Six weeks ago, at a gun writer’s conference hosted by Blue August at the spectacular Texas Gun Experience (where I purchased a competition throwing axe that has brought me oh-so-much joy), I got my hands on a Kinetic Concealment KC Baby Holster. No, it isn’t a holster for babies — not for carrying babies nor for babies to use — rather it’s the smallest holster in the Kinetic Concealment lineup.
It was there, it was available, it fit my SIG P365, and it has been a few years since I’ve used a hybrid holster.
If you aren’t familiar with the genre, a “hybrid” holster generally refers to a Kydex (or other type of plastic — in this case it’s actual Kydex) shell affixed to a leather (or pleather — in this case it’s actual 8 oz top-grade drum dyed leather) backing. The idea is to combine the positive retention and mouth-stays-open re-holstering capability of Kydex with the comfort, grip, and weight distribution of leather.
What really sets Kinetic Concealment apart is the backing that they apply to the leather. In fact, they hold the patent on this.
A nylon-backed neoprene layer is bonded to the hide prior to stitching. Comfort is the primary objective here, but the neoprene provides a couple other benefits as well.
First, it’s a full sweat and moisture barrier. While leather will absorb sweat and skin oils and such, eventually keeping your firearm in constant exposure to those rust-inducing baddies, neoprene provides an absolute stop against this.
Second, if worn on top of an undershirt the neoprene provides a nice balance of grip and smooth motion, without the snagging that often accompanies the rough side of a leather backing. Basically, it’ll let your undershirt slide smoothly if it needs to accommodate your motion, but otherwise gives enough hold to help take some of the weight of your gun off your belt’s plate. At least that’s the theory.
The big reason to keep that leather backing rather than going 100% Kydex is to benefit from leather’s ability to conform to your body. Regardless of where you choose to carry the KC Baby, the more you carry it in that spot the more comfortable it will become.
Over the course of even just a few hours it really begins to mold to your body. Over the course of a few weeks, it’ll take and hold the shape of you and fit your thicc love handles like a key.
While I carried the Kinetic Concealment Baby AIWB style for a few days immediately after getting it, appendix carry just isn’t my jam. The Baby fit the bill fine — more comfortable than others I’ve tried while standing, and just as annoying to me while sitting, squatting, or parkouring for tips.
Thankfully the backing covers the pokey bits of the pistol nicely, and the neoprene layer is certainly a plush and welcome touch. But if I can’t high kick or bust out the worm (the dance, you sicko) at a bar mitzvah, I can’t carry AIWB and clearly there’s nothing even the KC Baby can do to fix this.
So onto the strong side it went, where it has lived for a month-and-a-half.
The KC Baby
Appendix Strong Side Holster keeps the grip of my P365 tucked up and back, just like it should be. The backing keeps everything in place and spreads out the pressure and weight of the gun nicely. That neoprene feels really nice against my skin and goes almost completely unnoticed on top of my skivvies.
Top tucks in, belt clip is secure but also fairly low profile, backing protects the gun from me and me from it. Yet it’s also cut so as to not interfere with obtaining a full grip on the pistol’s grip.
Thanks to the spot-on cant (angle of the gun) and the molding of the Kydex that draws the grip in toward my body, concealment is extremely good.
While the weather has been wonderfully pleasant for a couple weeks, we had our share of over-90° days in the weeks after I got the KC Baby. Though neoprene isn’t exactly breathable, neither is leather or, for that matter, Kydex. I never felt heat-induced discomfort from the KC Baby, despite spending plenty of time schvitzing outside while mowing the lawn and just generally living in Texas.
The only time I noticed that the holster treated my love handle differently from the non-holster areas was not while actually using it, but was when taking it off at the end of the day. If it was a hot day, if I was sweating to some degree anyway, the area under the holster would stay sweatier longer. Lack of airflow and such.
Not really unique to the KC Baby and certainly not unique to hybrid holsters. Actually, I was surprised it wasn’t more noticeable compared to my normal, all-Kydex holster style.
My holster philosophy for many years now — at least for sub-compact pistols — has been 100% Kydex with the absolute minimum footprint. Basically, add as little as possible to the silhouette of the gun.
Somehow I’m now finding myself very happily carrying the Kinetic Concealment job instead. I’ve gone back and forth a few times, and darn I really do like this thing. That soft neoprene backing is really comfortable, and its ability to spread the weight out just a bit more and grip just a bit more takes some of the work off of my belt and prevents a pressure point from developing.
I was also pleasantly surprised when my P365’s threaded barrel presented no challenge at all for the KC Baby. I’ve had this gun in a lot of holsters and all of the others required some Dremel work to clear the barrel. Can’t really hold that against them, I suppose, but the open bottom design of the Kinetic Concealment holster happened to work for me straight from its retail packaging at Texas Gun Experience (yes, I wore it out).
Kinetic Concealment’s holsters are not adjustable for retention. They believe this is a crutch for manufacturers who can’t mold their Kydex precisely enough, relying on an after-the-fact bandaid to get things right. While I’m not convinced this is always the case (sometimes, though, yes for sure), I can unequivocally state that given the ability to adjust the retention on this holster I still wouldn’t do it.
Retention at the trigger guard is spot-on. It’s secure enough to hold the pistol fully loaded, hanging upside-down, secure enough to provide that reassuring “snick-click” sound when holstering, but not so tight as to negatively affect a smooth draw.
If I’m honest, I picked up the KC Baby on a bit of a lark. I expected to reaffirm my preference for minimalist, all-Kydex holsters for small gats like my P365. What I found was a really well thought-out, well-made holster that’s really comfortable and just straight works. No tinkering, no questions, top-notch concealment at a fair price.
Specifications: Kinetic Concealment KC Baby Appendix Carry Holster
Style: Hybrid Kydex shell, leather and neoprene backing
Fits: dozens of pistol brands and models
Carry location: Appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB) or strong side carry
Ratings (out of five stars):
Concealment * * * * *
Molded and designed correctly, the KC Baby keeps the “printy” parts of my P365 tucked in tight and doesn’t make any lumps or edges of its own.
Comfort * * * * *
Carrying a gun provides all sorts of comfort, but not usually the physical kind. While the KC Baby can’t make strapping on 24 ounces of steel and lead as comfortable as, you know, not strapping on all that steel and lead, it does as good as a holster can do.
Quality * * * *
A few rough edges and imperfect cuts on the Kydex shell have me knocking a star off the total here. While none of these imperfections actually matter to the function of the holster, they’re imperfections nonetheless and, compared to some of the high-end competition, improvement is clearly possible. The quality of the leather, stitching, Kydex molding, and everything else is top-notch.
Overall * * * * *
I’m impressed. The Kinetic Concealment KC Baby is a super comfortable, well-made holster that conceals like a charm. Great for EDC.