Gear Review: Dale Fricke Zacchaeus “Holster”

As I’ve been shopping for a tuckable inside the waistband holster (does it ever end?), I came across a fascinating little minimalist holster by Dale Fricke Holsters named the Zacchaeus.  More on the name later.  The price was certainly right ($15), so I figured why not give it a try? The Zacchaeus is simply a kydex trigger guard attached to a length of string. The pistol is carried gangsta style inside the belt – or wherever you want – and the Kydex trigger guard keeps you from killing yourself inadvertently. The string is attached to the belt and with the draw stroke, it jerks the Zach from the gun leaving the “holster” dangling from your belt.

I ordered direct from Fricke and the Zacchaeus arrived a couple of days later. Actually I was sort of confused when the box arrived because the majority of the space and weight inside the packaging was taken up by a handy-dandy, super-small with oh-so-tiny print complete English standard version of the Bible. That’s a first from a holster company for me. After digging a bit in the package, I found the even tinier, feather-weight  Zacchaeus holster.

Dale Fricke Holsters is, as you’ve probably guessed by now, an overtly Christian business. In addition to the unexpected holy book included with the holster order, all their holsters are named for various bad-asses from Bible stories.

Ehud:  Pulls a concealed sword with his left hand and buries the 18” blade to the handle in the obese King of Moab’s gut, then leads the army of Israel in killing ten thousand Moabites.  (Judges 3:15-30)

Joshua:  Leader of Israel after Moses who oversaw the conquering of Jericho and the holy land. (Book of Joshua)

Gideon: Leader of a small army of Israel that routed the Midianite hordes (Judges 7)

Eleazar: One of David’s “Mighty Men” who stood his ground when all around him fled and turned the tide of battle, killing Philistines until his hand froze to his sword. (2 Sam 23:9-10)

Joab:  One of king David’s main generals, a strong, cunning and completely ruthless fighter. He was famous for, among other things, drawing from concealment to assassinate his political opponents on two different occasions. (2 Sam 3:26-27, 20:8-10)

Get the picture?

Then we come to Zacchaeus.  He was famous for…well, being short. For those who didn’t go to Sunday School:  Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he….

As I usually do with a new holster, I cleared the chamber but kept a full magazine in for the weight while I tried it out for a few days.

The Zach snaps on to the trigger guard firmly and the fit is tight enough that the pistol can easily be suspended at the end of the cord without falling off. It takes a decidedly sharp jerk to remove the gun from the holster. This is a good thing, especially when a visit to the bathroom requires a pants-down posture. The pistol ends up dangling on the end of that string inside your pants.

The Zacchaeus can be used in any carry position. You just shuffle the placement of the pistol and the cant inside your belt until it feels right. I demo’d it in my usual 4:30 position, but I also took the time to try it in the appendix (AIWB) or 1:00 position, too. I was not at all experienced with appendix carry and I have to say it is comfy and easy to draw from. I thought the concealment was okay, but not great for me. I also found it somewhat disconcerting to constantly be muzzling my pubic bone, right testicle, femoral vessels and penis. Sure, guns don’t just go off, but the consequences of a negligent discharge in this area are much greater than getting shot in the ass or lateral thigh by a 3-4:30 position ND.

A good belt is still a necessity, both to secure the Zach and support the gun. I did not notice any tendency for the pistol to fall out, but the cant can self adjust while in the belt. With the pistol directly on my skin, I got a bit of irritation from the mag release poking into me. When I used an undershirt, I didn’t notice any discomfort at all.

When using the Zacchaues, FIRST: you attach the string to the belt in your desired position. I just used a little lark’s head loop around the belt. SECOND: attach the Zach to the gun. THIRD: Place the gun in your pants. FOURTH: Futz around with it a bit until you’ve achieved a state of comfort. The key point here is that you do not put the gun in the pants until the guard is securely fastened. I found there was adequate length on the cord to keep the muzzle in a safe direction while holstering.

Drawing requires a faster, firmer, higher, committed drawstroke to pop the Zach off the gun. The only thing irritating is that I definitely needed to exaggerate the upward lift of the gun while drawing to make sure it pops off. And this is harder to do from a 4:30 position than from an appendix position.

Placing the holster back on is a two handed job, and placing the pistol back into the belt requires extensive futzing until it is just so. Once in place, though, it doesn’t seem to move around much with a decent belt.

