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.
I love their pocket magazine holster. The company is slow as hell getting the holster too ya (Which they freely admit), but well worth the wait. Magazine sits in my pocket in good position and totally no real printing to speak of.
I like their products, too. Also good prices. I occasionally travel through the area and getting a product in person may even be slower. I gave up.
Agree. I’ve been using one each in LCP and LC9S for over a year now and absolutely love them. HOWEVER. Don’t be in a hurry. It. Takes. For. Ever.
Obviously not something you can test visually but how do you think it will fare in terms of finish wear on the gun long term? This is the main thing keeping me from using kydex holsters–I know wear happens regardless but I’d like it to happen later rather than sooner.
Also, does it print in a square or L-shaped manner in your pocket? I’ve found my current DeSantis holster caves in at the corner (obviously where the gun doesn’t take up any space). I usually stuff a napkin or something else in that corner to make it print like a phone or wallet instead of a gun. Wondering if this one can do better.
I don’t think it will be any worse than any of my other Kydex holsters. I’ve had it in and out of the holster probably 75 times so far. No visible wear. But my Glock in my Raven Concealment shows some definite wear to the finish. I don’t really care as the corrosion protection is still there.
I don’t find that it prints anything that looks like a pistol. It just looks like a lump in my pocket, and in Utah, nobody seems to notice or care.
With my XDs 9mm, it’s square. Looks like a large cell phone in your pocket if you glance at it.
Not a fan of the 1911/Hi Power single action style controls for pocket carry.
BUYER BEWARE. I bought one of these for my LCP. There was a wait of a few weeks for delivery. It appears to be a well made holster, but it will unfailingly rotate in my pocket to an un-drawable position, leaving the gun gript facing forward instead of up, within just a few minutes of walking. This happens in my 5.11 Taclite Pro pants, my Eddie Bauer cargo pants, my Mountain Khakis and my dress pants. I haven’ t tried it in jeans because I rarely wear them anymore.
I have the Hogue Handall grip on my LCP which adds some weight at the grip. The problem is the whole package with the gun in the holster is top heavy, and the relatively smooth surface of the kydex doesn’t grip the pocket liner at all and does nothing to keep the holster in the upright position during movement. Whereas I have used my DeSantis Superfly , with velcro flap removed, hundreds of times for hours at a time, and have only had it rotate out of position on me once, when I was running in cargo pants chasing a dog.
The DeSantis is a bit thicker but keeps the gun in a ready-to-draw position at least 99% of the time. The only reasons I tried the Alabama holster was i thought it might be more durable long-term, and more impermeable to sweat in the summer. I also though it might print less due to being thinner. In reality, it looks more obviously gun-like because it conforms more to the shape of the gun vs. the somewhat padded DeSantis. The DeSantis is slightly bulkier in the pocket, but looks more ambiguous, like a thick wallet.
Unfortunately, The Alabama holster is unusable for me and now resides in a drawer until the day I get bored enough to try modifying it. I may try adding some Talon grip tape to the outside one day to see if it can be salvaged. I don’t know if this is a problem with other gun models, and your mileage may vary. LCP owners, though, would do better with a Desantis Nemesis or Superfly, or a Tuff brand pocket holster, based on my experience.
In their defense I should observe that one’s mileage really does vary. I do not have an Alabama holster, but I do have a DeSantis Nemesis and also used a Crossbreed Pocket Rocket for my Ruger LCP. The Crossbreed is a hybrid, Kydex shell affixed to a flat leather backing, and so it appears like a fat wallet which is great for stealth in plain sight, but it hurts like hell to carry in your back pocket. Simply put, it’s entirely too hard to sit on. The Nemesis on the other hand is quite comfortable front or back, thanks to its semi-soft nylon construction. HOWEVER….as with Frank’s Alabama holster, it tends to rotate around in certain garments, namely cheap FTL shorts from Wally. And it flops around too. That’s not the holster’s fault but simply part of the territory with loose knit shorts. Still, it’s about the only way to carry something if shorts and T-shirt is all you wear. Cargo shorts work a little better. But the whole point of my reply is to keep in mind that everyone and every pocket holster is a little different and and that there is never going to be a truly perfect product for everyone.
