change the gun from a manual safety to a decocker and back if you so desire; this lets you drop the hammer or carry cocked-and-locked if you so choose.

The frame has a full-length dust cover with a rail, so you can use an attachment if you so chose. The grip housing has swappable backstraps, with a couple different sizes of palm swell you can choose from. There is stippling on the back, front and sides of the grip for texture. Some other appointments include an oversized trigger guard, which is undercut, and a medium-ish beavertail on the frame. This gives you a high, tight and comfortable grip.

Standard sights are three-dot, with a drift-adjustable rear and fixed front sight.

The base model starts at $510, so it has a lot of features and a price that's nice.

Glock 19: The Original Goldilocks Gun

We aren't going to dwell too long on going over the Glock 19; we all know what it's all about.

The specs of the Glock 19 are barely any different than the CZ P07; barrel length is 4 inches, with overall dimensions of 7.3 inches long by 5 inches tall by 1.26 inches wide for the Gen 3 and Gen 4 models. Unloaded weight is 21.16 ounces and it holds 15+1 of 9mm.

The Glock Gen 5 model adds the Glock Marksman Barrel and brings overall width to 1.34 inches. Gen 4 and Gen 5 models have swappable palm swells; Gen 3 models do not.

Look...it's a Glock 19. We all know what you're getting. It's one of the standards by which modern handguns are judged, especially striker-fired poly frame pistols. There isn't any one dimension where it's overwhelmingly good; the trigger kinda stinks, stock sights aren't great, it isn't the most ergonomic and it isn't the most accurate...but it runs like a top out of the box, anyone can learn to use one and it's rather easy to get reliably decent with one.

CZ P07 vs Glock 19

Okay, so what could tilt a person towards the CZ P07 vs Glock 19 in one direction or another?

There are a few aspects in favor of the P07 and some in favor of the Glock 19. You need to figure out what is important to you. Both are excellent pistols with a lot to offer.

The P07 has the better trigger, though it is double-action which is a turn-off for some people. The DA pull is about 9 lbs, but is smooth with minimal take-up or stacking, and single-action breaks at about 5 lbs. The P07 has one of the better DA triggers for a working gun, better even than many guns with twice the price tag (such as those whose name rhymes with "Schmig Schmauer") so it's well-worth the look for a DA pistol.

If you aren't used to it, you'll need to invest some time in learning the DA trigger pull. However, it doesn't take long to get the hang of it.

The Glock 19...well, it's a Glock trigger. It's usable, but there are far better poly striker trigger systems out there such as the H&K VP9.

The CZ P07 is slightly better ergonomically but Gen 4 and Gen 5 Glock pistols, with the swappable backstraps, can still be made pretty comfortable. Some find they prefer Glock's 22-degree grip angle, and some find they do not. CZ is closer to 18 degrees, much like a 1911.

Since the CZ's slide rides inside the frame rails, it's a bit harder to rack but it has aggressive slide serrations that make it easier compared to other CZ pistols. Granted, it's not difficult to figure out so you shouldn't have too many problems, but some people might notice it.

If there's a real downside to the CZ it's that it enjoys a bit less aftermarket support than the Glock 19. Not that there's nothing out there, but upgrades for various bits like sights and so on may take slightly more hunting to find.

Price points are roughly the same, as both can be found fairly easily for about $500 or a bit less. Had I to guess, you could probably pick up the CZ for a little less.

If you asked me which I'd buy, I'd get the CZ. The Glock 19 is the standard by which compact pistols are judged and for good reason, but the CZ feels better to me and I prefer DA/SA systems. For me, a DA/SA pistol with a decocker is a nearly perfect fighting pistol so long as a person does the work learning the DA trigger and the controls. But that's for me; you might think something else.

Get out there and handle both. Shoot both! The one that feels better and you can run better is the one to get. Both are great choices of concealed carry or competition pistol.

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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6 Best 1911 Pistols By Unknown Brands

Almost everyone knows the big names in 1911 pistols. Wilson Combat, Springfield Armory, Colt, Rock Island and so on. But who makes a really good 1911 that doesn't get press?

