Gear Review: CRT LoPro IWB Holster

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For some odd reason, I seem to have become the defacto tester of Kydex IWB Appendix Carry holsters here at TTAG. A position I relish greatly. There’s a lot of ways to schlep a handgun around, but in the Texas summer, not much is better than appendix carry. There’s no need for anything more than a t shirt and a smile to successfully conceal a nearly full sized handgun. But picking a worthy holster is hard. Leather is best in my opinion, but in the Texas heat, leather gets awful funky, awful fast. For summer wear, you just can’t beat Kydex. And I think that Critical Response Tactical’s LoPro is a pretty solid rig for summer carry . . .

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The LoPro consists of a single piece of Kydex  folded clamshell style, secured with two screws, and mated to a springy clip. The only adjustability in the system is for retention of your heater via the two screws that hold the clamshell together. They can be loosened enough to have the gun drop free and tightened enough so that the gun can’t go anywhere. The clip design is very secure, and while not adjustable for ride height or tension, it does a good job of positioning the gun in a concealable, yet still reachable fashion. Like most appendix holsters, the draw is very fast and smooth coming out of the LoPro.

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Because the LoPro is basically a zero cant IWB holster, it can also be moved around the body as necessary depending on your needs. This is especially nice on a long road trip as you can move the holster/gun combo from the front to the side as necessary. The clip portion seems to be optimized for a standard 1.5″ belt, and rides on top of the belt versus the pant material meaning you can wear a light pair of chinos or bermuda shorts with a sturdy belt while using the LoPro.

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In the above photo, you can see the LoPro compared to a NorCal Kydex AIWB that I reviewed a few months ago. A few things worth noting between the two are that the Kydex body is almost identical between the two, but the clip position puts the clip over the slide vs. the trigger guard. In my very subjective opinion, I feel this balances the pistol a bit better so the gun remains vertical versus rocking back and forth on the belt. This also creates a bit of a bind with the positioning of my GLOCK 19.

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Looking straight down, you can see that since the clip is positioned so much further “left”, it starts to interfere with the buckle of a belt sooner than the clip on the NorCal holster. For most of my pants, this isn’t a deal breaker, but if you’re a slimmer guy, and your belt loops and belt buckle make for a lack of real estate, this holster might present some issues. The opportunity that this creates is the ability to carry at the eleven o’clock position for more of a crossdraw style carry.

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This position keeps the gun very flat to the body and would honestly allow a full sized handgun with a long grip to be carried effectively. It is a little awkward at first, but much like appendix carry in general, it gets comfortable fairly quickly.

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Lastly, the LoPro features one of my favorite IWB holster features, a full sweatguard. I don’t necessarily worry about Gaston’s GLOCK rusting up from my belly sweat, but the more protection the better.

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Specifications: Critical Response Tactical LoPro AIWB Holster

  • Draw: Right or Left
  • Sweat Guard: Yes/No
  • Clip Cant: 0, 10, 15 degree
  • Belt Loop Size: 1.5″
  • Material: .080 Kydex
  • Retention: Adjustable
  • Models Available: GLOCK 17/22/31/19/23/32/26/27/33/36/30s/42
  • Color:
    • Black
    • OD Green
    • Blood Red
    • Coyote Tan
    • Grey
  • Price: $45 ($7 extra for colors other than Black)

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For Dirk

Ratings (out of five stars):

Fit, Finish, Quality * * * * *
This is a very well made holster that showcases excellent quality especially for the $45 price tag. All the edges are very smooth, the hardware is sturdy, and I feel confident this holster will last for years to come.

Comfort * * * *
This is just as comfortable as any other Kydex AIWB holster I’ve tested. There’s no getting around being slightly uncomfortable having a chunk of metal reinforced plastic inside your pantaloons. The clip position means that you’re limited a touch in where you can position the gun on your strong side, but it does allow a weak side crossdraw position that I’ve never been able to use with other holsters.

Overall * * * * *
In a world filled with Kydex Appendix Carry holsters, it is hard to differentiate. I don’t think CRT is doing anything life changing, but they do sell a quality holster at a great price, that does an excellent job of holding your GLOCK at the ready.

comments

  1. avatar Layne says:

    Is anyone else tired of holster reviews by skinny people? We’re known as OFWG’s for a reason. My appendix area is fully occupied already. 🙂

    1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      What are you talking about, I find that a moderate beer gut acts as a perfect standoff to keep my shirt from resting on the grip of my pistol when untucked carrying appendix thus minimizing printing. Mr skinny six pack is going to have an obvious lump near their belt. Same thing with the love handles when carrying 3-5 o-clock. At least thats my excuse for sandbagging at the gym.

