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I’m a somewhat recent convert to the world of appendix carry and while I agree that it isn’t the most comfortable method of carry, it does win out in the categories of concealability, retention, and speed on the draw. You may or may not agree, and that’s fine. But for me, AIWB is my preferred method of carry. Normally, I carry my piece in a CompTac 2 O’Clock AIWB holster. At $60, its a good buy, but money’s tight these days, so a less expensive option is always worth consideration. Enter NorCal Kydex’s Humboldt Hideaway AIWB holster . . .

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When NorCal’s owner, Ori Wheeler, offered to ship me a holster for a review, I sent him the info on my pistol, but Ori didn’t list the XD(m) as a model on his website. I wasn’t about to ship my pistol to California, so I offered to send him a blue gun (a 4.5) that Farago had loaned me for the mold.

Once the blue gun arrived and my holster was complete, Ori asked if he could keep the blue gun for future molds. I gave him the go-ahead and a few days later, my HH showed up in my mailbox. Now it seems that Ori has extended the offer to everyone. Check out his blue gun trade-in offer if you’re interested in a holster for a gun he doesn’t currently make.

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The HH itself is a finely made piece of kit. NorCal claims to use .080 Kydex in their holsters, and it’s evident placed side-by-side with the CompTac which uses the thicker thermoplastic – CompTac. But that relative thinness doesn’t seem to compromise rigidity at all, and one-handed reholstering is still very easy to accomplish. And what it allows is a slightly slimmer profile that weighs just a bit less than a thicker holster might.

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As you can see, the HH has no trouble concealing my XD(m) 3.8 Compact. The HH maintains an adequate ride height, but like most AIWB holsters, it sits a tad low for us younger guys who don’t wear our pants just under the navel. This really only becomes a problem when seated, so I usually hike up my pantaloons a bit before I sit down.

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Also worth noting, my HH came with a 1.75″ belt clip. It’s pictured here on a CompTac Kydex Reinforced Belt which is 1.5 inches wide. Ori offers 1.5 inch clips, but for some reason, I forgot to specify that. By bad. It isn’t the end of the world, but it does mean that retention of the holster/gun combo isn’t quit as secure as it would be with a 1.5 inch clip. Be sure to order the right one.

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Specifications: 

  • Type: Appendix IWB
  • Belt Clip: Overhook (1.5″ & 1.75″) as well as Pull the Dot
  • Color: Black, Coyote Brown, OD Green, Storm Gray, Carbon Fiber, Arctic White
  • Price: $40 (optional features extra)

 

Ratings (out of five stars):

Fit, Finish, Feel * * * * *
If this holster were priced in the $100 range, I’d probably give it four stars, but at $40, you’d be hard pressed to find a better built holster. Ori does great Kydex work evidenced by the nicely fitted seams, rounded edges and near-perfect fit for my XD(m). I really don’t have any complaints other than the oversized belt clip, and honestly, that’s on me.

Comfort * * * * *
The only more comfortable AIWB holster I’ve used is a leather Don Hume H715. As far as Kydex AIWB go, this has been the most comfortable for my body type.

Concealability * * * * *
I never had any issues with printing other than the whole rig moving around a bit due to that oversized belt clip. Have I mentioned that it was my fault?

Overall Rating * * * * *
This is a fine holster, and perfect for those who just want to try AIWB or those already committed to the practice. I’d highly recommend Ori’s work.

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21 Responses to Gear Review: NorCal Kydex Humboldt Hideaway AIWB Holster

  1. Man that thing rides up really high, kind of like the INCOG which is another Appendix holster I looked at lately. My crossbreed rides on the lowest possible holes so that its a little deeper in the pants, only way I found for it to be comfortable and Im still a YSWG.

    The holster just looks like a brick with all that kydex, maybe it feels different wearing it, I only can tell from the pics on how high it rides, you seem to like it.

    • My thoughts as well.

      I don’t like holsters that ride too high appendix, the gun sticks you in ribs when you bend forward.

      Lower is better-er.

  2. I want to like appendix carry, but the handful of times I’ve tried it, I’ve never been thrilled with the results.

    It’s not as physically comfortable or nearly as concealable as strong side carry or kidney carry.

    • Eh, if you have an athletic(ish) physique 3:00 carry looks fairly obvious. That’s coming from someone who carries 3:00 80% of the time. When I won’t be wearing a jacket, the AIWB becomes much more desirable. As I wear a jacket 5 days a week to work, I keep it strong side at least 5 days a week. I might check out one of these for my shield for summer carry.

    • AIWB is the only way I can easily conceal in a t-shirt with a wife beater type shirt under in the summer time, everything else prints like crazy.

  3. As always, no revolver model offered. There really are a LOT of J-frames on belts everywhere – so why are they uniformly ignored by all of the Kydex holster makers?

  4. Hi Everyone!

    There’s been a few minor design changes since I’ve sent this holster to Tyler.

