You’re looking at my new EDC holster, an “IWB w/ Adjustable Belt Clip” from Cook’s Holsters. I picked up the Beretta Nano version for testing in July and liked it so much that I couldn’t live without buying another one for my Taurus TCP. These things are beautifully simple, flawlessly finished, and add almost nothing to the footprint or thickness of a pistol, yet they offer quite a bit of adjustment options. For a lightweight pistol, this design is far and away my preference, and here’s why . . .
I’ve packed my Nano in a pretty good assortment of IWB holsters since I picked it up about 2.5 years ago, but have previously gravitated towards holsters with something flexible on the body-facing side. For most of this period, my go-to was a single-clip hybrid much like the Theis EZ-Clip I reviewed not long ago. However, the Nano occasionally found its way into a Remora for IWB and sometimes pocket carry. At first, since my previous carry experience was with a larger, significantly heavier pistol, the Nano went on a dual-clip hybrid holster. In my case a White Hat, but it’s similar in basic format to dozens of other holsters on the market from CrossBreed to Alien Gear (actually, I’ve been carrying Alien Gear’s Cloak Tuck 2.0 with three different guns for a couple weeks now and will review that in another month or so).
Right away I found a dual clip holster of that sort to be completely excessive for a small gun. With a large pistol — and by large I mostly just mean heavy — two clips help to distribute the weight on your belt and that backing does a good job of spreading out the weight and keeping much of it off your belt in the first place. But they’re a PITA to put on and to take off, and all of that extra surface area serves no purpose with a lightweight pistol but to bother you in various ways.
I then downsized to a single clip hybrid plus the occasional Remora (the TCP lived in a Sticky Holster, as my local shop carried that rather than Remora, and saw mostly pocket carry) and was completely happy. That is, until July, when I tried out the Cook’s IWB.
Putting a pistol in a holster means adding to its size. If you’re sticking that holster in your waistband, any extra thickness, height, and width will be noticed.
Cook’s IWB is molded about as close to the lines of the host gun as can be. There’s just enough of a ridge on the top to allow for sight clearance, there’s a small flap of kydex in front of the trigger guard to allow for retention adjustment (more on that later), and the kydex wraps around the muzzle a bit for protection. It otherwise doesn’t pass the edges of the pistol, with the kydex trimmed exactingly along the bottom of the trigger guard, over the magazine release to protect it from accidental depression, and then up to the back of the slide to protect it from you and you from it.
Standard kydex thickness is 0.080″, but Cook’s will whip up the holster in 0.060″ or 0.093″ for an extra $5. I called the owner to discuss these options when picking up the Nano holster, and he talked me into sticking with their standard.
This I found to be basically perfect and it’s definitely the choice for like 95% of applications. It’s stiff enough to give a really positive “snick” when the gun snaps into place, it’s extremely tough and durable, and the retention adjustment is very effective. I have a handful of other kydex holsters that use thicker kydex and it now bothers me. Cook’s standard choice hits that balance of durability, retention, and slimness right on the head.
For the TCP, however, which is such a freakin’ thin gun, I decided to give the lighter stuff a shot. Although I’d probably order the 0.060″ again for any other teeny micro compact .380-type guns, it flexes much more easily and doesn’t offer the same satisfying retention click without some assistance from your belt squeezing down on it to some degree. I have no fears of it breaking, but would not choose it for pistols larger than the mouse gun category.
Cook’s IWB w/ Adjustable Belt Clip is adjustable for cant as well as for retention. Ride height (depth in your waistband) is not adjustable, but Cook’s will gladly build yours with a custom ride height and there’s a field for requesting that as well as for uploading a photo of your desired ride height on the product page. Both of my holsters are in the standard ride height, and it’s right where I’d put it anyway.
To adjust for cant, simply loosen the mounting screws on the belt clip and then pivot it one way or the other. With the belt clip removed, you can see how nice and simple the design for this is:
Additionally, the range of cant adjustment is more than I’m used to seeing among holsters that offer adjustment. Basically from 0 to about 23 degrees, which allows it to work in a much broader range of locations along your belt and can help prevent printing:
Retention is adjusted by tightening down or loosening up on the screw in front of the trigger guard. This squeezes the two sides of the clamshell closer together or allows the rubber grommet in the middle to spread them farther apart.
I absolutely love the positive “click” sound and feel you get when inserting a pistol into a kydex shell like this, and I like the fact that I can turn it upside down and shake it a bit and the gun stays put. However, they still draw very smoothly.