    2. avatar Mediocrates says:

      I totally agree. In order to give an effective review, Tyler needs to put on about sixty pounds 😀

      1. avatar E. Zach Lee-Wright says:

        Give him time. He will get there. Just like we did. A little pizza, a little ice cream, hey baby, how about another beer? Oh yeah, time is on our side.

        Remember the song “Put another log on the fire”? The bacon and beans are the weapon Tyler is NOT looking out for.

    3. avatar T.G. says:

      Hey sometimes they have to throw us YSNAG’s (Young Skinny Native American Guys) a review too….Lol

  2. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    um, ok. but how the hell do you sit down?? doesn’t the kydex dig into your rib cage/gut??

    1. avatar Tyler Kee says:

      I updated the review with a picture of me seated with GLOCK. The secret is to get the pistol above the fold at your hips. This is best accomplished by hiking up your pants.

      1. avatar E. Zach Lee-Wright says:

        To your tits.

  3. avatar Great Scot says:

    Appendix carry is an interesting method of carry, and I believe that it is the favoured carry method of spec-ops as it allows you to pull down the zip of a jacket and draw seamlessly without yanking it away to one side.

  4. avatar Puyallup devil doc says:

    Has Tyler been doing squats? Looking good… Lol. I like the idea of appendix carry, but the reality is a 10mm pointing at a lot of things I don’t want a gun pointed at.

  5. avatar Templar says:

    My twig and berries cringe at having firepower pointed in that general area

  6. avatar John Doe says:

    Hah hah I bet you guys are wishing for a manual safety NOW.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Simply relying on the auto’s safety is a false sense of security; I know from extensive personal experience carrying automatics that manual safeties can be pushed to the ‘off’ position by a too snug holster retaining strap, a holster edge near the safety, shifting of the weapon from movement during carrying, or during the act of holstering the weapon. I use leather; that may not be as much an issue with formed, action protected Kydex.

      If carrying a *single action* auto I keep the weapon in a de-cocked position with the hammer ‘half-cocked’, round chambered, safety off. So when engaging, instead of flipping off the safety (and some are ‘stiff’), I simply fully cock the hammer – ready to go. But then I trained and regularly qualified on revolvers, so that motion comes naturally to me – muscle memory.

      If a double action auto, I de-cock or half cock the hammer, safety off, and treat it just like a revolver, deploying either D/A, or completing the cock to fire S/A.

      I don’t simply bet my life on “safeties”; not ever.

  7. avatar Roscoe says:

    I couldn’t imagine an acceptable level of comfort in any *concealed* belt carry position other than the 4 o’clock or 8′ o’clock position, depending on your handing, as shown in the 3rd picture from the top. Cross draw at the 2 or 8 o’clock position with the barrel angled outward away from one’s body; maybe, but that affords less concealment and would likely require a sweatshirt or zippered long jacket.

    Lack of comfort discourages carrying.

    In addition, having the open end of the barrel in close proximity to one’s groin or femoral artery is an absolute non-starter as far as I’m concerned, no matter how safe the gun is or how safe you are with your handling practices.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Please straiten me out on the clock positions. I had assumed that they would be the same as a pilots perspective, that is: 12 o’clock = strait ahead, 3 o’clock = your right side, 6 o’clock = small of your back.
      Thanks.

      1. avatar Roscoe says:

        Yes Gunr, you are correct.

        I mis-spoke on the cross draw positions. The “8 o’clock” position should actually be the *10 o’clock* position; Cross draw at the 2 and 10 o’clock position, pilot’s perspective of course.

        Thanks for asking so I could clarify.

        1. avatar Gunr says:

          Thanks for the comeback. That 8 o’clock position seemed a bit awkward, especially for someone who is not a southpaw.

  8. avatar T says:

    Tyler (or anyone else that appendix carries),

    Do you carry with a round in the chamber? Roscoe’s comment that “having the open end of the barrel in close proximity to one’s groin or femoral artery is an absolute non-starter as far as I’m concerned” got me wondering how many people address that risk by carrying with an empty chamber.

    1. avatar Tyler Kee says:

      Yes, I carry with one in the chamber. I also don’t aggressively reholster in this position ESPECIALLY with a loaded firearm.

