Lightningwear vs. SmartCarry holsters
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Thread: Lightningwear vs. SmartCarry holsters

  1. #1

    Lightningwear vs. SmartCarry holsters

    I asked some tech questions about Lightningwear vs. SmartCarry holsters, and got a VERY detailed reply from the owner/designer. The info is useful for anyone who is considering "deep conceal" holsters. It's a bit long, but here it is:

    "I see you've been visiting the SmartCarry website. I'll be glad to provide a comparison, and some commentary on Charlie Parrot's claims about his product. Since I'm the actual designer of the Lightningwear holster, my answer is likely to be a bit more through then you were expecting.
    "SNAGGY FRONT POCKET SEAMS": No, there are no snaggy seams on the front pocket, or anywhere else.
    This claim made by SmartCarry, actually relates to the difference between Parrot's design, and the design of the Thunderwear holster whose design Parrot copied nearly exactly. He exploited what some would think was a loophole in patent law, in order to re-patent the exact Thunderwear holster design with a single change: He eliminated a piece of fabric tape that the Thunderwear holster had running across the top of the pocket, and replaced it with a common ordinary seam. Smartcarry's original name was "Thunderbelt".
    You see, the inventor of the Thunderwear holster had no real knowledge of fabric sewing construction technique, so he just piled all the layers of the holster on top of each other, sewed them together, and wrapped a piece of fabric tape around the edge to cover the exposed edges of the fabric layers. He also did this on the top of the front pocket. Thunderwear has been a successful design in the market for 3 years longer than Smartcarry, and no one has ever REALLY had a problem with the phantom "catching seam" -- but it WAS the change Parrot made to get his patent, so he made a great deal of it in his advertising. In truth, all the SmartCarry patent has ever really done, is to keep Thunderwear from varying their design.
    I actually understand sewing technique, so when I designed the Lightningwear holster, it was designed quite differently than Thunderwear or Smartcarry: All the construction seams are internal to the holster (just like they should be, on any fabric manufactured item). IOW, I eliminated the silly piece of fabric tape that most of these holsters have wrapped around the holster body -- which also requires them to sew the elastic to the back of the holster on each side.
    ELASTIC SIDES: Yes, my design is similar to Smartcarry's and Thunderwear's design in having two layers of 2" wide elastic strapping on each side of the holster body, which extend about 13" around each side, and connect to the nylon web strap that supports the 10.5" of adjustable velcro at the back. The Lightningwear elastic emerges from inside the holster construction, rather than being tacked onto the back of the holster. The elastic sides provide a better and more secure fit on the body than does a simple web strap.
    CUSTOMIZING DRAW HEIGHT to a particular or single pistol: Yes, like the SmartCarry holster, the draw height of Lightningwear holster can be customized using a safety pin through all the layers. This allows the exact selection of your preferred draw height out of the holster, and allws the holster to be used with multiple pistols. If you only plan to use the holster with a single pistol, after you settle on a draw height, you can replace the safety pin with a seam through all the layers of the fabric (either done with an ordinary sewing machine, or by hand with a needle and thread).
    SWEAT-PROOF LAYER: Yes, it has a moisture barrier.

    The question of a moisture barrier is amusingly complicated, because you're almost certainly asking that question because SmartCarry's website or promotional materials have caused you to believe that it is an important feature for a holster of this type to possess.

    Where this gets complicated is that any attempt on my part to simply answer the question in the affirmative, tacitly reinforces the idea that SmartCarry's claims of: A) having a moisture barrier that; B) protects weapons, are TRUE.

    Actually, they are completely FALSE.

    The Smartcarry website says this: "patented 100% water proof rear panel due to the incorporation of Cushmax® into the holster's rear panel"

    There are four facets to this:
    Does possessing the material properties that SmartCarry claims in advertising, actually protect a firearm from rust?
    Does Cushmax® fabric actually POSSESS any of the material properties claimed for it?
    Does Cushmax® fabric actually exist in the market any longer?
    Does SmaryCarry actually hold a patent on the "waterproof panel"?
    SmartCarry fails on ALL of these issues.

