Gear Review: Versacarry Concealed Carry Device (Take Two)

I’ve had my own opportunity to wear, test and review the Versacarry, er, ‘holster’ thingy that Tony likes and Tyler doesn’t, and I thought I should share my own observations about this very unique concealed-carry method. First, as Tyler noted, this is NOT a holster. It doesn’t ‘contain’ a handgun, although it does retain it securely (with the help of your pants) and it shields but it doesn’t enclose its trigger guard. But . . .It offers excellent concealment and rapid presentation. The downside: it cannot be re-holstered unless you pull it out of your pants and use both hands to carefully re-mount the pistol before stuffing the whole rig back inside your waistband.

It’s not meant for most guns, and probably not for most shooters.

Its design reflects an almost-Bauhaus level of minimalism: it is but a bent plastic bar with a muzzle plug at one end, a belt hook at the other and a removable plastic disc (shown here being installed) which partly shields the trigger guard.

There is precedent for an ultra-minimalist ‘holster’ and it goes all the way back to the Second World War. The OSS ‘String Holster’ was no more than a loop of string, slung over your belt and around your pistol to prevent it from falling inside your pants. It was worn by clandestine OSS agents in occupied Europe, and its greatest virtues were that it could be made in the field from found materials, didn’t look like a holster at all and could be instantly discarded without attracting attention from the Gestapo.

Good for the OSS then, but not for us now. Seventy years later, these “virtues” don’t count for much in the civilian CCW market. We want concealment (check), comfort (check), retention (check), and rapid presentation (check), as well as safety and easy re-holstering (uncheck and uncheck.)

Unless you CCW with your shirt carefully tucked in and your pistol on the outside of your shirt, your sweat will get it damp and salty in short order, so you’ll have to perform a daily field-stripping and cleaning. Most holsters don’t require this level of maintenance unless you’re crawling through the jungles of Central America or SE Asia.

I CCW’d with the XL Versacarry for a few days and wore it during an afternoon shooting in the mountains. It did a surprising job of making my full-size 17-round 9mm disappear while we shopped for ammo and sundries, although no holster can make that jumbo-sized pistol grip any less conspicuous than shown here.

The SIG never budged from this position, even when I sprinted a cross-country parkour course between our firing line and my 100-yard targets several times. Presentation was also rapid and positive, but as has been noted elsewhere, it’s completely impossible to re-holster your gun quickly or with one hand. Shooting practice became a PITA until I just gave up on re-holstering and set the cleared and locked-back SIG on top of my range bag between magazines.

My DAO SIG/Sauer is one of the few guns suitable for loaded use with the Versacarry. Single-action and most striker-fired pistols would scare me to death in a Versacarry, because the left-side safety will rub unprotected against your waist, and the trigger guard is only shielded on the outside (non-body) face. There’s basically nothing to prevent your kidney from deactivating your manual safety, and nothing to prevent a wad of Oxford shirt-tail from bunching up in your trigger guard and causing an ND. If you’re doing ‘Appendix Carry’ when this happens, you’re dead.

If the Versacarry isn’t a good choice for Glocks or 1911s, what’s it good for? DA/SA, DAO pistols and revolvers are safe choices, since their long, heavy triggers are exceptionally resistant to holster-induced ADs. Some shooters might be comfortable carrying a long-pull striker-fired gun (e.g., LC9 or PF9) or an XD with a grip safety in a Versacarry, but not me.

I appreciate the innovation and quality construction of the Versacarry and if I had a ‘Small’ model I wouldn’t hesitate to use it with my DAO SIG/Sauer subcompact. If you’ve got the right kind of carry gun (with a stiff and very long trigger pull) and a spare pocket to stash it in lieu of post-DGU re-holstering, you might give it a try.

The Versacarry is firm, comfortable, well-made and discreet. But I can only give it 2.5 stars because of the re-holstering issue and because it’s a poor choice for carrying SA and most striker-fired guns.