Testing The Alien Gear Backpack, Ankle, Hook & Loop Holsters

John reviews some of the most popular accessories to fit the Alien Gear Shapeshift Holster system.

Alien Gear Holsters ShapeShift Core Carry Pack
Alien Gear Holsters ShapeShift Core Carry Pack

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- Holsters come in all different shapes and sizes. Holsters also have tons of different uses. I use my go to IWB concealed carry holster at the 5 o’clock position or my OWB concealed carry holster at the 3 o’clock position. I am always up for trying something new and thanks to Alien Gear I was able to try out new carry positions.

Alien Gear sent me several accessories for my ShapeShift holsters. The Alien Gear ShapeShift Holster is a modular holster system. With tons of accessories, you can use the holster in many different ways to carry your pistol.

Alien Gear accomplishes this feat by making the shell of the holster removable from whatever accessory that the wearer is using to carry their gun. I received the ShapeShift starter kit a while back to review, and I have also reviewed the ShapeShift drop leg system. There are tons of ways that a person can wear a holster with the system.

Alien Gear ShapeShift Backpack Carry Expansion Pack

Alien Gear ShapeShift Backpack Carry Expansion Pack
Attached with the Alien Gear ShapeShift Backpack Carry Expansion Pack.

The first accessory that Alien Gear sent me was their ShapeShift Backpack Carry Expansion Pack.

To be upfront, I am not a big fan of off the body carrying of a firearm, but I also get why some people are for carrying a gun off their body. There is no one correct way to carry a gun and the user needs to find the way that works for them.

Off body carry is very popular with hikers. That extra weight of a gun feels lighter when it is attached to a backpack rather than to the hikers waist, and when hiking for miles into the woods over rough terrain, it is just more comfortable at the end of the day. If a person isn’t comfortable when carrying a gun then they will be less likely to carry one at all.

Also, hunters use off body carry so that their pistol will not get their way when sitting in a blind or for quick access in bear country. It is also more comfortable for the hunters just like it is for the hikers. These are the gun owners that Alien Gear is targeting with their ShapeShift Backpack Holster.

The way that a user attaches the ShapeShift Backpack Holster to their bag is by using a plate that has a lever on the back and a clamp on the front. What this lever does is tighten the plate down to the strap of the user’s backpack.

Alien Gear also included two lock pins on the plate of the ShapeShift Backpack Carry. This added security gave me extra confidence in the fact that the holster wouldn’t come loose causing me to drop my gun.

When I put the ShapeShift Backpack Holster on my bag, there was no movement at all. It held stable to my bag. The shell connects to the plate via the Alien Gear ShapeShift button, which is their take on the quick release.

One of the most significant advantages on the included quick release button is that it allows the user to transfer the shell from one Alien Gear product to another product easily. This is also a huge advantage of modular holster systems like the Alien Gear ShapeShift holster.If you have the Alien Gear ShapeShift car mount, then you could easily move the gun in the shell from your backpack in the car mount. This movability is one of the biggest strength of a modular holster system and the reason why modular systems are becoming popular in the firearms world.

The nylon straps of the ShapeShift Backpack Holster are thick straps and high quality. The strap of the backpack holster wraps around the strap of the user’s backpack allowing the user to secure the holster to the bag. The polymer material of the ShapeShift Backpack Holster mount is sturdy and made using an injection molding method. It seems to be able to take quite a beating, which is perfect for anyone that spends time hiking through rough terrain.

The one thing I don’t like about the ShapeShift Backpack Holster is the optional thumb retention button. In the past with the Alien Gear ShapeShift drop leg holster I had issues dropping the magazine of my Glock when trying to use the retention button.

I am not sure if the problem with the ShapeShift holster’s thumb retention button exists with other guns besides Glock. Other than that, Alien Gear did a great job the ShapeShift Backpack Holster. It is well built and works for its purpose.

Alien Gear sells the full ShapeShift Backpack Holster kit for $49.88. If the user already owns a ShapeShift holster then they could just by the expansion kit for $23.88

ShapeShift Ankle Carry Expansion Pack

The second item Alien Gear sent me was the ShapeShift Ankle Carry Expansion Pack. This kit wasn’t a complete holster. To use this, the wearer must purchase a ShapeShift shell for their gun or buy the whole package.

The expansion pack runs $37.88. If the user wants the whole kit with a shell, it will run them $61.88. It is a little on the pricey, but is one of the best ankle holster builds that I have seen.

Since a Glock 19 is a little too big to ankle, I used my Glock 43. The thing I was most worried about was that the gun and holster would be too big to ankle carry. For full disclosure, this is only the third ankle holster I have owned.

