“Untuck your shirt and put a man’s gun on your hip. Done.” said Robert Farago through teeth clenching a massive Honduran cigar stub. I was trying to explain why I preferred a pocket pistol over an inside the waistband holster or similar rig. I simply look better wearing my shirts tucked in. He was was utterly unsympathetic to my dress preferences. I own a Smith M&P Compact .40 – nicknamed “Carmen” – a wonderful shooter with which I can put five rounds through a silver dollar at “one inch further and it’s murder” distance. How could I carry this concealed without the sloppy untucked shirt that makes me look like some shapeless lummox?
On a visit to Ultimate Defense with my Taurus 609 I came across the Galco “King Tuck” holster. This inside-the-waistband rig had a set of belt clips designed to allow the shirt to tuck down between the gun and your britches. I secured one for my beloved Carmen and gave it a tryout.
I have a love/hate relationship with holsters. I love that they allow you to carry your firearm safely. I hate that they are expensive and that you have to pony up BEFORE you know how well it’s going to work out. It is hard enough to find the right holster that fits your gun, fits your body and is concealable in a way that matches your lifestyle.
The fact that I ended up buying a special gun to use for pocket carry testifies to how much of a pain in the ass it is to find a “just right” holster, even for a relatively compact firearm. Packing a heater responsibly really does impact your lifestyle in ways someone new to the world of concealed carry does not anticipate.
The Galco King Tuck holds your gat in place with a molded Kydex piece riveted in place on the leather. The molded Kydex covers the trigger, protecting it from anything coming in contact with it. The “King Tuck” holster is very well made. You can adjust how far into your waistband the gun will ride. The spring steel belt clips are sturdy, but aren’t so stiff that they are a headache to put on or remove. The holster also comes with plastic clips that are suited for a narrower dress belts.
A quick note on belts; carrying a larger firearm means you need a nice, snug one. “Pleather” is not a great option here because of its stretchiness. Your belt needs to cinch up over a pound of metal and lead and keep it snug against your body. The gun and holster will also add a bit to your overall diameter. If your belt is already riding on the overloads, you may need to invest in a quality belt to accommodate the extra inch or two of girth that sweet heater adds.
The Galco catalog helpfully provides a diagram indicating where the holster is supposed to ride. I clipped the rig so that it begins just before the seam of my trousers. Depending on the pants you wear, you may have to adjust the position fore or aft to keep the steel clips from covering a belt loop. I found that an inch or so didn’t make much difference in comfort.
It was fairly simple to put my weapon into the holster, then open up my pants and clip the gun and holster. I decided to do this because I was a little nervous about tucking my particular weapon into the holster. Carmen’s go-pedal has no safety, and I was concerned that working it into the molded Kydex was more risk of a negligent discharge than I was willing to take. Once in position, I just hike my pants over my shirt, button and zip.
Once my pants are buttoned, I take the fabric of my shirt back where the weapon is. I pull out a little and stuff it between the waistband and the holster. It takes a little practice, but this process is what convinced me to holster the gun while the rig is outside my pants. I want to make sure the piece is firmly and securely placed in the holster with the trigger protected, lest I blow some meat off of my leg tucking in my shirt.
With practice in a mirror, you can do a good job of making your piece disappear, save for the lump on your hip. A takeaway lesson is to select a shirt of medium length. One of my usual “big and tall” shirts was simply too long to inconspicuously tuck into the space made by the holster. The final step for me is cinching up my belt to keep it all nice and snug.
I wore the holster around the office and out and about for several days. Candidly, it felt like a big lump of metal was hanging off my hip. Not really uncomfortable, but not exactly unnoticed, either. The cowhide is soft enough against my skin and it started to conform to my shape (round) in just a few days of carrying it.
The holster stays in place just great. I wore it while doing chores around the house. I figured I could give it a real workout if I wore it while cleaning out the upstairs bathroom. Stooping to clean The Judge (our vintage toilet – the flush tank is so large that owning one is a felony in California) bending over to scrub the tub, none of these tasks were enough to dislodge it from my hip, or even shift it very much. Walking around the city in dress slacks, I found myself pulling up my pants from time to time, but this was no more than I normally would have.
The next test: drawing the unloaded Carmen from my hip. I was able to get the piece out with a quick little jerk. Holstering the gun unloaded convinced me that I should not holster a loaded piece. As I alluded to before, the gap between my britches and belt and the holster seems narrow and I had trouble hitting the square hole at just the right angle. At the wrong angle, the slide would be pushed out of battery.
