USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Congrats, you have selected your concealed carry (CC) gun and are ready to buy a holster that has high-quality workmanship, is comfortable, durable, and very reliable.
You know you do not want to settle for a $20 nylon or lesser quality holster that may let you down when you need it most. You carry In-the-Waistband (IWB) and know there are many types and prices of holsters.
But, you know that you do not want to pay more than $100. for your IWB holster.
How do you select your holster? What are the criteria you should consider, aside from the price factor? What are your preferred features, factors, and your priorities?
A cursory glance of current holsters in the market quickly tells you that there are very many types of IWB holsters out there. Many different materials, features, and options. Do you want a leather IWB holster, a Kydex holster, a suede or carbon fiber one, or what? Some say kydex is slicker for a faster draw. Others say leather is more comfortable. What is a hybrid holster, and do you want one? Do you want your IWB holster to be “tuckable” or “non-tuckable?” So many factors and a challenging decision. Well yes, it is very much a matter of personal preference, but I believe you should have some things in mind before you randomly look at holsters.
So I want to share with you a summary of some of the holster criteria and factors I consider and discuss in my new Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials book.
Will it meet your needs and criteria? Does it meet my criteria? I want to help you make an objective decision about selecting your IWB carry holster. I do not have all the answers for IWB holsters, and what works for me may not work for you. You may have different criteria, preferences, and priorities. At least this will be a starting point for you to add and subtract your own criteria and considerations before you decide.
From the above picture, you can see the tuckable space of the CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Hybrid Tuckable Holster. It is a hybrid holster because it combines leather and Kydex materials. While the back and front body of the holster is leather, the molded pocket-pouch portion of the holster on the front that contains the gun is made of Kydex. Thus a hybrid combination. This holster is “tuckable.”
Some think an IWB holster is synonymous with a holster that is tuckable and fits inside your pants. Recognize that an IWB is not necessarily “tuckable” by design and both tuckable and non-tuckable versions have their own benefits and limitations.
You can purchase tuckable and non-tuckable IWB holsters. A tuckable holster does have space between the holster’s belt clips and the front body of the holster so that you can carry and conceal your handgun with your shirt “tucked” into the empty space between the front of the holster and the back of its belt clips. In the above picture on the left side, I placed a silver pen in the space behind the belt clip between the body of the holster and the clip. After you cover the gun and holster with your shirt, you tuck the bottom of your shirt into the space where the pen is above. So with a tuckable holster, your handgun and holster are entirely covered by your shirt which is tucked into the space behind the visible clips over your belt. There are also various types of clips, devices, or hooks available for IWB holsters, e.g., V clips and J hooks. Some concealed carriers overlook these features, but they may be viable options for you to consider. Several holsters have tuckable IWB versions that are otherwise identical to the standard IWB non-tuckable versions.
My ten criteria and particular considerations are defined below. I will compare and evaluate the CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster against each of my criteria using a 10-point scale. For each factor, a “10” rating is the best, a “0” the worst, and a “5” a mid-level rating.
Here are my 10 Criteria for Evaluating any Concealed Carry Holster.
- QUALITY MADE: What is the material and is the holster constructed with quality workmanship? Is the leather of premium quality? Is the leather cowhide, horsehide, or other material? What weights are the leather and kydex? Will they stand up to your use, wear and tear, and is it appropriate for your use without impairing performance and mechanical function? What are its thickness and durability? Are the rivets, clips, grommets, snaps, buckles, rings, and metal parts strong, rustproof, steel, and quality made? Does it have a sweat shield or skin guard? Is it a reputable company? What type of warranty or guarantee does it have? Consider the holster’s weight and bulk. Is the holster designed to minimize the amount of leather needed to hold and protect the gun, to enhance draw, and reduce the weight and bulk of the holster?
- ALL-DAY COMFORT: How comfortable is this holster during each of the different physical positions; walking, bending, sitting, standing, and twisting? Can you wear it while driving? Can you wear it for the entire day comfortably and not even know that you are wearing it?
- CONCEALMENT: Does the holster perform as required for the effective concealed carry purpose? How well does the holster hide the handgun during everyday body motions, like walking, bending, sitting, standing, twisting, reaching, etc.? Imagine wearing the holster during these different movements. Is there a cant and angle adjustment for the holster, to provide better concealment and comfort?