    The sweat guard goes up a little higher on both sides, and the overhooks come with multiple holes for height adjustment.

    I do also offer height and belt size adjustable strut and pull-the-dot loops.

    I can also do 1-sided sweat guards, though it’s not offered on the website yet. You can always email with any questions or custom inquiries.

    AIWB carry is definitely not for everyone, but those of us that carry that way have a hard time switching to something else.

    ALSO, Leadbelly, a J-Frame is next! I’ve been meaning to get a mold for one soon, and will do it immediately.

    Thanks again, and feel free to email me with any questions.

    • Ori, I notice the Glock model is sized for the G19. I carry a G26, and don’t like having extra material on a carry holster that serves no purpose. I always wonder why holster makers don’t size for the smallest model of a gun. Personally, I don’t mind the barrel sticking out of the end, but that’s just me.

      • It started that way to be a kind of “one size fits all” holster. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but as I’ve started to make holsters for smaller guns (Shield, XDs, P938, etc.), it doesn’t really make sense to do it that way anymore.

        So, I’ll change it on the website today, as I have no problem cutting the holster shorter to accomodate a G26. In the meantime, feel free to email me beforehand if you decide to place an order, and I can definitely do it for you.

        Part of the reason for not making it for the smallest size is that many people don’t like the front sight exposed. They worry that it could catch on their clothes during a draw.

        I believe the j-frame mold I will be getting is only for a 642/442 size. I’ll double check if it can do any others besides that.

        Thanks!

    • Also, will your J-frame accommodate the slightly beefier S&W 640 in .357 mag? Some J-frame holsters I’ve tried are too tight for a .357; others fit both with no problem. If it can hold a 640, I’m there!

    • “AIWB carry is definitely not for everyone, but those of us that carry that way have a hard time switching to something else.”

      Truer words have never been spoken, I’m an appendix guy now and there’s no going back.

  5. First, I thought Appendix carry for righties was 11:00, Tyler is at 01:00-02:00 in photo #5.

    Looking for an opinion while on the subject of AIWB.
    Agreed, it is a faster and more natural to cross hand draw but as soon as you lift your shirt, the jig is up and an adversary will reflexively understand your motion as “going for a gun”. While 04:00-05:00 does not reveal the gun until it is presented. As in the case of a mugging, you’re just going for your wallet as the bad has demanded and is easier to disguise your motion.
    Any opinion?
    BTW, my wife AIWB’s because that where it fits the best for her, without any draw considerations

    • You cannot really know what situation you find yourself. If some dude is approaching you with a knife, then a faster draw is an advantage and AIWB would be favored. The scenario you present is someone already is threatening you with a drawn weapon. Either way, drawing on a drawn weapon is a gray area.

  6. I’ve never found any kind of IWB carry comfortable. But the most comfortable of the uncomfortable, for me, is the cross-draw. With the pistol canted toward the belt-buckle it relieves the pressure against the leg and the belly both, but the belt still has to be kept too tight if you want it to hold up your pants. Not too bad standing, but sure hurts sitting. But that’s for me–every-body’s built differently.

  7. Does anybody have a good suggestion for a OWB for a Sig M11 A1, preferably made out of Kydex? I’ve been looking around and they seem either redicilously expensive or the reviews state they didn’t quite fit the gun entirely. any advice is much appreciated

  8. I almost exclusively carry AIWB and holster selection is always a difficult thing. A slight shift this way or that makes all the difference in comfort.

    Problem for me is balancing ride height and concealability. Higher riding holsters offer better combat grips, but especially for smaller pistols (e.g., Shield), that can lead to the top rotating out (especially if you have a bit of the middle age paunch action going on) and printing like crazy. Lower ride height helps with concealability, as the handle rides closer to the beltline, but that compromises the combat grip.

    For my G19, I’ve had good results with CCC Shaggy; still looking for the right holster for the Shield. Perhaps the Norcal could work.

    Oh, and I envy Tyler’s flat stomach. Would make AIWB much, much easier.

    Question for fellow AIWB’ers. Where do you guys carry your extra magazine(s)?

  9. I know you asked about AIWB’s only and I’m not one, but I carry my extra magazine in my rear pant pocket. Next to my Kershaw Blur. Reachable primarily by my support hand. What I want though is a little wider holster with a provision for an extra magazine. I think that would be convenient. And really, as big as two clip holsters like Crossbreed and Alien Gear make I would think you could fit a magazine spot on already. Don’t see many like that. Maybe I can get one made.

    • N8thecowboy, Carrying an extra mag attached to the holster as you’re requesting only really works with AIWB. INCOG by G-Code Holsters is what you’re looking for. Mine is on the way so I have no experience but the mixed reviews led me to try it. I’m migrating from my AWESOME Crossbreed @ 4 o’clock of many years to AIWB due to possible back problems. It’s an experiment.

  10. can one buy your belt clips separately? price per pair? Thanks for any additional information.

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