By Steve Barsky
I’ve always been an outside the waist band holster guy, but occasionally when I get dressed up or wear a tucked shirt, I have the need for a pocket holster. I started using pocket holsters a number of years back, before I retired, with my Kahr PM9. I carried the Kahr with a Sticky Holster and sometimes with a Galco leather pocket holster. While these systems worked, I never felt like they were optimal.
Recently, I purchased a SIG P938, single stack pocket 9MM pistol. I shoot it far better than the Kahr (probably because of the single action trigger) and feel the magazine is a better (though similar) design. While the existing holsters I have for the Kahr will fit the SIG, I couldn’t help but feel there had to be something better on the market, given that I purchased these holsters almost four years ago.
It turns out that there is a much better pocket holster available now, and that is the Front Pocket Holster from Alabama Holster. I had heard it mentioned in several instances, and for the small investment in cost I thought I would give it a try.
Delivery from Alabama Holster was not fast (about two months), but quicker than some of the other holsters I have ordered from small shops. The holster arrived in a small box by itself with no additional materials or instructions.
The design of the holster is among the simplest I’ve seen. While it’s completely functional and fits the pistol perfectly, it has to be the ugliest holster I have ever owned, or contemplated purchasing. However, if form follows function (which it usually does) this holster gets a solid “A” in the performance department.
Like most pocket holsters, one side of the holster has a “hook” designed to snag inside your pocket as you draw the weapon. Other holsters have a bulge (like the Sticky Holster) that performs the same function. Where the Alabama Holster Front Pocket Holster (AHFPH) differs is a very clever small “lip” or leverage point that is molded in to the top opening as part of the one-piece design.
The holster has excellent retention, although you can draw the pistol using the conventional “catch the hook inside your pocket on the opening” technique. Where the holster really shines, however, is that while the pistol is still in your pocket, you can push down on the top of the lip with your thumb and break the retention prior to drawing, allowing you to draw the holster without worrying about catching it on the pocket corner. Done properly, this technique is virtually silent, yet still allows for an extremely rapid draw. I find I have to slightly readjust my grip as I draw after breaking the retention.
As with all of the pocket holsters I’ve tried, you do have to take a moment to make sure that the holster is properly oriented in your pocket, and that when you get a grip, you’re as high up on the backstrap as possible. You’ll definitely want to practice this technique with an unloaded weapon until you are proficient with it. I also find that even with large pockets, I can’t use the SIG extended magazine for the 938 to draw reliably.
The Kydex is very thin, but more than adequate for a holster of this type. I expect this holster to never wear out or break with normal usage.
Alabama Holsters makes this holster for a wide variety of pocket pistols, including both the GLOCK 43 and the Smith & Wesson Shield. If you have a small pistol, they probably make a holster to fit it. They also provide an option for eight different models of pistol with lasers. If I was going to buy another pocket pistol, Alabama Holster would be my first choice for a pocket holster.
Specifications: Alabama Holster Front Pocket Holster
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
No question this is the most functional pocket holster I have tried.
Comfort * * * * *
Once it’s in your pocket, you won’t know it’s there (provided you have a single stack pistol).
Retention * * * * *
Excellent. The pistol isn’t going anywhere, unless you decide it needs to move.
It has no style; in fact it’s butt ugly. But, it’s going to be in your pocket, so who cares?
Overall * * * * *
It works in all the ways it’s supposed to; it can’t help it if it is ugly.