Gear Review: Comp-Tac CTAC Holster

I had the pleasure of being introduced to the world of Comp-Tac through Karl Rehn at KR Training during the Defensive Pistol class I took there. Karl loaned me his M&P 9 and CTAC holster to use during the class and I was very impressed with both. Once I settled on starting my CHL life with the M&P 45C that Smith & Wesson loaned me, I called up Comp-Tac to get some holsters to review. Having used the CTAC during the class, I was curious to see how it would do as a carry rig . . .

This is an IWB holster meant for carry at the 4 o’clock position. It’s available for a large number of firearms and can be made in either right or left handed editions. You can also specify three types of belt clips in several colors to match your wardrobe. The CTAC is adjustable for cant and ride height by way of a screw, rubber grommet, and captured nut system. Made entirely of Kydex, I consider it to be a bit of a minimalist holster.

As you can see in the pictures, it covers all the necessary bits of your gun and attaches to your britches via two leather straps and clips. The primary advantage of the all-Kydex design is speed and oh baby is it fast. Faster than your high school girlfriend (or boyfriend, as the case may be). Faster than Usain Bolt. Faster than uh… you get the point right? Check out this video to see how easy the draw and re-holster are.

All of this speed and minimalism, though, come at the cost of comfort. I remember being sore after my KR class, but I chalked it up to improper fit or chronic noobness. I tried adjusting the CTAC every which way without much success. I could easily get it to conceal the M&P 45C, but I just couldn’t get comfortable, too.

The holster is primarily comprised of a long, hard piece of plastic. I’m bony in the hips and buttocks so immediately I had contact issues. I only used it for carry once on a trip to the grocery store and couldn’t wait to get back to exchange it for something more comfortable (in this case the MTAC, also from Comp-Tac).

Your mileage might vary, though, depending on your particular anatomy. For the fleshier folks among us, I don’t think you’ll have the same issues with Kydex on bone. For those with longer hips, I think you’ll have better luck as well. Unfortunately, iliac crest is close neighbors with my hip socket. I’ve always had to buy pants with a shorter crotch. As such, the CTAC rubbed me in all the wrong ways. If you are long of hip and/or carry more padding, this will probably work much better for you.

Your mileage might also vary depending on your planned usage. Walking around all day? Consider something different. Shooting an IDPA match this weekend? Buy. This. Holster. At the range, the CTAC absolutely shines. It easily conceals full size pistols and can be adjusted to ride higher allowing you to get a full grip on your pistol before you draw. And when you draw, your gun will slip right out.

As you re-holster, you’ll feel a positive click as the indents press in around the trigger guard, locking your gun in place. While this can’t be considered a true retention holster, take comfort knowing that it takes some vigorous, inverted shaking to dislodge a gun from this holster.

Looking back, I’m so glad this is the holster than Karl hooked me up with for DPS 1. I easily did three hundred draws in the span of four hours. Doing it out of a holster with any more friction than the CTAC would have left my arm the consistency of jelly.

Specifications:

  • Type: IWB 4 o’clock
  • Materials: Primarily Kydex utilizing leather for attachment
  • Adjustment: Adjustable for cant and ride height as well as belt size
  • MSRP: $80 – $90 depending on options

Ratings (out of five stars):

Fit and Finish * * * * *

All the Kydex seams were smooth, the hardware was top notch and the entire rig seemed of very solid construction. This is exactly what I expect of a company manufacturing goods in the great state of Texas.

Customization * * * * *

You have quite a few options when it comes to picking belt clips, colors, and adjusting the fit perfectly for your needs.

Comfort * * 1/2

Being a mostly skinny guy (6’, 180 lbs, 33 inch waist, 32 inch inseam), the CTAC was not comfortable. This is definitely due in part to the construction of the holster. There’s not too many ways to make a hard piece of plastic work with the human body comfortably. That said, I’m oddly shaped which certainly contributed.

Speed * * * * *

Like a greyhound out of the gate. When you want to go fast, pick the CTAC.

Overall Rating * * *

I don’t compete in IDPA so comfort is a primary concern for me. I’ll give it three stars simply for being so ruggedly functional and well-built. But for daily carry, it just is not comfortable enough.

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About Tyler Kee

Tyler Kee is a small town kid trying to make it in the big city of Austin, TX. A salesman by day, he is an avid motorcyclist and aspiring chef out of the office.

25 Responses to Gear Review: Comp-Tac CTAC Holster

  1. avatarMadDawg J says:

    So are you saying this is faster than the MTAC?

  2. avatargrs says:

    Yes, the ctac is substantially faster than the mtac. The latter can be quite a bit more comfortable. I use both holsters regularly – depending on firearm, wardrobe, etc., and agree mostly with Tyler’s comments. With respect to comfort, I’ll go back to Clint Smith, I believe, who said carrying a firearm is supposed to be comforting, not comfortable, or something like that.

    BTW, I tend to prefer the C-clips over the standard clips.

    • avatarMadDawg J says:

      Thanks, I am looking for an IDPA holster, so speed does rank higher than comfort for that application, although I might get the MTAC so I can still use it for EDC. I can always add a CTAC to the holster drawer later.