Fit & Finish
This is the nicest finished kydex I have ever seen. All edges are rounded and smoothed out and there are no flashings/shavings or tool marks. Check out the round edges in the grommet photo above. The cut is perfectly precise. For instance, it’s so flush with the bottom of the trigger guard that it’s not easy to tell when your finger slides from gun to holster and back.
Molding is perfect. Retention is spot on and they haven’t dipped the kydex into the trigger guard. I’ve seen a lot of holsters where the trigger shape actually shows in the mold and the kydex is indented behind the trigger, which seems like a possible ND waiting to happen. The Cook’s is exactly as I would want it in every last way.
Due to the extremely small footprint and the holster’s ability to hold the gun snugly to your body, plus the generous cant adjustment, concealment is basically as good as it gets. I don’t mind a clip that goes over my belt like these do, but for folks who don’t even want the clip visible externally there are options for that. Additionally, Cook’s makes a tuckable version of this holster that allows you to tuck your shirt between the holster and its clip.
If you want, you can also run holsters like this outside of your waistband but under your belt (not pictured).
Every Day Carry
As you can see in the photo above, I am not wearing a gun belt. In fact, it’s a cheapo stretchy belt from Target. The Nano is just light enough to get away with this and is totally solid on even a cheap, floppy leather belt. My normal attire would be jeans, this belt, and a t-shirt (untucked. It’s only tucked in for the purposes of that photo).
If you’re going to carry a pistol that’s a decent amount heavier, I’d suggest going with a stiffer belt or a legit “gun belt” (e.g. a leather one with stiffening insert or something like the Wilderness Tactical Instructor Belt I use for competition). Whereas a hybrid holster with leather backing tends to spread out the weight more and stick to your person a bit more, the slicker kydex doesn’t do this as much so your belt is going to do a bit more work. I’ll continue to use a hybrid style holster for heavy pistols, but only because I don’t enjoy wearing a gun belt on a normal, day-to-day basis. If I didn’t mind the stiffer belt I’d have a Cook’s IWB for all of my pistols.
Another benefit of this model, thanks both to its slim size and its smooth design, is that it’s a cinch to put on and to take off. No need to unbuckle your belt or do anything more extreme. Just stick the holster in your waistband and be done with it. Lift up on the bottom of the belt clip to pull the entire rig out. In and out, easy as pie. Of course, the flat ridge inside the belt clip ensures that it won’t pop over your belt unless you want it to.
Again, the Cook’s IWB adds almost nothing to the pistol’s footprint so it’s as unlikely as possible that you’re going to be poked or prodded somehow. I have trimmed the backings of leather and hybrid holsters in the past, because the leather has jabbed into me — sometimes multiple inches away from the firearm. That’s a good sign that your holster is adding too much size to the gun. What the Cook’s piece does add to the footprint, it rounds out. Many of the pistol’s square edges and corners are now covered in rounded out, smooth kydex.
The next step in creating a smaller holster is going to the trigger-guard-only style. Those have their applications, but for IWB carry it’s difficult to argue with muting hard edges and covering the slide and controls with a smooth surface. Plus the obvious sweat and gun oil barrier provided by the kydex, protection for the magazine release, etc.
For lightweight pistols with any ol’ belt, it doesn’t get better than this. I won’t be going back. It’s just so comfortable, so slim, and so very easy to put on and take off. For heavier pistols, I’d suggest either a hybrid holster or a stiffer belt, at your preference. If I eventually come across a stiff belt that I don’t find uncomfortable for daily wear, it’ll be Cook’s IWB w/ Adjustable Belt Clips for CCW across the board in my safe.
Quality and comfort here are absolutely top notch.
Specifications: Cook’s Holsters IWB Holster w/ Adjustable Belt Clip
- MSRP: $54.95 in most colors and standard format
- Colors/Patterns: Available in 35 color and pattern options
- Gun Models: Available for dozens of models
- Location: Can be worn basically anywhere IWB or OWB
- Cant: Adjustable from approximately 0 degrees to 23 degrees of cant
- Ride Height: Not adjustable, but can be built to custom ride height specs
- Materials: Kydex in standard 0.080″, 0.060″, or 0.093″ thickness
Ratings (out of five stars):
Build Quality * * * * *
The best kydex finishing I’ve seen. Made in Georgia, U.S.A.
Fit * * * * *
Comfort * * * * *
A heavy pistol may benefit from the surface area provided by a hybrid style holster, but for a small pistol this thing rocks harder than a convertible on prom night.
Customize This * * * * *
Although there are plenty of selectable options on the product page, Cook’s will work with you on custom requests. J hooks, C hooks, other kydex thicknesses, colors, or patterns, custom cuts (e.g. leave the mag release uncovered or don’t wrap around the muzzle at all, etc), and more are all possible.
Overall * * * * *