While you can buy a holster, a gun belt, and magazine carriers separately, some prefer to buy a combination package all-in-one rig that includes all three customized to what they want and sold together. One company that offers this is Dara Holsters (DH) and it seems to be a convenient way to get all your preferred gear at one time. It seems to especially appeal to competition shooters who can specify exactly the options and features they want and save some time searching and buying the quality items separately. But, a combo package is also helpful for all shooters. Certainly, quality construction is very important along with other factors, so when DH contacted me and asked me to review their product, I was anxious to see the many options and features they offered and to review their package product of an Outside the Waistband (OWB) kydex holster, leather gun belt, and single mag carriers. I will analyze, assess, and review the 3 separate items in the package product as one total unit for simplicity and to save time and space. You should know that DH is not paying me for this review and I really want to help you. I will focus on the OWB holster, but the belt and carrier are also important and I will also comment on them.
Here are my criteria, process, and recommendation about The Action Sport Package made by Dara Holsters. The holster that houses, retains, and protects the gun is very important, of course. But also need a sturdy belt and carriers for your extra magazines. Selecting a holster and belt are very personal and there are a lot of individual preferences and factors that are involved. So, I hope this helps you with your personal decision, according to your needs, desired features, factors and priorities.
Here are my criteria and considerations for selecting any holster or combo package. I will compare the Action Sport Holster (OWB) package to each criterion using a 10-point scale to evaluate each one. For each factor, a “10” rating is the best, a “0” the worst, and a “5” a mid-level rating. I want to be as objective and rational as possible, realizing we all have different goals, needs, priorities, and preferences. You probably have your own factors and that is fine. Also, we each will usually weigh each factor more or less than another in importance because this is a very personal, subjective evaluation and selection process. Here are my 10 Criteria for Selecting a Holster and package, not in any order:
- QUALITY MADE & SERVICE: What is the material used and is the holster constructed with quality? Is the kydex and/or leather of premium quality and thickness? Is the stitching strong and does the overall construction seem durable. Will it stand up to your particular demands, wear and tear, and is it appropriate for your use without impairing performance and mechanical function? Are the rivets, clips, grommets, snaps, buckles, rings, magnets and/or metal parts strong, rustproof, and quality made? Is it an established, reputable company that meets promised delivery times and your expectations? What type of warranty or guarantee does it have? Consider the holster’s weight and bulk and any special options and features (like distance between belt loops, stability attributes, ejection port cutout for quicker draw, sweatguard, ride height-muzzle coverage-mouth flare options, and desired cant.) Is a discount offered? If so, what % discount is offered and what is the coupon code at checkout?
- ALL DAY COMFORT: How comfortable is this holster style 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?
- PERFORMANCE/CONCEALMENT: Does the holster perform as required for its effective purpose/use? (This holster package is for range and competition.) How well does the holster ride during body motions, like walking, bending, sitting, standing, twisting, reaching, etc.? Imagine wearing the holster during these different movements or your purpose. Is there an adjustment for the holster, to provide better fit? Are there J clip belt hooks available for IWB carry, if applicable?
- ADAPTABILITY & FIT: Can this holster and/or belt be used for different handguns… or with a Laser sight or light? How versatile is it? The safety features of a holster require that the holster be engineered and designed for each specific manufacture and specific model of handgun. Does this holster do that and is it adaptable to other similar-sized guns? Are there modifications available, options, or additions that adapt to other handguns? What are the approximate costs of these adaptations, if any? Is the shooter’s gun(s) 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?
- PRICE: What is its total price relative to existing competitors now? Do you get any special features, options, warranties, guarantees, repair service, 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: Does the holster secure the gun in place well? How well does the holster provide protection to the handgun during insertion into or removal from the holster or while being carried that will:
- prevent accidental trigger movement;
- prevent accidental disengagement of the safety mechanism;
- 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 and/or a reinforced mouth 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? Are the belt loops sufficiently large to easily slide the holster onto your usual belt?