    2. avatar Mark says:

      I have appendix carried, with loaded chamber, all of my carrying days (20 years of them), including the 3 here: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/05/daniel-zimmerman/p320-entry-lessons-learned-three-dgus/
      I have always been more comfortable having my piece on the same side of my body as my eyes and hands are naturally operating. Where I do not need to be too overly conscious when bending over or fidgeting with my shirt at the 5 o’clock every time I exit a car.
      I do find it funny that only when the discussion is of appendix carry do some in this community imagine spontaneous (I read: premature) discharges. Just as this recent PCND shows: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/07/robert-farago/passively-constructed-negligent-discharge-story-day-holstered-edition/ and everyone correctly commented guns do not discharge blithely sitting in a holster for no reason regardless if it’s pointing at your junk or some poor innocent civy when serving a warrant.

    3. avatar Alaskan Gunner says:

      I would never carry with an empty pipe. Been carrying a G22 or G17 appendix for 2 years with a Bravo Concealment holster. Once it’s in the holster, you don’t have to worry about anything as far as misfires are concerned. Buy a sturdy holster and learn to trust your equipment!

      I actually think appendix carry is safer than carrying elsewhere. With appendix, you can visually see your empty holster and make sure it’s clear before reholstering. If you’re carrying on your backside, you have to crank your neck way around to check if your holster’s clear of clothing or anything else. Furthermore, your gun is on your frontside. No one is going to snag it off your backside while you’re at the grocery store reaching to the top shelf.

  9. avatar SugarFree says:

    Personally, kydex clips are too bulky, especially when they’re mounted directly to the face of the holster. I have the CompTac Infidel Ultra, which places the clip in the same position. It doesn’t matter where you place the holster, appendix, 4 o-clock, SOB… the clip protrudes too much. Unless I’m wearing a rather baggy cover garment, the clip will print far too much for my liking.

    I much prefer holster designs like Onyx, KingTuk, Minotaur and Crossbreed… a much slimmer profile.

  10. avatar Kevin says:

    I have range of motion issues with my shoulder which makes anything beyond a 3 O’clock carry difficult. (actually it’s not the carry, it’s the draw that becomes the issue) So I almost always use appendix carry in the summer. So far my holster of choice is the N82 tactical but I’m interested in trying the Crossbreed AIWB model.

  11. avatar James Miller says:

    No thanks. I’ll stick with my StealthGear Onyx for Texas summers. Easy breathing and no sweat (well, from the holster anyways).

  12. avatar Gunr says:

    My dealer gave me a cheap IWB holster for my new S&W Sheild. However, I did not want to carry the gun IWB in the usual position. I had a gun fall out of the holster one time in a Home Depot parking lot when I bent over. I initially had planed to purchase a quality holster, but needed to make a prototype. so I would have a pattern to send to a holster maker.
    I used a .080 piece of black styrene. I cut out a piece aprox. 6″ square, mostly rounded at the top. I put this in a pan of boiling water, and formed to a rounded shape to fit my side. Next I cut a slot up from the bottom towards the rear, to clear the belt loop on my right side. I cut a couple of vertical slots and used Velcro to secure the holster to the styrene. Also there are two straps of Velcro that come up from the bottom, over the belt, and secure the whole rig. This “paddle” sits between my pants and my belt. making it an OWB.
    One of the purposes of this rig is that I wanted to get the holster up fairly high on the waist, so it would be comfortable in the sitting position, and easy to draw while in the car.
    Been wearing this thing now for about a week, on my right side, and I really like it. One added bonus is that it keeps the gun from pointing a the “goodie locker'”

  13. avatar bontai Joe says:

    Judging from the photos, my thigh is about the same as Tyler’s waist. No way could I carry a gun as shown in the 6th pic, ’cause my belly do lap over my belt buckle, which would push the muzzle in an even worse direction than shown in that photo. Looks like it would work ok over my right hip.

    Doesn’t anyone use shoulder rigs under a light jacket?

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Joe,
      That’s why I went to the 3 o’clock hip position. I could have gone IWB instead of OWB, but you still gotta wear your shirt tail outside your pants. I feel the OWB on you hip, at 3 o’clock is safer, just in case!

  14. avatar Josiah R B says:

    Thanks for the great review! Could you review a holster by T-Rex Arms? I would really like to see what ya’ll think about their holsters. trex-arms.com

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