    The properties claimed by the SmartCarry holster are deceptive: The Cushmax® fabric used in the SmartCarry holster had NONE of the "waterproof" or "sweatproof" properties that Mr. Parrot claimed that it possessed.

    Mr Parrot claims that Cushmax® fabric had the properties of Gore-Tex or similar PFTE-based liner fabrics, which have a pore size that is larger than water vapor, but smaller than liquid water -- thus allowing water vapor to PASS THROUGH UNIMPEDED, but rejecting liquid water molecules. This property is what makes Gor-Tex-based raincoats comfortable: They reject liquid water, but you get don't sweaty inside them, because water vapor passes right through them to the outside of the raincoat.

    There are several problems with this claim, in relation to holsters: Almost no one walks around with actually-physically-wet underwear, but everyone sweats. Therefore any water-vapor transparent holster would (and DOES) simply pass 100% of the water vapor straight through to the gun, providing ZERO protection for it.

    But Cushmax® fabric was NOT Gore-Tex or any similar fabric: It had NO waterproofing properties whatsoever. Cushmax® fabric was, in fact, is a nylon-knit shoe-lining fabric designed to actively GRAB, ABSORB, and WICK water into itself and transmit it through the fabric, thus DELIVERING moisture toward the weapon.

    Please don't believe me. The actual manufacturer's website for Cushmax described it as possessing "CUSHMAR QUICKWICK Aqua-Transport System: A characteristic giving the fabric enhanced wicking ability & absorption of moisture...". I'd direct you to their website, except Cushman and Marden declared Chapter 8 bankruptcy in 2009, and subsequently went out of business, and Cushmax fabric no longer actually exists. (see CUSHMAX - Reviews & Brand Information - Cushman and Marden, Inc. Peabody , - Serial Number: 75342336 The old website address was, Cushman | Moped | Scooter | Truck Bucket | Fork Lift | Golf Cart at )

    Further, the US Patent office is unaware of Charlie Parrot (SmartCarry's founder) holding more than one patent -- and the patent he holds does not mention waterproofing.

    My Lightningwear holster actually uses a waterproof barrier between the user and the pistol, and the back of the holster is absorbent cotton, for comfort.

    However, with any under-clothing holster, the entire holster is inside your pants. Therefore, there's always a question of general humidity always being present. This, of course, applies to the entire class of under-clothing holsters, of which mine is a member.

    Naturally, we recommend regular gun care and wiping the weapon down with an effective rust preventative. Personally, I'm MOST fond of Boeshield T-9: It was developed by Boeing to protect aircraft components from rust. Here's a very good article from Brownells comparing various ones:
    GunTech : Gun Cleaning Clinic: Knowing the Limits of Rust Preventatives - World's Largest Supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools - BROWNELLS

    All the best, and hope that helps,

    Dr. Tidwell, President
    Lightningwear Holsters
    I'll be carrying a Taurus PT 24/7 Pro .45 or a Kel-Tec P11 9mm, ASP 26" expandable baton or walking cane.

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Off of I-80 between Des Moines and Cheyenne
    Blog Entries
    I have a SmartCarry that I tried using a time or two. For me, it's just too deep of a concealment to even pretend to be useful unless I have some forewarning of impending violence against me or mine. I know some will say it's better to be armed with a gun that takes another second or two to get to, and I can appreciate that and understand the sentimet so no need to argue the point. If it works for you, so be it.

    For those considering "crotch carry" be aware, it's likely you'll be asked "is that a gun in there or are you just glad to see me?"
    1)"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." -Thomas Jefferson.
    2)"Imagine how gun control might be stomped if GOA or SAF had the (compromising) NRA's 4 million members!" -Me.

  4. sent you a PM.....................

  5. Dragonbreath i sent you a PM

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