I wanted to get a strong and quality custom holster that gave me the options of wearing it outside the waistband (OWB) clipped to my belt as a paddle and attached to my belt as a slide holster. But, I also wanted to be able to use that same holster in my car, at my desk, or by my bed for quick access to my gun. It would be real convenient and handy to have all of that together in one package. Also, I wanted a holster that I could use with more than one gun to save a little money, e.g. one holster that could be used with two different guns. Is all that even possible in one holster system? Can one holster be customized to fit another gun and for different uses without a lot of extra cost? Could the same holster be also used outside the waistband with paddle and belt attachments and be attached to various surfaces, like to my wooden desk, to the metal file cabinet, to my bed nightstand, and to the plastic of my car’s center console? Well, when Alien Gear offered to send me their new Cloak Mod Holster System, I was anxious to try it. Would their new holster system do all these things and do them effectively? Even though two years ago I reviewed their in-the-waistband (IWB) hybrid (leather and kydex) holster with its replaceable kydex shell for another gun and found it to be a great holster, I had some reservations about this new all-inclusive Cloak Mod OWB Holster System, with holster and mounting kit. But, I just had to test and evaluate it. I’ll start by giving you the criteria I use for assessing holsters in general and apply them to my review and evaluation of the Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB Holster System (CMOHS.) I hope it helps you decide if the new AG CMOHS is for you.
First, I will give you my criteria and considerations. Then I will compare the Alien Gear CMOHS 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, and priorities. You probably have your own and other 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? If applicable, is the leather of premium quality and genuine leather? What weights are the leather and/or kydex? Will they stand up to your use, wear and tear, and is it appropriate for your use without impairing performance and mechanical function? What is its thickness and durability? Are the rivets, clips, grommets, snaps, buckles, rings, and metal parts strong, rustproof, and quality made? Does it have a sweat shield or skin guard, as appropriate? 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 or kydex needed to hold and protect the gun, thus reducing weight and bulk of the holster.
2. ALL DAY COMFORT: How comfortable is this holster system 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 the effective concealed carry purpose. 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? Does the Cloak Dock mounting system conceal the gun adequately?
4. ADAPTABILITY & FIT: Can this holster system be used for different handguns… or with a Laser sight or light? How versatile is it? Does the CMOHS attach to a variety of surfaces securely or at least to my workspace desk very securely? The safety features of a holster very much require that the holster be engineered and designed for each specific manufacturer and model of handgun. Are there modifications available or additions/shells that adapt to other handguns? What are the approximate costs of these adaptations/shells? Is the shooter’s gun 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: How well does the holster provide protection to the handgun during insertion into or removal from the holster while in the mounting 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, while sitting in your vehicle, or when seated at the desk? 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. How easy is it to access your weapon and use the holster while walking, bending, sitting, standing, twisting, or sitting at your desk (for mounted holster), etc.?
8. EASE OF ACCESS, PUTTING IT ON & TAKING IT OFF: Can you simply and easily put the holster on and take it off. Can it be easily mounted to the desk without destroying it? Consider if you will be putting this holster on and taking it off throughout the day and possibly drawing it from the hidden mounting on a desk. Must it be removed for taking care of personal needs in public restrooms or to transfer it to another location? If so, can you do it safely and easily?
9. ACCOMMODATIONS: Can you wear both open or closed cover garments with the holster? 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? Is a major drilling of the surface required to attach the holster mount?
10. RETENTION: Does the holster retain the handgun adequately, even when contained in the mounted holster? 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 in the holster? A holster designed with solid retention will help prevent a gun from being removed from the holster by another.
My Evaluation of the Alien Gear CMOHS
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
Premium leather and tough kydex. Just the appropriate amount of thickness for strength and durability. Well-made, certainly for the reasonable price of $29.88. Metal grommets, clips, & parts appear strong and well-made.
The holster’s finish was hard, durable and at least for this time did not scratch the gun. Certainly all holsters will cause finish wear on standard finishes through regular holstering and drawing, but finish like this holster has will stand up to constant wear pretty good.
