Last month I found myself searching for a custom-fit IWB holster for the eminently-concealable SIG/Sauer P250 subcompact. I’ve heard nothing but praise for the Crossbreed Supertuck, but I had a gun to review and Crossbreed’s advertised 4 to 6 week waiting list made me look elsewhere. Kholster’s online store promised a custom fit and quicker shipping, and they delivered in less than two weeks. Their designs can accommodate anything from an LCP to a Government Model 1911, but they recommend their medium-sized Crescent design for the subcompact P250. And I’ll assume it’s pronounced ‘K-Holster’ instead of ‘Cholster’ or something sounding vaguely like Farsi . . .
All Kholster models are ‘hybrid’ IWB holster designs, combining the retention and durability of rigid Kydex with the comfort of soft leather. The pistol rides snugly in its custom-molded Kydex sheath which is riveted to the sturdy (and velvety smooth) leather backing. That keeps it from digging into your hip and kidney. The whole rig hangs from your belt with two widely spaced and height-adjustable steel belt clips.
The Kholster uses a supple, unstained full-grain cowhide backing. It’s not very pretty, even in comparison to the already-ugly Crossbreed, but it’s a very practical design feature: no matter how profusely you sweat, the Kholster’s unstained leather can never leach brown or black dye onto your shirt, trousers or skin.
Here’s one of the clips; each of them has seven mounting holes to choose from, and the leather washers allow them to pivot to accommodate whatever height or cant floats your boat. The outermost leather washer also grips your belt/waistband from the inside of your pants for extra security.
Remember the first time you laid on a waterbed and thought “Mmmmm, this is really comfortable…” right before you fell asleep? Even if you’re too young to remember waterbeds, you’ll feel that way the first time you slide your gat into the Kholster on your hip. Your well-hidden gun won’t dig into your side, and it won’t drag your pants down like Mark Wahlberg’s Sean John sweatpants either.
IWB holsters are not generally renowned for their comfort, but you’ll never suffer the dreaded Sweaty Kydex Rash with a Kholster on your hip. The leather backing is breathable and incredibly soft and smooth against your skin. It molds itself to your shape (yes, even your love handles) and keeps the pistol from shifting around while you move through your day.
It’s so comfortable that the 25-oz. SIG becomes completely unnoticeable, and I only notice it when I twist or bend sideways. That’s basically the Holy Grail of holster comfort, so let’s move on.
When it comes to concealed carry, I’ve always been an inside-the-waistband kind of guy. I know this may put me in the minority around here, but I’ve never felt that an OWB holster provided adequate concealment unless I wore a long cover garment like a raincoat or “Shoot Me First” photographer’s vest. It’s not that I hate raincoats (I’d have to move to another part of the country if I did) but I’d hate to have to wear them 24/7/365.
Here’s is the SIG at my preferred 3:00 carry position. I feel much more discreet knowing that the barrel of my gun can’t somehow poke out from beneath my cover garment. And I just plain love that my cover garment can be an ordinary rugby shirt or bomber jacket instead of a long sweatshirt or Shoot Me First vest.
If this isn’t concealed enough for you, you can move the belt hangers upwards and lower the holster deep beneath your waistband. Keep in mind that this will result in a slower and more difficult presentation, though, because you’ll be fishing the butt of the gun out of your trousers with your fingertips.
Presentation isn’t the Kholster’s strong suit to begin with, and I moved the belt hangers down (to move the gun up) a half-inch from the starting position to give me a better grip when drawing.
Even if my cover garment falls open, this is the most anyone will ever see of what I’m carrying. If my cover garment is a shirt, the natural leather backing becomes almost indistinguishable from the skin it’s rubbing (oh so softly and smoothly) against. But it’s pure luck that it perfectly matches my mid-winter, lighter shade of pale skintone; maybe their leather comes from sun-deprived Pacific Northwest cattle?
If you have to move the belt hangers up or down, be sure to use a good Phillips head screwdriver and tighten the hell out of them. If you don’t, the spiked washer nuts won’t lie flush against the inside of the leather backing. And you will want them to lie flat.
