We get asked a lot about carrying firearms. We also get asked to review a lot of holsters and rarely do we do them simply because there is never much differentiating between brands, just mainly styles. For the most part we validate fit, finish, material quality and above all the company itself. But that’s usually where it ends.
StealthGear USA is an exception to our status quo simply because it is more than just materials that makes it noteworthy. It is a modern take on a classic design with function and form made for modern pistols with modern materials and the wearer in mind.
It is a modern take on a classic design with function and form made for modern pistols with modern materials and the wearer in mind.
We have all seen the design over and over again. A big slab of leather with kydex on it, riveted and screwed in place with adjustable ride height J-Clips or hooks and in some cases polymer belt loops or hooks. This design is not flawed or bad in any way, and neither are the materials, they are in fact rather rugged and durable. These materials however is what separates the StealthGearUSA ONYX IWB and all the rest.
Before we get started, let’s get the informative portion out of the way. Inside the Waistband holsters (IWB) are the most popular way for you to conceal carry a weapon (in our experience). They generally tend to ride comfortably around the 3-4 o’clock position (if your body was a clock, your wedding tackle is the 12 o’clock and the butt would be 6 o’clock) on your strong side (dominant shooting hand) and have minimal printing for the position. If you are a lefty it would be 8-9 o’clock.Thats a lot of understanding in one sentence, with that said, let’s move on.
I have used another popular brand before I received the Onyx made of leather and Kydex. Plastic hooks which I opted for over the metal ones because it was more easily concealable next to a belt loop. In fact I worked in a profession for a long time where carrying a firearm was prohibited and no one was ever the wiser. The point is, if worn properly a conceal carry IWB holster conceals very well. What no one tells you though is things like break in time for leather, the gritt against your skin during the break in, how long plastic clips last etc… Once broken in though, they sit very comfortably and the only issue is sweat, especially in the warmer months between you and your weapon.
StealthGearUSA solves a lot of the traditional issues in the same way we do more with pistols nowadays. Modern materials for modern pistols. Makes sense, but what does it mean? This holster literally makes you wonder why you still use a leather backed tried and true IWB. This holster has wicking mesh on the part closest to you as well as strategically placed foam padding which is also breathable. This means no more rough, abrasive against the skin leather as well as no break in period. It also means you don’t feel a slab of extra skin on your body as the foam padding helps distribute the weight and imprint of the gun to your body.
The other side has a hard nylon which resembles a 1000 Denier Nylon (similar to belts and plate carriers, but is treated and also breathable to maximize stiffness and not inhibit the ability for heat and moisture to wick away. Rigid enough to more than support and distribute the weight of a pistol, but pliable and breathable to not sacrifice comfort. Usually you see rivets holding the world together on most IWB holsters, but the Onyx actually has stainless steel sockets which help prevent rust as well as being fantastically adjustable and slick looking. The metal J-Hook style clips are also rust proof and hold REALLY well. They are tight enough to hold on without making your fingertips bleed putting the holster on. I have fallen on ice, ran, jumped, rolled and sat for hundreds of miles without this holster coming loose.
Let’s talk about kydex. Kydex is an awesome product and many people and companies are using this material for holster making and more. Thicker is higher strength and rigidity but you sacrifice detail (the imprint of the actual pistol in the plastic). In the video review I stated it appeared to be a .80 thick kydex and upon further research they list it as a .93 in. kydex. I think it was a smart move going for rigidity over appearance because you wear it INSIDE the waistband. Making “pretty” kydex to tuck it inside your pants is like waxing your car just to put a cover on it and park it in the garage. They mold their kydex with utility and resilience in mind and attach it using easy to adjust standard allen screws in an attractive stainless finish. The Onyx had 6, count them, SIX screws bolding the kydex in place with rubber spacers so you can really dial in the retention based on the way you carry, how it sits, rides and holds. Really, just borderline craziness with the amount of actual adjustments you can make to make it sit, ride and draw exactly the way YOU want it to.
Before this turns into a term paper on holsters, let me sum it all up for you. The StealthGearUSA Onyx IWB is a fantastic IWB holster if not the best I have tried to date. It disperses the weight of carrying a firearm very evenly and comfortably. It is padded and breathable to the point of barely feeling like you have a weapon on you. I have actually forgotten to take it off getting ready for bed. The kydex is rigid as hell and creates a nice “pocket” between you and your belt so drawing and re-holstering are like butter without sacrificing retention. You may have to adjust the screws here and there to get that “perfect fit” but once you do it’s there to stay. It doesn’t move, ride up or pop out on you and neither does the weapon.
I have worn this holster almost every day for the past several months and it still looks (almost) as good as the day I got it. Hey, wear and tear happens no matter what you are made of. But whenever people do see it, they always want to know who makes it and what is it because although it’s not much different from most IWB holsters, it is a distinct difference.
Go grab one and check them out at stealthgearusa.com. $99 bucks, I will take 2 more please. Especially if they start making light bearing rigs.