As it happens, there are a few. Some you might have overlooked, others you might have never heard of. Also, the beauty of the 1911 platform is that you can find a 1911 pistol to suit almost any purpose, from competition to concealed carry and all points in between.

Why would anyone care? Well, some people don't want the same thing as everyone else and you can definitely find something different. Some people also wonder if they can get a good bargain by shopping off the beaten path, and that's possible as well. Let's go over some 1911 pistol makers you haven't heard of...yet.

Remington

Okay, you've probably heard of Remington...but don't overlook Remington 1911 pistols. You won't find a custom-shop gun for not custom-shop money, but you will get a quality pistol for less than you'd pay a bigger name for the same features in-store.

If you decide to take the plunge, look online. Because "Remington" isn't a big name in pistols, you'll find their guns for upward of $300 less than MSRP...sometimes more than that. Even the base model, the GI-inspired R1 1911, can be found pretty easily for less than $500. For an all-steel, made in the USA, 1911 pistol.

If there's a caveat, it's that they don't offer too many models in 9mm, which is a little weird in this day and age, but it's not like .45 ACP is so terrible.

For those unaware, Remington bought and absorbed Para USA, a 1911 company that was well-regarded for making mid-shelf guns that had lots of features for the price paid and that worked very well. Remington's 1911 pistols are much the same.

Their model lineup isn't enormous, but most people will find a model that suits their intended purpose from lightweight Commander models for concealed carry to a 10mm longslide for hunting. Fit, finish and build quality is every bit as good as bigger names (made by Para, remember...and in the USA to boot) but you can get one from Big Green a bit cheaper.

Devil Dog Arms

Devil Dog Arms had a run of bad press for reasons we'll get into shortly, but rest assured that Devil Dog Arms 1911 pistols are excellent. In fact, they're astounding for the price point.

The company is on its third owner. The first was a Marine (hence the name) who then sold the company to a guy who claimed to be one...and turned out not to be, causing some uproar. I don't know if the jackass in question was prosecuted for Stolen Valor but he should have been. (Lying about being a veteran is disgusting, but it isn't illegal...unless you do so for financial gain.) In fact, most of the staff quit after it was discovered (some returned) and new ownership has not done anything remotely that disgusting.

But the guns they make are astounding, especially for the price point. Their 1911 pistols are made by a small team of smiths in upstate New York, with hand-fit slides and frames. The trigger system is Series 70, tuned for a crisp 3.5-4lb press. Kensight sights, beavertail grip safeties, 22 lpi checkering on the grips, Commander hammers and a beveled slide with fore and aft serrations come on all models. Their pistols are made totally in the USA except for the magazines, which are made by MecGar.

You choose between a 3.5-inch, 4.25-inch or 5-inch barrel, and .45 ACP or 9mm chambering. Select their Standard or Tactical frame, which is railed and has a sqaure trigger guard. You can also choose Block Oxide, Cerakote FDE or their Boron Nitride (silver) finish. You can get a black frame and Boron Nitride slide on request.

They are almost-custom shop guns...and they start at $1,049. Had someone to ask, I'd name these the best bang for buck in 1911 pistols in terms of everything you get for what you pay.

Charles Daly

Charles Daly is a subsidiary/sibling company to Chiappa, and the Charles Daly 1911 pistols are outstanding values for money. They have two models of Government frame, namely the Empire Grade and the Superior Grade, both offered in 9mm and .45 ACP. The Empire Grade is more of a target model with a target sight set and the Superior Grade is more a combat model wearing a steel rear ramp and fiber optic front sight.

Their guns are imported. They are made for the Charles Daly brand by Brexia, an Italian gun company known mostly for making fine double shotguns.

Both models have beavertail grip safeties, Commander hammers, skeleton triggers and ambidextrous safeties. MSRP is $917 for the Superior Grade and $1099 for the Empire Grade, but you can easily find them for $200 less (or more) with a bit of digging.