I’m unwilling to learn if anything dangerous would be pushed, as Carmen has no safety but the one between my ears. Other holsters I’ve used created more of a funnel than this one does. I may get better at it with more practice, but Robert (and YouTube) has made me paranoid about negligent discharges.
Tucked in, the piece is well concealed. Inevitably you will see a lump, and I can’t imagine how a law enforcement officer would not know exactly what it is if they observed it and cared to take a second look. I fidgeted a bit while wearing it, checking from time to time to make sure my shirt hadn’t been caught underneath the grip of my pistol. Overall, the concealment is enough not to spook my fellow citizens. Mission accomplished.
The Galco King Tuck holster is a great rig to use if you do not want to wear a jacket to conceal your firearm. MSRP is about $70. It’s comfortable and secure. I’d be wary of re-holstering and practice drawing with the shirt is both tucked in and untucked. In all candor, if I found myself in a gunfight, I would rather draw Carmen than my DB9.
RATINGS (out of five stars)
Comfort * * * *
It seems to me to be as comfortable as cramming nearly two pounds of steel, lead and brass in you britches can be.
Ergonomics * * ½
This may just be me, I did not think holstering this was all that easy. Drawing is fine, but getting tucked will require developing a technique. It did not seem fair to ding the product for the tucking portion – I can’t really see how they could do it any better.
I have not used the holster long enough to have an opinion on durability or reliability. I do have some experience in leather craft and this looks well-built.
Customizable * * *
You can adjust for depth of carry. The Kydex is molded for specific models of guns and right or left hand.
Carry * * * *
Had no problem carrying with this rig.
Overall Rating * * * ½
This is a high-quality holster at a fair price that allows you to carry with your shirt tucked in. It’s a little challenging to get all hitched up, and it calls for some practice to use.
Forgive me for going off topic but I figure this is the place to get an answer to a nagging carry question’
What is the best strong side belt mounted conceal holster for a Glock 19?? (I prefer OTWB and no retention strap) thoughts??? By the way I’m a little beefy at 5’11 190
I have a King Tuk and like the Remora better. UD range is awesome – Paul was my CCW instructor and I get up there about once per month
I saw one of these at a gun show, and tried it out with my DB9. It definitely stayed put. I’ll have to check it out for the larger piece.
Go with the original (crossbreed) instead of the knockoff (galco). Also, get horsehide instead of cowhide.
I’ve had mine for over a year at this point, and I have not seen any signs of it wearing out yet.
As for belt choice, it is the MOST important choice for comfort, at least if you’re skinny and bony like I am. You want thick belt (usually means double layer) that will give a bit and stretch to fit your curves and corners. Between my two gunbelts, one is about a year old, and is fully broken in; it applies even pressure across the area it contacts the holstered gun. The other is not yet broken in and tends to put disproportionate pressure in high spots and low spots causing discomfort.
Again though, crossbreed with horsehide backing > galco knockoff. If you are sure of what you want, you can get crossbreed’s returns/seconds at fairly good prices at http://www.crossbreedseconds.com
Especially considering the difference is only around $10-15. Although to call the Crossbreed the “original” is a bit much, since the hybrid holster was actually invented by Tucker Gunleather, but whatever. The point is that the Crossbreed does have a higher reputation for build quality than the Galco.
I’ve also heard good things about the Comp-Tac Minotaur MTAC. It’s another tuckable hybrid. The unique thing about them is you can buy additional kydex shells, so if you had another kind of gun in addition to your M&P, you could buy a shell for that, and then when you want to carry that gun, you can loosen a few screws and swap out the shells.
What really concerns me about your review is the fact that you feel it’s a realistic concern that you’d hook the trigger when holstering the pistol. That should be a dealbreaker. Both the Crossbreed and the Comp-Tac look much safer that way. Other than physically holding the gun, job one for a holster is preventing the unintentional pull of the trigger. I really can’t see giving three and a half stars to a holster you’d feel uncomfortable carrying in condition one.
I concur with Dirk Diggler. I carry my own M&P 40c in a Remora holster, and for me it’s ideal. But holsters are like bicycle seats; one man’s Barcalounger is another man’s jackhammer, and the “best” holster is the one that works for you.
Sorry if I sound out of step with current “best practices”, but isn’t your concern about negligent discharges an argument for using the version of the M&P with a manual safety?