The Zach is tuckable, but even more futzworthy when using it in this manner. Tuckable holsters are all pretty much a pain in my experience, so this is really nothing new.

RATINGS (out of five stars)

Comfort * * *
Sort of depends on the pistol you carry. And where you carry it.

Retention * * *
Retention is fine until someone grabs your gun and runs away with it.  The holster will just release. If the pistol comes flying out of your belt it may also release. Or not. I did not test this.

Ease of Draw * * *
Slightly more difficult than a typical kydex holster, again depending on where you carry the gun.

Concealability * * * * *
This is this Zach’s super power.

Overall * * *
The Zach is very much a niche holster. It works well for what it is designed to do: trigger protection and minimalist carry. Not recommended if you care about body oil or sweat on your gun. Also not recommended if your gun has lots of sharp edges to dig into you. I measured my favorite Kydex Holster and found it adds two millimeters to the thickness of the weapon in my belt. Personally, I think that minimal extra thickness is worth it for a more stable platform, more predictable location, smoother draw, one handed re-holstering and increased comfort.

40 Responses to Gear Review: Dale Fricke Zacchaeus “Holster”

  1. avatarRabbi says:

    Another WTF? product. This “holster” will protect the trigger when you are not using a real holster–mexican stye, gangsta style–but offers no ability to keep the gun from falling out of your waistband or falling in which is one of the main purposes of a holster.

    In addition to the problem of the gun falling out, another problem with mexican carry is that the cant and rise of the gun easily shifts so the gun may not be where you thought it was when you need to reach it fast.

    • avatarEric says:

      All true. But still, it isn’t functionally as bad as it seems in theory.
      Thousands of Gangstas use this method daily.

      It may also have some use for a gun in a bag situation.

      Edit to add: Rabbi: Any thoughts on Appendix carry?

      • avatarJoe Wolvie says:

        Did you ever consider that the reason they end up shooting themselves most of the time is BECAUSE those idiots carry like that?

        This is a poor idea for “bag” carry (I’m assuming you mean bag like pocketbook or backpack and not paper or plastic…). Part of the problem is if it gets jumbled around, somthing could easilly get wedged between the edges and cause it to jam on the gun.

        Part of the design of a proper holster for bag use is that there is enough material to effectively grab to allow it to be removed smoothly.

      • avatarJoe Wolvie says:

        As for appendix carry…I’ll tell you what I tell all my students…

        SERIOUSLY rethink any carry style that by it’s nature has the muzzle pointed at something that isn’t replaceable. This goes for appendix carry as well as those muzzle-up/grip-down shoulder holsters. In both cases, the muzzle will be pointed at major arteries and in a spot that will make it impossible to tie off the blood vessels.

        Specifically for appendix carry…there are some other dangly parts as well I’d rather not have shot.

        Or kicked…

        Or punched…

        Or set on fire…

        I think you get the picture.

    • avatarEW says:

      Not true. The purpose of the cord is to keep it from falling inside your pants, and also to pull the holster off during the draw. True that it won’t keep the gun from falling out of your pants, though.

  2. avatarJoe Wolvie says:

    I’m sorry…

    3 Stars for comfort? Really? This “holster” (& I use the term loosely) does nothing for comfort. It doesn’t keep the gun off your skin, it doesn’t distribute the weight & it doesn’t keep the correct cant.

    Of course, then I see 3 Stars for…now get this…Retention!!

    Oh
    My
    God!!!

    You gave this non-holster 3 Stars for RETENTION?! So, what does a “holster” have to do to get 2 Stars? Automatically eject the gun out of your belt and into the hands of the bad guy?? Does 1 Star mean it does this even if it is still in your safe at home? I guess 0 Stars means it loads itself and brings along all of your other guns too.

    Overall, 3 Stars for a holster that isn’t a holster, doesn’t secure the gun, doesn’t distribute the weight, doesn’t provide a barrier to your skin and oh, is difficult to draw. Are you serious or have I been really distracted and didn’t realize it was April 1st?

    • avatarEric says:

      My apologies for not following the universal standardized holster star rating system correctly.

      • avatarJoe Wolvie says:

        Well, you could use that…

        …or common sense.

        Either one would be appropriate for a review.

        • avatarTim McNabb says:

          Look, y’all – you can disagree with Eric and bring up points where you think he is off base – that’s fair. Can we not beat up on the guy for weighing features differently than you would?

