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.
I cannot concealed-carry my .22 peashooter (Baretta Neos), but am fascinated by all the options for other guns. One configuration I do not understand is half-plastic and half-leather. Leather stretches and shapes, whether a full leather holster, or the “hybrid”.
A good number of guys at the range sport combination holsters. Any of the holsters with more than about six months of daily use, stretch, shape and lose retention (although not entirely; the plastic retains is form). This does not happen with full plastic holsters, including the plastic holsters that the owner has modified to secure thin leather or neoprene to the skin-side of the holster.
Why is a combo holster superior to full leather? Is it because only half the holster loses retention, and that is better than the complete loss of retention from use of full leather holsters? Is it because full leather holsters will collapse completely, while half-leather permits “no peekey” re-holstering? Is retention of IWB firearms not as important as with OWB holsters?
Hi Sam I Am, I’m one of the owners at Kinetic Concealment. To address your questions on the retention. One of the ways we keep this is the chicago style screw sets verses rivets. As the leather stretches, you can re-tighten the shell. As to the advantages over full leather…its probably subject to likes and dislikes, but we just like having the outer layer of the firearm covered with kydex for safety reasons, covering the trigger guard. Plus you get that snap lock feature with the kydex. But again, there are some really great leather options as well. We understand that different strokes for different folks, but we really do feel we make a great holster in our lane!
I am surprised, and amazed to receive a response from one of the owners of Kinetic Concealment. Surprised yet still not understanding.
It seems that “tightening the screws” is only a temporary fix, as the leather backing will continue to stretch. Obviously, I am not the first, or only person to notice this, but I “still don’t get it.” Why the leather backing is superior to a full plastic holster with abrasion and wetness mitigating material?
Note, I am not experienced with leather or kydex holsters, nor am I dissing you product. One day, I might have need of a holster, and my questions are truly research into options.
Again, thank you for taking time to respond to some schlub on the internet; other companies would do well to adopt your practices.
No worries brother, you folks are our customers and we believe in interacted and answering questions as much as we can. We are a small shop in Tennessee, but we try to wear a lot of hats. Ok, so I can tell you this, we have been making holsters for about 6 years now, and just the other day I had a customer come by the shop and brought me his holster. He was my 5th customer ever. He had worn his holster for almost 6 years every day. He wanted a new shell for a different gun, but wanted to keep his backing because it was comfortable. There was zero retention issues with that holster. The screws help keep the shell tight to the leather backing, and it does help keep a nice firm fit. I don’t think you will ever have to worry that much about a retention issue if the holster is made properly to begin with. The leather honestly doesn’t stretch that much, it rather “forms”. Another beauty of kydex is if you ever want more retention, add a little heat to the trigger guard area and push in with your thumb…you have more retention. 🙂
“No worries brother, you folks are our customers and we believe in interacted and answering questions as much as we can. ”
Thanx again for your response. Still skeptical, but more informed; never a bad thing.
Continued success for you and your company.
I think what you are asking is, “Why a leather backing hybrid instead of full Kydex?”, and the answer you should be getting is, “Because the leather backing is enough more flexible that it conforms to you body more than hard Kydex does, but not so much more flexible that the holster loses its retention.”
” “Because the leather backing is enough more flexible that it conforms to you body more than hard Kydex does, but not so much more flexible that the holster loses its retention.” ”
I think that is the claim, but doesn’t match what I see at the range. The hybrids I see are quite “stretched”, loose, pushed out of shape (molded to the gun, rather than stiff and supportive). It may be that my sample is not sufficient to make a good decision. It may be that the quality/thickness of the leather backing makes the hybrid stand up to use, or fail. If hazarding a guess, I would have to say the leather on the hybrids I have seen up close is no more than 1/4in thick at its least stressed areas.
Like others here, I have various Kydex, leather, and tight-weave fabric holsters, in IWB, OWB, thigh rig, direct belt clip, weapons light configs, etc. It’s tough to find one that will fit the best “wish list” EDC profile, but this one featured above looks rather interesting. I might just have to consider dropping hints to the wife for a potential Christmas stocking stuffer.
“I might just have to consider dropping hints to the wife for a potential Christmas stocking stuffer.”
I can understand you hope.
I am still waiting for the Colonel to allow me to stuff my own stocking with a more respectable handgun.
I dunno man, my custom made leather cowboy boots get worn all the time and I’ve had them for 5 years and they aren’t stretched. The company will continue to put new soles on them and I’ll keep the uppers. The simple leather belt seen in the photos isn’t even a nice one — pretty sure it’s from Target or Old Navy or something — but it’s a decently thick slice of real leather and it hasn’t stretched in many many years of regular use, including carrying a gun. These things mold and hold shape to some degree, but I’m not convinced they stretch very much. The holster is a high grade of thick cow leather and it’s seeing far, far less stress than the much thinner, more supple bison and calf leather of my boots. The holster is supported from behind by my body and it has a gun sitting in it. A lot less work than the belt or boots. I really don’t see stretching as a realistic concern. But you can probably buy a fresh backer every 5 years if needed haha
Understand. My business shoes, Florsheims, have stretched considerably regardless of how tight the shoestrings. Not uncomfortable, but noticably relaxed.
As I noted, the examples I see may be of inferior leather. The sixing holes in my Walmart special, dual tongue, belts do stretch noticably as well. Even though 1/8th inch thickness, eventually, the belts begin to sag in the back. I have seen custom belts and holsters advertised as using “harness” leather, but have never actually seen anything of that sort.
