When it comes to concealed carry holsters, one size fits all isn’t an option. One holster cannot suit every permit holder.
If you live in a full four-season climate, you will need several holsters, although the IWB may solve most issues and should be the first choice.
There are times when a covering garment may be worn, and in this case, a shoulder holster may be an option.
Among the top makers, when innovation, quality and appropriate gear for concealed carry are considered, is Alien Gear. I have used these holsters for years with excellent results.
Alien Gear IWB Holsters
The inside-the-waistband holsters are well-made and constructed of good material. This holster is useful for perhaps 90 percent of your concealed-carry needs.
The holster consists of a Kydex holster attached to a comfortable fabric backing. The level of adjustment is high, with several options including drop and cant angle.
The belt attachments are detachable and may be adjusted to suit the drop for each individual. Drop is simply the height of the holster above or below the beltline.
Strong belt attachments take a firm hold on the belt. The holster doesn’t shift when moving and offers a good, sharp draw. Comfort is high.
An interesting option is the Alien Gear Grip Tuck Universal Fit. This isn’t exactly a fit-them-all type, but a holster designed to accommodate a range of handguns in a certain narrow frame size.
The holster is more rigid than most and the padded-core design makes for excellent comfort. The holster keeps the gun secure, partly by fit and partly by body compression (the body pressing against the gun and holster).
The belt clip offers up to 180-degree adjustment. The adjustment for draw angle and drop are excellent. The belt clip may be removed and reattached in several different slots for maximum efficiency.
Alien Gear Shoulder Holsters
If a shoulder holster suits your needs, one of the best for any price comes from Alien Gear.
The ShapeShift shoulder holster features a four-point swivel backplate with plastic connectors and retention features to keep the pistol in place. English bridle leather is married to synthetic materials.
This is a good looking holster, but don’t purchase a shoulder holster because it is cool. Upper body carry is a good option for many of us. The shoulder holster, however, may feel constricting.
If there isn’t a good level of adjustment, the holster is worthless. Comfort issues are addressed with a liberal amount of neoprene padding. This makes for a much higher comfort level than most holsters.
A four-point back swivel and elastic connectors are good design points. No matter how energetic the movement, the holster is flexible and moves with the body, while the holster itself is solid Kydex and offers good retention.
You have four anchor points for stability (two stabilizing belt loops and the loops over each shoulder). This is important. Slack in a shoulder holster eliminates any chance of a sharp draw.
The holster must be anchored to provide stability when the handgun is drawn. Alien Gear got stability right.
An advantage is that the stabilizing harnesses use a unique clip-on device that will hook under the belt or even into a belt loop. This makes for good adjustment and easy on and off utility as well.
Alien Gear has managed to manufacture the holster while maintaining a slim profile. Excess bulk is the enemy of a shoulder holster, yet the harness and stabilizing straps are necessary parts of the design.
A shoulder holster cannot be as small as a scarf, but neither should it be an ox yoke. The Alien Gear shoulder holster works well.
Standout Features of Alien Gear Holsters
An adjustable thumb break and good retention makes for safety. The muzzle covers folks behind and around you, something you must take into account.
When worn at a muzzle-up angle, which I find best for my personal draw, this concern is lessened. Most trainers do not allow shoulder holsters during classes, so you are on your own in training.
The draw must be practiced. Don’t just reach across the body to draw the handgun, that is miserably slow. When drawing the handgun, move the weak side foot forward and slant the body toward the target.
The hand slips to the handgun and brings it up as the weak side hand is out of the path of the muzzle, and the hands meet to move the handgun toward the target.
With practice, this draw is brilliantly fast. In execution, the security system reminds me of purpose-designed ‘jump holsters.’ It is that good.
Using Alien Gear Holsters
In common with other designs, the holster features a dual-magazine pouch on the non-dominant side to accommodate two magazines. This gives the wearer a remarkable reserve of firepower.
The magazine pouches are easily removed. If you only carry one magazine, remove the other carrier. Retention may be adjusted for the hard tug most of us prefer.
The basic system allows changing the holster and magazine carry for different handguns. All of this is worn on the shoulders and feels much lighter than the same gun load on a holster belt.
During movement, I could not find an angle in which the pistol butt was not presented for a sharp draw. The ShapeShift holster is a good design that I will be using a great deal.
After 500 successful repetitions, I find the concept and execution excellent. A person who is seated or driving most of the day will find the ShapeShift a good choice.
As for concealment, as long as the covering garment isn’t paper-thin or translucent, the holster works well. Adjustment is simple enough as you find the proper draw angle.
Be cautious, however, as too severe an angle may invite printing on an outer garment. I like the holster to hang under the armpit and provide a sharp draw coupled with good concealment in the natural hollow of the body.
Conclusion: Alien Gear Holsters
The Alien Gear holsters offer a first-class option for concealed carry at a fair price.
There are other Alien Gear holsters that make for excellent choices. Choose well and take a hard at Alien Gear. They just may be your go-to maker.
Have you tried any Alien Gear holsters? How did you like them? Let us know in the comments section below!