toc]I was contacted about three months ago by Bravo Concealment and asked if I would be willing to write a review of their Torsion IWB kydex holster. I happily agreed to do so and was promptly sent an example for evaluation. I’m not one to turn down a free holster. And you can rest assured that it was provided in exchange for an honest review, no strings attached. I am not affiliated with Bravo Concealment. And I was provided no incentive for this review aside from the holster itself.
These days, I typically carry a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 2.0 9mm in a kydex IWB soft loop holster at 3:30 (AKA “strong side”). However, I recently acquired a Smith and Wesson M&P9c because I got a good deal on it. Having no holster for this gun, and wanting the option to carry more firepower with heavier winter clothing, I decided to request the Bravo Concealment holster for it instead of my EDC. This would make it easier to evaluate the holster on its merits with a more “medium-sized” carry gun. It would also allow me to compare how the holster fares concealing the slightly larger gun to my current setup.
Torsion IWB Kydex Holster Features
Carrying in Multiple Locations
This holster is intended to be usable IWB at any carry location, whether appendix or strong-side. It comes with two belt clips of Bravo’s own proprietary design. And it can be worn in either a two-clip or single-clip configuration, depending on your preference. When the holster is used with the single-clip setup, it has the added feature of being tuckable. Both clips are also removable and adjustable for cant angle and ride height. More adjustment is possible in the single-clip configuration.
Sweat Guard Options
The holster also features what is commonly called a sweat guard. Kydex on the inside portion of the holster extends nearly all the way along the slide of the gun. This prevents contact between the metal of the gun and your body. This can help prevent corrosion if you sweat a lot. I personally find it more comfortable as well as an easier (and safer) to reholster the gun. However, I know people who find full guards uncomfortable. Still, I think it is best that a holster comes with a full guard. They can be easily cut off, but they can’t be added on.
The Torsion System
The most important feature to mention, which is the one giving the holster its name, is the Torsion system. Essentially, the clips are located in such a way that the holster angles the grip of the gun 10 degrees inward from the belt line. This is intended to keep the grip of the gun against the body and to reduce printing, much like the “claws” and “wings” featured on many appendix holsters. However, this is a feature of the belt clip itself rather than a separate attachment and is unobtrusive. It also, of course, does not prevent the holster from working in other carry locations.
Lifetime Warranty and 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Finally, the holster features a lifetime warranty, has free shipping, and ships with a mag pouch included. All at a very attractive price point of $49.99, and is actually on sale for $44.99 at the time of this writing. It also comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, which is a common feature these days among quality holster makers, and which can really take the stress out of ordering holsters online without trying them first.
Torsion IWB Kydex Holster Unboxing and First Impression
My holster and mag pouch arrived along with some stickers and other Bravo Concealment swag. My first impression of the holster was very positive. The kydex itself is stiff and robust. The holster is solidly constructed, with all of the clip attachment holes fitted with grommets. The clips are secured with good quality steel screws and O-rings that tighten securely but that are also easy to remove without stripping.
The holster definitely satisfies the “basics” that are required of any holster – the trigger is completely covered, and, being made of kydex, the holster is adequately strong to prevent any interference with the trigger. Further, the gun stays put in the holster. While this baseline is a low bar for acceptability, it is surprising how many holsters don’t even manage this.
The retention on this holster is not adjustable, which I know is an important feature to some people. However, the standard retention on the holster is ideal, and my gun fits in with a very satisfying “click.” The holster can withstand very vigorous shaking before the gun comes loose, but the draw is not difficult. So, even though the retention is not adjustable, the retention level the holster ships with is just right.
Torsion IWB Kydex Holster Setup and Adjustability
Once I had checked the holster out and was satisfied with the initial quality, it was time to get it set up for carry. Again, the holster is not specific to appendix or to strong-side, but is designed for use with either. I spent a bit of time moving the clips around and trying the holster on in different configurations.
Setting Up the Holster Cant
I initially set the holster up in my normal configuration – 3:30 with forward cant (I typically use 15 degrees AKA FBI cant). The holster was quite comfortable carried here, just as comfortable as any other all-kydex holster I’ve used.
However, while the cant is adjustable, it is not extremely adjustable, at least not with both clips attached. There is only so much room for adjustment in holster due to where the clips are attached to the holster body. Further, the cant is achieved by raising and lowering clips rather than by angling the clips. This means that, if you’re applying decent cant, the clips themselves are at an angle to the belt, rather than to the holster.
This was not a big issue for me but could prove problematic if you have a very wide gun belt. Some clip angling is possible in the single-clip configuration but is still somewhat limited by the layout of the holster, unless you only use one screw in the clip. This will not be an issue for most people, though, unless you prefer a whole lot of cant. The adjustability of the holster is plenty for the vast majority of carriers and was plenty enough for me.
