Jun 172016
 

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

Continuing my search for a conceal carry holster, I tried 3 new options, the Femme Fatale Lace Soxxx, Flashbang Ava Hybrid IWB Holster and Alpha Belly Band.  Here are my thoughts below:

Femme Fatale Lace Soxxx

The only picture that I took of the Lace Soxxx, I disliked it so much and found it unsafe so I quickly packaged it up to mail back.

The only picture that I took of the Lace Soxxx, I disliked it so much and found it unsafe so I quickly packaged it up to mail back.

Pros: very feminine and cute, no bulk

Cons: sizing is not adjustable at all, tight fit if you don’t have skinny calves, difficult to adjust position once on, good retention but gun slid a little, better for smaller gun, it felt dangerous with my Ruger Lc9s.

When I first researched Femme Fatale I read reviews for the Ankle Soxxx that said that you put it on just like a sock so I thought that this would just be a lacy version of that, I was wrong. The hook and eye closure was very difficult for me, it’s like putting a corset on your leg but the angle is all odd and difficult and it’s so tight that you can’t just put on and then rotate.

I know that the holster has to be snug to work but it felt too snug. It fit perfect at the bottom where the measurement was taken for sizing but very tight at the top so I guess that it’s designed for women with skinny calves as I had a slight “muffin top” on my calf and it had left a deep indentation on the skin after only a few minutes of use.

I did not like that the safety on my gun was flipped off when putting it in the holster. The large difference in weight between my legs made walking odd, I felt like people could tell that I was walking differently. Due to me having bad knees from a previous injury I could tell that extended walking would be torture. Ankle holsters are not for me. It’s a shame as it concealed very well on yoga pants. It would be a good thing to try for someone with good strong knees and a very small gun.

 

Flashbang Ava Hybrid IWB

20160616_104926 I had been wanting to try a hybrid holster for a while. I had been torn between the Crossbreed Mini Tuck and Alien Gear3.0 IWB and had planned on buying Alien Gear due to price, reviews and awards but life had other plans.

When it was time to exchange the ankle holster the vendor that I used didn’t carry either of those options available so I chose the Flashbang Ava instead.

Pros: the leather is truly buttery soft, contours well to my curves, distributes weight of gun over a bigger area, good retention, height/cant/retention adjustable. Combat cut, Conceals better than single clip IWB holster.  Left hand version available.

Cons: clips feel loose and are big, time consuming trial and error adjusting clip position in 25 possible variations.

flashbang collageThe holster is very comfortable and conceals better than my single clip Rawdog Tactical or TWAW IWB. Not all positions were equally comfortable or concealable though. I still can’t carry on my back due to the same problem with my curves where there is a big gap between the gun’s grip and my back so I have a bulge on my lower back.

Side carrying is comfortable and conceals well as long as I am wearing a “regular” t-shirt and not a “women’s” t-shirt. Carrying appendix is the most concealable across the different outfits that I’ve tried but when I sit down the top of the leader “pinches” my muffin top which requires a quick adjustment; this is not a big deal at home but when in public that movement can draw attention to that area. I can’t lower the rise for deeper concealment because then I would stab my thigh when sitting down.

The holster overall looks very well made but the clips leave a lot to be desired. They are the worst clips of any holster that I’ve tried so far. Too flexible and pop off too easily for comfort even when using a gun belt. I have tried carrying around the house and one of the clips slides up and stabs me in the stomach, when I look at it it’s halfway off my pants. The clips are very big to accommodate a wide belt but that just means that there is about a 1/2″ protrusion that stabs my skin. This has happened repeatedly with both jeans and cargo pants. For this reason, I can’t wear this outside the house because I can’t trust the clips to keep the holster in place.

I will be replacing them with Ulticlips to fix that problem (waiting on shipment to arrive) and I expect that to fix those issues. Once the clips are changed I expect that will be my holster of choice for anytime that I wear jeans and pants with belt loops.

 

Alpha Belly Band holster

Pros: Inexpensive, good concealment, no extra muffin top, Made in the USA, ambidextrous

Cons: rough against skin, very wide, velcro on empty holster is noisy in completely silent environments

I had been planning on trying TWAW Breathable Belly Band Holster but due to money constraints I hadn’t been able to order. At almost twice the cost, the Crossbreed Modular Belly Holster was out of the question for the foreseeable future as far as my budget was concerned.

