Photo credit: PHLster Holsters
Previous Post
Next Post

PHLster Holsters founder Jon Hauptman caused a splash on social media this past week when he announced his company’s latest product, the Enigma. Quick details from the press release itself:

Enigma isn’t a holster. Or a belt. Or a belly band. Or any other device you’ve encountered. It’s so different, in fact, it’s in a whole new category of its own. Enigma is the world’s first concealment chassis, giving you unparalleled concealment, stability, and performance. Using high tech materials, it turns your favorite Kydex holster into an ultra-low-profile concealment system that’s completely independent of your clothing.

Enigma’s chassis means you can train hard, fight hard, and live how you want, with confidence that your gun will stay put. Every part of Enigma was designed with performance in mind. Made from an ultra-light, high-strength woven polymer laminate, the heart of Enigma is the winged faceplate.  It stabilizes your gun while adding zero bulk to the front of the holster.

Train safely with Enigma’s secure retention and stable platform.  It stays in place during repeated draw/reholster cycles, thanks to its unobtrusive adjustable leg-leash.  And your kydex holster shell stays open, allowing for safe one-handed reholstering.

While it’s optimized for the PHLster Pro Series, Enigma is modular.  It will also fit other AIWB holsters that use a Modwing, Darkwing, Raven Concealment wing, or other IWB concealment wing with a 5/8ths on center hole spacing.

Enigma is unmatched in concealment and performance.

We’re all used to hearing advice like, “dress around the gun,” or, “get a better belt,” or, “try a smaller gun” when dealing with the challenges of concealed carry. Bellybands and other alternative carry methods don’t conceal well, aren’t secure, and require constant adjustment.

Enigma is a no-compromise concealed carry solution.  Its 12-point adjustable platform allows you to fine-tune concealment in ways that aren’t possible with conventional carry methods.  Once you adjust Enigma for optimum concealment on your unique frame, you simply set-it-and-forget it with the quick-latch Fidlock magnetic buckle.  Just click and go.

From the gym, to the team room, to the board room, Enigma stays put and stays with you.

* Compatible with non-light-bearing holsters which have a Modwing, Darkwing, RCS Vanguard wing, or other concealment claw/wing with a 5/8ths on center hole spacing below the trigger guard of the holster.

Photo credit: PHLster Holsters
Photo credit: PHLster Holsters

The frequency with which I’m asked by gun owners — new and seasoned alike — how they’re supposed to carry with their yoga pants, gym shorts, sweats, whatever, is staggering. Up until now there hasn’t been a product I was truly pleased with suggesting because the vast majority of belly bands, corset holsters, and other under-your-activewear type gear do not include quality holsters.

Cloth pockets, elastic loops, Velcro…all manner of flimsy attachments have been used by manufacturers in the name of simplifying carry. Finally, we have an option with a secure, safe, high-quality holster offering solid retention and placement.

Photo credit: PHLster Holsters

Curious about the Enigma’s roots? Another snippet from the press release:

Dive deep enough into high-level concealed carry and you’ll find Runcible Works. Known for their experimental and obsessively innovative holster systems, Runcible Works creates bespoke, self-contained concealment systems for carrying in any attire.  They combine high tech materials with sophisticated, ergonomic design principles to build deep concealment gear with the lowest possible signature.  Runcible Works pioneered the concept of building the belt, holster, and accessory carriers into a single platform that functions in any environment from yoga class to entangled ground-fighting and grappling.

After years of operating in the same circles, we reached out to Runcible Works to help bring their concepts and expertise out of the mad-science laboratory and to the masses.  Together, we developed a streamlined and minimalist execution of their renowned, yet often difficult to obtain, systems.

For two years, we explored materials, strategies, and executions, going back to the drawing board several times and starting from scratch. Enigma is the result of an intense and relentless collaborative process, the output of which is a unique and unprecedented piece of concealment technology and a patent pending.

With our final drafts in hand by the summer of 2020, we knew that the Enigma required a special manufacturing partnership. Known for their materials and process expertise and innovation in the tactical equipment space, AXL Advanced was the obvious choice to help us get over the finish line and make the Enigma a reality. Their capability to produce durable, low-profile equipment for hard use applications, using the advanced materials required makes them the ideal candidate for the job.

Photo credit: PHLster Holsters

As frequently as manufacturers launch “groundbreaking, innovative, game-changing” products that tend to be solutions to non-existent problems, it is a stellar moment to see someone come out with such a solid product. The Enigma truly is the answer to questions gun owners have asked for years.