Adjusting the Ride Hight
The ride height is also adjustable, but again, the adjustability is somewhat limited. The clips will not allow the holster to be adjusted to ride very low. As you can see in the previous picture, the trigger guard portion of the holster prevents downward adjustment. Also (and this is likely less of an issue for longer barreled guns), if the ride height is raised, the bottom of the clip stuck off of the bottom of my holster (as can be seen in the previous picture), which allowed it to jab me uncomfortably when carried appendix. This is, of course, easily fixed by trimming the bottom off of the clip, and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t made some kind of modification to their holster here or there. My EDC holster has some length trimmed off of the soft loops, for example, to better fit my belt.
Trimming the clip might further limit adjustability, but this is a worthwhile exchange since most people spend most of their time using their holster in the same configuration. Additionally, replacement clips can be ordered from Bravo Concealment, so no trimming of the clips need be permanent. I personally prefer this holster as an appendix holster, and as such, I may eventually trim the bottom of this clip for a slightly higher ride. I tend to wear fairly low-waisted jeans, so an overly low-riding holster chafes after a long day.
Concealment and Comfort of the Torsion IWB Kydex Holster
Carrying in the Appendix Position
I have carried with this holster in both my usual strong-side location and as an appendix holster. I found my M&P9C to be easily concealed in both places. The torsion design does help in keeping the gun pressed against the body. I had no trouble with concealment throughout a variety of outfits, whether just wearing a shirt or using a cover garment.
When carried appendix, I would prefer to carry closer to 12:00 or 12:30. However, in the two-clip configuration, my belt buckle and pants button got in the way of the second clip and prevented me from moving the gun that far toward the center, sitting instead around 1:00. This was not a problem with the gun I was using, but might be an issue with a full-size gun having a longer grip. It is easy to work around, however, either by using a buckle-less gun belt, moving the belt off-center, or using the holster in the single-clip setup.
Carrying in the Strong-Side Position
As a strong-side holster, carrying was comfortable and concealment was simple, though I found it a bit less concealable than the appendix position with closer-fitting clothes. I still preferred two clips, but there is also little reason not to use both clips when carried strong-side, as the second clip isn’t really in the way of anything. I additionally found the holster fairly easy to take on and off, even with both clips, which is generally one of the only problems with a two-clip holster. Even so, if you have to take your holster on and off a lot, especially if you have to do so in a vehicle, the single-clip setup may work better for you.
The Clips had a Little Play
Again, and in both carry locations, I did find that I much prefer the holster with both clips on. The clips are very secure on the belt, and with both clips, the holster stays put very well. With a single clip, however, I found there was too much “play” on the belt for my tastes, as each individual clip is not very wide, while the opening is rather long. Shifting holsters are the sorts of thing that encourage me to touch the gun unnecessarily. Bravo Concealment discusses this as a feature of the holster when used this way, stating that it allows for cant to be adjusted on the fly. That is definitely true.
However, I personally do not prefer my holster moving around. Nor do I like to touch it more than absolutely necessary. Even if it might provide a comfort advantage. This is, of course, mostly a matter of taste and preference, as periodic adjustment does allow for a more comfortable carry experience if you can make the adjustments out of sight of those you’re trying to conceal from (that is, everyone).
Also, in the interest of fairness, I use a 1.25” wide gun belt, whereas the “standard” is 1.5”. You can also see from the pictures that my current gun belt, though it is specifically a gun belt with two-layer leather/polymer construction, leaves a little bit to be desired and sags a little. It is better than any old department store belt, but not as stiff as I would like. This might contribute to more movement of the holster than the holster was designed to have when used with a single clip.
A Little Digging
As I stated at the end of the last section, after a full day of appendix carry, I found that the holster did occasionally start to get a bit uncomfortable and feel like it was digging into my groin. I don’t think this is the holster’s fault, though. I can’t even figure out how the holster could contribute to this, as none of this discomfort was present for the majority of the day. My only thought is that it must be my fault, gradually getting worse posture throughout the day. Maybe my pants just stretch with time, or maybe a stiffer gun belt would fix it. Who knows.
Regardless, one thing I would (and will probably) add to this holster would be a small amount of foam or padding material on the bottom edge. The bottom edge is just that – an edge, so if it starts to dig into you, after a while, you start to feel it. This simple addition of a small pad, that many people add to many holsters, would completely prevent the chafing issue that I had.
Torsion IWB Kydex Holster Drawbacks
I would like to reiterate that my criticisms of the holster so far are very minor. They have been solely for the sake of a thorough review. And most are the sorts of things that can be easily solved with the right adjustments to the holster, minor modifications, a good belt, or are simple issues of personal preference. As such, I’m not including them in this section as they are not actual problems. I only encountered one thing that I would consider a “problem” with this holster. And even then it was only when carried strong-side in certain clothing, never when carrying appendix. It is also not a problem that is unique to this holster, either, but one I’ve encountered with pretty much any holster utilizing clips.
