I use Alien Gear holsters every day, in particular, their inside-the-waistband hybrid designs have been my primary holsters for some time now. I originally jumped into Alien Gear when I bought an IWB Cloak Tuck 3.0 model. Up until that point I had typically carried my auto-loaders in kydex holsters with a single clip belt attachment. The benefit to these holsters is that they attach and detach quite quickly and easily. The downside is that such holsters tend to shift around during activity, at least for me. I had considered moving to hybrid holsters for a while because the two-point attachment makes them very stable, but I was put off by the re-occurring problem with such designs which I had heard about many times: apparently, with use, the leather backers tend to sag. Well, Alien Gear’s use of a steel liner within the backer to prevent this won me over.
I used the Cloak Tuck 3.0 exclusively for about a year. Then I got the Alien Gear ShapeShift package, which I have reviewed previously. The whole ShapeShift system of various holsters is cool, but I admittedly only use the IWB holster. The ShapeShift IWB holster is fantastic, and I prefer it over the older 3.0 because it is smaller and the adjustable retention of the ShapeShift system is the best I have used on any holster mechanism. Therefore, I was curious to see how the Cloak Tuck 3.5 would stack up.
At first glance, the 3.5 appears to literally split the difference between the Cloak Tuck 3.0 and the ShapeShift model. First of all, it uses the smaller backer akin to the ShapeShift which is significantly smaller than the 3.0. This is a huge benefit, in my opinion. The second feature it shares with the ShapeShift is the holster clips do not rely on screws but on the ingenious ShapeShift method of twisting into the available slots on the backer to adjust height and cant. In this regard, the 3.5 has the primary benefits of the ShapeShift incorporated into the backer.
The Cloak Tuk 3.5 uses adjustable screws and rubber washers to facilitate retention and simultaneously affix the kydex shell to the backer, akin to the earlier 3.0 model. I find this method perfectly adequate and the holster ships with several different washer sizes to accommodate various levels of retention. I prefer the ShapShift retention feature over this just because it is easier to adjust. But once you get the four screws set to the depth you want the retention of the holster will suit your needs no matter how much or how little retention you prefer. I believe that some locktite on the threats of the four retention screws will serve the user well to ensure nothing loosens up with use.
Like the other Alien Gear hybrids I have used thus far, the 3.5 is very comfortable to wear, and it is rock solid. The space between the clips on hybrid designs ensures that the gun does not rock around. The weapon does not budge when utilizing the 3.5 combined with a good gun belt. The backer on the 3.5 and ShapeShift models, in my opinion, is the best there is. The steel plate that sits within the backer behind the shell assures that there is no degradation over time. I used the Cloak Tuck 3.0 daily for a year, and I have worn the ShapeShift for several months, and have experienced no issues with wear on either, so I anticipate the same performance from the 3.5. Now that I am quite experienced with Alien Gear products I can say in good faith that their holsters are reliable and I don’t think many people with have issues in this regard.
The belt clip offerings from Alien Gear are stellar. My favorite remains their standard clip. One issue I have encountered with other holster systems is that clips snag on clothing on the draw. This has never been a problem with the Alien Gear clips. They are low profile despite being very secure on the belt. With the 3.5 I have also tested Alien Gear’s other clip options including the C clip, O Clip, and J Hook. They are all good and perfectly secure, but my favorite is the standard clip for typical carry under untucked shirts and the J Hook option for tucking shirts in over the holster. While the J Hook may be still visible to anyone who knows what they are looking at, I believe that they are low enough profile to work for a tucked in shirt in at least casual settings. The fact that you can easily swap out holster clip types so easily with the 3.5 model makes it very versatile.
So, you may be wondering why one should consider the Cloak Tuck 3.5 instead of the more space-aged 4.0 model. The bottom line is that the 3.5 is compatible with the wide selection of Cloak Tuck holster shells that Alien Gear already has (remember, the backer accommodates any shell) yet it provides the superior backer and belt clip designs of the 4.0. Best of both words? Perhaps. I recommend it. The truth is, however, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these models if you want a hybrid holster, but the 3.5 may be the perfect blend of cutting-edge features and versatility.
The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster retails for $49.88 and offers shells for over 500 firearm models. For more information or to purchase one visit Alien Gear Holsters.