Its fantastic design and functionality offer a reasonable method for carrying on your body even when your wardrobe lacks the means to handle a gun belt. Perhaps this will reduce the number of people flat-out not bothering to carry, and wouldn’t it be sweet if this drastically dropped the number of women who think purse carry is A Good Idea?

Over the years I’ve used different holsters made by PHLster and have always been pleased with their performance. 10/10 would recommend and have done so in multiple publications.

The Enigma is due to drop for public sale at the end of November with Hauptman teasing a possible Black Friday date for the first sales. MSRP is $95 and doesn’t include the holster itself, but you can buy one of the excellent PHLster Holsters on their website here. You can (and should) also watch their website for the official Engima product drop at the end of this week.

All right, let’s hear it. Thoughts?

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. I don’t carry a full sized Barretta Neos .22LR in anything other than a soft case. However…the displayed holster looks like something Marquis de Sade would create.

  2. I hope that nobody was hurt in the explosion at the buzz word factory that created the press release. I’m too old school to be convinced appendix carry in any sort of S&M looking device is a good thing. I’ll pass.

    • Apparently folks with full body tats and body piercings everywhere you can imagine really dig this mid evil looking device.

  3. All that word salad for an appendix holster that looks like it’s harder to get on than my ex was to get off.

      • “I take it you are not a fan of evolution?”

        If yer gonna stuff a gun in your underwear, why spend money on a holster when string will do the same thing? To me, appendix carry is fancy “Mexican carry”, a waste of money.

  4. I cringe every time I see a picture of someone appendix carrying. That muzzle is pointed squarely at a number of things you would NOT ‘intend to destroy’…

    • Only one way to destroy anything… you have to make it function first. They don’t shoot themselves.

      • By that reasoning I guess we can just condense it down to ‘the 3 rules of gun safety’ since rule number 2 is clearly superfluous so long as you never, under any circumstances, make a mistake.
        Concealed carry is a compromise in ALL instances, no matter the carry type/position. Appendix carry trades the potential for disastrous injury for ‘tactical advantage’. I for one am unwilling to walk around with a firearm pointing directly at such catastrophically devastating areas of my body. It’s no different than if you were walking around with it pointed directly at your head.
        However, you do you and I’ll do me and we’ll both just think the other is an idiot.

        • All forms of IWB make that trade off for part of you. In fact most, if not all, of OWB forms do too. It’s just that no one wants to talk about that because “[not my preferred carry method] is extra dangerous and my preferred method is super-duper safe”.

          War Poet proved the very point I’ve been making about this for years. He showed using dowel rods that every style of holster, at some point, points the firearm at you in a way that’s potentially extremely damaging if it just “magically” goes off or if you fuck up reholstering it. Sure, it may not clip your femoral but in a lot of cases you’ll wish that it did.

        • Exactly VIc. Appendix carry is genuinely moronic and I’ve been literally shocked at how many people defend it. There’s just no legitimate defense for it.

          Also, Warrior Poet is an idiot.

        • It’s super fucking cute that you guys are more interested in fighting each other over what holster one should choose than you are in actually doing anything useful.

          Hardly shocking though.

        • I agree. While all methods of carry are a compromise (such as a shoulder holster – vertical is best there) appendix carry is the worst violation of Rule #2. Several instructors I have had also ask the same question, “Would you carry your gun in a “neck holster” with the barrel pointed at your head?’

          In appendix carry, the barrel is pointed right at your femoral artery when seated. If you are standing and you tilt the barrel at all inward on the draw stroke, you are also pointing at the artery. And if not, right at your knee. The problem is that most people don’t know what happens when the femoral artery is ruptured (I’ve seen it). Without quick application of a good military-style torniquet (which can be difficult near the groin), you will lose consciousness in a few minutes and bleed out (die) in under 10 minutes. Direct pressure will only give you a little more time. You can do your best with a belt on but it is hard. (I carry a compact torniquet in my daypack first aid kit, so does Tom Gresham [of Gun Talk]).