Clothing Catching on the Clips
The clips, while very good clips that hold fast to the belt, are designed in such a way that they easily catch on clothing during the draw. The bottom of the clip is, essentially, hook-shaped. When I was carrying strong-side under just a shirt (as opposed to a blazer or jacket), the rearmost clip would reliably grab onto my shirt, preventing me from drawing.
I replicated this many times, in several different shirts of both stiff and stretchy fabric. And it would happen to me much more often than not. In fact, I put a hole in my favorite shirt doing it.
It would be unfair, however, to say that this is a problem with this holster per se, because as I stated before, I’ve had the exact same problem with other clip-based holsters which now fill my unused holster box. This is why I personally use soft loops on my EDC holster. The soft loops can’t catch on my shirts because they are, well, soft. They move out of the way if I pull hard enough.
Catching Only When Carrying Strong-Side
And again, this ONLY occurred when carrying at 3:30. And only if I was concealing under a shirt instead of a cover garment like a jacket or blazer. It did not happen to me while carrying appendix at all. Drawing was fast and easy from appendix. However, 3:30 is typically how I carry, so for me, this was a big issue. Still, I can’t say it would present the same issue for others, as everyone’s body is different. If you have carried (and practiced your draw) extensively with a clip-based holster and have not had this happen to you, my experience should not dissuade you.
I do like this holster. So I would really like to see Bravo Concealment come up with some sort of soft loops for it. I would happily order some for my holster and switch from clips for appendix to soft loops for strong-side.
The Bravo Concealment Mag Pouch
The magazine carrier is similar to the holster in its robust design. It secures the magazine well and is easy to draw from. It does not feature clips, but rather integral loops. So it must be put on along with the belt and cannot be removed without removing the belt. I don’t really think this is much of a problem, though. OWB mag carriers with clips can be problematic. And IWB mag carriers can be pretty uncomfortable, especially since you’ve already got a gun in your pants.
The Bravo Concealment magazine carrier is fairly large and is OWB. I have mag carriers. But I find that I don’t usually carry them because it is hard to balance comfort and concealment. The Bravo Concealment mag carrier is concealable, despite being OWB, and is quite comfortable. However, due to its size, it might be less than ideal for long car rides and the like.
It is also notable that there are many extra holes in the body of the magazine carrier. I’m not extremely familiar with the alternative attachments offered by Bravo Concealment and other holster makers. It seems like you could affix any number of alternative clips or loops to this magazine carrier fairly easily due to the extra holes. All the extra holes are grommet reinforced as well, so no corners were cut in making this mag carrier.
Same Clothing Snagging Problem
Unfortunately, the OWB design of the mag carrier gave me the same snagging problems as the holster clips. The shirt catching around the bottom of the carrier itself became impossible to pull free.
It is also important to keep in mind that this mag pouch is FREE and comes included with the holster. This is really an incredible deal, as similar mag pouches often sell for $30+ by themselves. The Bravo Holster is already very competitively priced. So even if you don’t like this mag carrier, you can’t go wrong with free.
Overall Impression of the Torsion IWB Kydex Holster
My overall opinion of the holster is very positive. It is a good quality holster that you can use for a variety of carry methods. And the price is more than fair. I would not hesitate to recommend this holster to anyone, subject only to the reservations I have about any holster that uses clips.
As a “do-all” holster that you can use in many carry positions, the Bravo Concealment holster is a great bet. It may not be the best at any particular carry location, but you can’t realistically expect that from a holster that isn’t purpose-built for a specific type of carry and fully incompatible with others. I preferred this holster as an appendix holster. But it certainly works well as a strong-side holster, too, with only a few caveats.
Recommend Giving It a Try
I would encourage anyone to try this holster. Especially if you are new to carrying and are not sure exactly how you wish to carry. This holster will allow you to get a good feel for different carry locations and fairly represent what the basics of carrying in those locations is like. It may very well work perfectly for you as-is. You may make modifications. Or you may find you eventually buy other holsters when you figure out exactly what you want. After all, no one who has carried for a while owns only one holster.
Alternatively, this would be a great choice of holster for the carrier who likes (or needs) variation in carry position. As well as one who wants one holster that can be used both strong-side and appendix. In either regard, and especially in light of the free magazine pouch, lifetime warranty, low price, risk-free trial period, and free shipping, there really isn’t a reason not to try this holster out. Still, I don’t think you’ll end up taking advantage of the risk-free trial. As I think you, like me, will want to keep it.
As always, piece be with you.