“there is never going to be a truly perfect product for everyone.”
True enough. My Desantis isn’t 100% perfect. It will occasionally tilt a bit during the day, but generally stays grip-up and still draw-able. I can adjust it casually with one hand when I need to. I’ve toyed with the idea of sewing velcro patches in my pocket liners, to secure to the velcro piece that is already on the Desantis, where the flap (which I don’t use) is supposed to attach. If I ever get around to it, I’ll post about how well it works, or doesn’t.
Hey, here’s a thought, how about modifying the actual pocket? Like maybe sewing it to fit the shape of the holster so there isn’t any way for the holster to twist. Give it a try. I’ve been a copper for around thirty years and I’ve had every pair of pants and suits I own trailered specifically for carrying a handgun so it carries better and won’t show.
Surprising to hear. I personally have experienced what you are describing twice in 2 years of pocket carrying with this holster and both times it was a larger looser pocket and it was me that caused it. As long as I seat it down into the bottom forward corner of the pocket in the correct orientation it stays put. It is best suited for standard sized front pockets that don’t leave a lot of extra room for it to move around. If you have big grocery sacks for pockets it will bounce around like anything else that is unsecured in a big loose sack.
Nice and to the point! How do you like those grips on your Sig? I’ve been thinking about getting a set to replace the rosewood that I currently have. The rosewood looks really nice but I always feel like my grip is just a little off with them.
I like the grips a lot. They have just enough meat to make it easy to hang onto, especially with the extended magazine. I shoot the Sig almost as well as my G26 at 7 yards. My wife also shoots this pistol on occasion (her hands are much smaller than mine) and she has no issues either.
Cool, I’ll have to give them a try!
I’m currently waiting on a order from them. After 4 weeks (which I felt was a reasonable amount of time), I emailed them asking about wait times. I received a curt (not really rude, but still a little off-putting) email telling me the wait time was listed on their website. I searched all over it, but could not find it. I then realized that the desktop version of websites usually has more information, and low and behold, the wait time was right there on the front page. Now, if you are going to send curt replies to your customers and treat them like idiots, make sure that your website features works on ALL devices. I would have to think long and hard about ordering from them again; between the long wait time and the less then exemplary customer service, I feel that there might be better options.
I like the cocked and locked, with a mountain of pocket lint on the firing pin look. Check the bore, I guarantee there is a dust bunny convention/spitwad, jellybean etc.. in the barrel. I carry my P3at in my pocket NAKED and it picks up alot of crap for an empty pocket. I have to clean it at least once a week, if not more, not to mention sweat/rust. Tried several magic oils, the best so far has been rem oil seems to lube and not pick up so much crap.
I like my Nemesis just fine for pocket carry but I am still looking for an affordable “taco style” holster for some OWB fun. Just not paying $75 for a piece of kydex folder over with 2 slits in it. I can do that.
The weak spot on Kydex pocket holsters tends to be the base of the “wing” (the area just to the rear of where the holster covers the trigger guard). With repeated flexing from standing up/sitting down that area will crack usually the outside panel. I get about 18 month’s use out of such a kydex holster regardless of who made it and no I’m not wearing tight pants (that’s not riiiiiiight).
Unless Alabama holsters offers a lifetime guarantee you’d be better off spending about half that on a pocket holster from Grandfather Oak in NC. When they break (and they eventually will) I just send it back and within a week I get a new one no questions asked.
They don’t exist anymore, Federal charges of murder for hire http://www.journalnow.com/news/crime/n-c-men-accused-in-international-killing-for-hire/article_0060cab2-3218-11e5-82f4-b3de49427b04.html
I’ve used Alabamas in the past but really like Boraii pocket holsters. It’s a minimalist design and really hides the pistol well. Carry my P938 with no shifting or printing problems.
