I’m a tough case for holsters. I’m a big guy and I carry a big gun. Big in all directions; I’m about 40 lbs. over my preferred fighting weight. truth be told, like many an OFWG, I suffer from the dreaded Muffin Top Syndrome. This permanently temporary state of affairs makes carrying my Kimber 1911 inside the waistband more painful than the recoil of a Scandium Smith & Wesson 642. My love handle runs smack dab into any gun positioned inside the pants. Ouch. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across the most comfortable holster in the history of the world, ever . . .

I’ve tried a lot of holsters. Up until now, the best holster I’d ever found was the Crossbreed Super Tuck. I’m not alone in this. Patrick Carrube will tell you: while the Super Tuck looks like it was designed for Medusa’s BUG, it gets the job done.

That said, positioning  the Crossbreed ST—threading the belt through the loops, sliding it back and forth—is a five-minute futz, easy. Even after all that hoiking and shifting, I still get contact between my gun and my body. In the summer months, sweat meets steel on the bad side of town.

The Kydex holster portion of the ST is great; it won’t collapse when I remove the gun, allowing a single-handed reholster. The Kydex belt loops, on the other hand, scratch the Hell out of my belt.

At the NRA show, I ran across a booth with some rather cryptic, yet macho-looking graphics run by N8² Tactical. Pronounced “Nate-Squared” Tactical, the company is named for founders Nate J and Nate B. Their flagship product: a simple-looking holster for Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) use.

The N8² Tactical holster is a simple affair. On the body side, suede. On the gun side, Neoprene (wet suit material). Neoprene is flexible, durable and waterproof. In theory, “waterproof” means a “moisture barrier” between your hot, sweaty rolls of flesh and your far-from rustproof gun.

The gun is secured to the holster by way of some heavy-duty elastic strapping; the spring steel clip is affixed to the elastic. You can use the N8² Tactical holster with belt-less pants, including cargo shorts and other summer wear, thanks to a heavy-duty, spring-steel clip.

As a Kydex fanboy, I was as skeptical as a New York Times writer at a machine gun shoot when I slipped my 1911 Commander into the pocket. “Nice fit,” I thought. No portion of the gun was left uncovered by the suede/Neoprene pad. I loosened my belt, popped the button on the Wranglers [Ed: sensitive readers, look away now] and slipped it on just behind my right hip.

The N8² Tactical holster attached to my pants more easily than a paddle holster, which is no mean feat. I could slide it around on my belt to find the optimal position without the usual unpleasant twisting motion. Once I had the belt cinched back up, my gun disappeared.

Just like that. Sure, I felt the additional weight of the gun, but I didn’t feel that weight pressing into my flesh. During an evening on the town, I came as close as I’ve ever come to forgetting I’ve got my gun.

The N8² Tactical holster overcame two problems I’ve had with other holsters: 1) getting poked in the kidneys wilst driving, and 2) finding it impossible to get to my wallet with the gun on my hip. No holster rash, fatigue, or eagerness to get the damn thing off my hip.

The N8² Tactical site cautions that this is NOT intended to be a holster for your day at the range (although they do say that you should practice with any gear you plan to use in conceal carry). At the range, you typically want to be able to re-holster your gun with one hand. Because of the company uses elastic instead of Kydex, reholstering is a two-handed affair.

From the N8² Tactical website:

Although not easy, reholstering does get easier with practice. Once the holster has formed around your handgun and yourself, reholstering will be even easier.  We hope you are never in a situation that requires you to draw from this or any other concealed carry holster. However, if you are, our friends and customers in law enforcement suggest that once the threat is “neutralized”, secure any weapons available to the “neutralized threat”, place your handgun in a visible location and wait for the authorities to arrive and assess the situation.  You will be instructed on when you are allowed to reholster.

Hmmm. The inability to re-holster easily, with one-hand, could be a deal-breaker. We have friends in self-defense. They suggest you may need to re-holster to make a discreet tactical withdrawal from a crime scene. Or a not-so-discreet withdrawal, like running away. You might also re-holster to free your hands for other purposes–gathering friendlies, administering first aid—whilst maintaining access to and control of your weapon.

If you’re willing to forgo ultimate safety for comfort, the N8² Tactical holster retails for $39.95. It comes in a variety of sizes to fit everything from a snub-nosed revolver to a full-size 1911. It’s available from the N8² Tactical website, as well as a growing number of dealers listed on the site. To quote Little Bo Peep, I’ve found my moving buddy.

 

13 Responses to Gear Review: N8² Tactical IWB Holster

    • Now that I’ve tried it, I’m curious about that myself. On the website, they claim that using heavy-duty elastic helps retention, as it gets the belt an pants into the act. I can see that. However, I’m not sure it offsets the reholstering problem. I’d love to see them come out with a second model using Kydex, just to see what would happen.

      • You need to look further in the n82 site and check out the Professional Model. I have one for my M&P 9c. Instead of the elastic, it has a hard plastic that is form fitted to your firearm, even with a twist-retention option. The firearm choices are limited, but cover several popular models. It allows for one hand holstering if the love handles dont get in the way…Not like I know from experience or anything…..

  1. And for the win he ends it with a Toy Story reference, love it.

    Pixar movies aside, really good info. That two handed re-holstering aspect is a definite check mark in the Con column though.

    • And I think that’s the problem with any holster – something’s gotta give! Individual shooters need to determine what “pros” they want, and what “cons” they can deal with.

      @Brad – I’m surprised it takes you that long to put the ST on. I can get “holstered up” in less than 30 seconds. I simply get dressed and ready as usual, then loosen my belt and top button of my pants and the holster slips right into place. I don’t feed the belt through the clips, I just simply “slip” them over my belt/pants. You also must have an older ST, because they switched to steel clips over 2 years ago, but having had one of those I know that it does scratch your belt up (with the kydex clips).

  2. The Crossbreed is a good-working holster that looks like a Medieval chastity belt. The N82 looks better — no worse than a codpiece — but doesn’t seem to work as well. I’m sticking with my Remora.

  3. Brad, you have to try my Thunder Wear! It carries any pistol(s), ammo,disappears under a loose shirt and is accessible in a seated position-like a car. Just make sure you order the double,Fed model I believe, and have looser pants. The grip should stay above the waist line for easier access-lower for deeper concealment. This and the Desantis Bodyguard (universal and ambidexterous) shoulder rig are the coolest thing since sliced bread!

    • I do not like the Bodyguard!
      I will not wear it on the train.
      I will not wear it in the plains.
      I will not wear it here nor there.
      I will not wear it anywhere!

      On a more serious note, I have to admit that I was leery of a “Fits anything” holster to start with, but… A friend gave it to me free.
      The full size PX4 comes sliding out of that holster like a hot knife through granite. I actually had to take off the holster and use 3 hands (My wife pulled the gun out while I pulled the holster open) to get that one out. Then I tried the compact PX4… Lets just say the neighbor kid was thrilled with his “FBI holster” for his squirt gun.

      • Have to admit, I most commonly carried a Beretta 90-TWO and a Taurus 5” .44 mag Tracker. And a Glock 22.

  4. I spoke to one of the Nates yesterday. The holster I reviewed is but the first one in a number of products they are working on. As soon as they get me their next model (which I hear will address the concerns about the elastic), we’ll review it here.

  5. SERPA Auto Lock Duty Holster is very useful for beginning airsoft players.It got 3 airsoft rifle mag pouches 5 Airsoft pistol magazine Pouches,a pistol holster,a place for a camel back(water system) and a tactical belt.

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