Maybe I should be mindful of the old Chinese proverb, “When to gun is ready, the holster will arrive.”
@josh S. I’ll look at these products now because you took the time to answer a question on an obscure web site message board.
Maybe not so obscure, methinks?
Thank you brother. I know the author of the article. We met at the conference. So, we followed this write up. We are a small shop my friend, so any exposure for us is something we value greatly. Feel free to email me directly with any questions. I’m always happy to help. [email protected]
Dominion Voting Systems tied to Clintons, widely used in battleground states!
Would u not expect the Clintstones to be involved in every fraud in the world?
“Dominion Voting Systems tied to Clintons, widely used in battleground states!”
Why is it we just cannot accept that the Leftist voting corruption was/is more competent than our voting corruption? “If you’re not winning, you’re not cheating hard enough.”
i’ll take that as gospel.
“i’ll take that as gospel.”
Sure. I got it from somewhere else.
Looks like nice gear. Nicely written review. Still, OWB only, for me. Cannot tolerate IWB.
When I finally take office, I will promote a national holster exchange. It will provide a way to re-direct your unloved gear to people who may find it lovable.
“I will promote a national holster exchange. ”
Recommend you donate the deplorable holster castoffs to homeless camps. An empty holster might incentivize many to aspire to owning a gun, and getting clean so they can get a job that will pay for necessities, and a nice pistol to fit a holster they pulled out of the pile.
Sam I Am,
Excellent suggestion! Thank you! After my inauguration, I will include such in an Executive Order. Would you mind if I name that EO after you?
“Would you mind if I name that EO after you?”
As long as you keep my name out of it.
Sam I Am,
I don’t understand what’s original about this. N82 Tactical has made neoprene-backed holsters for years. They have moisture-proof neoprene backing sandwiched between thin layers of leather (gun side) and suede (body side). The suede provides comfort and enough friction to reduce holster movement on the body while the neoprene middle layer prevents sweat-through to the gun side. Their professional model is also tuckable and features a twist-lock retention system, which this one doesn’t appear to have.
These guys have the patent on the neoprene thing. Others do it, but KC was first and patented the idea. I didn’t mention it in the review because it isn’t very relevant for really short guns like my P365, though it’s still fairly functional, but the KC holsters also have a little trick to the draw that’s somewhat of a retention lock to prevent another person from easily pulling your gun out of the holster, particularly from behind. Basically, the sight channel on the holster is molded pretty close to the top of the side except for the bottom inch-ish, where it opens up to allow space for the front sight. When you draw normally, pulling slightly forward on the grip, the gun draws smoothly. If you were to grab the gun from behind, even slightly so, drawing with any sort of rearward pull on the grip, the front sight catches. You can see this feature in the sight channel in a couple of the photos. Again though, it’s more pronounced and more functional in KC’s shells for guns with longer slides. Doesn’t make it a locking retention holster or anything, but it does actually function pretty well in allowing a smooth, seamless normal draw while gumming up a strange angle draw.
Thanks Jeremy! Yes, we know the folks over at N8, they make a great holster, but very different from ours. The holster had to fit the user just as much the firearm they are carrying. There are no “best” holsters in my opinion. Many good ones out there, and some bad ones. We just try to make the best ones we can in our lane. Always open to suggestions and always trying to develop and innovate where we can. Thanks for the article brother and enjoy that holster!
How does this compare to an ultimate holsters tuckable? I’ve used one of their rapid holsters for my taser for years and have been very happy. At Sam, if the leather fit is stretching than most likely the holster isn’t using quality thick hide. It should conform without deforming.
Looks good. I’m looking for a holster for a glock 48. But I don’t see it on the site.. actually don’t see the p365 either. :/
Does it have clearance for a red dot? Thanks!
Hi , this is Josh, one of the owners of Kinetic Concealment! We can do both options. Let me check the site and make sure those options are listed. We do have the mold guns. Give me until morning to insure this is done. Yes we can cut out for optic! Just mention it in the notes when you order buddy!
Awesome thank you sir!
Same questions here. They have “SIG SAUER 365” 3 or 4 times in the selection menu. I’d love some clarification.
The soft backing does worry me though. This one seems sturdy enough that trigger manipulation is not an issue, as with most that utilize a form of reinforcement and leather, but I wonder how retention will be after a couple years of wearing it. A problem that does not exist in Kydex…. not even when the 165 degree fumunda heats it up on those hot range days 😉
Not sure why our website listed that so many times. Fixing that issue now. Small company, many hats lol. Spend most of our time building holsters. So busy these days with all the crap going on in the world. Thanks for pointing this out buddy. We will get it fixed! Email me directly if you have any questions [email protected]
I have been considering this variant for a while now. I tried a couple and they were total flops. I only remember the name of one – concealment express hybrid… What total junk.
Anyways, I do like this one. Looks solid. Would that accommodate optics on the p365/XL?
Yes, we can do the optic cut out for you. Just add that in the notes when you order and we can make it happen brother. Any questions feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]
“I was also pleasantly surprised when my P365’s threaded barrel presented no challenge at all for the KC Baby.”
Jeremy, is there a particular reason you don’t keep a thread protector on that barrel?
I’m all for one “doing your own thing”, but the logic here escapes me…
I just misplaced it somewhere and I’ve been too forgetful to put a different one on. Really I’m far more concerned about the threads wearing away the inside of my pants than the threads themselves getting damaged haha 😉
That’s holster is very nice! and nice review! i buy an amazing speedloader at https://amzn.to/3l4yKQC