First contact with Alien Gear holsters was made almost exactly two years ago, when they invaded the market with a new species of hybrid holster. Now on version 2.0, the Cloak Tuck was hatched to be the most comfortable holster possible, while landing at a price that’s out-of-this-world low. My close encounter of the 2.0 kind started last November. . .
Hybrid holsters are nothing new, usually combining a Kydex outer shell with a leather backing or “base.” It’s supposed to combine the best of two worlds — the comfort and flexibility of leather with the retention, protection, and ease of holstering and drawing of Kydex (along with its rapid and precise forming capability). Alien Gear figured it could do the hybrid galaxy one better, ditching the leather in exchange for a base made of three different sandwiched materials.
Touching your gun is “leatherette” or vinyl or some other form of soft-but-durable, faux cow hide. The core layer is a sheet of ABS plastic, providing vertical stiffness and strength while still easily conforming to the shape of the wearer’s body. Touching you is a layer of neoprene, which is nice and soft as well as completely waterproof.
The end result is successful. This holster is more flexible, more conformable — heck, the neoprene even offers some compression give — and noticeably softer to the touch than leather. While this degree of “floppiness” could be achieved with a thin leather backing — especially horsehide — it wouldn’t be as stiff or as strong where it counts. That thin, flexible sheet of ABS is very rigid on the holster’s vertical axis, which helps it support the weight of a large firearm, and it provides a solid base for the hardware.
I’ve found that the base pretty effectively distributes the weight of the pistol. Maybe not quite as well as a layer of abducted cow, but the edges and corners are less likely to dig into me than with a leather-backed hybrid holster. It also requires no break-in period.
Conforming so well to the shape of one’s body means sucking the pistol in nice and tight. You know, like a tractor beam. It’s designed to be worn at ~4:00, plus or minus an hour. Concealing a CZ SP-01 under just a t-shirt isn’t an easy feat, but I can do it just fine with the Clock Tuck.
Yes, it offers just enough “gription” on the back to hold the weight of a heavy pistol like this even with a stretchy, floppy belt like the one above. No anti-gravity tricks here, though, as it’s arguably the primary benefit of a large-based, dual-clip holster like this.
The Cloak Tuck 2.0 comes with a bunch of hardware, as seen in the lead photo. In addition to some just-in-case spare parts, spacers and bolts of varying lengths are included to allow the end user to adjust for retention strength by moving the Kydex shell closer to or farther from the base as needed.
Just keep in mind that, as with any hybrid holster, retention should be tested while actually wearing the holster. Since the base is flexible, retention is determined in a big way by how one’s body pushes up against it and/or how one’s belt is squeezing the holster against one’s body. This all varies with body shape, holster location, preferred belt tightness, etc. Alien Gear’s system of what appears to be cut lengths of automotive fuel hose may be a bit low-tech, but it does the job quite well.
Depth and cant are also adjustable by moving the belt clips up or down to one of three positions on either side.
Kydex shells for many dozens of pistols are available, and all of them can be swapped out on the same base. Alien Gear also makes shells for about a dozen revolvers, although they fit on a different base. Either way, shells run just $12.88. Conveniently enough, they’ll be marked with the model of gun they fit.
Alien Gear makes bases in four sizes — micro, sub-compact, compact, and full size. If you order a complete holster and multiple shells, the base will be sized appropriately for the largest pistol in the order. In my case, that meant a full size base, which works fine with the CZ SP-01, GLOCK 20, or Kel-Tec PMR-30, but is gross overkill for the Beretta Nano.
In fact, it’s excessive and actually detracts from ultimate comfort since now there may be holster base rubbing and pressing in places where it serves no function protecting me from the metal of my firearm (or it from me). Luckily, bases are available separately as well, and run just $22.88 in any size.
However, since the shells are always swappable, there’s no way to avoid excessive Kydex on small guns. As the Kydex is formed perfectly flat on either side of the pistol, it results in a horizontal section of holster that isn’t capable of conforming to one’s body.
I admit I have a negative bias here, though, as I have long-since completely moved away from this style of holster for anything other than heavy, full-sized pistols where they do legitimately shine. For guns under a certain size and weight, my very strong preference is a single-clip holster that adds as little as possible to the footprint of the pistol. For instance, this holster, which is the go-to for my EDC Nano and my Taurus TCP.
