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To be honest, I can’t stand inside-the-waistband holsters. I’ve been using one for my new G43 for the last couple weeks, but that’s only because it’s the only holster I could find. Outside-the-waistband is much more comfortable, and a much more secure way of carrying a firearm in my opinion. A good Kydex holster on a rugged belt is the ideal situation. So when Squared Away Customs contacted me to review their latest creation — an OWB Kydex holster — how could I say no? . . .

Some holster companies (who shall remain nameless) crank them out by the truckload and have very limited options. Like the Model T, they come in any color as long as you want black, and you’ll take ’em the way they make ’em. With Squared Away Custom, the “custom” name isn’t just branding. You pick your gun, pick your material, and even pick the cant of the firearm in the holster (I went with my beloved FBI cant). Once they have all that info, they press a holster for you, and in about a month you’ve got a rig made to your own specifications.

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Overall, the fit and finish is very good. There are no rough edges or sharp corners that could annoy you while carrying, and the construction feels very solid. The firearm (a GLOCK 19 in this case) snaps into place with authority and stays put even during some more strenuous activity.

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Carrying a gun around in the Oscar, I really don’t have any complaints. The holster is a bit flapjack-esque in its size which can be a concealment issue, but there are inside-the-waistband options for those who are truly printing-averse. But while the Alpha may be big, it isn’t cumbersome. It feels very comfortable, even when seated and driving around.

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Drawing from the holster is easy and effortless. Just keep tugging and the gun will eventually pop free. All that’s holding it in is some friction from a dimple inside the trigger guard in the holster, so as soon as you overcome that little resistance you’re good to go. It’s just enough resistance to keep the gun in place, but not enough to be a hindrance when you really need it. There’s also enough “give” in the holster to allow you to get your thumb around the grip for a good solid draw stroke, which is something that other holsters sometimes lack.

The Oscar is a good holster, but everyone with some modicum of plastics knowledge and an oven is making acceptable holsters these days. What makes the difference here is the custom touches. You get a holster to your exact specifications, made of good quality materials and fine craftsmanship, in a color and design of your choosing.

In addition to the usual fare, they make holsters with patterns ranging from ATACs to digicam to carbon fiber and even this Kryptec design. All 100% legal and licensed, even. And if your gun isn’t in their inventory, they’ll still do the leg work and make you a holster. That’s what you’re paying for, and why it costs a little more than a rig from one of the giant factories.

Specifications: Squared Away Customs Oscar Holster
Price: $69 (Free shipping on all orders)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Comfort: * * * * *
Easy to wear, and no sharp edges.

Concealment: * * *
It’s a bit large, but that’s still average for a Kydex paddle holster.

Overall: * * * *
The custom aspect is what gets that extra star. I’d love to see them slim down the design a bit, perhaps rounding off some of the corners, but otherwise it’s a good effort.

29 Responses to Gear Review: Squared Away Customs OWB Kydex Holster

  1. Nick, what can you do about the many incidences of “This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?”?

    This time, I was looking for “Massachusetts Woman: Why I Carry” and got this message. Looking at all of Sarah’s posts didn’t help either. This happens a lot more often than I can remember to enumerate and since there isn’t any other way to contact you for support, this is my only apparent option.

    Can you resolve this ongoing issue for us? It only proves that we are interested in every post.

    • Hey Mark,

      Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I really apologize for the trouble, and I’ll get our tech guys on it right away.

      What browser are you using? And what OS are you running?

      -Nick

    • Wear a shirt and do not tuck in your shirt. Of course you have to make sure your shirt is long enough to cover it. While some shirts would be too short, many are fine.

      • I often find that even with a long shirt, I would still end up with the last couple inches of slide/barrel/holster showing. The biggest issue for me is that I’ve got a “long torso” and I’m not particularly heavy, so I can wear a “Large Tall” shirt and I’d still end up with barrel showing. If I go to “XL Tall” then I look like I’m swimming in my shirt. I have taken this into account and decided that inside the waistband is not too uncomfortable for me and works much better for my wardrobe. I wish I could OWB carry, though. Much more comfortable in almost any situation.

        • Look into Duluth Trading Co Long Tail shirts. They have an extra three inches in length, so they may help you out.

        • I’m in the same boat. 5’11” tall with a 24″ or 26″ inseam (seems to vary by brand). I am all torso.

  2. With that level of retention, there is no need for the bottom half of this holster. Lose the bulk, and I’d be more interested in it.

    • We are a custom shop. We would be happy to make it any way you’d like it. We often do open bottom holsters on request.

      Thanks!

      • Great! I’ll get in touch with y’all, and see if you can make one that will fit a suppressed G19 as well.

  3. No way this wouldn’t print for me carrying concealed. IWB, appendix or middle back, carry it has to be in California. Open carry is illegal in CA (effing Commies).

  4. Looks like you’d need to tighten your belt until your face turns blue to draw without the holster sliding up two inches. (Making the draw longer and take more time)
    I still prefer a fitted leather holster with thumb brake over oven fired plastic Retention holsters that use custom graphics to make it more attractive to customers to overcome the size.
    I don’t care if people think my holster looks tacticool. But that’s just my opinion. I’m sure they will sell a ton of them for the open carry “look at my cool gun” crowd.