As I struggle with concealing in the horrible Florida heat I decided to search for a cheaper alternative that would hopefully tide me over for a couple of months. I came across an article comparing several belly holsters and the Alpha Belly Band had a pretty decent review talking about it’s breathable elastic and a price ($16.95 shipped) that couldn’t be beat so it was an inexpensive effort to try it out.  The fact that it’s sold by Amazon and I had account credit available was a plus.

Not bad for a $17 holster. I don't consider this a permanent solution but a good starter holster if on a tight budget

Not bad for a $17 holster. I don’t consider this a permanent solution but a good starter holster if on a tight budget

Some Amazon reviews complained about the inaccuracy of the sizing but I found it to be true to size. I measured to wear it above my natural waist as I am tired of hip and waist holsters riding up. The band is much wider than I anticipated but it still fits in my short torso and I don’t expect it would be too bad for other people.

The holster is designed as a “one size fits most medium and large guns” and my gun is on the smaller range of the scale so there is a lot of space for a longer muzzle. The velcro retention strap is something to get used to but necessary. It looks and feels like a medical brace and I guess it’s not too far off since the company that manufactures it a medical products company and they probably use the same materials.

The elastic feels very rough on my skin so I need to wear a tank top underneath, having that extra layer of clothing and the fact that it’s so wide makes it too hot for the Florida outdoors in the summer but it’s suitable for indoor use and the cooler time of the year. The elastic is supposed to be breathable but I haven’t haven’t found that to be very much so.

Magazine or knife holster is convenient

Magazine or knife holster is convenient

The holster is designed for “crossdraw” which isn’t as odd as I feared and it’s actually helpful to me since I’m cross dominant. Like with any other soft holster, re-holstering is a 2 handed job. I don’t know how well a Kydex insert would fit on this although the elastic is stretchy enough that it would probably work. The magazine holster looks too small to fit any magazine at first glance but it’s stretchy enough that it holds my gun’s magazine and knife.

As much as I love black, I ordered a beige one in hopes that what they say about lighter colors being cooler is true, there is no way that I could do white.

Concealing in a regular t shirt or loose printed top is great but I get too much printing on a juniors and women’s size shirts so I won’t be able to use this for those outfits.

Going to the bathroom is super easy, the same as not carrying. Draw time is much slower than carrying in the waistband but it’s better than not carrying at all.

After a long day wearing it, it started to ride up but it was stopped by my breasts so it mostly stayed in place although it bunched up a little at my bra line.  After many hours of wearing it felt hot and a little uncomfortable by the evening. By the time I took it off I was relieved and discovered a slight heat rash in my stomach that cleared up quickly after I cooled off.

While it won’t be part of my EDC, I’ll keep it on hand for occasions where no other holster will work for my outfit.

 

The Final Verdict:

After trying 8 different holsters, while I did not find THE ONE, I think that I have some good choices to wear with different outfits. I may try other holsters in the future such as the TWAW Breathable Belly Band but I won’t be in a rush to do so.

So what did I choose?

For jeans/cargo pants- Flashbang Ava Hybrid with Ulticlip
For yoga pants, leggings and skirts- Fancy Pants Original Holster
For when nothing else works with the outfit- Waist Holster Bag

Apr 292016
 

You can read the first part here.  Continuing my search for a conceal carry holster, I tried 2 new options, the Raw Dog Tactical Holster and Fancy Pants Original Holster.  Here are my thoughts below:

 

Raw Dog Tactical Holster Defender Pro Series IWB20160418_171240

Pros: good fit, great adjustable retention, quick shipping, good customer service, easy to adjust, comfortable once you find the “sweet spot”, “combat” cut for quick draw.

Cons: not tuckable, limited adjustments, most of the gun is above the waist making it harder to conceal, a sturdy belt is a must have, not compatible with ulticlip, prone to showing wear quickly

I had been recommended this holster by several women in my search and the price was right so I decided to give it a shot.