I have a love-hate relationship with safeties. I understand the utility of them, but God forbid I ever need one for self defense, the last thing I want to do is forget to remove it.
It is unlikely that I will ever have to reholster should I ever break leather in self-defense.
“Gat.” “Heater.” Can we think up a few more synonyms for “handgun” that don’t sound like they came from the dialog of a really bad 1920s-era gangster movie? Or, really, if you mean “gun,” write “gun.” We’ll all know what you mean and we won’t take any style points off.
How about roscoe, piece, rod and hand cannon? Would those offend you?
My evil twin says “write your own goddamn gear review if you don’t like my good twin’s style”
“one inch further and it’s murder”
Who writes that crap?
Dunno. Who wrote “I love my Boomstick”? It seems I read that somewhere. Maybe on firearmsandtraining perhaps?
People in glass houses.
In the State of Missouri, I believe the self defense radius is about 21 feet. Anyone further away than that is not likely to be seen as an immediate threat, at least with a knife or club. Ergo, I call 7 yards “one more inch and it is murder.”
Tough room tonight.
I’d much rather spend my money on the real McCoy, the Crossbreed holster.
It’s a sad state of affairs in the firearms industry these days. Only a few smaller companies seem to do any real innovating and then the big manufacturers swoop in and rip off their ideas(Ruger LCP anyone?).
Innovation is just another word for “copy their work and add some of your own.”
You mention the Ruger LCP, which is basically a knockoff of the Kel-Tec P3AT, which itself is basically copies the same major design elements from every single semi-auto pistol produced in the last century — really, the only thing at all unique about it to begin with was the degree to which they miniaturized it.
Really, innovation is an iterative process; Someone does something, someone else sees the genius of it and comes up with a way to make it just slightly better, and so on and so forth. This, more than anything else, is why I wholly object to our current patent system, most especially the length of the monopoly awarded — more than anything else, it slows this process down far more than necessary.
Modifications of an existing product is innovation. 2012 cars still run under de same basics of last century vehicles. Check concealmentsolutions.com
Matt Gregg, there’s little to no innovation in the consumer firearms industry, and there hasn’t been for a while. Consumer firearms may have evolved a little bit in the last 100 years, but innovation? Outside of military arms, innovation is highly discouraged by the regulatory environment and often unprofitable due to costs and other factors.
For almost every modern consumer firearm, there’s an older analog. For example, the major difference between a modern “wonder nine”and the older 9mm pistols is plastic. Innovative? I’d have to say yes, but frankly, I can’t say that I’m thrilled with plastic.
Tim, as you and I discussed at UD that day, I own two Crossbreed holsters and had purchased a Galco King Tux for my M&P nine. I had the same problem reholstering after the draw because of the low setup of the kydex part, and it was already at the highest setting. Every time I went to reholster, the top of my pants folded over the top of the kydex and prohibited my being able to accomplish it with out two hands, so I returned it. When I ever get the money, I’ll be picking up a Crossbreed for the M&P.
And by the way, they (Umarex) makes a 22LR version of the M&P now, Mike’s had one for around $349.00, just a thought!
I’ll have to check out the Crossbreed holster. I think reholstering is my only gripe about this one.
Tim, I will say that other King Tux IWB’s I have seen for other pistol manufacturers seem to ride higher on the leather than the one for the M&P, and I don’t know why. The one you’ve pictured seems to have more of an adjustment then the one I had purchased about a year ago, but you seem to have had the same problem I did, so maybe it’s just with the M&P’s!
Reholstering with one hand is only a problem at the range. In four real life shootings, I never worried about reholstering the gun until the cavalry had arrived. Until then the gun was firmly in hand. What about taking the culprit into custody? Holster and handcuff? Bullshit…if I had to shoot him someone else was gonna cuff him.
I have no experience with Crossbreed, but in almost four decades of law enforcement, I’ve never had a problem with Galco. Top notch stuff…but maybe Crossbreed is also.
I really do love these reviews, but so much associated with guns, holsters, etc, is just an opinion. As is mine. My opinion is based on shots fired in anger. Paper targets always stand still, range masters always talk loud. Bad guys don’t give a f**k about your departments rules and regs. And the shit happens quick. You better know your gun and equipment, and it will only Start here. Good luck, good shooting…God Bless.
Thanks for the comment. Like you, I find it unlikely I will be reholstering after a defensive shoot. That said, I did not think about reholstering at the range during training. As of now, I am most comfortable unhitching my britches to carefully replace my beloved Carmen back into her rig.
