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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.

Svelte

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.

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CLICK ANY PHOTO TO SEE FULL SIZE

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.

Adjustment

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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

Concealment

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.

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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.

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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.

Conclusions

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  * * * * *
Flawless.

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  * * * * *
Big fan.

 

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26 Responses to Gear Review: Cook’s Holsters IWB w/ Adjustable Belt Clip

    • If they weren’t so awesome, this would have been a 4-paragraph review instead of a massive non-fiction novel. Actually, three words from your comment — “versatile, minimalist, perfect” — probably could have sufficed as the entire write-up followed by the photos.

      Hopefully there are non-Jeremys who find these holsters appealing as well 😉

    • Looks like I waited too long…price went up three bucks today. They are probably getting TTAG’d into oblivion right now 🙂

    • Absolutely those would fit the bill.

      To be totally clear, I think this holster design would work perfectly fine for even a heavy pistol as long as you have a gun belt. For the cheap, crappy, floppy or even stretchy belts that I often wear then the design is better with a lighter gun like anything lighter than or right around Glock 19 weight I’d say. Anything G19 or otherwise compact/Duty sized like CZ P-07, HK VP9, PPQ, M&P, XD, “carry” 1911’s that are like Commander sized w/ aluminum frame, etc, would be solid with just any normal decent leather belt. Anything heavier, like my CZ SP-01 or a Glock 20 or most steel-framed 1911’s, etc, I’d suggest a “gun belt.”

  1. I’ve had the same Cooks holster as above ( carbon fiber texture ) for my XD Sub for about 6 months. I carry daily, AIWB. I forget I’m wearing it till I sit down and have to adjust a bit. I had an early model of the clip, I suspect it was made of ABS rather than the current Nylon version, as the clip shattered under the adjustment screws from over tightening to prevent rotation. The early screws did not have the cog wheel texture that the current ones do, so they would slip. I contacted Cooks and they replaced the clip and included a new set of screws no hassles. The updated clip and screws work flawlessly. I wear a regular T-shirt over jeans with a nylon shooters belt and don’t print at all.

  2. I watched the vid yesterday when you linked it, but great review either way. Full of good info as always and it answered all the questions I had by the end.

  3. What is the wait time like to get one? I’ve been set on a PJ Holster but keep putting off getting one as they take 4 years to make.

  4. Here’s the thing I see with that holster which would give me pause: if you are toting a gut you’re going to be skin on gun, which is going to suck a lot. For me, who has that problem, if I don’t have a hybrid holster with a rise to intermediate I won’t have a pleasant carry experience. I carry a Crossbreed for my Shield, and one of the versions has a little riser which is always between my gun and my belly.

    • I’m a little concerned about that too. I currently carry my Shield in a pocket holster, but have been looking. Belts and I don’t get along much, but I’m considering this style holster inside the belt but outside the pants, thinking that might be more comfortable. Was looking at the Theis one, maybe now look at this one. I wear long loose shirts mostly, so should be concealed pretty well.

    • The entire back side of it is separated from you by kydex (see this pic). Unless you’re talking about a little more lovin’ such that your skin would be on top of the back of the slide (i.e. cover plate or where the hammer would be on a hammer-fired gun)? In this case, I basically think it’s more comfortable to be on the flat surface of the back of the slide (assuming this is the case with your particular gun, as it is with the Nano for sure) than pushing against a thin but stiff piece of leather. Unless the holster backing wrapped over the back of the slide…

      Regardless of holster style (single or dual clip hybrid, remora, or this Cook’s type), in the winter if I’m wearing a sweater I tuck my t-shirt in first. That’s between me and the holster. In the summer I only wear a light shirt on top — usually a t-shirt but sometimes a button-up — and the holster is IWB. My boxers usually separate me from the pistol, including much of the pistol’s grip. But boxers don’t prevent me from getting a full combat grip on the gun like a holster with a full backing that even extends behind the grip does.

  5. Nice review. Just ordered one for a CM9 in Coyote Brown. If I like it, I’ll order some for some of my other guns. Thanks for the review.

  6. Bob Cook never sent me my holster. It’s been 6 MONTHS. He still has my TAC light and doesn’t reply to my emails. Too busy posting new pics on his website and can’t take care of 1 customer. Buyer beware!

  7. They may be great holsters, but then again I’ll never know. I’m a firm believer that a great product “sells itself” so as you may guess I CAN’T STAND people that SPAM their products all over the comment sections of unrelated articles.
    Case in point: I was just reading another article (about the 2yr old/mother tragedy) when in the middle of otherwise relevant comment section I see a comment and reply to said comment stating how “great this holster is” complete with a link to this review and all…. It’s either somebody trying to peddle a product or tragedy seems to remind certain people of Kydex. I’m going to have to side with the latter.

  8. When every review for Cook’s Tuckable IWB is 5 stars on their Website you can bet something is fishy.  Don’t waste time trying to post anything less.  It won’t get posted. 

    I gave their Tuckable IWB 4 stars out of 5.  Given the amount of time I spent tweaking to get it right I thought that was generous.  I was debating between a 3 and 4.  But they did send me free alternate clip hardware very quickly when I could not find Chicago screws locally.  I wrote the following comments which I feel are completely fair. Still not good enough for Cook to post, I guess:

    “High quality.  Black carbon fiber looks classy.  But…

    The holster fit my LC9S way too tight as received even after loosening the retention screws. Could hardly remove pistol.  I relaxed the fit with a plastic bag and hair dryer as recommended in Cook’s FAQ.  Still tight, you really have to jerk it loose, but acceptable.

    As received, the holster was fitted with a 1/2″ long spacer on a Chicago screw post between the holster and J-clip.  This excessive width caused discomfort carried IWB.  Photos on Cook’s Website do not show such a spacer with the J-clip. 

    I could not find any Chicago screws locally let alone shorter ones.  I contacted Customer Support and they immediately sent hardware to make it like their photo.  The result is the assembly thickness is narrowed by over 3/8″. 

    I did not like the J-clip because all the weight is supported by the waistband of your pants.  My bad on this point.  I replaced the J- clip with a polymer Comp-tac C-clip. I attached it to the holster thru the top hole in the clip and cut off the clip holes below that. The result is a much more comfortable and stable IWB carry.  (Cook’s  Open OWB/IWB Belt Loop or other over the belt type would work the same.  It would just be slightly more difficult to take on and off.)”

  9. I noticed there is only one screw to tighten or loosen holster and others makers have two. Anyone know why and what works better ?

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