Alien Gear made the two ankle wraps of the holster out of CoolVent neoprene. The other ankle holsters I have tested were made out of leather or cloth. The neoprene was a far superior choice to the other materials I have tested in the past.

The leather ankle holster I have used had a break-in period, which was a bummer because it was not ready out of the box. I had to use a leather softener on the ankle strap to get it to fit my ankle, but with the neoprene it was ready out of the box. The zero break-in time is a massive advantage that the neoprene have over leather. Cloth also didn’t have a break in time, but it wasn’t as comfortable as the neoprene. Also, the cloth left my ankle sweaty and irritated. I didn’t have the same issue with the neoprene that Alien Gear used in the ShapeShift Ankle Holster. It was a more breathable material.

I was worried that the ShapeShift Ankle Holster would slide down on my calf since the holster didn’t come with any type of calf strap to help hold it up. To my surprise, it didn’t move around. The upper strap has a polymer spine that eliminates the need to any calf strap, and it actually works.

This holster was incredibly comfortable. I can see using the ShapeShift Ankle Holster for a backup gun. Alien Gear did a great job with the level of comfort of the holster.

ShapeShift Hook & Loop Holster

Alien Gear ShapeShift Hook & Loop Expansion Pack
Alien Gear ShapeShift Hook & Loop Expansion Pack

The final item I received from Alien Gear was the ShapeShift Hook & Loop Holster. This item is the item that I was most intriguing to me because it had an immediate use.

The ShapeShift Hook & Loop Holster is a two-part system. The first part is a landing pad that sticks to almost any surface using an adhesive backing. Alien Gear covered the front of the pad with VELCRO.

The second part is a pad that the ShapeShift shell attaches to by the user. Alien Gear also covered the back of the pad with VELCRO. This design allows the user to transfer the holster to any other landing pad. The system comes with three (3) landing pads.

The reason why I was so interested in this item is that I wanted to attach a holster to the bottom of my desk and put a holster in my car. What was stopping me was that I didn’t want to drill holes in my desk or my car. I was afraid it would hurt the resell value of my stuff.

The landing pads that Alien Gear included in the package really worked well. I attach one to the wooden bottom of the desk, and it really held on my desk. The user will have to wait 24 hours before attaching the holster to the landing pad to give the adhesive time to cure. I removed one of the landing pads after I installed it, and it didn’t leave a mark on my desk.

I attached the remaining landing pad in my car. It was attached to plastic and held up well. I pulled the holster from the landing pad on both my desk and car about 50 times each to see if the landing pad would become loose. It did not. Alien Gear claims that the holster has been tested by being removed from the landing pad up to 2000 times without becoming loose.

I was expecting that the Alien Gear landing pad would become loose, but it stayed solidly connected to the bottom of my desk and the side of my car. It met my needs for a desk and a car holster to a tee.

The price for the ShapeShift Hook & Loop Holster is $45.88. Alien gear does sell extra land pads for $3.88. If you already own the Alien Gear ShapeShift holster kit, then you could buy the Hook & Loop expansion kit for $29.88.

I liked the Backpack Holster. I will not be using it on a daily basis, but I will probably use it while hiking and camping. It does indeed hold steady and takes the weight off my waistline.

The ankle holster is nice, but I don’t really like ankle carrying. If I need my gun I want it as fast as possible. Pulling it from my ankle seems like it would take too long. For a backup firearm it would be fine, but not for a primary carry piece in my opinion.

Out of all three items, the ShapeShift Hook & Loop Holster is the one I liked the most. It helped me install a holster under my desk and in my car without permanently altering my stuff. The only thing that stopped me from mounting a holster in my car before getting this item was the prospect of having to drill holes in my car, and thanks to Alien Gear I didn’t have to drill into my dash.

Readers can find more about Alien Gear at www.aliengearholsters.com.

About John CrumpJohn Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.

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Charles Daher

I don’t understand why Alien Gear doesn’t make the Shapeshift holster for the Glock 20 and 21. These pistols are great for bear country. If they did, I would buy one today. I’ve emailed them twice about it, and I get the same generic response that they don’t know when that holster will be added, but they are working on several new holsters. I received this response about a year ago, and again this past Summer. Those model Glocks are not on their release calendar.


Glad to see they are not using their traditional elastomers and machine screws. I’m forever losing them, making my holster useless, then having to wait on ordered parts.

Ton E

I’d love to use the shapeshift. If they ever started making holster fits for the P320 and M&P M2.0s