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Can you wear both open or closed cover garments with the holster? Can you effectively use the holster while wearing shorts, capris, sweatpants, or clothing without a belt, as applicable? 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 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 secure and safe in the holster? A holster designed with solid and proper retention will help prevent a gun from being removed from the holster by another.
My Evaluation of the Dara Holsters Action Sport Package
To simplify, I will list my 10 Criteria and then beside each factor give my rating and brief comments. My final buy or not buy Recommendation will then be given at the end. Remember, just my opinions. Here is my evaluation.
- QUALITY MADE & SERVICE: 10
The package OWB holster (and separate IWB holster) are made with attention to detail and are hand-crafted here in the U.S. There is a special combat cut around the trigger guard of some of the holsters (IWB) to help you get a solid grip and help with a secure draw. The material used is extra strong and thick .093″ Boltaron kydex, thicker than the usual .08″ and will not absorb moisture. The extra thickness provides considerable strength and durability. The Action Sport Package is a well-made holster-belt-carrier package which includes an OWB kydex holster with a 1.5 inch belt loop attachment, a quality Belt Man bullhide double-layer leather belt with black buckle, and 3 single magazine carriers. The double mag carrier is currently being redesigned to make it more streamlined (not function related), but should be available in May. I will evaluate it then. There is a 3-5 week turnaround time for the package and the holsters will fit many different gun models. Note: If you do not see your gun model for your holster listed in their website’s drop-down menu, you probably will want to call them to verify availability. If not available, this can add to production and shipping time. I requested a Sig P320 Full-Size holster to evaluate, but it was not available, so they sent a Sig P320 Compact holster package. However, I did receive it in just a very few weeks. When it arrived, it was a perfect fit for my Sig P320 Compact. I was surprised that my other 320 Full-Size did also fit nicely in the holster, but of course the length was not custom. The holster’s finish was hard, durable and at least for my short wear time did not get scratched or show wear for repeated draws and reholstering. I believe that this holster will stand up to constant wear very good. The marketing director told me that there is a no-hassle lifetime warranty that covers everything and there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee. She said the only thing that voids the warranty is if a customer tries to fix something and messes up the holster. She also said she can offer to readers of this article a 10% discount for any order placed if at checkout the coupon code “COLBEN10” is entered or mentioned. The only product exclusion is the level III retention holster.
- ALL DAY COMFORT: 10
I wore it regularly for 5 days during my everyday routine activities. I honestly did not know it was there after just a few hours because it was so comfortable. It seemed secure enough when I regularly drew my handgun from the holster and re-holstered it. I requested the 7.5 degrees cant for the holster and it was just right. Most of my holsters are the 15 degrees FBI cant, but I wanted a little less cant… no problem. It was an option for everyone. The sturdy belt and the smoothness of the holster helped me drawing and reholstering with one hand without looking and without wobble. The holster for my Sig P320 Compact was a great fit and there were no retention or access problems, even when bending over, walking, sitting, lifting, and exercising. My gun did not ever fall out.
- CONCEALMENT: 9
This holster fit my handgun well after just a few hours and had a small footprint for concealing it. When I wore the holster with a closed cover garment it rode very close to my body and did not print. My gun was very difficult to detect when using the holster while wearing my untucked campshirt.
- ADAPTABILITY & FIT: 10
The kydex holster is very adaptable and many models are available for most guns. There are many holster options to select from, like degree of cant, ride height, muzzle coverage, light-laser attachment, clip over and J hook attachments, and sweatguard, etc. The company offers single and double-magazine pouches to match the various holsters and color matches them. The website shows a wide variety of OWB and IWB holsters and carrier choices. There are several holster adjustable tension screws to help with fit and melonite hardened-steel hardware is used.
