In the holster market, newcomers are companies in the business for only a few decades. So I suppose Alien Gear, having been around just under two years, is a certified spring chicken.
The company has grown faster than the congressional benefits plan, and the reasons why must include the comfort and flexibility of their holster designs. I recently received an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 IWB holster for a Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm equipped with a Crimson Trace Laserguard LG-489. The company also included the OWB panel, which allows this holster to be converted to a leather-backed outside the waistband model, but more on that later.
To understand the rest of the description of Alien Gear holsters, you have to understand the modular design. Simply put, think of the concept as two interchangeable parts: the back panel and the holster shell. Backings are available in different materials and choice of inside or outside the waistband designs. Holster shells attach to the backings with four T nuts and are interchangeable with any backing.
The idea is, that like a good pair of leather upper boots that you can re-sole over time, you can use the backing you prefer, and swap out holster shells when you switch to a different gun.
With any given gun, you can also swap out backings. For example, this evaluation holster came to me configured as an inside the waistband model. However, also in the box was an outside the waistband backing. For OWB holsters, Alien Gear uses a leather panel equipped with four T nuts in the same pattern as the OWB designs, so the IWB gun shell can be attached in a similar fashion. Leather loops are attached to the backing for belt attachment.
The last function that the modular design handles is retention strength.The plastic gun shell screws to the backing through four rubber washers. Tightening or loosening the entire shell sets the level of friction retention you want.
The difference between the Cloak Tuck 2.0 and original Cloak Tuck models is the material used for the large back panel. The original Cloak Tuck uses a leather panel, while the new 2.0 version utilizes neoprene with a synthetic surface on the outside. The idea behind the new neoprene backing is that the entire backing will better shape to your body and create a waterproof barrier between the gun and your body.
The gun shell itself is molded from thick Kydex. The lower edges that surround the muzzle area are rounded part way over the muzzle area of the gun. This nice extra touch prevents sharp edges from your front sight, barrel or slide from wearing holes into your clothes. I also noticed that the company takes the extra time to polish all edges of the Kydex shell so there are no sharp or abrasive surfaces.
The Alien Gear IWB holster comes with standard Kydex clips that loop over the top of the belt and catch the bottom of the belt. They’re tuckable and very secure, but you will see the front section of the clip lying on top of the belt.
If you want more concealment, Alien Gear offers a variety of optional clips:
C clips are also tuckable, but only hook on to the top and bottom of the belt, so only small nubs are visible at the top and bottom of the belt. It’s doubtful that anyone would notice them, especially if you’re wearing a black colored belt.
J clips hook on the bottom of the belt only. They even more discreet than the C clips, and quite a bit easier to mount on your belt.
Leather snap loops also offer touchable security, but you’ll see the leather strap on the front of the belt. On the plus side, the snaps allow you to take the holster on and off without threading your belt through the loops.
Other clip options include metal and brown colored clips to better match belt colors.
You gotta love the service attitude of most companies in the shooting industry, and Alien Gear is no different. When you buy an Alien Gear, you’ve got three levels of “holster insurance.”
You’ve got 30 days to break it in. If you decide you don’t like it, they’ll buy it back from you. Holsters definitely have a break in period as they shape to the gun, your body shape, and your movements. Most holsters will not be all that comfortable until you wear them a while, so I’m glad to see the Alien Gear folks give you some trial time.
The modular design of these holsters means that the gun pocket and back panel are independent parts. You can break in the body section and swap out the portion that holds your gun. Alien Gear will let you trade in the plastic shell portion for a different gun shape. If you upgrade from a .32 to a .45 or downgrade from a Desert Eagle to a Ruger LCP, you’re covered.
A lifetime warranty backs it all up. If you ever have a problem, give them a call to get it straightened out.
While I’ve read about Alien Gear holsters and seen the catchy ads, I was still pleasantly surprised at the attention to detail in construction.
The modular features are interesting. Swapping out the back would certainly be feasible if, for example, you normally carried inside the waistband and wanted to do a quick conversation to OWB for a class or competition. It’s not something I would want to do daily, but for occasional use, it would make sense given that it only takes a few minutes to do the swap. The ability to trade gun pockets for no charge is also a nice feature for those wanting to upgrade to a different carry gun.
Check ‘em out to see what they’ve got for your carry gun.
More about holsters for concealed carry
If you want to learn a whole lot more about concealed carry holsters, methods of carry and pros and cons of different holster designs, check out our Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters book!