Alien Gear is located about 30 minutes from my house, and for that and other reasons I’ve been a repeat customer over the last few years. Most recently on TTAG here, I reviewed AG’s newest Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB holster. In that large, dual-clip, hybrid holster style, I’m not sure it can be beat on comfort or price. In this case AG reached out to me in February and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing a yet-to-be-released, outside-the-waistband holster that was supposed to be an interesting departure from the norm. What I received is the Cloak Mod OWB Holster . . .
Included in the packaging was an instruction manual, a belt slide attachment, and a green plastic sheet with all sorts of spacers, nuts, bolts, and washers of various sizes plus a hex wrench. I wouldn’t call it a game changer, but it’s certainly nice that the holster can switch between belt slide and paddle attachments.
The alien head paddle is curved slightly for comfort, and either the paddle or the belt slide can be adjusted for cant by bolting it through different mounting holes to achieve different angles.
The paddle has a large, square-on-the-inside lip for solid retention against the bottom of your belt.
But here’s the real trick. Instead of a stiff, Boltaron backing (Alien Gear prefers this polymer to Kydex and uses it for all of their shells and such), the Cloak Mod’s backing is flexible. It’s made by layering a stainless spring-steel flex plate underneath a molded sheet of rubber, which AG calls “a durable thermo elastomer retention membrane.”
It flexes and bends out of the way of whatever pistol is inserted, while keeping the gun pressed solidly into the Boltaron shell. The holster does produce that satisfying “clack” of a well-retained pistol snapping into place.
Retention level can be finely tuned by tightening or loosening the bolts that hold the shell to the backing, and adjusted even further by swapping the four spacers for any combination of the included shorter or longer ones and their appropriate hardware. All of this brings us to what I think is the main selling point of the Cloak Mod…
Shells are swappable, and they’re the same shells used on Alien Gear’s Cloak Tuck line of IWB holsters and on their leather-backed belt slide OWB holster. Additional shells, ordered à la carte, are only $12.88. With a simple swap, the same belt-side base unit can now work for all sorts of different pistols.
Alien Gear’s shells always do a good job of covering the trigger guard while not getting in the way of acquiring a full shooting grip. On the IWB holsters, they’ve always covered the back side of the trigger guard pretty much completely for me as well. The Cloak Mod here is a bit of an exception, leaving a little more of the trigger guard exposed on the back side. Not enough that I’m concerned — the trigger is still below the height of the backing — but it’s cutting it a bit close.
On the range, the rubber — err, durable thermo elastomer retention membrane — provides more grip and stick than an all-polymer or leather or hybrid polymer/leather holster. It isn’t a particularly sticky rubber, per se, but there’s more of a “thunk” type stuck-in-the-mud type of feel to the first part of the draw stroke. Once the gun starts moving it comes out smoothly with that familiar kydex sound.
Reholstering feels pretty good. Although the backing does spring flat once the gun is removed, it’s ramped on the entrance to the holster so the size of the holster’s mouth is actually pretty similar to that of an all-polymer style holster. The grip of the rubber and the fact that it has to spring out of the way means I have to drive the gun into the holster with a bit more authority. With most all-polymer jobs, the pistol will fall in under its own weight and need only a small bump at the end to snap it in place.
Overall, the rubber doesn’t slow down the draw stroke and I don’t mind the feel of it. It’s just something different. After holstering and removing my GLOCK 20 from the Cloak Mod about 200 times, the slide, frame, and slide stop didn’t seem to notice the rubber. No wear, no scuffing, no galling. The rubber did start to show scratches and scuffs pretty quickly, though. I think it’ll take a couple thousand in/out cycles before I’m looking to buy a replacement rubber backing sheet, but knowing Alien Gear that’ll either be extremely inexpensive or covered under their lifetime warranty.
In a market well saturated with OWB holsters, Alien Gear has done a couple of unique things to help their Cloak Mod stand out. The biggest value here is the swappable shells, which you can’t get anywhere else in an OWB holster with a solid belt mounting system. This means serious money savings for people wanting to OWB carry multiple firearm models for various uses. Despite that ability to work with hundreds of pistols, you still get a specific fit for each one — a custom-formed Boltaron shell, a spring steel-backed rubber backing, and fully adjustable retention.