The Kydex shells I tested were all formed well, but I think they’re actually thicker than they need to be. I’d step down from 0.093″ to the equally-available 0.080″. Really a non-issue and more of an observation than anything. On the “negative” front, there were rough edges, tiny gouges, and some flashing in a few places from the shell being cut to shape. These little flaws were purely aesthetic.
I’ve never done “warranty” as a review category before, but Alien Gear offers such a comprehensive warranty and shell exchange program that it demands mention. AG calls it its “Iron-Clad Triple Guarantee,” and it really is quite impressive:
- 30-day “test drive.” Wear it for a month and, if you don’t like it, AG buys it back.
- Free shell trades for life. Get a new gun? Send your old kydex shell to AG and they’ll send you a new one for the new gun. As many times as you want, for life.
- Forever warranty. Free repair or replacement of any part of the holster for life.
Overall it’s a very comfortable, functional holster that conceals extremely well. Although I only like these large, dual-clip style holsters for heavy guns and rarely carry a heavy gun concealed, hybrids truly do shine for this use case. Every summer the Cloak Tuck 2.0 will see some time on my hip, toting my G20SF, when picking huckleberries in the mountains of the inland northwest. It’s at least as comfortable, if not more so, than a fully-broken-in, leather-backed, hybrid holster, but requires no break-in at all and is priced significantly lower.
In fact, taking advantage of AG’s “2 Holster Combo,” you can purchase two complete Cloak Tuck 2.0s for a grand total of $57.88. This is still like $30 less than a single hybrid holster from most competitive manufacturers. My suggestion, for the reason seen in the Nano vs. SP-01 photo above, would be to order one for the largest gun you intend to carry with a Cloak Tuck 2.0 and one for the smallest gun you intend to carry with a Cloak Tuck 2.0, and this way you’ll receive two bases of different sizes. All shells will swap between either base.
Specifications: Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 Holster
Gun Models Available: See this page for a full list
Build: kydex shell with 3-layer base (vinyl, ABS polymer, closed cell neoprene)
Price: $35.88 for one, or $57.88 for two
Ratings (out of five stars):
Comfort: * * * * *
For this genre of holster (dual-clip hybrid), comfort is excellent. You may feel the outline of the pistol a tad more than with a typical leather backing, but comfort otherwise exceeds that of leather without the break-in period.
Concealment: * * * * *
Although the section under the kydex shell is flat, that part isn’t particularly wide and the rest of the holster conforms to the shape of one’s body with ease. The Cloak Tuck 2.0 holds the pistol nice and snug against the wearer, inhibiting printing of the grip. The ability to adjust ride height as well as cant provides further options to optimize concealment.
Ease of “Installation:” * * * *
One star better than your average dual-clip holster. Shells that slightly wrap around the bottom of the muzzle slide into the waistband more easily, and the highly flexible nature of the base makes putting it on a bit easier than the leather versions I’ve used. That said, if it were compared against a single-clip, all-kydex job like the Cook’s linked earlier, it would get zero stars (as would all hybrid, dual-clip holsters).
Value: * * * * *
Almost certainly the least expensive option of its type on the market. Yet, the quality is decent/average and the warranty puts most doubts at ease.
Overall: * * * * *
I can’t help but mention once again that I only like these large holsters for heavy pistols. That said, this rating is comparing the Cloak Tuck 2.0 to other holsters of similar design (hybrid, dual-clip a la CrossBreed, White Hat, etc). I award the Cloak Tuck 2.0 with top honors due to comfort, configurability, warranty, and oh-so-very-low cost.
You may have noticed in the lead photo that there’s another holster pictured there. That’s Alien Gear’s Cloak Slide OWB rig, and I got it primarily to carry my PMR-30 in conjunction with my future CMR-30 (if it ever ships). It’s a fairly standard, cow leather hybrid holster with two strips of leather acting as belt loops.
The same shells fit this base as well, and the same spacing system can be used to adjust the tension on the belt loops, which I thought was a cool little feature.