          Failing that, you could always write your own #$@&!* review.

        • avatarJoe Wolvie says:

          Just calling it as I see it.

          And per your suggestion, here’s my #$@&!* review:

          It’s not a holster.

          There, review done.

        • avatarTim McNabb says:

          See was that so hard? – and you did it without insulting the author.

        • avatarRyan Finn says:

          +1

        • avatarJoe Wolvie says:

          Actually, I don’t see how I insulted him. I can’t, for the life of me, see how this “holster” provides 3 out of 5 Stars for both Comfort and Retention.

          It doesn’t retain the firearm at all. Unless you count letting it hang by the string outside of your belt. Retention…the ability to safely and securely retain the firearm in position. This thing does nothing of the sort.

          Now as for comfort…how does it make the firearm more comfortable to carry? It doesn’t hold it close to your body. It doesn’t keep the firearm in position. It doesn’t protect your skin. It doesn’t distribute the load across your belt. It doesn’t keep a comfortable cant. So, again…how exactly does it rate 3 out of 5 stars for comfort??

          Sure, reviews are, for the most part, subjective. However, common sense shows that this device (I just can’t keep calling it a “holster”) does absolutely none of the things that meet the definition and criteria listed in the review. If he were to say something along the lines of, “Hey, I like it and think its cool”, then there is nothing more to be said because that’s his opinion and he’s welcome to it. But, to attempt to make a case stating it does specific things well when it does nothing of the sort…sorry, but I see that as a lack of common sense.

        • avatarEric says:

          Joe: I never even had any stars on my initial review draft. It was requested I add some in the noted categories. You seem pretty hung up on them, so maybe just ignore the star thingys and read what I wrote. Cuz I didn’t put a lot of thought into the rating and the categories don’t really work for this device anyway.

          Common sense would be: don’t buy anything based on little star ratings.

    • avatarBC; MT says:

      I’m sure there’s a well-reasoned argument somewhere under all that vitriol.

  3. avatardrexl spivey says:

    The Raven Concealment Systems Vanguard has worked well for me for a couple of years now, and w/o the religion.
    Also, these holsters should be placed from the bottom up, not front to back.
    http://flic.kr/p/aFAixx

  4. avatarNR says:

    Look on the bright side, guys. That Bible goes for about $16.50 on Amazon. If you deduct that from the cost of the holster… well, I guess you get what you pay for.

  5. avatarRob J says:

    Let me get this straight, as I quickly move away from a bad situation, the gun falls out. If I have to chase my child at the mall, the gun falls out. And if I am in a hurry to catch an elevator, the gun falls out. I think I will keep mine in a real holster.

    • avatarEric says:

      I would not think the gun would fall out in any of the situations you describe based on my experience with the holster.

      If you unstrap your belt and drop your pants, then yes, the gun falls out (or rather in).

      With a proper belt strapped with reasonable tightness the gun is attached to your person unless you or someone else grabs it.

    • avatarTim McNabb says:

      Maybe don’t wear your britches “gangsta style”.

  6. avatarBC; MT says:

    Thanks for reviewing this holster. Too bad you have to get flamed for sharing your experience. I’ve been curious about Fricke’s holsters despite their valorization of Old Testament genocide.

    • avatarEric says:

      I briefly demoed a loaned Joab and I found it big and thick, but well constructed and very quick drawing. The outside J-hooks were so stiff they would not snap on to the belt required threading the belt through which I hate.

  7. avatarAdam Z says:

    What keeps Dale Fricke Holsters from being sued by BuddhaWest (or vice-versa)??? BuddhaWest’s “MIC” holster & Fricke’s “Zacchaeus” are seemingly identical products.

    • avatarEric says:

      So is the Raven Concealment product noted above. No Patent on Kydex trigger guards I guess.

      Does BuddhaWest send you a Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra with purchase?

  8. avatar2Wheels says:

    Legitimate holster makers shouldn’t encourage idiots to mexican carry. Never heard a single argument for why just stuffing a gun into your waistband is a good idea. A cute little trigger guard is only a slight improvement.

    Buy a real holster, I don’t care what kind. They really aren’t that expensive! And the bonus of knowing that your gun isn’t going to fall down your pants while you walk around is well worth it!

  9. avatarChris Dumm says:

    These are good for shoulder bag/ messenger bag carry, or even for pocket carry if they make them for subcompacts. Appendix carry is right up there with suppository carry on the list of things I’ll never do.