And they are totally worth it. Build quality is excellent, with a good tight fit of the barrel and bushing and one of the better triggers on mid-shelf 1911 pistols. If someone asked me what was the best 1911 pistol to get if you wanted the bells and whistles but didn't want to shell out too much, Charles Daly is at the top of that list.

Bul Ltd Of Israel

Don't overlook imports; Bul Ltd. of Israel makes a very diverse range of 1911 pistols ranging from the classic format into fully custom race guns for competition. In fact, most of their lineup is more the latter than the former...but there's still plenty to choose from.

Unfortunately, you'll have the devil's own job of finding them; even locating an online supplier with inventory is a challenge. However, I spoke with their representatives at SHOT Show; they're gearing up to open stateside operations but were held up at the time due to the government shutdown, which was also why the FBI and ATF booths were conspicuously empty.

With that said, the BUL competition guns that I shot at the Range Day, which included their SAS II competition and their StreetComp models, were unbelievable. Ringing steel was so easy I could have sworn I was shooting a BB gun instead of a double-stack 9mm pistol. What information I've found on pricing indicates the competition models (which are hand-fit custom guns) will cost about what you'd think (a few grand) but the standard models will be in the mid-shelf range in line with Springfield Armory, Colt and others.

Robert's Defense

Robert's Defense 1911 pistols are quietly made in Wisconsin by a handful of pistol smiths. These are custom 1911 pistols - with a price tag to match - but are well worth the look if you're after a custom gun. They may not be as well known as some of the bigger names in that space, such as Ed Brown, Les Baer, Nighthawk and Wilson Combat. They probably should be.

Every gun is made from start-to-finish by the same smith. The slide, frame and components are all CNC milled to make one pistol, not so that parts can be put together. Then every single piece is hand-fit to the gun by one maker. One man, one gun and that's it.

They have standard production models in three series, dubbed the Supergrade (standard stainless steel frame) the Operator (railed tactical model) and the Recon, with an alloy frame for lighter weight. You choose caliber (.45 ACP, 9mm or .38 Super upon special request) frame size (Gov't, Commander, Officer) and finish. Crisp, clean Series 70 triggers and Heinie sights are standard. If desired, you can also have your pistol customized.

Their guns are rated to shoot 0.9-inch groups at 25 yards, and they don't leave the factory unless they do. You might think something like "so it's another 1911 custom shop...so what?" and while there certainly are a number of them, few can say that most of their custom models will run you less than $3,000. Most models run around $2,500 and having handled them in-person...that's a bargain.

Rock River Arms

Rock River Arms 1911 pistols are made in the USA, and like some other names on this list, quietly make a surprisingly large range of 1911 pistols catering to multiple tastes...including a polymer frame 1911 series.

The polymer-framed model - the Poly RRA 1911 - is the entry level gun, and they go all the way up to hand-fit, handmade custom guns with pricing tiered to reflect that. The Poly models start about $1,000 and they go up to about $4,000 for their absolute top of the line model, the Limited Match.

They don't make it that clear on their website, but they have 5-inch and 4.25-inch barrels available in some models, and offer both .45 ACP and 9mm chamberings. For concealed carry, the 4.25-inch Poly model in 9mm is best-suited. If you want to move a little more upscale, you head up to the Carry Pistol, a steel-frame model that adds a few hundred more in MSRP. The last stop before you hit their custom-shop models is the 1911 Basic Limited, a target model akin to the Colt National Match 1911.

Each pistol is well-appointed with features like beavertail grip safeties, commander hammers and skeleton triggers, checkered frames for extra grip and a crisp, clean trigger. At the NRA convention, RRA was quick to point out that they do not make Series 70 triggers as those are only made by Colt; their guns have no firing pin block. (Which means a Series 70 trigger.) The middle models (Carry, Basic Limited) are like Dan Wesson 1911 pistols in that they are semi-fit with match barrels and other components, but the top-of-the-line models are full on custom guns.