    • Not sure why would it slide up 2″ when drawing? The loops on the back fit snugly to the belt top to bottom. The holes you see on the sides are not indicative of how much space there is in the loops.

    • Maybe time to do some curls if you’re struggling with the retention on kydex holsters? I find that the gun pops out seemingly easy with the same amount of force applied in my draw stroke to get my gun out and on target.. They also make kydex in a variety of less “tacti-cool” colors…like black.

  5. Who is that svelte guy with the flat stomach modelling the holster for us?

    Is that the new-and-improved Nick version 2.0 after his weight loss regimen?!?!?

  6. So I guess I’ll be the first to state the obvious:

    This design is a cheaper knockoff of the Raven Concealment Phantom holster that has been around for years, only with fewer retention and belt loop options, and a lot more color choices.

  7. “Just keep tugging and the gun will eventually pop free.”

    Or you get shot because your defense weapon won’t present. This is exactly why I threw away the one Krapdex holster I ever bought. After seven tugs, if the gun didn’t come out, the thing popped off the belt. Not going to make THAT buying mistake again.

      • People love to claim deep or extensive knowledge from little to no, or regurgitated, opinion!
        War zones are full of kydex for many great options! Leather will always be a great option, though drying, mosture and debris retention must be considered…as some cases it will in kydex. Any kydex I have bought, after educated and thorough choosing, has been without issue…FOR ME. But, Im not the type to set up retention that disables an ability to present, or secure, in a manner which MY proficiency is hindered.
        If people want video game ease of use, implied capabilities and unicorn-esque engagement situations, then training/practice is not properly considered to ownership. Many of us train for worst scenarios, practice with least optimal ammunition and atmopheres, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS! Gun fights do not occur with little/no hiccups! Why do you think that thousands of rounds get sent while few, if any, people are injured in relativity to spent rounds?! Though 1 victim injured/killed is too many!
        For similar reasons, why maming shots are not as employed, as what society feels would be “better “, we should train to minimize engagement periods, collateral damage and bad guys going home over good guys! That means streamlining the possibilities where issues are known to show themselves. Rarely, doing anything for the “majority” will work perfectly for all! Because of that, “custom” is a term that can help to take the gap out of grey areas where disagreement in ANYTHING occurs!
        We try to not make shotgun blast statements, and those slippery slopes are fortelling of small minded, biggoted attachments rarely proven by anything more than agreed table talk or bias.
        As you would want to be proven in regards to what is honest OF YOU, give the devil, or angel, their due! Especially where when lives, freedoms and finances occur! We should remember that freedoms, choices and options are still part of many of the ideals that are based in good…no matter how perversed they may have been, or become in the hands of the problematic!

    • Retention is adjustable on many kydex holsters. A simple twist of a screw a you can dial in the perfect amount to keep the gun secure while making presentation smooth and fast.

      If you don’t like kydex, that’s fine, but retention issues is a weird reason for it.

    • The loops make it impossible to pull this holster off your belt. The gun will “pop” out with ease with a normal draw stroke. It sounds like you had a paddle holster. I used to own one made by Blackhawk that i purchased at Walmart. It was indeed a piece of junk. I tossed mine and bought an AIWB from Squared Away Customs. The Squared Away Customs holster is a completely different animal. You get what you pay for IMO…buy once cry once.

  8. It’s not a paddle holster, it’s a belt holster. Despite the shape it would have a paddle to hold it in place if it was a paddle holster. And then you could wear it without a belt.

    I have a similar custom kydex, but I have the least amount of overhang on the bottom and the muzzle is covered but open in the middle so dirt doesn’t get trapped in the bottom. You can also drop the loops down to make it ride higher, but that can affect comfort.

    Finally, if you wear it against your skin, moleskin is your friend to keep it from chafing.

  9. Can’t say enough about the service from Mark & SAC. I ordered a Kydex Kilo for my SP101 and it was a little tight when I received it (Blue guns and real guns aren’t always exactly the same).

    I let Mark know via Facebook PM and my money was refunded almost as fast as I had hit send. Even when I told him that I’d loosened it up a bit with the wife’s hair dryer and that it was now *perfect*, he still flatly refused to accept any money for it whatsoever, saying it had to be “perfect the first time”. I was impressed.

    So, in addition to being good at making a product, they are among the few that actually operate a functional website and a properly secured shopping cart mechanism. Product+Site+SecurePayment=Trifecta.

    Nick’s statement about OWB somehow being “more secure” is silly, but I applaud him for clarifying that it is his “opinion”.

  10. You mentioned that you haven’t been able to find an OWB holster for your G43. Have you taken a look at Comp-tac’s Flatline? It’s basically the same belt style holster you have here. It also comes with the pieces to change to IWB if you so choose. They may not have the patterns that these guys do but the holster looks a lot cleaner.

  11. Contrary to Nick’s experience, I find IWB much more comfortable than OWB with any semiauto pistol and quality holster I’ve tried. Just my $0.02.

  12. A nice bonus, these guys offer a 15% discount for military (active and veteran), first responders, and teachers. Which brings the price down to $58.65, shipped.

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