- ADAPTABILITY & FIT: Can this holster be used for different handguns… or with a Laser sight or light? How versatile is it? The safety features of a holster very much require that the holster be engineered and designed to FIT each specific manufacturer and model of handgun. Are there modifications available or additions that adapt to other handguns? Is the holster cant adjustable? What are the approximate costs of these adaptations, if any? Is the shooter’s gun properly fitted for this holster? Does the handgun insert so deep in the holster that the gun grips cannot be properly accessed? Does the gun jam so tight into the holster that it takes two hands to draw it or can you draw the gun easily with one hand? Can you grip the handgun securely without parts of the holster interfering, when accessing it from deep concealment?
- PRICE: What is its total price relative to other options available now in the market? Do you get any special features, options, warranties, guarantees, repair services, or additions that are worth something? Can you return it without any questions and within what time period? Will they repair or replace it for free? Do you get what you pay for?
- SAFETY: How well does the holster protect the handgun during insertion into or removal from the holster or while being carried that will: A. prevent accidental trigger movement; B. prevent accidental disengagement of the safety mechanism; C. prevent forward or rearward movement of the hammer?
- EASE OF REHOLSTERING & ACCESS: Can you reach your handgun quickly in an emergency or while sitting in your vehicle? A rigid holster will allow a handgun to be returned to it using only one hand, while a flexible one may collapse after the gun is drawn, requiring the use of both hands to reholster. How easy is it to access your weapon and use the holster while walking, bending, sitting, standing, twisting, etc.?
- EASE OF PUTTING ON & TAKING OFF: Can you simply and easily put the holster on and take it off? Consider if you will be putting this holster on and taking it off throughout the day and under what conditions. Must it be removed for taking care of personal needs in public restrooms? If so, can you do it safely and easily?
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Can you wear both open or closed cover garments with the holster? Do you have to wear special clothing or make accommodations in dress or draw when wearing and using this holster? Is a cover vest or larger trousers required to hide the holster and handgun?
- RETENTION: Does the holster retain and secure the handgun adequately? Is the holster snug when fitted on a gun belt for a consistent and fast draw and to reduce draw resistance. Is the gun tight & secure in the holster? A holster designed with solid retention will help prevent a gun from being removed from the holster by another. Is the retention level adjustable?
Evaluation of the CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster
Below I list each criterion, give a brief comment about it, and then give my factor rating. My final buy or not buy Recommendation is given after all ten criteria are evaluated at the end of the review. Keep in mind that these are just my opinions.
1. CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster QUALITY MADE: 10
The CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster is a classic hybrid combining very nice premium cowhide leather with durable kydex. I love the natural patina look of leather. The cowhide leather is very supple and really helps the comfort of the holster when it conforms to your body. Its thickness is ideal for strength and flexibility. The quality cowhide leather is very good, breathes well, and seems to adjust to various temperatures well, although not as dense or moisture resistant as the more expensive horsehide. The hardware and steel clips are made well and are corrosion-protected. I could easily tuck my shirt behind the clips and it is easy to draw the gun after lifting the tuckable shirt. The kydex portion was lighter and thinner than the leather, but very rigid and durable. It helped me have a faster draw. Really like the “Two Weeks, Try-It-For-Free” Guarantee.
2. CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster ALL DAY COMFORT: 10
After wearing the IWB for a week or so, I became so use to it that I did not even know I had it on. It was very comfortable and cool for me, probably because leather is a poor conductor of heat. But, the leather did absorb some of my perspiration. Its combat-cut at the top beside the gun’s grip helped me to grip and draw the gun quickly. It is worth the extra $7.50. My gun did not fall out, and I found the holster to be very satisfactory when bending over, walking, sitting, crawling under things, lifting, and exercising.
3. CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster CONCEALMENT: 10
The SuperTuck custom fit my Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P 9 Shield gun very well and concealed it nicely. It had a snug but accessible fit for my gun covered the trigger well and concealed it great. Others did not even notice I was carrying and did not mention anything. (Maybe, they didn’t care. Ha!) The tuckability of this holster was easy to use, and I like it.
You have to practice grabbing your shirt & pulling it up enough to untuck it from around the gun.
4. CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster ADAPTABILITY & FIT: 10
The SuperTuck’s combination of leather and kydex was a great mix for a hybrid holster. It was very adaptable to my body, and the leather helped it mold to my body, and it fit very well. The holster does have a large footprint, but that helps the comfort. The combat cut makes it easier to get your thumb around the gun to draw it. PRACTICE!
5. CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster PRICE: 8
Yes, you do get what you pay for, usually. Although the price is not a major variable for a critical tool like a holster, it is a criterion. The SuperTuck’s price of $78.70 was higher than I usually would want to spend for an IWB holster, but it has obvious quality advantages and other nice features to help justify the higher price. It cost $10 extra for a V clip and $10 more for a J Hook. There are some less expensive IWB options available, but it depends on your requirements, priorities, dedicated funds, etc. Other similar hybrid rigs (each with pros and cons) I found ranged from $45. To over $100. Some had premium leathers and thicknesses, plastic v. steel clips, no combat cut, etc. Some examples: Comp-Tac MTAC for $65; Galco King Tuk for $60; Alien Gear Cloak Tuk 3 for $45.
6. CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster SAFETY: 10
I do not have any reservations whatsoever about the safety features of this holster. It covered the gun’s trigger well and the gun fit snuggly in the holster, like it was suppose to for a custom holster. I did not have any problems when presenting/drawing and removing the gun in and out of the holster. It is a well-designed holster that exceeds the requirements for an IWB tuckable hybrid holster. I really appreciate the holster’s combat cut which enhanced the safe grip of the gun when drawing it. I was able to keep my trigger finger straight along the outside of the holsters easily and to grip the gun quickly and correctly to prevent negligent discharges and without accidental disengagement of the safety.
7. CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster EASE OF REHOLSTERING & ACCESS: 9
I did not have to use two hands when reholstering or drawing the gun from the holster. The mouth of the SuperTuck was sufficiently rigid to allow reholstering with only one hand. It was easy to reach and draw my handgun quickly and to re-holster it without looking or using two-hands. I do not anticipate any reholstering problems even in an emergency or when sitting in an automobile. I liked that the holster was adjustable for ride depth and cant.
8. CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster EASE OF PUTTING ON & TAKING OFF: 9
It was very easy to put on and take off the holster, once I decided on the best location for it inside my pants and practiced. I like just behind the hip bone at about the 4:00 o’clock position. I did have to practice this, but now am able to put it on easily. The belt clips were pretty stiff, but that is an advantage although difficult to manipulate at first. You have to blouse or fluff your shirt in the tuckable area.
9. CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster ACCOMMODATIONS: 10
The holster fits inside my pants very well, and I did not have to buy larger size pants to use it IWB. I could easily wear both open and closed cover garments without any concealment or operational problems. I did not need any special clothing or extra accommodations in dress or draw when using the holster.
10. CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster RETENTION: 9
The SuperTuck holster did retain my Shield 9mm carry a gun just fine. It fit my body style very good and even helped to tighten the retention and made my gun more secure. When I held the holster upside down with my 9mm Shield inside, the gun did not fall out. Also, when moving quickly and running, I did not lose my gun, and it stayed put well in the holster. My high-quality belt helped this, and you can reference my book’s gun belt selection chapter, which has criteria to help you in selecting the proper gun belt for carry.
OVERALL RECOMMENDATION for CrossBreed SuperTuck Hybrid Leather-Kydex IWB Holster for SW Shield 9mm: Total Points: 95 points out of 100 possible = 95% = Recommended.
I hope my process and this review has saved you some time to help identify your own criteria and to evaluate your individual preferred factors for selecting the best holster for your purpose, needs, and priorities.
Order the CrossBreed Supertuck IWB Holster:
Photos by author.
Contact: CrossBreedHolsters.com; Springfield, MO 65802; 1-888-732-5011.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2016 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected]
About Col Ben Findley
“Col Ben” is retired with 30 years service in the U.S. Air Force, with joint services Special Ops duty and training, and is Air Force qualified as “Expert” in small arms. Ben is an experienced NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, and FL Concealed Carry License Instructor.
Ben recently wrote the book Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection with 57 comprehensive Chapters about concealed carry and handgun principles, techniques, and tips for both experienced and new shooters. His book is endorsed by several organizations and is available on his website at www.FloridaHandgunsTraining.com. Contact him at [email protected]