Fit and build quality of the Poly is outstanding, even with a polymer frame. If you wanted a smart carry pistol that's a bit different than others...it would be an outstanding choice.

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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What Is That CLP Stuff, Anyway?

A lot of people swear by a product called "CLP" for cleaning and maintenance of their guns, and some folks might find themselves wondering just what the heck that is. Well...it's a cleaning product, but it does more than that.

It's an acronym for "Clean, Lubricant, Preservative" or something to that effect. However, it's also a very specific product, made for the US military and used by soldiers. It has evolved to become an entire genre of all-in-one products for firearms, so it's sort of like "Velcro" or "Styrofoam" being used to refer to all hook-and-loop fabrics or extruded polystyrene foams.

Is it the best cleaning product to use? Actually, CLP-style products have a lot to offer.

CLP: The Original

The military came up with CLP for the obvious reason that having only one product to maintain firearms makes things pretty darn easy. No need to find your cleaner, THEN find your lubricant and so on. It cleans, it lubricates, it protects. It even makes chili and fries!

Okay, it doesn't do that. But you get the idea.

The government first started issuing it in the 1980s, and it's been standard issue ever since. Since a certain number of gun people are former military, they then started wanting to use it in civilian life.

A number of companies have emerged selling it, including popular brands like Break-Free CLP and others. Many purport to be the same formula or an improved formula that the military uses.

Just what is the stuff, anyway?

It's a viscous fluid, which binds to carbon deposits and other molecules (which is what you're cleaning away) but also shears (spreads) across the surface of parts. How lubrication works is you spread a liquid across a surface, which forms a protective barrier between metal pieces and thus prevents parts from wearing and eventually breaking.

Think of it like spreading mayonnaise on a sandwich. (And NOT Miracle Whip, which isn't fit for consumption by humans or any other animal. Technically, no one is supposed to be given Miracle Whip unless they've first had a trial by jury of their peers.) You get a glob of it on your knife and spread it across the bread until you have a close-to uniform coat on the bread.

Liquids of the right composition are shear-thinning, meaning any pressure causes them to spread out, which lubricants must-needs be in order to coat stuff. You add a bit and spread it out, like spreading mayo on bread. This creates a thin film on whatever surface you've applied it to.

CLP also acts as a preservative, blocking out oxygen and other compounds to ensure the weapon is preserved in the state it is/was in when CLP was applied.

What Is CLP Made From?

Official, government-issue CLP is a blend of materials, and no one really knows the exact composition.

What IS definitely known is that the base is synthetic oil, which is a great lubricant in many applications. Synthetic oils are heavily used in the automotive industry, especially with performance and race cars. In your typical passenger car, a synthetic oil such as Valvoline or Castrol will last twice as long as conventional petroleum-based motor oil. Thus, you can go 7,000 to 10,000 miles between oil changes as opposed to the old rule of thumb of 3,000 miles.

To give you an idea of how well synthetics work, Mobil bought a brand-new BMW 3 series back in the 90's and stuck it on a rolling road. Under a constant load equivalent to driving 85 miles per hour, they ran the car night and day for weeks. They followed the service schedule, changing oil and performing other maintenance as dictated by BMW using their synthetic oil. After a million miles, they took the engine apart and discovered it was still at factory tolerances.

Generally, gun cleaners and lubricants come in three flavors. To build on that a bit, there's a base compound to which a number of surfactants (chemicals that break up deposits on a surface) are added. Gun cleaning compounds can lumped into one of three categories:

Petroleum Synthetic Plant-based

Petroleum-based cleaners use a base oil derived from petroleum (oil, black gold, Texas Tea) and synthetics (like CLP) use a synthetic oil base. Plant-based cleaners use a plant-derived oil squeezed from some plants and refined until it's usable. It's basically like how olive oil is made, except plant-based gun cleaning products don't taste nearly as good paired with balsamic vinegar.

Plant-based CLP is usually also non-toxic. Some people consider that a priority, others don't, that much is up to you.

Does CLP Work Better Than Standard Gun Lubricant?