The Kholster gets just one demerit on its Concealment Report Card: the leather washers are cut from fairly dry pieces of hide, and they sometimes make a tiny ‘creak’ when you bend or twist your torso. A few smudges of Mink Oil will soften the leather and make this go away (eventually) but Kholster ought to prevent this creaking by cutting the washers from leather that’s been pre-oiled on its contact sides.
I wore the Kholster while hiking, sitting, driving, jogging, hauling groceries and heeding the call of nature. The SIG P250 never budged a millimeter, and the Kholster never dragged my trousers down (except when they were unzipped.)
There are no retention adjustment screws; this firm retention is owed to the very close fit of the model-specific Kydex sheath. As this picture shows, it hugs the contours of the pistol (even the trigger) closely and the pressure of your body through the leather backing holds it in place firmly.
The trigger guard is not absolutely enclosed, but nothing bigger than a toothpick could slip inside and I usually empty my underpants of toothpicks when I’m folding the laundry anyway.
I couldn’t manage dislodge the pistol through any ordinary exertions, so I finally put it through the most extreme test I could think of: I jumped up and down on a trampoline with an empty chamber for safety and a full magazine for weight. The gun and the Kholster still didn’t budge, so I gave up.
In an IWB holster, your gun rides tight against your kidney and there’s very little room to slip your thumb around the body-side of the grip before you draw. It’s an inescapable compromise: if you move the gun away from your body it becomes less concealable, and that’s kinda the whole point of IWB holsters in the first place.
Hybrid IWB holsters only compound this problem by jamming your gun extra-tight against the leather backing, and there’s really nothing you can do about it. Lowering the Kholster’s belt hangers (thereby raising the holster above your belt) doesn’t help much because the leather backing is still pressed tightly against the grip. If you cut away the leather backing to relieve the grip, it digs into your kidney and chafes your skin and it still doesn’t help the presentation all that much.
I have to draw the SIG with three fingers around the grip and my thumb holding the rear sight while I edge it out of the holster; then I slide my thumb down to an aiming/firing grip as the muzzle clears the Kydex. It’s not insecure (I’ve never come close to dropping the gun, and I’ve practiced a lot) but it’s slightly awkward and noticeably slower than any sensible OWB holster.
The rigid Kholster can’t collapse, so it allows fairly easy one-handed reholstering. This makes it safer and more practical than most IWB holsters.
Ease Of Use
If you’re used to clip-on IWB holsters like those from Uncle Mike’s, you’ll have a steep learning curve to climb with hybrid IWB holsters like the Kholster or Crossbreed. They’re basically a major pain in the ass to put on and take off. Unless you buy your pants several inches too loose, you can forget about putting them on without undoing your belt and unzipping your trousers.
But this inconvenience is the price of their security and comfort: once you get the Kholster on, you’ll forget it’s there and it will never shift or come off until you want it to.
The Kholster is executed with clean workmanship all around. The Kydex fits the gun perfectly, the leather is cleanly cut and punched (no fringes or hanging chads here) and the rivets are flush and smooth-backed. The belt clips are strong, black and springy, and the unstained leather is, as I mentioned, supernaturally smooth and soft on the inside.
If IWB holsters are your thing, the Kholster offers exceptionally secure retention and mobility at the very reasonable price of $50. If IWB holsters aren’t your thing because you’ve always found them uncomfortable, the Kholster might just win you over.
If you need to put your holster on and take it off several times during the day, you should probably find something else.
Ratings (Out Of Five)
Comfort * * * * *
You’ll start to forget you’re wearing it.
Retention * * * *1/2
Might as well be the official holster of Cirque Du Soleil acrobats. Passive retention doesn’t get any better than this.
Presentation/Reholstering * * * 1/2
Typical IWB presentation issues aren’t helped by the (very comfortable) leather backing. Easy reholstering is better than most IWBs, however.
Ease Of Use * *
Major PITA. ‘Nuff said.
Materials and Workmanship * * * *
Simple, well-executed design doesn’t need frills to deliver the goods.
Value * * * * *
All this comfort for $50? Shut up!
Overall Rating * * * *
What other guns do I need concealment holsters for?