  3. avatarEric says:

    Skinny = Appendix carry. Point the gun at Mr. Happy and be happy:) At least give it a try. All my 3:30=4:00 IWB rigs pushed on my iliac crest and hip, I never found a comfortable one.

    • avatarKR says:

      AIWB seems to work well under these conditions (a) flat belly (b) gun barrel shorter than 4″ (c) never sit down. Standard IWB works for a wider range of male body shapes and gun models. AIWB works great for some, doesn’t work at all for many.

      • avatarEric says:

        (a) Check
        (b) G19
        (c) I sit a bunch. Depends on the holster, but it can dig into you while sitting.

      • avatarRalph says:

        +1, DD.

        I drank the Remora koolaid a while back and I am totally sold.

        http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/02/ralph/gear-review-remora-%e2%80%9cno-clip%e2%80%9d-holster/

        • avatarPhrederick says:

          Can anyone venture a guess as to how well the Remora’s would work for a small (5’8″ 140lb) person with a somewhat heavy old gun (my only handgun I have is an old cz75b I picked up pre-owned but unfired from a relative for $120, it’s a bit hard for a smaller guy like me to conceal though and I can’t afford a P-01 yet on a student’s budget).

          I’m looking at the Remora holsters, but the fasteners don’t look very secure. Makes me worried how well they’d handle a heftier gun.

        • avatarRalph says:

          Phrederick, I have never used the Remora “tuckable” model, just the standard “no clip.”

          Check with Alan Bogdan at Remora to see if you can return the holster if it doesn’t work for you.

        • avatarTxwiz says:

          OK, I very seldom comment, but it irritates me when dozens of average size (if underweight) guys cry about being a “smaller guy”. Boo Hoo. I am 5′ tall and weight 170, no where is there ever a review that “fits” a real “small guy”.

        • avatarKR says:

          The problem with the Remora is the slowness in reholstering. While the ability to reholster quickly isn’t that important for an armed citizen, it’s important if you actually plan to practice your draw more than once (which you should do, since a fast safe draw to a good first hit comes from lots of perfect practice). Holsters that collapse when you draw from them, that are PITA to reholster back into, make it difficult and possibly dangerous to train (if you end up covering your hand with the muzzle as you open the holster with one hand and put the gun in with the other.) The review you linked to doesn’t address that training/practice issue at all, which is a major oversight IMHO.

  4. avatarMichael B says:

    I prefer the MTAC. It’s fast and comfortable.

  5. avatarKR says:

    I wear the CTAC at 3 oclock with a straight draw. 99% of the people that buy the CTAC don’t ever experiment with the 5 levels of adjustment, front and back, and just run it as it comes out of the box. The real benefit of the CTAC (and MTAC) design, compared to most holsters, is that range of adjustment. For example, I run my CTAC with the gun riding one notch higher than the factory settings, because that gets the grip farther above my belt and lets me get a full firing grip more easily. The CTAC isn’t designed specifically for 4-o’clock carry. With those adjustments it can work at most positions.

    Most people that take the time to experiment with the adjustments find that the CTAC is very comfortable, after you tune it to your body and your preferred carry position and angle.

  6. avatarbrigo05 says:

    Do a leather holster review on Winthrop Custom holsters!!
    Just noticed you do a bunch of kydex reviews and Winthrop is an affordable company to do a quality leather review on.. jus’ sayin…

  7. avatarPhrederick says:

    Thank you Tyler, I’d like to see some more holster reviews from other thin body-typed people, almost all the ones I can find are from “OFWG”s.

  8. avatarAPBTFan says:

    I’d love a CTAC for my Thunder 45 but they don’t make one. Just sent them an email pleading for one.

  9. avatarOarsman says:

    I’m about 6′-1″, 180 lbs, 33 inch waist, 33 inch inseam, so I’m almost a twin to the article’s author. I find the CTAC plenty comfortable enough to conceal a full-size steel 1911 all day (at 4:00), and then use it for IDPA a couple nights a week. This holster is a WIN. Plus, Comp-Tac ships out their products with a roll of Smarties®.
    Can’t get better than that.

    • avatarSpade says:

      I’ll do you one better.

      I’m 6’1″, 170 lbs, 32/34-34 pants (depending) and I find the CTAC plenty comfortable enough to EDC a Beretta 92FS.

  10. avatarJoe H. says:

    Put some moleskin on the backside of the holster. It will help improve comfort and the added thickness is negligible. I’m 6’1″ 170lbs 32/34 (tall and lean) and have no problem with the ctac as it was out of the box, but I loved it even more after this simple modification.

  11. avatarMike Geney says:

    I have a CTAC for my S&W 1911 and it’s pretty awesome.

    My only complaint is that the bit of holster that covers the safety has a habit of digging in to my side… But that’s be cause I need to lose weight, no illusions there.

    I tried adjusting it down lower which made it instantly more comfortable, but also made it impossible to get a proper grip.

    The CTAC is pretty incredible but if you’ve got any amount of love-handles going on it may not be for you.

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