Gap between gun and clip protects gun from scratching but adds bulk

Gap between gun and clip protects gun from scratching but adds bulk

I like that it shipped promptly as I hate waiting for weeks for something to be custom made. There is a gap between the gun and the clip to prevent the screws from scratching your gun which is a good thing except that it adds bulk to the holster.

Huge gap between the grip and my waist

Huge gap between the grip and my waist

The holster is very comfortable but sadly not curve friendly as most of the gun is over the waistband, I can tell that it was designed with men in mind and women just happen to buy it too. Carrying on the back there is a gap between my waist and the holster big enough to fit my hand with space to spare and on the front it conceals great as long as I am standing but when I to sit down and my muffin top pushes the gun down it creates a bulky “shelf” on my shirt.

Impossible to AIWB with the Raw Dog, this happened when I sat down

Impossible to AIWB with the Raw Dog, this happened when I sat down

I really wanted to like it as it’s super comfortable at the 1 o’clock position but it would be impossible to conceal  when sitting down.

I was ready to return it but decided to try it at the 3 o’clock position and that seems to be working, I do have to be exact on the placement as if I put it too far to the front or too far back it stabs my hip when I sit down. While it’s not as comfortable as appendix, it’s still doable and easier to conceal because my hip pushes the grip of the gun into my waist curve, I do get an “uneven” waist but I only see that because I am looking, I have concealed outdoors for 2 days with no issues.

It looks well made although there was a sharp spot that wasn’t sanded down well and cut my finger. However I fear that it will show wear and tear quickly, by the 3rd day of use the clip got a scratch and ruined part of the finish and I can’t figure out what could have caused that as that is in the part that sits over the belt and was covered by my shirt. It’s still functional and just a cosmetic issue.
I decided against returning it because the scratch may disqualify it since you are supposed to return it in new condition and it feels more secure than my TWAW IWB holster. Unfortunately the clip setup is not compatible with the Ulticlip limiting wardrobe choices for this holster.

Wear on the leather from the manual safety

Wear on the leather from the manual safety

A good belt is a must have so this will be limited to the days that I wear jeans and cargo pants. My women’s belts couldn’t handle it so I bought a men’s “work belt” from Walmart and that was sturdy enough to do the trick.

20160419_152526

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fancy Pants Original Holster

Love the Celtic print

Love the Celtic print

Pros: Cute, lightweight, comfortable, looks well made, lots of prints to choose from for a custom look and made to fit your gun. Distributes gun weight very well, perfect for yoga pants, skirts and other clothing with weak waistbands. Pocket for spare magazine or knife and separate pocket for ID and CWP. No worries about the gun being visible when using a public restroom. Woman made in the USA, with very prompt and friendly service.

Cons: Retention strap causes delay in drawing. Long turnaround time of 5 weeks, she offers a few “Quick Ship” holsters that are supposed to ship within 48 hours but mine took just over a week to ship. Very thin fabric makes me fear that the trigger could be manipulated through the fabric but it didn’t happen when I tried. Concerned about durability since fabric is so thin. After I received my holster the manufacturer posted on social media about being able to request a reinforced holster for durability, I wish I had known!

It conceals very well with yoga pants and fitted tank top

It conceals very well with yoga pants and fitted tank top

Finally a holster that keeps the grip of the gun in! I am able to sit down while appendix carrying without getting stabbed in the thigh and no muffin top! Like the Can Can Concealment hip hugger, the elastic band rides up on my butt until it reaches my waist but unlike the Can Can hip hugger, this doesn’t require a tight fit to work so it’s still comfortable and the gun feels secure. I originally measured to wear at my upper hip but the holster is determined to ride on my waist so it’s a little loose but feels secure.

The retention strap is a must have to make sure that the gun stays secure since it’s not tight. I didn’t think it would work with a pair of pants that is too tight at the waistband but it did. It’s very comfortable and forget it’s there most of the time, I am only reminded it’s there when I bend over at the waist and the gun pokes my stomach.

My stomach gets hot and sweaty (I live in Florida after all) but the sweat guard does its job and keeps the gun dry. I don’t think that can be prevented with anything I try although I see the manufacturer beta testing a breathable fabric version so I will look into that once she posts them for sale.