          One instructor read us a news article about a man using appendix carry shooting himself in the thigh with his Glock while seated in his car with all his family – he died. There are dozens of news articles about this exact negligent discharge – several descriptions seem to indicate appendix carry. You can search on such terms as “shoots/shot himself” + “leg/thigh” etc. Just a few article headlines:

          “Man accidentally shoots himself as he was reaching for his gun”
          “Sheriff: RPD officer died from accidental self-inflicted gunshot” – off duty appendix carry
          “Man accidentally shoots himself in leg inside car”
          “Man accidentally shoots and kills himself while driving”
          “Man accidentally shoots himself as he was reaching for his gun”
          “Man dies after accidentally shooting self in leg”
          “Milwaukee man dies after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh”
          “Man accidentally shoots himself in the leg”

          There are dozens, maybe hundreds of these of these articles; page after page. Yeah, I know, they should have kept their finger off the trigger. However, in a panic situation with a robber/carjacker/ mugger in your face, unless you have TRAINED & TRAINED, a lot of people are going to be putting their finger inside the trigger guard on the draw – if your holster is tight (for retention), the hand pulls up and – BOOM.

          There have also been cases of a worn leather/nylon holster where the top edge bends in and has engaged the trigger upon holstering – a picture of this was posted on one gun website (the guy lived). OR many of the cases seem to be clothes/belt/seatbelt gets caught somehow in the trigger guard, when adjusting the gun position. With a striker-fired/no-external-safety gun and an eight-pound trigger pull, it happens – the articles indicate, all the time.

          So think about the question the instructor asked, and then you’ve got to ask yourself one more question. Do I feel lucky?

        • Correction: Not eight-pound trigger pull, that was the original Glocks. Most striker fired guns these days are more like 5-6 pounds, which just reinforces the point about the dangers of appendix carry and negligent discharges into the thigh.

        • Because the trigger guard (and trigger) are obviously not covered when the gun is halfway in or out of the holster on the draw or when reholstering. That’s likely how most these guys in the online news articles shot themselves (yes negligently) – with fingertip engaging or disengaging from the trigger. When reholstering, the very action of inserting the gun into the holster with even the edge of the fingertip still on the trigger can cause the top edge of the holster to pull the fingertip (and the trigger) back. That’s how NDs happen with any type of holster.

          The point is, that with appendix carry, that discharge goes not into the ground at your side or graze your butt or leg, but can go into your femoral artery or knee. Yes it is negligent, and better training would prevent it, but it happens all the time, especially in a real life-stressfull crime situation (drawing to shoot someone pointing a gun at you, or reholstering after shooting someone). The only people I’ve seen (in vids and a couple real life experiences) who don’t experience stress shakes after a shooting are combat vets, very experienced cops, or those who have done hours of force-on-force training.

          In any case, as I mentioned, with appendix carry a shirt/belt loop/seatbelt also can get caught in the guard and cause a discharge when doing either action while seated, especially in a car – and that’s not really negligence.

          Someone in this thread asked why you don’t hear about these discharges. Well, that’s just wrong. Like I said if you search there is page after page of news articles online about people shooting themselves in the thigh and bleeding out. That only happens when you hit the femoral artery in the front/inside of your leg – likely appendix carry.

    • Nam62, I agree completely. Appendix carry is too uncomfortable and to close to the family jewels for my liking. But, if it works for others then that is their business, not mine.
      One size or carry method does not work for all.

  5. I know this is off topic but everyone needs to donate to the Election Defense Fund set up by the president so he can get this election overturned. Google Trumps Election Defense Fund.

      • “Trump lost, get over it.”

        Nope. Not gonna happen.

        Gore fought the result for 36 days. Dims refused to concede 2016 for four years now. Trump should spend whatever, treating the Dims to their own brand of rebellion.

        • Hillary Clinton conceded on November 9, not even a week after the election.

          Are you intentionally lying or are you just ignorant?

          “Wed 9 Nov 2016 11.50 EST
          Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via Email
          4 years old
          Hillary Clinton called on her supporters to accept the US election result on Wednesday, as she delivered a concession speech in New York in which she pressed Donald Trump to hold fast to American values.
          “Donald Trump is going to be our president,” she said, speaking at the New Yorker hotel in Manhattan. “We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”

          This is one reason why Donald Trump lost, he is a liar and his supporters are willing to lie to support his criminal enterprises.

          Once he loses the shield of presidential immunity, he will be called to account before the bar of justice.


        • “That doesn’t sound like Debbie.”

          Agree, that ain’t Deborah.

          Lazy-ass imposter trolls that can’t be bothered to do the grunt work of mimicking the target…

      • 1) 100% Agree to donating to Trump’s Election Defense Fund

        2) Not Debbie

        3) Why the F___ are you still using google? EVERY CONSERVATIVE AND Pro 2A NEEDS TO STOP USING GOOGLE ASAP.
        They shifted at least 6 million votes away from Trump.

