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I used to work with a guy who would occasionally reference the one that got away. A woman so good, so pure, and so joyous that he spent the rest of his life a confirmed bachelor (in the Victorian sense). In a startling coincidence, I have also had one get away. Not a woman, of course, but a holster. She was a Don Hume, and a real beauty at that. Fitted perfectly for my Glock 19, it was the most comfortable I’ve tried, allowing me to carry a nearly full-sized pistol in the appendix position. I don’t know what made it so good, but I regret every day that I let it go. And all the Kydex girls in the world will never compare to that homely looking Don Hume . . .

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The only Kydex holster that has ever come close is the Custom IWB from DARA Holsters & Gear. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes this one so good, but I’ve tried at least half a dozen Kydex IWB rigs, trying to find the perfect set-up, and this is far and away the best one I’ve ever used. Perhaps its the higher ride height, or maybe the wider belt clip, but this is flat out a fantastic carry rig.

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The path to success starts at the DARA website. There you can almost infinitely configure your holster making selections for firearm (lots), your light/laser (lots), color (5 choices), draw hand & position (all of them), belt attachment style and size (12 options), ride heigh (low, medium, high), and finally, cant (6 options).

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I elected to go with a medium ride height, appendix carry model with the clip over style attachment in all black sized for my XD(m) 3.8. Rest easy though, it does just fine with the longer barreled 4.5 model as well.

Retention of the gun is secure and can be fine-tuned using the included Philips screw. Mine was perfect out of the box, but your mileage could certainly vary.

On the body, I found the wide clip did a great job keeping the gun balanced horizontally, though it did allow a bit of wiggle. In my mind, this is a feature as it allows for some creature comfort. The clip over style attachment system does a great job holding onto your belt of choice, while still being slick enough internally to allow repositioning throughout the day.
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In the pants, the DARA holster is very unobtrusive, hugging the gun closely so as not to create any unnecessary width. Sitting, standing, running, and jumping are all easy to accomplish and don’t seem to dislodge things.

As you’d expect there’s full coverage of the trigger, but no extra material that can get in the way of a proper grip from the holster. Additionally, all the edges had been smoothed so fabric snags were non-existent. I was able to easily get a solid grip without issue.

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Ratings (out of five stars):

Overall Rating * * * * *
DARA has done a fine job creating about the most comfortable Kydex AIWB holster I’ve ever used. If you’re thinking about switching to the appendix position, you’d be hard pressed to find something better to start with. At $52, the DARA model is certainly on the pricier end of things, but it’s extraordinarily customizable, exceedingly stout, and dare I say mighty comfortable.

27 Responses to Gear Review: DARA Holsters & Gear Custom IWB Holster

  1. I will have to check this out. Have never been able to carry in the appendix position comfortably.

    Happy to see someone else carrying the XDM 3.8, which I love, and also happy to see yours has more lint in it than mine does!

    • The comfort of appendix carry in an inverse relationship to waist size. Appendix carry is best for thin folk. I don’t know your waist size, but it may or may not be the holster that is uncomfortable.

        • I am not a “fatty” but I certainly carry too many pounds, and by the time I get an AIWB around the side of the bulge it is jammed into my groin when I sit. Aside from that, this is a very ice looking Kydex holster, far more stylish than the norm.

        • I said appendix carry is uncomfortable for fat people. I did NOT say that appendix carry is not comfortable for you because you are fat. Big dif 🙂

          Just want it known that appendix carry is not for all body shapes.

      • I have a ‘body of a successful lifestyle’ (5’11″/243) and carry appendix just fine. G19 at that. I do find that proper position makes a big difference in my comfort though. 1230-1250 is about perfect. 1300 can be painful depending on which pants I am wearing.

    • I ordered this holster after seeing the review here. Got it in about a month ARO. I have been very pleased with the comfort of appendix carry using this holster and my XDM 3.8 9mm. The only position that is truly uncomfortable is bending over to put socks/shoes on. No biggy and you would expect that. I am 6′ 190.

      I don’t think the concealment is quite as good as my N82 Tactical IWB holster I was wearing, but it’s acceptable. Just can’t wear thin t-shirts or polos with this. I’ve been wearing around 1215-1230. Fits onto belt well and hasn’t come loose. Retention is about perfect as submitted.

      Not related to the holster, but I have to say I’m happy I’ve got that grip safety working for me with the pistol pointed at my junk 12 hours a day!

      Highly recommended.

  2. The holsters look nice. I just visited DARA’s website and am impressed with two things: they offer a choice of rise and a choice of cant. I prefer 20degree forward rake which is not an available option– and is not offered by many holster makers. I called them and they said that they can do it, just write it in the instruction box.

    Will have to give them a try

  3. Great looking rig. Another option is an AIWB hybrid from HarWell Holsters out of Oklahoma.
    Fits my XDS 3.3 .45 ACP like a glove.

  4. Just ordered one for my wife’s LCR 357 … solely based on your review. TTAG’s rep and all that…. Just a shame there wasnt a link to another Israeli model.

  5. I’ve been using two of these for edc for awhile now and I absolutely love them. Great value and I highly recommend them. I actually prefer it over my incog (also great)

  6. Would like to see a review of PJ Holsters and how they compare to the DARA. I don’t have either one, but they both look interesting.

  7. Tyler or DaraHolsters:

    Or anyone else in the know… What is the difference in the Appendix Carry and standard Right Hand Draw holsters option on the Dara website? I know the obvious, position on the body. But if there is an option when customizing the gun, naturally I assume there is a physical difference in the holster itself. I’ve read the FAQ page half a dozen times, no info that I found.

    Good review Kee, I’ll be getting one of these soon, looking forward to being able to try/carry AIWB in this crazy Texas summer heat.

    • I didn’t think about doing that this morning. I started putting in my order around 1 am today.

      The nice lady at Dara Holsters said that no matter the location, cant or draw style, the holster itself stays the same. With all the options, they include intended carry position and draw options so they know the proper cant and ride height for appendix/hip/small of back. It seems strange that they have the option for that, plus separate options for cant and ride height. I was not able to determine from Dara if one option over rides another. With appendix carry, Dara recommends a reverse cant (likely pointing the firearm to an undesirable location) or straight pull. While the holster can move from appendix to hip to SOB, the reverse or straight cant could create problems on the hip. So if you’re a straight pull kinda guy or gal, you’re in luck. But as they all say, your mileage may vary.

      • All the same holster, the ride height and cant angle will make the difference. We have those options because many customers would call in and ask if we had an appendix carry option or a small of back carry option. It’s to help us get an idea of how you want to carry, as well as help the custom when ordering. I know it looks confusing, but if you select where you want to carry and end up selecting a cant angle that wouldn’t be comfortable, we will notify you and ask if you’d like to change it to a more comfortable position.

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