Less novel, but still very handy, is the fact that the belt attachment can be switched between paddle and belt slide, and both are adjustable for cant.
As usual with Alien Gear, this all comes with good quality, a low price, and a solid warranty.
Specifications (Alien Gear Cloak Mod OWB Holster):
Material: Boltaron, polymer, rubber, stainless spring steel, plus steel hardware
Fits: ~500 pistol models. Same shells as Cloak Tuck and Cloak Slide
Ratings (out of five stars):
Utility * * * * *
Creating a holster that properly fits lots of different gun models is hard. The spring steel-backed, rubber backing under the Boltaron shell of the Cloak Mod is a novel solution, and it works. Big bonus that the shells also fit Alien Gear’s other holsters, and the shells are only $12.88. Swappable paddle and belt slide attachments, adjustable for cant, provide even more utility.
Function * * * *
The feel of the rubber on the draw and holstering stroke isn’t my favorite, but it isn’t an issue. It’s something that’ll feel normal after getting used to it. Otherwise, retention is positive and highly adjustable. The holster carries comfortably and both belt attachments work well.
Overall * * * *
The Cloak Mod isn’t my favorite OWB holster, but it’s a good one. If you carry more than one pistol OWB — for instance, I compete with a CZ but carry a GLOCK 20 in the woods and would BBQ carry a nice 1911 — it’s a stellar choice. Especially if you use an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck as your CCW holster.
So, what is your favorite owb holster? I like Blade Tech and TT Gunleather.
If only they made a light equipped holster.
I’m sure you could get someone to make you a custom shell that would work with the Alien Gear backer.
They have a shell for my M&P 9 with a Lightguard. I’m assuming you mean a big light though.
Well, that pretty much seals the deal on that one. Been looking at some different OWB and I seem to trade guns more often than I switch underwear so this should be a cost effective way get started. I certainly wish they would make a shell for GP100’s though. I would be willing to send my Match Champion to them in order to make a mold.
I’m curious too, what is your favorite OWB holster?
At some point all these OWB kydexy holsters merge together in my mind
Not to say this one isn’t good, it’s just that they’re all good.
Looks good. But do they make one without the creepy Grey head printed on it?
That reminds me, Alien Gear. Or more accurately, Tedder industries, are moving to the empty buildings outside of Post Falls. They have an excellent product.
Oh yeah? The Jacklin Seeds buildings?
Nope, 4WP moved into the seeds building. Tedder is currently moving into the outlet mall, bought the whole thing. Half of it will continue to be rented out to businesses, the other half will be used to consolidate the company which is currently spread across three separate buildings.
“and would BBQ carry a nice 1911”
If you’re carrying a nice 1911 in a black plastic holster, you might be missing the point of “BBQ carry”…
That’s exactly what I was thinking! Just got a nice leather Bianchi a month ago so my 6″ 686+ can ride in style. I’ve not been much of an “open carrier” thus far in my life though but my gun is ready the moment that I am!
…just listing some reasons you may want to open carry or OWB carry. It honestly isn’t something I’ve actually partaken in outside of competition. Otherwise I’ve just carried concealed. Even the Glock 20 😉
The only holster to have ever broken on me was an Alien Gear. Never again. You get what you pay for.
I had a galco break on me once. Kingtuck. I decided that a sample size of 1 isn’t a fair representation of the company.
I had the shell on a king tuk crack, they replaced it for me.
Mine as well. It went with my glock and is still in service for the guy that bought it.
I think the thin sheet of ABS plastic that used to be their stiffening material in the backing was somewhat prone to cracking if it was bent too sharply and such. The thin sheet of stainless steel in the 3.0 will likely prove much more durable. Of course, their warranty is supposed to be quite excellent and easy.
That is one awesome cz p09 ,I love mine, zero failures after 3k plus rounds . Did you take out the decocker though?
Alien Gear Holsters, They are like Legos for gun people.
GAH. I ahve a Cloak Tuck 2.0, and it’s not my favorite holster. But I always see myself thinking “Hey I like that idea, maybe the mold on that one just wan’t any good and this new one is better”.