According to the US military and their testing, CLP works well enough to keep their weapons maintained and operating in the field across a number of different conditions. To meet their standards, it can't dry out or stiffen in the heat, can't let in much dust or sand, nor can it give in to humidity, high pressure nor saltwater immersion.

It must also work in temperatures as low as - 65 degrees F to well over 130 degrees F.

As far as the typical civilian is probably concerned? Yeah, it'll work!

Some people, however, will note that it's an all-in-one product; in other words a jack of all trades and this much has some truth to it. There are plenty of products that have been specifically formulated to do one task and one task only. Bore cleaners are surfactant-rich; they are made to get carbon and other deposits out of the chamber and bore of a firearm. Lubricants are just made to lubricate and do that job well.

That's why those old Hoppe's kits come with bore cleaner AND lubricating oil. You clean with the former and then oil up the gun with the latter. You should also bear in mind that CLP was developed for use with some rather specific firearms like the AR-15 and M9/Beretta 92FS pistol. Older firearms such as M1 Garand rifles require actual grease to operate correctly; CLP would not get the job done.

Plenty of people in the service found it worked just fine and, at that, under wartime conditions. Others found they needed a different product to supplement it, such as additional lubricant or a more strenuous cleaner. Others still had to resort to other products to get the best function.

This has been much the same in the civilian realm. Some people find Break-Free CLP or a different brand of it is all they need; some find that their gun seems to work best when a general purpose cleaner/lubricant is used in conjunction with a more abrasive cleaner for the bore and a stronger lubricant.

Ask car guys about what oil they prefer and you'll get different answers. Some prefer Castrol GTX (their high-mileage formula has been outstanding in my experience) and others Mobil, and still others Valvoline. It's the same thing with gun oils and lubricants. Many are good. Many work well. Some just find one that works best for them.

So it's worth getting, to be sure...but your results may vary.

What The Gun Writer Uses

If you wanted to know what I use? Some people are going to laugh, but I use Rem Oil. It's actually just like CLP in that it's a general purpose cleaner/protector/lubricant (albeit petroleum-based) and in fact has been on the market in exactly that capacity for more than a century. However, I only use it as a cleaner and to wipe down the surface of my guns. Since my guns are almost all older design platforms (I'm a sucker for walnut and metal) I find a bit more lubrication is necessary on frame rails, barrel lugs and so on. Since I've acquired a decent store of Hoppe's lubricant, that's what I use. This combination works so well I haven't really felt the need to change it.

However, if Break-Free, Gunzilla, FrogLube, Otis or someone else wanted to change my mind...I'd give it a shot and a review while I was at it.

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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Why Aren't There More Alien Gear Pistol Holsters For Laser Sights?

One of the questions we get a lot is why we don't have more models of pistol holsters for laser sights. It's not that we don't; we definitely do.

With that said, we get a lot of questions where people ask us if we happen to make a holster for their pistol with the laser or light that they have. You'll notice that we do make some gun holsters with attachments but the selection is much narrower than our standard gun library.

One of the most common questions that people asked us at the 2019 NRA Meetings was "do you make a holster for a X gun with a laser?" Trust us, it's not that we aren't aware that these things are out there.

Making Laser/Light Holsters Is Kind Of Like Making Red Dot Holsters

Why don't we offer more laser/light holsters? Well, it's pretty much the same reason why we don't have any red dot holsters at the moment.

You see, it's not as simple as you'd think.

WHICH laser? On WHICH gun? If you just ask us "why don't you make a holster for a Glock 9mm with a laser?"

Which 9mm Glock? And which laser or light? There's a HUGE degree of difference between, say, a Glock 34 with a Nightstick TWM 850XL light and, say, a Glock 43 with a Streamlight TLR-6. The former is a really big gun with a really big light; the latter is a small gun with a small light.

We Deal In Custom-Molded Holsters

So, part of how Alien Gear Holsters operates is that we make custom-molded holsters. They're made for the exact make and model pistol that you order. If you order a holster for a pistol with a laser/light attachment, it's made for that exact make and model pistol with that exact make and model laser/light attachment.