        Here is Dr. Robert Epstein w/ Tucker Carlson on breathtaking information on Big Tech/Google manipulating the 2020 election.

        Google Is Evil

        • Google did not put out a “Vote!” reminder. Shock! Of course, nobody knew there was an election due and needed a reminder…Get real! If voters needed a reminder to vote after all this campaigning and discussions, they should not be allowed to vote anyway…And for the 6 million redirected votes, he did not provide any proof or even any information on how and where he had gotten to that number. Youtube influenced the voters? If you are so gullible as to make your political decisions based on youtube videos, you should not be allowed to vote either!

        • please, except reality.

          Even Saint Limbaugh thinks this is a nothing burger.

          “You call a gigantic press conference like that — one that lasts an hour — and you announce massive bombshells, then you better have some bombshells. There better be something at that press conference other than what we got…I talked to so many people who were blown away by it, by the very nature of the press conference. They promised blockbuster stuff and then nothing happened, and that’s just, it’s not good.“

        • @ Martin

          The fact that Google is manipulating search results down to individual users, keeping track of their political leanings and returning content that is pure propaganda is, according to you, just fine. Why is this chilling level of Orwellian surveillance and corrupt manipulation OK? Because according to Martin…”If voters needed a reminder to vote after all this campaigning and discussions, they should not be allowed to vote anyway…”

          By your logic the Wiegers in concentration camps with the help of Google’s surveillance are really just on a Club Med Getaway paid for by the Chinese Govt. They are just ” gullible ” right Martin?

          Over 90% of Internet traffic is through Google’s monopoly and they are watching, turning manipulation techniques on or off (down to individual users) quicker than you can extradite your head from your ass.

  6. Seems like a thin belly band with a rigid section and extra tie down. Limited to AIWB. Doesn’t seem too revolutionary to me, but somebody will like and buy it.

  7. It doesn’t seem to fix aiwb’s biggest drawback for me: comfortable when sitting at a desk for 8 hours.

  8. Patent: This kydex chastity belt functions by applying direct fire to the genital area incapacitating the wearers sex organ to ensure they cannot procreate.

      • No? Strong side hip carry IWB (at a cant) and it is impossible to flag myself unless I purposely put my hand in front of the muzzle.

        • No. Even strong side the muzzle flags you. Unless your butt is so big it pushed the muzzle out, but even during normal movement it will still flag you.

          Either way, unless you make it shoot, it does not shoot. Pretty simple concept.

        • Not really sure how you (or your holster for that matter) are built, but my kydex rig does not muzzle me at any point. To be fair, I carry a full size pistol, so perhaps a compact or micro might turn in enough to clip a butt cheek. Even then, getting Forest Gump’d is far, far better than blowing a whole in your pelvis or femoral artery.

      • Pretty big difference between grazing your butt cheek or leg (iwb@3-4 o’clock) vs blowing apart your hip joint, obliterating your femoral artery or removing vital bits of man anatomy.

  9. “….how they’re supposed to carry with their yoga pants, gym shorts, sweats, whatever…”

    I don’t wear any of that and I’m darn sure not pointing a pistol at my junk. Glock or not.

    • You can always tell something about a person by how they choose to say “junk”, “jewels”, or such.

      • Oh…. we know…. you’re so much more intelligent than anyone else….
        Here’s one for you, you can REALLY tell something about someone when they can’t pronounce the word HAS without bastardizing the English language….

      • Writing and speaking are not the same. I use words on-line that I would not use when talking to an actual breathing person(s).

        I’m also influenced by the younger generations slang to a small degree since we have college interns at work, and I do my best to influence them.

  10. Yeah, this will not work at the gym. Deadlift or squat throw this right out the window, and if benching you will print immediately. Not to mention swimming…

    I just keep my gym bag near me at all times whilst there.

    I’m sure this product will work well for those upgrading their Uncle Mike’s holster for AIWB, but it really does nothing for just about everyone else…

    • I’ve been T&E-ing one for about 4 months now and hit the gym 3-4 times a week, squats, DL, RDL, back extensions, single arm DB press, benchpress, floor work, etc and I have done it all with a G17 in my waistband with no issues and no printing.

      The chassis conforms to your body, not your clothing, and it doesn’t limit your body movements because you adjust it to where it needs to be comfortably for you.

      As for printing, I literally just hike my sweats or shorts waistband over the back of the slide if I am going to do an exercise where I am worried I might print and voila… It doesnt print.

