I’ll start off this product review by admitting that I am someone who is very hard to please when it comes to holsters. I think that may be a majority of the people who carry as well, but I am especially difficult in this regard. I absolutely hate tucking in shirts, and nothing is more annoying to me than having my firearm rubbing into my side all day. Because of this, I have been mostly relegated to pocket carry for the majority of my life. A good pocket holster should break up the outline of the firearm, as well as create a margin of safety by covering the trigger guard. An IWB holster should do the same thing. With most pocket holsters, retention of the holster on the draw is accomplished by having either a small hook-like appendage on the holster to snag on the pocket during the draw, or a sticky substance on the outside that tends to snag on the pocket material during the draw. Most IWB holsters accomplish this retention by using some sort of a belt clip, either plastic or metal (or button loops on some designs) that retain the holster in the pants during the draw stroke. The Sticky Holster uses the tacky outer surface material do accomplish this. However, the idea behind the Sticky holster goes much further than just pocket carry.
The Sticky Holster is designed to be quite versatile. The models that are designed for smaller framed guns, like my J-Frame, can be used one of two ways; either as a traditional pocket holster in a pants pocket, or as an IWB holster, wherever the user would prefer the firearm. Some guns are more suited to IWB carry than others, and some guns are more suited to pocket carry than others. It all comes down to personal preference. That would be one place where I would say the Sticky Holster shines. Rather than the user needing to purchase two separate holsters for two different modes of carry, the Sticky Holster can function either way. If you get up one day and decide that the pants you’re wearing have big enough pockets for pocket carry, you can put your firearm in the Sticky and put it in your pocket. If you decide that the pants you have on don’t really support pocket carry, you can tuck the whole firearm and holster unit into your waistband between your side and your belt and carry it IWB. The clipless design allows for the user to put the holster and firearm wherever on their beltline they would prefer, and this could be a significant advantage, as some pants have belt loops that tend to always be in the EXACT location where you want to put the firearm. Not having to contend with the exposed clip allows for many more location options.
For my test & evaluation purposes, I was provided with the MD-5 size holster from Sticky. It is designed to hold snubby revolvers with a barrel length up to 2.125”. It fit the revolver well, and the quality of construction and materials were quite nice. I must admit, this is my first experience with a holster of this style, and many of the things I experienced when using the Sticky holster could be chalked up to my inexperience with the system. When pocket carrying the Sticky holster, the retention was good during the draw, and the holster covering the hammer helped to prevent any snags during the draw. One of the negatives I found when pocket carrying with my J-frame was that there seemed to be quite a lot of extra material toward the bottom edge of the holster. This was causing the holster and gun to be pushed up and somewhat out of my pocket slightly when I sat down in the car. Perhaps this could be an issue with the pants I wear (Carhartt’s) but could also be an issue with a little too much material on the holster. It's not a deal breaker for the product, but something to be aware of for those folks who are buying the Sticky as a main pocket carry holster.
Carrying IWB with the Sticky holster is pretty easy, but it does take some getting used to for those people who are accustomed to having a clipped IWB design. The Sticky uses the compression of your belt against your side in conjunction with the tacky material to afford retention of the holster and firearm. I tried this with several different types of pants and gym shorts and found myself to be most comfortable with the Sticky while using normal pants and a belt for retention. There were a few times that after fast running or jumping that the Sticky had moved from where I had originally placed it. I had a similar issue with it while sitting down in the car. This could be a function of my body type and the type of seats I have in my vehicle, but it is something for the prospective buyer to be aware of. There is versatility in this holster, but it may not work for everyone, depending upon your lifestyle and comfort level. I have heard people talk about using the Sticky as a holster for when they are wearing pants or shorts that are not meant to be worn with a belt, and that use a simple drawstring for compression around the waist. I tried this several times, but the Sticky holster just did not feel secure enough for me in the waistband for me to trust this method of carry with that style of pant. Granted, I am carrying a very NON-lightweight J-frame (Stainless Model 60) so that method of carry may work better for people carrying a lighter weight weapon, but for me it just didn’t work out as well.
In closing, the Sticky holster is a good product that does help out in the holster decision process. It offers a versatility you sometimes won’t find with other holsters, and does so at a competitive price. I see that Sticky is planning on offering a reinforced model soon (Spring 2015) and that should alleviate some of my concerns with the thickness of the material. The instructions provided with the Sticky are clear and conscise, and explain the process for safe use of the holster, as well as the cleaning process (Which is very easy!). If you are someone who needs a versatile holster, and just can’t seem to find one which fits your needs, check out the Sticky Holster. It did not work well for me as an IWB holster, and worked best as a pocket style holster, but it may fill the IWB & Pocket Holster needs for you!
Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame: This product is a holster that is designed for use either in the pocket or inside the waistband. It is a clipless design that uses compression from the pants/belt and a tacky outer material to retain the holster and firearm.
Target Market: Concealed carriers, especially those people who do not care for the clipped design of most IWB holsters or those people who frequently have to remove their holstered firearm, for reasons such as entering areas where carry is prohibited. The clipless design of the holster makes it easy to remove the firearm and holster as one unit for safe storage in a legal location.
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
- Clipless Design allows for versatility in terms of holster location.
- The holster allows for the user to choose pocket carry or IWB carry (Within certain limitations, mainly gun size.)
- Easily cleaned if the holster becomes soiled.
- Lightweight and not a lot of bulk.
- Covered the hammer of my revolver completely rather than allowing it to stick out above the mouth of the holster. This can be an important consideration for comfortable carry.
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: The holster is offered in a simple, black finish that has a stitched outer border and a tacky rubber like substance that I can most closely approximate to the material that is put on the handles of exercise equipment.
What others are saying?: “This was purchased for my SP101, and is my third Sticky Holster. I prefer the versatility these holsters give over a standard IWB holster; much thinner than leather, no clips or straps to get in the way, and it stays put.” - Amazon Review
- Sticky material allows for placement in different places on the belt.
- Clipless design removes the problem of belt loops getting in the way of the clip.
- Versatility; the holster can be used as a pocket or IWB carry option.
- Holster can be somewhat bulky depending upon application. Pocket carry was pushing the limits of my pocket capacity (others may vary)
- The material is quite thin. It seems plenty durable, but I would prefer a bit thicker, with perhaps a reinforced holster mouth (Says on the Sticky website this is coming soon)
Score: 7.5 Good