In order for a holster to carry securely, as well as provide a reliable draw AND reliable reholstering (the primary jobs a holster does!) it is necessary for it to be fitted for the make and model pistol that the person using it is going to carry. Sometimes there's some wiggle room, but for the most part, it's the most reliable way to make a gun holster.

Why bother telling anyone this? Seems pretty obvious, right?

We have to make a holster for a precise make/model pistol with a precise make/model holster, or else it won't function to our standards. We don't accept "eh, that'll do" here. It works as it should or else it goes on the scrap heap.

Now, making a mold for a specific make/model pistol takes time and investment. If there isn't sufficient demand for a specific make and model pistol with specific make and model laser/light combo, then we don't do it.

We can't give you the actual numbers, but we can give you an idea of how popular laser/light attachments actually are.

The M&P Shield is a VERY popular carry gun; Shield holsters are some of our top sellers. (It's usually somewhere between #2 to #4 every month, jockeying with the Sig P365 and Glock 43.) Now, we also offer a holster for the Shield with the factory laser, which is a Crimson Trace Laserguard. Very popular gun, with the laser that Smith and Wesson actually install at the factory. Tough to get more popular than that...right?

Going by last month's sales (again, we can't give you numbers) the Shield with factory laser is less than 20 percent as popular as the bog standard Shield 9mm. Earlier we mentioned the Glock 43 with TLR-6. The Streamlight TLR-6 is a very popular laser/light attachment...or so you would think. In fact, Glock 43 with TLR-6 holsters sold slightly less than 5 percent as well as the standard Glock 43. The most popular Glock 19 with laser was the 19 with Crimson Trace Laserguard...and we sold less than 0.5 percent as many as the standard 19.

Now, some people have slagged us online and elsewhere for not offering more holsters for lasers/lights...but the ones we do have are very popular pistols with very popular lasers/lights...and we don't sell too many of them.

We'd love to buy the world a Don Draper (wait...that's not how that line goes) and make a holster for every single make/model gun with every single make/model laser/light and red dot. But, just as with making holsters for red dot pistols, if there aren't enough people who are going to buy it...

Unfortunately, the bottom line does have to intrude at SOME point. It's unpleasant, but that's business.

But...all hope is not lost.

Want A Specific Pistol Holster For Laser Sights? Please Tell Us!

If there is a specific pistol holster for laser sights that YOU want, please tell us about it! We love to hear from our fans, existing customers, and pretty much anyone else!

Get in touch with us somehow. Call or email our customer service. They can be reached at 208-215-2046, or you can drop us a note through our Contact Us form. We do monitor these things.

You can also contact us through social media, such as through Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks.

Look, the more requests we get for a specific make/model gun with a specific make/model laser/light, the better the chances that we'll actually produce a holster for it.

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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Cloak Slide Vs Cloak Belt Holster OWB: Which Should I Get?

Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed we have a new OWB, the Cloak Belt Holster. You might have also noticed it isn't the only one we offer, as the Cloak Slide OWB has been around for some time.

However, the Cloak Belt Holster is a bit more modern, with Alien Gear Holsters' design touches like our neoprene backing layer, spring steel core and so on. The Cloak Slide is more a leather hybrid OWB, with a leather base, a retention shell...and that's about it.

Which is better? Well, "better" is kind of subjective. A better way to probably put that, if we're being honest, is "is the Cloak Belt Holster worth the extra $11?" In truth...in a lot of ways it is, but that kind of depends on you.

Our New Belt Holster

The Cloak Belt Holster is a new belt slide OWB, designed to carry high and tight to the body. This kind of OWB holster, which is a modern take on a classic holster design style, has always been popular as it gives you kind of the best of all worlds. You can wear it openly or, with a bit of smart dressing, conceal it easily.

We updated our OWB design by swapping out leather for a new version of the Cloak Tuck 3.5 and ShapeShift holster base, re-optimized for OWB carry.

