As concealed carry becomes increasingly popular, people are finding ingenious ways for new converts to the every-day-carry lifestyle to tote their firearms more discretely and more securely. Tyler Kee and Chris Dumm have each provided their input on a device from VersaCarry that was, until that point, the smallest viable option for packing a gun, but didn’t provide a whole lot in terms of retention or safety. In fact, Tyler and Chris went out of their way to NOT call it a holster, because it really isn’t. Today I present a more refined option from a local gun shop here in San Antonio (Alamo Tactical) that has taken the basic components of a holster and distilled them down to their smallest form . . .
According to the competition shooting sports, the basic definition of a holster is a device with the ability to carry a gun securely while completely covering the trigger guard. Everything else is just…extra. So the boys at Alamo Tactical took a jigsaw to a typical kydex holster and sliced out everything that didn’t absolutely need to be there, and what was left is a small slip of molded plastic that hits all the major requirements of an inside-the-waistband concealed carry holster.
The tiny clip covers the trigger guard and the ejection port of the firearm, and that’s about it. The gun clips securely into the holster, and then you can slide it into your waistband. They offer two models of this holster, one that places the weight on your belt and another that places the weight on your pants. They also come in black and tan, to match your wardrobe for the day.
Because this device actually covers the trigger guard, I can call it a holster. In fact, it’s USPSA legal. And because it meets those minimum requirements it’s safe to carry cocked and locked (condition 1). The fact that the trigger guard is covered means that even in the unlikely event that both the manual safety and the grip safety on a 1911 are defeated by some object or by your movements on the dance floor one night, it is nearly impossible for the trigger to be pulled as well. QED the holster is safe enough for normal every day use. It’s no different than using one of those generic leather IWB holsters, one of which I wore for almost a year with my full size 1911.
In the field, safety didn’t seem to be an issue for me. The holster kept the gun in place, and the safety remained firmly engaged the entire time I wore it. I never even had to re-position the holster once properly placed, but then again I did have to tighten down my belt quite a bit.
When slipped into your pants, the holster is rather uncomfortable. That’s because it’s just the gun pressing up against you and nothing in between — no padding, no molded kydex, that’s all. If the gun itself isn’t particularly form fitting or has rough edges, you’ll know it. But the flip side of that issue is that this holster allows you to present the smallest profile possible while carrying. There’s no extra material to stick out or cause bulges. It’s just you and the gun.
Keeping that gun in position can be a hassle, though. The minimal design means that you can endlessly adjust the cant of the grip and the position in your waistband, but it also takes more pressure to keep it in place. It has a tendency to slip around a tad, so you’ll need to cinch your belt a hair tighter than normal.
There is one glaring issue, of course: you can’t re-holster.
That’s what killed the VersaCarry, the fact that you couldn’t easily re-holster. Instead, you need to remove the device, clip your gun back in, and re-insert it into your pants. Alamo Tactical’s holster has the same issue as the VersaCarry, but really that would be the case for any of the cheap leather IWB holsters as well. In the grand scheme of things it’s probably a small issue, since the probability of needing to reholster isn’t high, but it might steer you towards a full holster design instead if that worries you.
In the end, Alamo Tactical’s holster is the height of minimalism. It gets you some bonuses in less weight and reduces profile, but it has some drawbacks in terms of re-holstering and comfort. At the end of the day, though, it does the job and does it on the cheap.
Alamo Tactical Minimalist Holster
Types: Pants or belt based carry
Colors: Black, flat dark earth
Overall Rating: * * * *
For $25, I can overlook the comfort issues. There are times when I need a quick and dirty IWB holster, and this would fill that niche quite nicely. But the inability to re-holster is an issue.