I have their pocket holster for my Kahr P380 and I’d have no other pocket holster! As long as I went with the absolute thinnest gun, I might as well go with the absolute thinnest holster. Only problem, though, is that you are stuck with the hand you purchase. For those rare times I go left-front pocket as a back-up gun, I have to use a Nemesis (I couldn’t bear to spend another $45 when $19 would do).
My experience with Alabama Holster Co.:
I placed an order with them because they were listed on CZ USA’s website as making custom Kydex holsters for the P-07. Yes, I was aware of the 4-week lead time listed on their website. My credit card was billed for the purchase within two days. After 6 weeks with no communication from the shop, I made several attempts to contact them by phone and email. When I finally received an email reply, I was told it would be several more weeks, no definite time frame.
I then contacted K ROUNDS, LLC. about their IWB Tuckable Kydex holster for my CZ. The prompt and courteous reply assured me that they could make my holster immediately. I placed the order and then initiated another round of emails to Alabama Holster to cancel my order and get them to refund my credit card account–this took several attempts and they were not terribly polite.
K Rounds had my holster to me in FOUR BUSINESS DAYS, and it was & is a GREAT holster.
Taking 6 to 8 weeks or longer is completely unacceptable: it’s several pieces of molded plastic, some rivets, nuts and bushings–NOT hand-tooled leather. I don’t care how good their product is, with that level of customer dis-service, stay away from Alabama Holster Co.
From the comments I can see their shipping estimates and communication remain as forthcoming as they were in 2012 when I placed an order. My holster’s production was repeatedly 4-6 weeks out when they did respond to my inquiries or phone calls. At last they created a shipping notification and shipped nothing for another 3 weeks. The experience, as expressed on many blogs, seems not limited to me.
looks like a high print design.
recluse covers the “out” side completely for zero gun shape. and if you have da trigger, they have an insert to prevent the trigger from being pressed while holstered.
no trigger dealio for the p938, but i’ve been satisfied with mine for years.
horsehide people, horsehide.
I have a few Alabama inside the pocket holsters. I have been using one now for the past 7-8 yrs. or so. I do not have the perfect body for a comfortable owb carry and this style/material is just the trick for me. My edc is a G29 and sometimes, depending on where I am going/doing a G20, in another Alabama inside the pocket holster. Either does not move around in my pocket and is more accessible to me than any other design. It works for me and I have converted many friends.
I wear Wrangler stretch jeans as my daily wear and carry a SA XDs 45 acp. I am lefthanded and have tried several pocket holsters and found none I liked until I found out about Alabama Holster. Their kydex pocket holster fits my jeans perfectly with no problem shifting or turning in my pocket. If you wear jeans I can highly recommend this holster.
It was designed for jeans! It’s true the wait can be rather long but good things come to those that wait and this holster is worth waiting for!
It has been 10 weeks now and finally got the email that the Alabama pocket is shipping.
When it gets here and I test it out I will post an update. For a colt xsp.
7 or 10 weeks for a front pocket holster??? This is completely unacceptable. Reminds me of the long wait times (several months, up to and even over a year) back in the 1990s for the little Seecamp. That’s because they were the only game in town. Then NAA basically copied their design and offered it for immediate sale at a lower price . Then the .380 mouse gun revolution exploded. People decided not to play Seecamp’s game anymore, and their sales (and prices…and wait times) plummeted. By 2014 their well had run completely dry and the business was sold to a new owner. As a small business owner myself, I can understand the “game” of supply & demand, but you can only artificially manipulate it to your advantage for so long before the the free market brings competitors – and thank God for that! Alabama Holsters should really increase production if they want to capture more of, let alone retain their current share of, the market. It’s only a matter of time before someone else apes their design and sells them with little to no wait time via their own website and/or on ebay/amazon thereby reducing the current AH demand. But you know the old saying about leading a horse to water…
I will never order from them again.it’s been over a month and I still haven’t received my holster.if your that slow or far behind or just plain stupid then hire some more employees.this is very unprofessional.it’s like they have one person running the entire company and he or she is a teenager.it’s crazy