Finally a holster that doesn't print!

Finally a holster that doesn’t print!

My biggest concern is draw time, it’s a LOT slower than my kydex and hybrid holsters and I have to get used to manipulating the retention strap. I have to make sure that I adjust the holster after using the restroom to ensure than an inch or two is above the waistband so I can reach the gun faster. While it’s very well suited for deep concealment, digging through the waistband to find the grip of the gun would take too long.

So far this is the winner in my book. While not perfect, it’s the best in terms of comfort and conceal-ability which is a must for me to carry daily so for now I am willing to sacrifice a second in draw time if it means that I’ll actually have a gun on me to draw in the first place.

Apr 142016
 

It’s been a month since I’ve been a gun owner and I am still trying to find a conceal carry system that will work with my wardrobe and body shape. Like with everything else in life there is no one size fits all option so I have been going through trial and error in hopes of finding the right one.

I recently attended the local gun show in hopes that there would be options for me to try on but I was sorely disappointed. So instead I’ll be ordering online, trying it and returning it if it doesn’t work. This is a time consuming process and can get expensive as shipping charges both ways are not refundable but it’s better than not carrying at all due to not having a comfortable holster and then wishing that you had your gun on you if a situation arose.

Until I find the right one I am alternating between a waist pack and my TWAW IWB holster.  I have just ordered a Raw Dog Tactical holster to try and I am considering an Ankle SoxXx in a month or two.

For the benefit of other women in the same situation I have decided to write reviews for the holsters that I have tried so far. They are:

Most of the pictures are low quality as they are selfies with my crappy cell phone camera but it’s better than nothing for those researching holster options.

 

Waist Holster Bag

waist packPros: Inexpensive.  Better than a regular purse as it’s always on your body. Pull tab for quick access to gun, no fumbling with zipper. Works with any outfit including dresses or loose yoga pants as long as you don’t need to look dressy. Very adjustable for waist size and for size of gun and right/left hand draw placement. Has pocket for knife or extra magazine.

Cons: Not as good as true on body carry. No instructions, belt wasn’t threaded to buckle. It wouldn’t really cost the company to include some basic instructions to make it idiot proof. Phone pocket small, velcro strap for phone should be longer. Wish it had a pocket for ID and credit card.  Not an option if you need something dressy.

 

 

 

 

TWAW IWB holster

Maximum cant (angle) with Ulticlip

TWAW IWB Maximum cant (angle) with Ulticlip

Pros: Compact and good kydex, clip placement makes it slimmer than other holsters. No need to worry about a screw for the clip damaging your gun. Adjustable angle, ambidextrous, able to change height of belt clip. Wide variety of colors/prints and gun models. Able to use with almost any pant or skirt, no belt needed after adding Utilclip.

Cons: Only 2 colors available ready to ship, all other styles are made by request so have a longer wait. Not deep enough concealment, too much holster sticks out of waistband even at with clip at deepest setting. Have to constantly tighten screw, unable to use thread lock since I have to adjust cant depending on outfit. Angle opens up when using the restroom requiring adjustment again.

It took a while to find the right position and adjustment for this holster to work. All front carry positions were out due to it being super uncomfortable when sitting down as the muzzle stabbed my thigh and left a bruise and was harder to conceal. Back carry was comfortable but I had printing from the grip of the gun which is exposed above the waistband. A hip carry with the gun at an angle was the only way that I felt comfortable carry and felt like it was concealed. It passed the test when hubby came home and he couldn’t tell that I was carrying.

Unfortunately all is well until having to use the bathroom and then the angle would open up and would require the whole adjustment process all over again so while I use it on the days that I wear jeans or cargo pants, I am not loving it.

 

Ulticlip:

DSCN2262

Ulticlip= no belt needed! (as long as your pants fit well)

Pros: this clip is fantastic, super easy to install, no belt needed and it has excellent retention. It even works on my yoga pants! I don’t use it with most of my yoga pants because they are loose on me so the weight of the gun pulls them down.

Con: Some people complain that their shirt snags on the clip when trying to get their gun. It hasn’t happened to me yet but I can see how it could happen, specially with a tight fitting shirt. This is dangerous in a defense situation where every second counts.

