The market for inside the waistband (IWB) holsters has seen a surge of innovation in design and materials in the recent years. At first glance they may all seem the same in form and function, but anyone who carries concealed on a regular basis will know the difference on the hip. Each concealed carrier has a different frame, and can be themselves a variable as to what brand of holster fits best. A lightweight holster with the right combination of materials can be the solution that fits wider (and thinner) range of people.
Enter the 'Cloak Tuck 2.0' from Alien Gear Holsters. This IWB holster stands out from the pack with a unique composition. Technically referred to as a hybrid, the lightweight design has a soft Neoprene backing that is thinner and more flexible than traditional leather backings, and provides a better conforming fit and comfort to your body. The Neoprene material is completely waterproof, which will prevent corrosive sweat from soaking in and reaching your pistol. The secret to the backing is an internal ABS polymer core that gives flex but is strong enough to not sag down with the weight of a hefty handgun.
The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 IWB Holster has a plastic handgun half-shell that is fully swappable for versatility with other guns in your collection. The shell is made in a quicker fashion than most other 'boutique' kydex holsters, and this simplicity in the manufacturing process trickles right down to the price tag for the end user. By no means is this a poor quality holster, just the responsibility for retention is shared amongst the belt, waistband of the belt, and the user's hip. I know it's far from rocket science, but sometimes the simpler solutions are the best. The half shell reduced the overall profile of the holster, and thus prevents factors that cause imprinting of the firearm through clothing.
The Cloak Tuck 2.0 holster comes equipped either with Alien Gear's standard nylon clips, designed for 1 .25" to 1.5" inch belts, or their steel clips that fit belts up to 1.75" inches. For enhanced conceal-ability, there are nylon "C" clips and "J" clips are also available on the website as add-on items. These clips would be ideal for anyone who tucks their shirt over the pistol, and does not wish to have obvious clips exposed over the top of the belt. The "C' or "J" clips go beneath the belt and hook under the edges, which gives a more innocuous look. The holster also includes a parts pack containing multi sized screws and rubber spacers, along with one T Nut, Finish Washer, and 3/32 Hex Key.
I ordered this holster for the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, to really get a sense of concealability of a single stack defensive pistol. Borrowing a friend's Shield, we were both able to test the holster by drawing in the standing, sitting, and walking positions. After comparing notes, we both agreed the Cloak Tuck 2.0 had a better feel than other holsters we both respectively have tried in the past. The Neoprene was soft on the skin and keeps your skin from feeling sweaty, irritated or suffocated at the end of the day. The thinness and flexibility also made inserting and removing the holster from the pants easier than rigid leather-backed holsters. This, along with the lightweight, may also fit your regularly sized pants instead of having a designated pair thats one size up to accommodate an IWB holster.
The only factors I took as a trade-off with this holster are two-fold: When reholstering the firearm, the flexible backing will deform instead of guide your muzzle downward into position. I found that reholstering from a slight angle caused this issue to repeat, and the slide could come out of battery. Leather offers more resistance that would guide the gun into position easier, but during an altercation the holstering is the slowest and least critical part anyways. The second issue I found was more of a personal preference. Instead of grommeted or regular holes for adjusting the ride height, Alien Gear had installed all 6 nuts, leaving 4 exposed. While this makes for initial configuration faster and easier, removing the unused nuts with barbed backings would be more troublesome than leaving them installed, leaving them exposed WILL wear on your clothes overtime.
** I've decreased the rating to 6.5 since initially reviewing this holster, as issues and wear have shown more over time. Also, the positioning of the shell put the rear of the pistol's slide off center from the sweat guard. Modification to the screw holes was necessary to shift the gun over slightly so the slide and sights didn't jab my side when seated.**
Because the overall for the price point, this holster is hard to beat. Other brands on the market reaching as low as $60 or $50 dollars make compromises in either plastic vs kydex, or leather quality, or stitching reinforcement. For almost half that price, you can get a quality holster from Alien Gear that accomplishes exactly what and IWB holster should do, without abducting your paycheck!
Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame: Our 'Cloak Tuck 2.0' Neoprene Composite Holster is our most comfortable and stable holster yet.
Target Market: Concealed Carry
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
- Lightweight design
- Soft neoprene body-side layer
- Inner ABS polymer core
- Completely waterproof
- Fully swappable handgun shell for versatility.
- Comes equipped either with standard nylon clips, designed for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch belts, or steel clips that fit belts up to 1 3/4 inches.
- For enhanced conceal-ability, nylon "C" clips and "J" clips are also available as add-on items.
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black
What others are saying?: "Alien Gear has nailed it. The simple design means the cost comes in below most other holsters–$35.88. New pieces and parts are available as needed. New Kydex shells, too. If you aren’t someone who owns a lot of guns, there’s always the shell-swap option. All told, this holster is comfortable, dependable, easy to conceal, and modular. I’d pay a lot more than $36 for that."
MSRP = $35.88
I need it now! Availability on aliengearholsters.com
- The back layer of neoprene is very soft and didn't get excessively sweaty
- Completely waterproof
- Lightweight & comfortable for all day carrying
- Slim profile reduces printing, can make IWB 1911 carry possible
- Easy to get into pants
- Includes varying sizes of nuts and spacers and the allen tool
- Neoprene backing is quite flexible, and reholstering at the wrong angle can hang up the process, cause slide to come out of battery
- Logo artwork was wearing off (may have been temporary marking for short run of Clock 2.0)
- Nuts are pre-placed and exposed, as opposed to one set of nuts to disassemble and adjust (removing nuts would cause damage to backing)
- Position of the slide was off center from sweat guard and required modification of the shell
- Others users have experienced rusting on the back's exposed screws, and even comfortable skin wear
For FFL services I choose Promised Land Firearms in Toulon, IL.