      • I’ll take your word for it. It does not look like a product that would work well for me. I’m not sure how you get away without printing (especially when benching) though, but clothing and material choice may play a roll in that.

  11. “BuT AppEnDix CaRry”

    my god… just stfu. If it’s not for you and you don’t carry appendix, “cool story bro” inside your own head and keep moving.

    I strong side and appendix. There are reasons why appendix is one of the most popular options now days. It has numerous tactical advantages to every other position. Plain and simple.

      • Yeah and fudds think open carry is the way to go…..
        How F K N DUMB ARE YOU “PEOPLE”?

        Fudds are the single reason we are losing our gun rights…..
        DO NOT take the advice if these morons unless you want trouble from all angles…. DO NOT OPEN CARRY UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY….

        • Fudds by definition only support their own hunting rights and dont support the rights of other gun owners. That makes you the fudd for your lack of support for open carry. Open carry was the norm in rural America long before anti gunners convinced you it was evil or concealed carry bans were eradicated. The single reason we are losing gun rights is anti gun billionaires are financing organizations who are in turn bank rolling democrats. Way to drink the anti gun flavor-aid though and thanks for writing in all caps. No one is saying you cant appendix carry but saying its safest is nonsense.

      • I see appendix very popular with people who don’t shoot competitively.

        Competitive shooting doesn’t let you draw appendix, so you’d have to train one way with appendix, and then strong side for competition – essentially building two sets of muscle memory.

        I personally would rather carry the way I train and compete and keep that down to one system.

  12. I’m struggling with the bulk of the actual holster. Maybe with an ultra slim holster but that chunky monkey isn’t gonna be comfy at all.

  13. Does it come with multiple washable tie downs used to lash down the device as they’ll be pretty ripe after a few hours in the fishy/musty smelly sweaty genital/anal area. I can only imagine the chafing I’d likely have to endure after a few hours of that tie down riding between my b@//$ and inner thigh. OUCH!

  14. So basically, it would appear that this is a system where a belt with a holster platform to attach your own kydex holster on and what looks like a lanyard to loop around your thigh to keep it from riding up when you draw. The whole assembly is worn next to the skin which means that the clothing is on top of the rig and acts as concealment.

    This is giving me flashbacks of the one trip to San Francisco I took where I saw a man in a parade wearing nothing but leather cowboy chaps.

    I think I’ll wait until I see more people using this.

    FYI, you can get the same result with a elastic belly band and the right gun.

    • I’d like to see what folks say on their long term reviews. It seems more suited for when wearing gym shorts or sweatpants. I’m still researching what belly band to try out. The Alien Gear one is too bulky. Crossbreed’s is about the same price and better design. The $20 ones on amazon don’t have a hard trigger guard and some catch the front sight when unholstering of gun pokes past the bottom. The one that seem to be thick wide and most secure are the one causing sweat buildup. This PHLster design may mitigate these issues?

  15. My question is, does it have to be appendix carry, or can it be repositioned to work in different locations?

  16. That things looks ridiculous. Overly complicated, Rube Goldberg holster. I think it needs a scrotum noose, or a rectum plug anchor to keep the whole assembly from coming up with the gun on the draw.

  17. As freely admitted, I do not carry any firearm in a holster, but my one and only is carried, in my range bag, in a soft case. So, I don’t have any real skin in the game, however…..

    If any method of holstering was/is grossly dangerous, why don’t we hear about dozens and dozens of self-inflicted injury/death events, each year? Is the lack of evidence due purely to reporting and data collection failings, or is the lack of evidence, evidence?

    • As I wrote earlier in this thread – the evidence:

      Do a Net search on these four permutations:
      “shoots/shot himself” + “leg/thigh,” and you can spend a few hours reading. The way you bleed out as described in the articles (quick) is by hitting the femoral artery on the front/inside of the thigh – likely appendix carry.

      Also see Instructor John Boch’s original article about appendix carry on TTAG:

      • Thanx for the link.

        Yes, appendix carry seems to result in instances of self-inflicted wounds, but we are seeing, here, reports that every holstering method is dangerous to some degree. Yet, still, we don’t have dozens and dozens of reports of self-inflicted wounds. My question is whether holstering accidents are a statistical warning, or just complaints by people who don’t like one method or another.

        Remember, stats are designed to prove a point, not determine if there is a point.

  18. Lol at these comments.

    If your primary concern in carrying is that you might shoot yourself, maybe you shouldn’t be carrying at all without some more training… ya know, build up that confidence and knowledge base a little?

Comments are closed.