This doesn’t look like it conceals very well due to the flat nature of their swappable shells. And I shouldn’t be interested in one as the High Noon Hooker currently riding on my belt literally got here friday afternoon.
That said, the High Noon Hooker is a fantastic pancake kydex.
Not a concealment holster…
their IWB units are, and they have flat shells too, flat shells much larger than need be due to the universal nature of their design… A G43 shell will occupy the same real estate as a government 1911.
Ah yeah, I gotcha. I really don’t subscribe to a dual-clip holster — regardless of manufacturer — for anything but a heavy, full-size gun. I prefer a smaller footprint of something like this when carrying a small gun IWB… actually I’ve been carrying a G19 around in that same holster model for 5+ months now and it’s A-Okay, but anything larger or heavier and I’d switch to a dual-clip like the Cloak Tuck 3.0. In which case the shell is sized correctly. Agreed that a slight angle inwards on each of the kydex side ‘flaps’ could make it even more cozy, but it would depend a bit on body type and carry location. May be safer (more universal) leaving it flat, but having it as a yes/no option could be nice. The backing can certainly accommodate.
For the time being I’m constrained to IWB holsters, at present of the Hybrid design for a couple reasons
1. I carry a CZ 75 Compact. It tips the scales at 39+ oz plussed up.
2. I work in an environment where I must tuck in. Tuackability is a big thing.
3. I work in an environment with enough dudes who know what clips on the belt mean, and that is a bad thing given company policy. (ENTER THE ULTICLIP!)
I would rather a holster like you’ve seen there, or more specifically a CompTac Infidel, but I need a tuckable solution.
I may give the AlienGear a go again now that they remedied my concerns with it with the spring steel backing as a weekend holster and because I’m a slave to groupthink.
Here’s my gripes with the Alien gear CT2.0 :
The holsters are not for the same gun, granted, but from what I gather from the Aliengear website, the only thing that changes about the backing is the height of the sweatguard both above and below where the shell attaches.
I have a tuck 2.0 and they are great about replacing the backing under warranty. I’m on my third in a year or so. Currently the replacement resides in the safe with the cracked one. At this point I’m tired of the failures, free replacement or not. They also sent the wrong side backing and a wrong side kydex piece on 2 separate occasions. I asked to pay to upgrade to a 3.0 backing and my request was ignored.
Looking forward to ordering the Cloak Tuck 3.0 and Cloak Mod OWB combo for my CZ- P01.
I’ve had very good luck with an IWB Blade-Tech.
Bought one Galco holster that was terrible. Since my local gun store was all sales final, I contacted Galco direct about exchanging it for something else. Because I bought it at the gun store, they’d have nothing to do with me.
Not standing behind your product is no way to have customer loyalty. And this for a never worn or used item.
I’ve been in touch with Alien Gear, and so far their customer service has been very helpful.
You wrote: “The Cloak Mod isn’t my favorite OWB holster…” I would really like to know which OWB holster is your favorite. Thank you in advance for any reply.
I think it’s a good general use OWB holster and it’s awesome how easy the shells are to swap out (and how inexpensive they are). Really great for someone who wants to OWB a gun for shooting range time and wants one holster to work for a bunch of guns. I think where it falls short is that it isn’t ideal for concealment and it isn’t ideal for competition-type use either. If I wanted to carry OWB but concealed under a light jacket or such, I’d be leaning more towards a pancake style holster and if I wanted to carry OWB for competition-style shooting I’d be leaning more towards something like a bladetech (although I think the cloak mod works better for this use than it does for concealing). Then if I’m open carrying I’d really prefer a retention holster.
I just ordered this holster a couple of hours ago and wanted more info than available on AG’s store page. Until now, I’ve used the Wilson combat paddle pro with the suede lining but they only have these for the 1911 variations and the Beretta 92 series. I picked up an XDs 3.3 and I’m hoping I’ve made a good purchase because I already have a drawer full of new unusable gear. Thanks for the write up ??
Lots of great info in this review.one question though.you said the rubber membrane scratched easily and repetetitively.did the rubber end up on the gun or mat the finish?thanks
Negative. It’s acting more like leather in that it can receive surface scratches but isn’t transferring anything to the gun.
So my question is do you like the rubber paddle or the polymer paddle and which is more comfortable?