There is a new, innovative concept and design for an Inside-the Waistband (IWB) holster. It sits inside and below-the-waistband for deep concealment and has a leather flap with a magnet attached that connects to a metal clip which fits over the belt. The only thing you see when the holster is properly attached is a small leather flap a little over 4 inches wide resting over the outside of your belt. The flap attaches with a strong rare earth magnet to the belt clip that clips to the belt. There is also a magnet at the bottom back of the holster to keep your gun in place when it is inside the holster. It is a very innovative design and looks very natural and innocuous when seen on the belt, maybe like a small cell phone or flashlight case. It’s called the Urban Carry G2 holster (UCG2.) So, if the holster and gun are hidden well and it appears initially to work for deep concealment, what criteria do we use to judge its effectiveness for overall concealed carry use? What are its pros and cons? Is it for you?
In the second printing of my “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials” book last month, I give you my 13 concealed cary gun methods of concealed carry, their pros and cons, my many equipment considerations, desired features, and my in-depth criteria for selecting a holster, as well as my criteria for selecting a gunbelt, etc. To help you make a decision about this holster, I want to give you some of my criteria and considerations for selecting a concealed carry holster, or really any holster. Then I will compare the UCG2 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, and priorities. You probably have your own and other holster selection 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 and body sizes and shapes matter. Here are my 10 Criteria for Selecting a Holster, not in any order:
My Evaluation of the Urban Carry G2 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 in the U.S.A. in Tennessee with tough, premium saddle-grade cowhide leather and is heavily stitched. It has the appropriate amount of thickness for strength and durability, but yet is supple to help it mold to your particular body shape and size. It is breathable and seems well-made. The holster’s exterior finish was smooth and supple but yet hard enough to last. The interior back of the pre-conditioned leather was soft and did not scratch my gun. Certainly all holsters will cause finish wear on standard finishes through regular holstering and drawing, but finish like this holster should stand up to constant wear pretty good. The custom steel clip passed heavy pull tests in stressful situations, per their website. The magnets were attached in a quality way. From their website, there is a 10-year Express Limited Warranty; 90 days exchange of undamaged product; and 30 days return for full refund. Returns beyond 30 days are subject to 15% restocking fee. Laser compatible.
2. ALL DAY COMFORT: 9
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 nice soft and supple leather helped. It was small and comfortable by design which allowed it to ride smoothly with my motions or change in body position. I found it to be satisfactory when bending over, walking, sitting, crawling under things, lifting, and exercising. After only a couple of days, I felt comfortable with it, but not as comfortable as with my OWB or a few other IWB holsters. It is not designed to work with tightly worn pants, like most jeans, but will work with traditional pants, shorts, or without a belt. But, I believe this innovative and deep concealment holster would be good for certain small Backup Guns.
3. CONCEALMENT: 10
I found that my loose-fitting pants really helped me to conceal my M&P Shield better with this holster. Also, printing was noticeable with certain clothes with this holster, but the holster’s outline did not show as a gun print because of its unique shape. So no real problem here. I found that I could tuck in my shirt or not tuck it in and conceal my gun with this holster. Often, I wore just a t-shirt and cargo pants without a concern for concealment. It deep concealed well and I believe that it would for even some of my chunkier friends who are horizontally challenged or with a “gut.” I did have a little concern about wearing the holster at my usual 4:00 position because it slightly bulged and printed more than I wanted. Again, body shape and size affect this, so very personal. Activities like walking, bending, sitting, standing, twisting, reaching, etc. were not detectable according to my wife. It worked. The holster molded to my body after about 2-3 days and the curve of my body with the holster put tension against my gun for better retention. It works for right or left hand draw and whether or not your shirt is in or out. It was difficult for me to do a smooth one-hand pull and draw, but more practice is necessary.
