As I have been meandering my way through all the best kydex benders out there, it came to be Dark Star Gear’s (DSG) turn. There are quite a few people I have a lot of respect for that run DSG holsters, and they spoke highly of them. This time, the holster was for a Sig P250 Compact. I took a gamble and ordered a DSG Orion for the P320. The slide profiles are a little different, so there was some concern. It ended up being a non-issue though.
I ordered the holster with dual soft loops, Dark Star Gear’s Dark Wing, and the amazing Dark Star Gear muzzle pad (aka foam wedge). I’ve used the muzzle pad before so I knew it was good to go. The DSG muzzle pad is the best wedge on the market, hands down. Dark Star Gear offers a steel clip option instead of the soft loops, but I had experience with their clip and while it is one of the better clips available, the flange to grab and pull off with the fingers is too large. In my experience, it was a bad habit of snagging on clothing, so I skipped the metal clip on this one.
The nuts and bolts
Dark Star Gear puts out a well-built holster, as do many other holster makers. What really sets a holster apart, is how well it works. How well the holster works is dependent on what features it brings to the table, and how well they are executed. The Orion checks all the right boxes on paper. The Dark Wing is a brilliantly conceived piece of plastic. The concept behind the Dark Wing is that it rotates the butt of the gun into the body as it is intended, but does not inhibit the use of a wedge by allowing the muzzle end of the holster to cam away from the body. The Dark Wing offers about the same rotation as a Mod Wing with the small post on it but works a bit better in that it allows the muzzle to be pushed away from the body easier, as intended.
Dark Star Gear Muzzle Pad
As noted earlier, the Dark Star Gear muzzle pad is the best in the business. The shape is conducive to the task, and the firmness of the foam used is just right. It strikes the correct balance between firm enough to work but soft enough to be comfortable. It blows the typical neoprene wedge out of the water. Anyone who runs an AIWB holster with a wedge should try Dark Star Gear’s wedge.
The third box on the checklist is adjustable ride height. With the soft loop version of the Orion, there are three preset ride height options. You would get the same number of options with the metal clip. As I have noted with other holsters, having preset ride height options gets the box checked, but really finer adjustments are better. The problem is, to the best of my knowledge there is not really a good way to accomplish that level of adjustment with soft loops.
Finer adjustments either require the use of a hard loop with slots in it, Discreet Carry Concepts clips or some other type of slotted clip, or some sort of strut in conjunction with the soft loops. The same would apply to the Orion’s metal clip. So the Orion gets a pass in terms of ride height, but a bit finer adjustment would be a welcome feature. However, it is worth noting that since the Orion is already set up for a metal clip, it would be pretty easy to slap a set of DCC clips on it.
Is it good in practice?
In use, the Orion is probably one of the most comfortable holsters I have used. It doesn’t have any uncomfortable sharp or hard edges, and the muzzle pad is something even Goldie Locks would approve of. The retention is adjustable to taste, but is pretty much spot out of the box. There is not a holster option for a compact P320, so this holster will fit a full size. That is actually important to realize because the longer holster does facilitate better concealment when carried AIWB.
The one issue
Where I did have issues with the holster is the left soft loop snap. Some of this is a consequence of where I carry the holster and my body shape. I typically carry the gun at about 1:30 on the belt. With a wing, this carry position rotates the holster quite a bit. This caused the snap on the left soft loop to print quite a bit because of where the loop is positioned on the holster. Running the holster with a single loop normally fixed the problem. But it introduced instability to the holster and made the draw inconsistent.
What I eventually figured out was to run a single loop attached to the left mounting point. Then just snap it on the right post. This gave the holster most of the stability I wanted and eliminated the snap on the left post. Hat tip to Caleb Giddings for the idea. I saw it in a picture he had posted.
Dark Star Gear Orion Review Conclusion
Other than the issue with the soft loops, the holster is exceptional. The Dark Wing and DSG muzzle pad put the holster in a slight lead over some of its competition. A set of DCC clips would bump it ahead a bit further. The build quality is stellar, and support from Tom Kelley, the man behind the madness, is also exceptional. The cost for the holster is right around $100 depending on the options selected. There are however a few discount codes floating around if you look hard enough. Right now this holster is sitting at #2 on my list of best holsters available.
The inability to make very fine ride height adjustments and the cost are the only things holding this holster back.