I’m a tough case for holsters. I’m a big guy and I carry a big gun. Big in all directions; I’m about 40 lbs. over my preferred fighting weight. truth be told, like many an OFWG, I suffer from the dreaded Muffin Top Syndrome. This permanently temporary state of affairs makes carrying my Kimber 1911 inside the waistband more painful than the recoil of a Scandium Smith & Wesson 642. My love handle runs smack dab into any gun positioned inside the pants. Ouch. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across the most comfortable holster in the history of the world, ever . . .
I’ve tried a lot of holsters. Up until now, the best holster I’d ever found was the Crossbreed Super Tuck. I’m not alone in this. Patrick Carrube will tell you: while the Super Tuck looks like it was designed for Medusa’s BUG, it gets the job done.
That said, positioning the Crossbreed ST—threading the belt through the loops, sliding it back and forth—is a five-minute futz, easy. Even after all that hoiking and shifting, I still get contact between my gun and my body. In the summer months, sweat meets steel on the bad side of town.
The Kydex holster portion of the ST is great; it won’t collapse when I remove the gun, allowing a single-handed reholster. The Kydex belt loops, on the other hand, scratch the Hell out of my belt.
At the NRA show, I ran across a booth with some rather cryptic, yet macho-looking graphics run by N8² Tactical. Pronounced “Nate-Squared” Tactical, the company is named for founders Nate J and Nate B. Their flagship product: a simple-looking holster for Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) use.
The N8² Tactical holster is a simple affair. On the body side, suede. On the gun side, Neoprene (wet suit material). Neoprene is flexible, durable and waterproof. In theory, “waterproof” means a “moisture barrier” between your hot, sweaty rolls of flesh and your far-from rustproof gun.
The gun is secured to the holster by way of some heavy-duty elastic strapping; the spring steel clip is affixed to the elastic. You can use the N8² Tactical holster with belt-less pants, including cargo shorts and other summer wear, thanks to a heavy-duty, spring-steel clip.
As a Kydex fanboy, I was as skeptical as a New York Times writer at a machine gun shoot when I slipped my 1911 Commander into the pocket. “Nice fit,” I thought. No portion of the gun was left uncovered by the suede/Neoprene pad. I loosened my belt, popped the button on the Wranglers [Ed: sensitive readers, look away now] and slipped it on just behind my right hip.
The N8² Tactical holster attached to my pants more easily than a paddle holster, which is no mean feat. I could slide it around on my belt to find the optimal position without the usual unpleasant twisting motion. Once I had the belt cinched back up, my gun disappeared.
Just like that. Sure, I felt the additional weight of the gun, but I didn’t feel that weight pressing into my flesh. During an evening on the town, I came as close as I’ve ever come to forgetting I’ve got my gun.
The N8² Tactical holster overcame two problems I’ve had with other holsters: 1) getting poked in the kidneys wilst driving, and 2) finding it impossible to get to my wallet with the gun on my hip. No holster rash, fatigue, or eagerness to get the damn thing off my hip.
The N8² Tactical site cautions that this is NOT intended to be a holster for your day at the range (although they do say that you should practice with any gear you plan to use in conceal carry). At the range, you typically want to be able to re-holster your gun with one hand. Because of the company uses elastic instead of Kydex, reholstering is a two-handed affair.
From the N8² Tactical website:
Although not easy, reholstering does get easier with practice. Once the holster has formed around your handgun and yourself, reholstering will be even easier. We hope you are never in a situation that requires you to draw from this or any other concealed carry holster. However, if you are, our friends and customers in law enforcement suggest that once the threat is “neutralized”, secure any weapons available to the “neutralized threat”, place your handgun in a visible location and wait for the authorities to arrive and assess the situation. You will be instructed on when you are allowed to reholster.
Hmmm. The inability to re-holster easily, with one-hand, could be a deal-breaker. We have friends in self-defense. They suggest you may need to re-holster to make a discreet tactical withdrawal from a crime scene. Or a not-so-discreet withdrawal, like running away. You might also re-holster to free your hands for other purposes–gathering friendlies, administering first aid—whilst maintaining access to and control of your weapon.
If you’re willing to forgo ultimate safety for comfort, the N8² Tactical holster retails for $39.95. It comes in a variety of sizes to fit everything from a snub-nosed revolver to a full-size 1911. It’s available from the N8² Tactical website, as well as a growing number of dealers listed on the site. To quote Little Bo Peep, I’ve found my moving buddy.