4. ADAPTABILITY & FIT: 9
The G2 holster fit my M&P Shield 9mm just fine and held it in place, due mainly to the strong magnet on the bottom back of the holster… and since it was a medium size (Lieutenant Model) custom for my Shield. It comes in small, medium, large, and extra large sizes, called on their website: Cadet, Trooper, Lieutenant, Captain, and Colonel. The G2 leather holster can be carried without a gunbelt and my wife found that she could carry it without her belt and just clipped on to her capri pants. Her gun, however, did sag some from its weight, but she could draw it fine. Mine also sagged, but just a little. I definitely prefer to use it with a sturdy gunbelt. I appreciate its adaptability for various body positions and movements, like standing, sitting, and walking. I found that I had to keep my gunbelt very loose when drawing from this holster and not tighten it my usually tight way, so that my gun could be smoothly released. Getting some suspenders to complement the gunbelt may be an option.
5. PRICE: 9
The $65. price for this innovative holster seems to be fair, but it is difficult to judge because there really is not a similar holster for comparison. The quality leather, magnets, workmanship, and construction probably alone justify the price. Other somewhat similar rigs range in price from $40 or so to about $100.
6. SAFETY: 8
This holster adequately covered the trigger guard when the gun was in place and when drawing it. However, it does take practice for a good speedy draw and FOCUS ON SAFETY to avoid a negligent discharge or the gun popping out to the ground. So as with any holster, gun, or product, there are tradeoffs, e.g. Deep Concealment v. Quick Access. Practice Safely! There is a key to effectively accessing your gun from this holster and that is to cup your strong-hand fingers together under the gun’s butt when it is in the holster. Then as you pull the gun up, slide your hand up the grip as you pull the gun up and grip it properly for your draw. Keep your trigger finger very straight and off the trigger. The Urban Carry website has several “How To” videos and images to help with this. Remember, practice this with an unloaded gun and focus on safety. Your carry gun must be protected and free from negligent discharge or movement of the trigger and/or hammer especially when drawn and re-holstered. Your personal safety is greatly affected by what you carry, how you carry it, where you carry it, and how you access and draw it. Without practice and mastering the access and draw process for this unique holster, it is possible that your gun could fly out of the holster when you are quickly pulling up the holster’s flap. So practice for a smooth and steady draw with an unloaded gun before using it.
7. EASE OF REHOLSTERING & ACCESS: 8
After practicing, it was easy for me to reach for the leather flap on the belt, quickly pull it straight up,and draw my handgun. The gun just appears and you must grip it properly. But, the first few times I practiced this, my gun popped out on to the floor. My bad! I quickly understood the necessity for a smooth and controlled pull and access draw. Start slow and progress. Now reholstering was a different matter. It was very difficult for me to do this at first without a safety concern and with one hand. Again, you need to practice this AND be certain to practice with an UNLOADED gun. Safety must be your primary focus when practicing with this unique holster. There could also be an access concern when trying to draw certain, mostly larger guns when seated or even when sitting in a vehicle.
8. EASE OF PUTTING ON & TAKING OFF: 9
This was fairly easy to do after some practice. Start putting it on and off by doing so without the gun in the holster! I wondered at first if I could do this if I had to do it quickly and under stress or had to adjust and maybe do this when using the restroom. Could I do this safely kept coming into my mind. Repetitive Practice is the answer.
9. ACCOMMODATIONS: 8
I had to keep my belt very loose when drawing to allow the gun to smoothly release. Also, my loose pants a size bigger helped with concealment. I hate that sloppy, baggy feel and look, but this activity does not have a pure fashion statement goal. 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 unnatural actions needed when using this holster? However, drawing the gun from a seated position was difficult for me, because the gun rides below the belt and very low inside the pants. I found that I had to use two hands to access and draw from the holster, which meant under a stressful encounter I could not use my non-dominant hand to fend off attackers or help defend my family or hold a child, etc. Again, practice is part of the answer.
10. RETENTION: 10
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. When the holster was not in my waistband, the handgun did not fall out of the holster even when I turned it upside down. But who is going to stand on their head with their gun holstered? Certainly, a very good gunbelt over top of the gun and a strong clip are both integral for retention. The holster was snug and helped to reduce draw resistance because of its quality construction and my very good gunbelt. I honestly had no concern about retaining my gun in this holster.
Total Points: 90 points out of 100 possible = 90% = Recommended for small BUG.
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.
Continued Success and Be Safe!
Urban Carry Holsters
Turning Point Distribution, LLC
Sanford, FL 32771
Photos by author with some from UrbanCarryHolsters.com.
* 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].