Several of the female students and some of the male students have asked about lightweight, non-bulky paddle holsters that are easy and quick to put on and take off and that don’t cost a lot. The ladies, in particular, have emphasized that they want a sturdy holster that they can wear comfortably with their shorts, capri pants, sweatpants, or with their gym or exercise shorts, without a belt. My fellow instructors who are female tell me that the ladies do not wear belts as frequently as the guys. When I think about it, I guess that is true. Shooters also want a well-made holster of genuine cowhide that is fitted to their particular gun, is versatile, and that can accommodate some of their other handguns as well. A student mentioned the Mag-Jic magnetic holster as an option and Pistol Packaging provided one for review. So I want to give you the factors I use for assessing holsters in general and apply them to my review and evaluation of the Mag-Jic holster. I might add that I have never used a magnetic holster before, nor have any of the students who gave feedback on the holster.
I will give you my criteria, my ideas with feedback from a few students, and my recommendation to help you with your decision, as I go through my review process for the Mag-Jic holster. I certainly do not have all the answers for holsters and what works for me or a few students may not work for you, especially given the short trial period of a few days. Selecting a holster is a very personal thing and there are a lot of individual preferences and factors that are involved. So, selecting a holster is your personal decision according to YOUR factors and priorities.
Here are my criteria and considerations for selecting any holster. I will compare the Mag-Jic holster 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’m trying 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 because this is a very personal evaluation and selection process. Here are my 10 Criteria for Selecting a Holster, not in any order:
1. QUALITY MADE: What is the material and is the holster constructed with quality? Is the leather of premium quality and genuine leather? Is the stitching strong and does it look good. Will it stand up to your particular demands, wear and tear, and is it appropriate for your use without impairing performance and mechanical function? What is the thickness of the leather and durability for your use? Are the rivets, clips, grommets, snaps, buckles, rings, magnets and/or metal parts strong, rustproof, 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, thus reducing weight and bulk of the holster.
2. 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?
3. CONCEALMENT: Does the holster perform as required for its effective purpose? (This holster will be used for concealed carry.) How well does the holster hide the handgun during every-day 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?
4. 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 require that the holster be engineered and designed for each specific manufacture and 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?
5. PRICE: What is its total price relative to other options available 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?
6. 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?
7. 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. Is the mouth of the holster sufficiently rigid or reinforced to allow easy re-holster? How easy is it to access your weapon and use the holster while walking, bending, sitting, standing, twisting, etc.?
8. 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?
9. 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? Are a special cover vest, extra efforts, or larger trousers required to hide and use the holster and handgun?
10. RETENTION: Does the holster retain the handgun adequately? Is the holster snug when fitted on a gun belt or as designed for a consistent and fast draw and to reduce draw resistance. Is the gun secure in the holster? A holster designed with solid retention will also help prevent a gun from being removed from the holster by another.
My Evaluation of the Mag-Jic Magnetic Holster
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 we go.
1. QUALITY MADE: 10
This holster is made of very good, genuine cowhide leather with a somewhat finished inside to safeguard the finish of your gun. It has just the appropriate amount of thickness for strength and durability. Its thinness helps it be light for daily wear. Since it is a lightweight and thinner leather, it does not feel cumbersome. It is well-made and for less than $40. The magnets are very strong and make a loud click when they meet, so you know it is secure. The holster’s finish was hard, durable and at least for my short wear time did not get scratched. I believe that this holster will stand up to constant wear pretty good.
2. ALL DAY COMFORT: 10
I wore it regularly for 4 days during my everyday routine activities. It was comfortable. It was small and very light by design which allowed it to ride smoothly with my motions or change in body position.I found it to be very satisfactory when bending over, walking, sitting, crawling under things, lifting, and exercising.
3. CONCEALMENT: 9
This holster molded easily to my handgun after just a few hours and helped to make a small footprint for concealing it. It hide my Ruger SR9C handgun when I wore it with an open cover garment, but when I wore a closed cover garment it did print some, but not very noticeably. This probably had to do with my particular gun. Often, I wore just a safari camp or guayabera shirt and my gun was not detectable at all with this holster.