2. ALL DAY COMFORT: 10
I gave it a thorough test for a week with everyday routine wear. The leather was wide enough to spread out the contact of my body with the holster for comfort and freedom. The sweat-proof leather and shield helped. It was small 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. Frankly, I was not expecting this and am very impressed with the holster. After only a day or so, I honestly did not even know it was there. Comfortable for this non-IWB holster (previously) wearer. I will wear IWB holsters more now, along with my OWB holsters. I like this one and the IWB option now. Alien Gear gives a “30-day test drive” so you try it for 30 days and “if you don’t agree that it’s the most comfortable and concealable holster you’ve ever owned, we’ll buy it back, no questions asked.”
3. CONCEALMENT: 10
This OWB holster fit and concealed very well both my 2 handguns (Springfield EMP4 and Canik TP9SA) when I wore each gun separately during every-day activities and movements. Often, I wore just a t-shirt and my gun was very concealed, even for this chunky guy and the full-size gun. Under my safari camp or guayabera shirts, my body motions, like walking, bending, sitting, standing, twisting, reaching, etc. were not detectable according to my wife. It worked. The holster has 3 adjustment holes for customization for better concealment and comfort? I could adjust the cant angle, height of the holster relative to my waistband, and the tension. The holster molded to my body after about 2 days and the curve of my body with the holster put tension against my gun for better retention. It is a tuckable IWB holster. It also concealed well using the Cloak Dock mount.
4. ADAPTABILITY & FIT: 10
The Cloak Mod OWB holster was available with a kydex shell to fit my second gun for about $13. They have many shells to fit about any gun that I could think of. This gave me the flexibility of adapting the holster to a different shell that exactly fit both my guns. A nice option to have. I appreciate this adaptability and molded fit to each gun. The Cloak Dock adjustable bracket shown in the picture above to the left mounts to just about any surface that the provided drill bit (with mounting hardware) can cut a hole in. Then you just insert your Cloak Mod OWB holster into the docking system. It fits nice and secure and you really have 2 holsters in one, adapting to two different uses.
5. PRICE: 10
The Cloak Mod OWB Kydex Holster was priced at $47.88 for my EMP4. The extra replaceable Shell for the Canik TP9SA was $12.88 and the Cloak Dock Holster mount was $14.88. So the total for holsters for 2 guns and a mounting system to attach it to just about anyplace was a grand total of about $75. Seems like a very fair price for what you get… really 2 holsters, for 2 uses, and a mounting system. To buy this separately would probably be about close to $100 or more. A very good buy for the price and the quality workmanship.
6. SAFETY: 9
This holster provided more than adequate safety protection for the handgun and nearby people when presenting/drawing and removing the gun into and out of the holster. Your carry gun must be protected and free from negligent discharge or movement of the hammer especially when drawn and re-holstered. This holster was designed appropriately to permit sufficient hand grasp of the gun when it was holstered so the hand grip would not have to be modified. 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.
7. EASE OF REHOLSTERING & ACCESS: 9
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 OWB holster previously. There should not be a problem in an emergency or even when sitting in an automobile. The docking system can really help this access inside a vehicle.
8. EASE OF PUTTING ON & TAKING OFF: 8
Using the OWB holster with the paddle attachment helped me quickly and easily put the holster on. I prefer belt slide holsters for more security and control and a slide attachment was provided. It was easy to put on, but took some time to do it properly.
9. ACCOMMODATIONS: 10
Without a doubt, you can wear both open and closed cover garments with this OWB 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? Having a second use for the Cloak Mod holster was nice, since I could place the mounting hardware just about any place I wanted and then just slip the Cloak Mod holster into the bracket. Two uses for the price of one… a very nice accommodation.
10. RETENTION: 10
The Cloak Mod holster did retain my handgun adequately? Of course, having a strong and sturdy belt helped. The pressure of my body (actually my pouch) pushing against the holster actually tightened up the retention and made it more secure in the holster when I wore it. I suppose that is a blessing? The holster was snug and helped to reduce draw resistance because of its construction and my good gun belt. I could hold the holster upside down and my gun would not fall out, but it was easy for me to draw it from the holster. The best of both worlds.
Total Points: 96 points out of 100 possible = 96% = 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. This new Cloak Mod OWB holster and dock mounting system is a really nice setup and you can “kill two vultures with one stone” with it. You get 2 holster uses for one price.
Photos by Author and from Alien Gear Holsters.
Contact: www.AlienGearHolsters.com; Hayden, ID; 208-215-2046.
* 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 and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate 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.
© 2016 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].