- PRICE: 8
Do you really get what you pay for? Can you buy all package items separately for less than the total package price? Perhaps, but your search and analysis time is certainly worth something. The price of the Action Sport package is $193.99 and includes the kydex holster, leather gun belt, and 3 single magazine carriers in one package. This is a large expense outlay at one time for most shooters, but competition and die-hard shooters would probably not hesitate at all for this quality package. Other than competition shooters, most shooters will not need 3 separate carriers and even for IDPA matches, most use just one double mag pouch. DH does currently offer a 10% discount for any order placed if at checkout the coupon code “COLBEN10” is entered or mentioned. The only exclusion is the level III retention holster. Delivery times vary, so plan ahead for the 3-5 weeks lead time for the rig to be made. I suggest you call them to ensure model availability, shipping time, features, and price. DH offers a variety of products other than holsters, belts, and carriers, including custom duty holsters, flashlights, J hook and belt loop clips and attachments, logo hats, t-shirts, hoodies, para cord survival bands, keyhangers, etc. The wide product line appears to not detract from their holster focus. If you order soon, your product will ship in a used .30 caliber ammo can for no extra charge, for a very limited time.
- SAFETY: 9
This holster and belt provided more than adequate safety protection and support for the handgun and others when presenting/drawing and removing the gun into and out of the holster. The sturdy belt helped hold the holster in place very well and made the draw easier. This holster was designed with proper retention properties to allow you to grasp the gun sufficiently for safety.
- EASE OF REHOLSTERING & ACCESS: 10
It was easy to reach and draw my handgun quickly and to re-holster it without looking or using two-hands after just a short practice time, even though I had not used this holster before. There should not be a presentation problem in an emergency or even when sitting in an automobile. The mouth of the kydex holster was sufficiently rigid for reholstering.
- EASE OF PUTTING ON & TAKING OFF: 8
This was very easy to do with the Gun Belt in the package. Putting it on and off under stress is also probably very easy to do quickly. The gun did fit down very deep in the holster and covered the trigger guard and a little more of the grip than I prefer, but this is personal preference. The belt was very high quality, made of tough bullhide leather, was a perfect fit for me, and was very stiff and strong. This helped with putting the holster on and keeping it in place. I did have trouble the first three or four times putting the mag carriers’ loops on the belt because they were so tight. They were listed as 1.5″ loops for the carriers, but compared to other carriers I have they were smaller than them. I did have trouble fitting the DH carriers on my other bullhide belt. The loops should be just a tad wider on the carriers, so they will fit easier on the belt and not be so difficult in putting them on and taking them off.
- ACCOMMODATIONS: 10
You can wear both open and closed cover garments with this holster and not have a concealment or operational problem? There is no design problem that would prevent using any type of coat, shirt, sweater, zippered jacket, or any garment with this holster. No special clothing or extra accommodations in dress or draw needed when using this holster?
- RETENTION: 9
The holster did retain my handgun adequately? The design allowed it to ride very close to my body and helped retention and will certainly help prevent a possible gun grab. The belt significantly helped with the holster security, fit, retention and draw. My handgun never fell out of the holster, nor even came close to doing so. I felt my gun was stable and secure. I did have a minor concern about the mag carriers being so tight on the belt, but the mags were retained well.
Total Points: 93 points out of 100 possible = 93% = Recommended.
I hope my process, this analysis, and review help you to identify your criteria and evaluate your individual factors to select the best holster, belt, and carrier rig for your purpose, needs and priorities. This is a quality product which is very customizeable for your preferred cant angle, muzzle coverage, ride height, flare, etc. The package is available for many different gun models, but you must be patient for the 3-5 weeks delivery time. I suggest you call the manufacturer to verify availability for your gun, delivery time, and any concerns you might have. I noticed on the website something interesting. If you place an order now, it will ship in a .30 caliber ammo can for no extra charge. Remember to use the 10% discount code mentioned above for a nice deal.
Photos by author.
* 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, your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. You alone bear responsibility for making decisions about your shooting gear and accessories for your purpose. This information should not be relied upon as appropriate 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.
© 2015 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].