What do most concealed carriers want? A custom hybrid holster without the custom price. Unlike many states that allow open carry, California, among others, is all about keeping it on the down low. We fret and fear unnaturally about printing and even leave our regular carry guns at home in the heat of summer to keep from getting the smackdown from Johnny Law. I personally hate compact pistols. Go ahead and unleash the hounds on me, it is what it is. They don’t feel right in my hand and I prefer a full frame, larger caliber gun. I like to have confidence in what I’m carrying and a pocket pistol built on a compact frame just doesn’t do it. That’s where Tango-7 Tactical came to the rescue for me . . .
Now I can carry a full-sized M&P .40 with shorts and a T-Shirt without fear of printing. Because I too have the middle aged spread thing going on, I wear belts with my shorts, so it works as advertised in keeping me on the right side of the law.
Tango-7 actually makes a variety of designs, but for this test we got two. I got the patriot for my M&P and my partner in crime, Trish “Boom Boom” Mancini, got the ever-so-fashionable Declaration (with Swarovski Crystal) from Tango-7’s sister site, Well Dressed Guns, for her GLOCK 19. If you want to spice up your concealed carry fashion sense, the ladies have a few more options in the Kydex department. Besides colored Kydex, they also have three different designs featuring crystalline bling.
This was one of the first inside-the-waistband hybrid holsters I’ve owned. I’ve played around with some others, but this was the first one I planned to wear everywhere. The only time I expected to take it off was when I went to sleep or was otherwise unable to carry. As for comfort, the holster felt great. Despite the middle-age spread thing I have going on, it didn’t rub me the wrong way anywhere and I never experienced my heater digging into my skin. As the humidity and heat rose in the central valley, I experienced some sweat buildup, but at the time I was wearing jeans and a shirt working with horses, so I was sweating plenty anyway.
For those of you who have custom grips, no worries. The Patriot’s leather backing covers much of the grip area. This will prevent you from looking like you have a nasty case of the shingles, and you can be confident in your daily carry. The forward cant is an aggressive 25 degrees for a three o’clock carry. Most other manufacturers run more in the neighborhood of about 15 degrees, but that forward angle helps keep larger pistols from printing. Adjusting the Patriot’s belt clips will allow you to customize the cant for maximum comfort.
At first glance Trish was a little worried that the Declaration would sit a little high on her short frame, thus making it uncomfortable. I’m happy to report that wasn’t an issue and she loved how it felt during her action pistol competition. Retention was good and she felt really confident in how it sat. One minor complaint: she wears a wide 2-inch belt rather than a more typical 1 3/4-incher. That won’t work with the Declaration’s clips so she had to do some retail therapy to get a thinner belt. I won’t tell her that the IDPA rules call for a 1 3/4 inch belt if you don’t.
Mark Cohen from Tango-7 tells me this small family-run business really is making custom holsters. When you order, they build it for you. You can even get adjustment on retention strength, or other design changes. I asked Mark about the thickness of the Kydex. Thicker, the said, does not always mean better. Mark stated that their Kydex is a little thinner than some mass-produced holsters because it gives them a quality mold with better retention than the other guys. The strength is still there, though, so no cracking issues. Their leather isn’t quite as thick either. The reality is that we are all shaped a little different and having a supple leather backing to conform to you makes it that much more comfortable.
And these aren’t bargain basement rigs. Their general rule is to stay under $100 dollars so that most can afford them. I look at it this way: it’s like buying a good pair of boots. My Luccheses were a splurge but worth every penny in the long run. If you are wearing it daily, and it needs to fit and work right, then it is worth a little more. For those of you who are present or past military or law enforcement, Tango-7 offer a 10% discount. Just give them a call for the discount code.
While Trish and I had no issues with quality, I got call from Mark saying they had received a single report of rivet failures. Based on this they jumped into action and replaced the rivets for all the customers with those same rivets. This was a company taking action on a single user issue. That’s not something you hear about every day. Within a day I got an empty box in the mail to ship mine back for repair. Customer service gets an A+ in my book.
Bottom line: if you have a special gun or a special request, give them a call. These really are custom holsters and if there is something you want that’s specialized or out of the ordinary, they can make it happen. Their quality, fit and finish are good. These are standard practical holsters designed for comfort and concealability. Being practical is not a bad thing. They have a job to do and they do them well using quality traditional materials.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Comfort: * * * * *
No pinching, rubbing or nasty metal bits digging into you. That’s very much a good thing. I also drive almost four hours a day. Being comfortable while sitting is a big issue, and the Tango-7 performed admirably. Not having my M&P’s super-grippy grip biting into my side was a welcome addition. Or subtraction.
Value: * * * *
Not a bargain basement holster. This is a quality custom holster for a decent price made by a family-run business in America.
Concealability: * * * * *
An IWB that hugs you tighter than an Israeli super model will…in your dreams.
Overall: * * * *
While the cant of the pistol may require a little practice on the draw and re-holster, the holster works just as advertised. The quality is there and the interaction and friendly folks make it more like family and not some big company.