4. ADAPTABILITY & FIT: 10
The leather holster is very moldable and they provide instructions on how to mold it to fit any similar-sized handgun. This is a very nice option and you can have this one holster to fit 4 or 5 of your similar guns. I did not mold it to any one gun, but all 6 of my trade-off carry guns fit in the holster just fine. I like that versatility and flexibility. For example, I got the Large Auto, Square Trigger Guard Model and it fit my Ruger SR9, SR9C, Glock 19, Beretta Px4, Springfield EMP, Springfield XDM, and S&W M&P. Of course, one stuck out the bottom and one was short inside the bottom of the holster, but workable. They say in their promotions the holster was “body hugging, compact, and high ride with a built-in channel sight.”
5. PRICE: 8
The price is certainly reasonable, average, and affordable, in general, but not great. It is difficult to compare with other holsters given its uniqueness with the magnets. Considering for a similar-sized and similar-quality non-magnetic holster you will pay about the same price or more, it is within the average range. The $38.75 is worth it for the benefit of the magnets, the small footprint, quality level, convenience, and if it meets your purpose and needs. So, personal preferences, features desired, and meeting your purpose are important.
6. SAFETY: 9
This holster provided more than adequate safety protection for the handgun and nearby people when presenting/drawing and removing the gun in and out of the holster. This holster was designed appropriately to allow you to grasp your gun sufficiently for safety. The trigger was completely covered. I was able to keep my trigger finger straight along the outside of the holster easily and to grip the gun quickly and correctly to prevent negligent discharges, accidental trigger movement, and without accidental disengagement of the manual safety or hammer movement. A Crossdraw model is available, but of course, more attention to safety is required with it.
7. EASE OF REHOLSTERING & ACCESS: 7
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 a magnetic holster previously. There should not be a presentation problem in an emergency or even when sitting in an automobile. The mouth of the holster could have been a little more rigid and an added mouth-reinforcement material would really have helped a lot. Of course, this would add to its cost. My wife tried the gun for a few hours and she did have trouble re-holstering her gun when she wore her capri pants without a belt. But with a belt it was just fine. She did not have problems drawing from it.
For two days, I wore it just looped over my belt and I didn’t know it was there because it was so lightweight and comfortable. It seemed secure enough when I regularly drew my handgun from the holster and re-holstered it. I could do both easily with one hand. However, for the other two days when I just looped it over my jeans and did NOT use a belt, it did not seem as secure, wobbled some, and did sag a little. Sometimes I had to use two hands to re-holster it, but not to draw it. Probably the thickness of my jeans and the weight of the SR9C (23.4 oz) were contributing factors to the contacts of the magnets and the sag.
8. EASE OF PUTTING ON & TAKING OFF: 10
This was so VERY easy to do. I really like how quick you can put the holster on and take it off. This is a major advantage of this holster. Going to the post office and quickly slipping off the holster was so easy. I’ll bet this would be easy to do when going to the restroom as well. Putting it on and off under a stressful encounter is also probably very easy to do. Using it was even easier than some paddle holsters. With the magnet, you can also stick it to metal, like a filing cabinet or bed frame. However, when I placed it on my file cabinet, the magnet did slide down the side of it. Not my primary use and purpose though. I couldn’t try it in my car, because there was just not that much metal there, mostly plastic. The holster does contain a Rare Earth, Neodymium magnet that is attached to a metal insert in the paddle flap and the company says the “magnet is good for 100 years.”
9. 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? My wife likes that she can wear it with her sweatpants and capris without a belt, but the stability is just a little weak and it does work better with a belt. The holster is available in a crossdraw model and a canted, strong-side model, as well as with a right and left hand option.
10. RETENTION: 9
The holster did retain my handgun adequately? The pressure of my body pushing against the holster actually tightened up the retention and made it more secure in the holster when I wore it. My handguns never fell out of the holster, nor even come close to doing so. Still, I believe that wearing the magnetic holster over a belt does give it more stability and added retention.
Total Points: 92 points out of 100 possible = 92% = 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 for YOUR purpose, needs and priorities.
Photos by author with some from Pistol Packaging, Inc.