 

 

 

 

 

Can Can Concealment Classic Hip Hugger

Pros: Multiple sizes, cute decorative accents, extender available for in between sizes. Quality materials and well made.  Good gun retention when bending over.

Cons: It looks like it would be very hot, the material isn’t very breathable. Rides up on my short hourglass torso despite having non slip bands.

This was not my first choice when researching holster options but it kept getting recommended to me so I decided to try it out. I don’t have the money to keep buying holsters for every outfit and occasion so I chose the hip hugger because I wear a lot of yoga pants and other types of pants that don’t have belt loops and this is supposed to work with all of them, I was hoping for a solution that would work with all of my outfits but sadly it wasn’t meant to be.

I watched several YouTube and written reviews before ordering so while it all looked great, all of the women reviewing were slim with narrow hips and with long torsos, the opposite of my anatomy so I was taking a gamble by placing this order. I feared that it wouldn’t work with my curves and that it would be too hot but I needed something that would work with my mommy uniform of yoga pants and tank tops and this seemed to be it. I was mostly right.

I was originally looking at the sports belt version but that one is designed for square torsos which I definitely do not have, the Can Can Hip Hugger is designed for the curvy anatomy but they didn’t count on my curves!  My hips are 10 inches wider than my waist, I can’t see that on the pictures because it’s mostly on my butt.

Since the company is based in Florida, the package arrived super fast, just days from ordering and I liked the nice touch in the wrapping.

can can front

It fits great when first put on, sadly it doesn’t stay in place for me

Out of the package I feared that I should have gone up a size since my torso is so hourglass shaped but when trying it on I discovered that my torso is so incredibly short that it has to sit higher than in the website pictures. Add to that my curves and with normal movement and sitting it rides up on my hips starting on the back because of my Puertorrican butt until it ends up at my natural waist and the front eventually catches up sitting even higher, almost like a belly band. On the website models the hiphugger sits 1-2″ below the belly button, in my case it’s 1-2″ above.

It’s more comfortable that way but I experience more printing because about half of the gun is not inside the waistband anymore. I get a huge “muffin top”, specially when sitting down but if anything that helps reduce the printing futher, lol. As the day went on and the holster rode up I go back to my everyday muffin top. Maybe I should have gotten a corset instead but I simply didn’t want a corset. I could wear it on the widest hook at the hip and narrower setting at the waist but I still had trouble.  I found that wearing it at my natural waist like a corset worked but the size was too big, I could have exchanged it for a smaller size but that position was warm and not very easy access.

It took some getting used to but it’s overall comfortable and I was finally able to comfortably carry in the appendix position. I usually prefer behind the hip carry which can be done with this but again, the part of the grip that sticks out of the pocket bulges my shirt and it’s not so comfortable when sitting down, probably because the holster rides up so the gun is higher on my back.

I wonder if I should have gotten the Shebang size even though the classic fits my firearm but the pinky extension in my magazine sticks out and causes printing, nothing horrible and I was able to conceal just fine with the shirt I was wearing (loose and with a print pattern) but it’s definitely visible with my tank tops that aren’t skin tight but not flowy either.  The Shebang is wider and with my short torso it probably wouldn’t have performed as advertised.  It’s still an improvement over my other holster because it keeps the gun closer to my body except for the part of the grip that sticks out of the pocket so that is the only part that “prints”.

My short torso means that the gun sits very high above the waistband

My short torso means that the gun sits very high above the waistband

The jury is still out on how comfortable this will be when it gets hotter outside but it wasn’t so bad in my air conditioned house. The only time it got uncomfortable was when I got sick with a fever, suddenly the holster felt unbearably hot and uncomfortable even though I was inside with air conditioning, it turns out that I had a 102 F fever at the time.

It works well with yoga pants, really any pants and skirts if you can get a good fit. Sadly this wasn’t the case for me, after much tinkering and adjustment it just wasn’t a good match and I returned it.

This is a great option for slim women and those with long straight torsos. If you have a very defined hourglass shape or short torso it may not work so well. I have seen many plus size women that also love it but I notice that they have a straight torso so they don’t have the riding that I experienced.