That could get obnoxious in a classroom setting.
Desantis makes the “Intruder” which is more or less the same holster at the same price made with the same materials but with a cooler name. Just FYI.
If you’re not comfortable holstering a loaded gun, you either need a new gun, a new holster, or you need to not carry. Period.
Having the ability to holster a firearm is absoloutley critical. Think hard for a couple of seconds about all the things you might have to do that require the use of both hands. Just a few: Stop yourself or some one else important from bleeding, climb something, hold something open or shut, etc, etc. Tucking your gun into your waistband, pocket, or leaving it lying on the ground are all very poor solutions to this problem.
You should try and build some confidence in your set up. Unload it, put snap caps in if you want to, and try and get that sucker to make that gnarly click noise when you holster it. See how much of a problem it actually is.
Tim, do you mind if I ask you how long you have been carrying? I had a lot of similar hesitations when I first started carrying (Glock 17 in a bladtech Phantom IWB, in case anyone cares. Very nice set up, IMHO), including similar thoughts about holstering my GLOCK and shooting myself negligently. But as you carry more, you get more experienced and a little more confident in your ability. I used to not carry with a round in the chamber, until I got attacked by a dog while I was walking with my nephews. That encounter did not go well. I was lucky the weather was cold, and I was lucky indeed that I was wearing my heavy leather jacket. After that, I figured that if there wasn’t a round in the chamber, there wasn’t much point in carrying it.
I have only been carrying for under a year. I carry all of my self-defense firearms with a round in the chamber – I’ll leave Israeli style to the Israelis.
Your point to experience and confidence is well-taken. One of the reasons I like to write for this blog is how my fellow gun-owners keep me on my toes and gaining knowledge.
I would be inclined to render first aid to someone I shot so long as they stopped presenting a threat and were otherwise unarmed. I am not sure if I would want the weapon on me at that point. Lots to think about.
A bad guy who did not have a round in the chamber saved a Texas DPS trooper’s life, back when TXDPS issued the Sig .45 ( The now carry Sig in .357). The dude who tried to shoot the trooper at arm’s length pulled his .25 caliber pistol from his waist band and had to jack a round into the chamber to get off his first shot. That gave the trooper enough time to shove him aside, turn and run as he drew his Sig. The guy Did get off the first shot, but by then the trooper had put distance between himself and the turd. The guy’s shot crazed the trooper’s arm…his .45 caliber return fire hit solid.
If you carry a semi-auto pistol without a round in the chamber…..good luck.
Yeah. Count a lesson learned on that one.
I have one of these Galcos and have used it just about every day for the last 3 months to carry either a Glock 19 or a 26. So far, so good. I like the angle and the depth for a 3:30-4 o’clock carry. I have had no issues with durability, presentation, or re-holstering.
I have EDC’d a Galco KingTuk for the past year for my 17/19.
Draw is not that bad, it’s easier when you sort of rotate the gun in toward you, it lets go easier. As for re-holstering, it really isn’t a challenge, just don’t use the muzzle of the gun to push the side of your body in. Keep the muzzle down range parallel to the ground, draw it back so the trigger guard is right over where it goes in the holster, then rotate the holster down that 90 degrees and into the body. Very easy, reasonably fast.
More importantly, the leather backing has held up beautifully over a year and I’ve had more expensive hybrids look beat up in far less time. Extremely comfortable. I prefer wearing an undershirt for a host of reasons, so how “hot” the leather is on my skin is a non issue. The body cracked along the top of the holster near where the kydex turns to make the 90 to attach to the leather, I called galco, and they repaired it. I sent it in with clips from a different holster, and they sent it back with new Galco clips and a new body on the same holster, so we’re back in action.
Long story short: Any gripe you would have about a hybrid holster you will have about a Galco, but it does everything the more expensive custom ones do at a fair price and is widely available for major brands of firearms. If you own a Glock/M&P/Sig and want a hybrid, just save the time/cash and buy a KingTuk.
There is no point of carrying a defensive handgun if you do not have a round in the chamber. You can practice for a while with a empty chamber but you should transition to a loaded firearm. Just keep your finger off the trigger when you holster and draw. I have practiced with a gassed up firearm hundreds of times with this galco king tuk and have had no issues. Also, I carry a g26 in this holster almost daily and have had no issues with ad’s. Anyone who reads this… do the gun community proud and carry with a round in the chamber the way that most modern firearms are made to be carried. Otherwise… find another hobby.