The backing layer is CoolVent neoprene, our breathable and moisture-wicking neoprene padding material. We also fully bind the edges with a soft nylon cloth for additional comfort, and add our revised Alien Skin top layer to the holster base.

To stiffen the holster up a little, we changed the reinforcing layers. Usually, the spring steel core of a Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB or ShapeShift 4.0 IWB holster sits just behind the gun, running from the top of the sweat shield to the bottom of the holster base. It's the same size as the AIWB and Belt Slide holster base in our ShapeShift line.

For the Cloak Belt Slide, the spring steel core is edge-to-edge. If you took it apart, it's the same shape as the holster base itself. This gives the holster a stiffer spine, but doesn't compromise flexibility or comfort.

We also created new belt loops for the Cloak Belt Holster, with 1.5-inch and 1.75-inch widths, so you can get the correct size for the size of belt you wear as those are most common in the concealed carry community.

So, we've taken the belt slide holster style and added improvements that we created after years of research and development, which have been noticed and appreciated by a number of publications and thousands of satisfied customers.

CLOAK BELT HOLSTER
But Soft...What Leather Over Yonder Cloak Slide Holster Breaks...And Wears Comfortably

Does this mean the Cloak Slide is done? That we're getting rid of it? That it's time to send it to the Holster Drawer Of History?!

Far from it! The Cloak Slide actually remains a strong seller and one of our core products. Why do we continue to offer it, despite this new holster design?

Because it works, that's why! If it isn't broken…

The Cloak Slide is a take on the belt holster design that's been popular for decades; it's just that it uses a hybrid design. It's a leather hybrid holster with a custom-molded retention shell, giving the wearer the custom fit and adjustable retention necessary for a secure carry and full function, but with the qualities that leather holsters are known for. Tough enough to be used, but comfortable enough to be used all day.

The belt loops on the back of the holster base put the holster high on the belt and tight to the body. That means you can open carry with it without problems, or conceal it easily with an untucked shirt or light outer layer if you want as well, just like the ShapeShift Belt Slide and our new Cloak Belt Holster.

The Cloak Slide is a bit more streamlined in design, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work well.

CLOAK SLIDE HOLSTERS
Cloak Belt Holster vs Cloak Slide OWB: What Are The Key Differences, Though?

There are, of course, some key differences between the Cloak Belt Holster and the Cloak Slide OWB. Those differences can add up to whether one of them is better for you than the other.

The Cloak Slide holster base is made of 8-12oz leather in brown or black if you want. It has an almost rectangular shape (it's more like a rectangle that has a funny growth on one side) with adjustable leather belt loops on the back.

The base of the Cloak Belt Holster, however, is a bit different.

The Cloak Belt Holster has a full sweat shield, which the Cloak Slide lacks. This feature keeps you from feeling the slide of your gun and any controls. Granted, the done thing is to wear an undershirt with open-top holsters that lack a sweat shield, but with the new base design you don't have to.

Another feature of the holster base is that the Cloak Slide has exposed hardware. Look at the back, you see the holster mounting hardware along with that of the belt loops. The Cloak Belt Holster, however, buries the mounting hardware under the backing layer. The belt loops of the Cloak Belt Holster have the hardware countersunk, so you won't feel it.

The base of the Belt Holster, however, is wider than the Cloak Slide, which means it will take up more side-to-side room on the belt. While it does take up a bit more space, a wider holster base also means a bit more stable platform to draw from, which is important.

What do these differences add up to?

In short, both do the same job - carry high and tight, letting you conceal easily if you want or open carry if you want. The Cloak Belt Holster is designed to carry a little more comfortably, but the Cloak Slide has a smaller overall footprint.

Ultimately, you'll have to decide which is a higher priority.

But the good news is that Alien Gear Holsters includes a 30-Day Test Drive trial period as part of our Iron-Clad Guarantee. If you purchase one or the other, you can return it in that time for a full refund.

Either way, you'll carry in comfort!

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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