  10. avatarDonWorsham says:

    I have one. I think it’s cute.

  11. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    I had to watch the video a few times and it’s just plain weird. I don’t like the jerky motion and it just doesn’t seem to flow smoothly. I’d be really worried that I’d blow my B@@@S off trying that silly draw, and it just doesn’t seem to reliable.

  12. avatarGreg in Allston says:

    A fellow that I’ve taken a couple of classes with recently had one of these little gizmos on his G26. I thought that it was pretty neat. He had a sweatshirt covering at 1:00 PM, no printing, comfortable and secure for his body type, tee-shirt under, no chaffing. One could do worse. The way he tells it, he’s carried this way quite a bit without issue. He still has his naughty bits intact.

    He got his from Saurez Int’l. Saurez has the usual and appropriate disclaimers regarding the use of this “holster”.

    I wouldn’t be averse to using this in a grab and go situation. YMMV.

  13. avatarRonaldo Ignacio says:

    So, is this thing sweatpant tested?

  14. avatarDon says:

    Would not waistband carry in any instance where I had a choice. If I did, this product would be better than going bareback. This product however could be quite uncontroversially useful for jacket pocket carry.

    -D

  15. avatarBig J says:

    Actually, I like the idea. It would pair perfectly with a Clipdraw. I just want to know if he makes these for other guns.

    http://www.clipdraw.com/store/index.php?rn=392&action=show_detail

  16. avatarCTone says:

    I appendix carry now, and I’ve used the Zack quite a bit. Like any holster, it has its strengths and weaknesses.

    First strength is that it goes on quick and easy, so it’s convenient as a holster to run to the store for cigarettes or something. I’ve found that it works well to conceal a Glock 17 to that end, and as you pointed out, it’s tuckable.

    For those who are saying it doesn’t keep the gun where you put it: it sure does, but the trick is to adjust the length of the cord so that it takes the weight of the gun — you don’t want the grip/trigger guard to settle on the belt. This gives a much faster draw. With a good belt, the gun stays right where you put it; although I can’t speak to it maintaining a cant.

    The greatest strength of this holster — it was created initially as an AIWB holster — is that it solves the largest problem of AIWB carry: holstering a loaded handgun in the front of your pants where the femoral artery and family jewels are. If there is a chance at shooting yourself, this is where it’s going to happen. With the Zack, you holster the gun outside of your pants before tucking it in. Problem solved. Just make sure you still keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction while snapping it on.

    A weakness of the holster is that you have to unholster the gun to place it onto your belt. You can take it off your belt with it still on the gun, but you have to undo your belt. To solve all of this, I put a steel clip on mine so that I can take it off and put it on easily.

    Another weakness is for guns with a short slide, like a Glock 26: when you bend over to touch something on/close to the ground, the slide can pop over the belt which will leave your pistol dangling there on a leash. The larger the gut, the more likely this is to happen. I have a bit of a gut, and I have to intentionally try to make it come out of my belt with a G26.

    Last thing that I see is that it doesn’t tuck the grip of the gun towards your body, so it’s not as concealable as other purpose built AIWB holsters. I think that can be a strength or a weakness, depending on circumstances. I wouldn’t choose this holster to wear on a narcotics taskforce on an operation lasting a couple of days or more, but it works well for going out for a few hours. It’s really comfortable to wear and hides the gun well enough. It’s reasonably secure, too.

  17. Hi All,
    Thank you all for your input, the Zack is not a replacement for all holsters it just fills a needed place for some folks. I made it years ago to carry at church as I’m a Pastor and need to conceal well; the Zack does that. I didn’t like it for the same reasons some of you so strongly said in your posts. This is not a one size fits all world so we make a bunch of different type holsters.

    As to AIWB, it is not for everyone just from body types alone… If you don’t have the skills and confidance to carry and holster a loaded gun please don’t carry and stay way away from AIWB.

    All God’s Best in this New Year,
    Dale

  18. avatarR L Bonts says:

    I purchased one of these to use with my Smart Carry deep concealment holster. I was worried that even though it would be hard for anything to actually depress the trigger while in the Smart Carry, it is a cloth holster and strange things happen. With this over the trigger guard and tucked securely in the Smart Carry, I am completely confident there will be NO accidental discharges.

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