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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently purchased a Springfield XDs and naturally went looking for a holster to carry it with. In the past I've stuck to Crossbreed for my carry holsters but this time I decided I wanted to branch out. I wanted both a holster and magazine carrier this time, and after considering the price and some limitations on what Crossbreed produces I decided to look elsewhere (more on this later). After some searching I ended up with a holster/magazine carrier combo from Gavin at firearmholster.com, and IMHO it beats what Crossbreed has to offer hands-down.

The holster

For the holster I chose brown leather. Gavin offers 4 leather colors and 40 stitching colors to choose from but I'm glad I went with his recommendation for the stitching color (coyote). The holster follows the typical leather/kydex hybrid concept and it's executed very well. It has a number of features that I haven't seen included all in one place before, and one that I'd never seen before at all.



The leather is a thick 7-8 ounce cowhide with 4 mounting holes on each side for the belt clips that allow you to adjust the cant. The back side of the leather is covered with two additional layers - a rubberized backing helps eliminate moisture wicking through the leather, and that's covered by a soft layer of fleece to make it more comfortable. The leather's also cut to allow for maximum access to the pistol grip, a feature that some manufacturers charge extra for (Crossbreed's "combat cut" is an extra $10).

The kydex is molded to cover more of the pistol than most hybrid holsters. It extends higher toward the rear of the slide as well as low enough to cover the entire
muzzle end of the slide. While the kydex is open at the muzzle the corners/edges of the slide are completely covered. Not only does this make a smoother surface pressing on the inside of your pants (reduced printing), it should help to reduce wear on your clothing as well as help protect the pistol's finish from wear over time. Also, Gavin was happy to accommodate my request to enlarge the sight channel to work with larger aftermarket night sights that I plan to install.

Then there's my favorite feature - the one I'd never seen on a hybrid holster before. Notice the two belt slots cut into the leather just inside the clips? That's right, remove the clips and you've got an OWB holster too! It's like getting two holsters for the price of one - very nice. The slots on mine are big enough to accomodate my Crossbreed gun belt, which is 1 1/2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. My only regret is that, had I thought about it more ahead of time, I would have asked Gavin to cut those slots a little wider so it would be easier to get the belt through them, but the belt does fit.

The only down side I've found to the holster is a minor one, but I notice it from time to time. The leather at the top of the holster that covers the slide/beavertail is lower than I would like. By that I mean it's tall enough to cover the entire slide/beavertail, but just barely. I'd like to see it extend about 1/4 inch higher so that it could flex just a little over the top of the slide as I move. It's a very minor complaint but I think it would make it just a bit more comfortable.

The magazine carrier

For the magazine carrier I chose the same color combination in the two-magazine configuration. It's made of the same leather with the same backing, the same kydex and clips, and the same belt slots so it can be worn OWB as well just like the holster (still very cool).



I had one specific requirement I was looking for in the magazine carrier. Since this is for a SpringField XDs (9mm) I intend to carry the extended length, 9-round magazines in the carrier. Since those magazines are longer than the normal 7-rounders I wanted to make sure that the leather backing on the magazine carrier would be tall enough to provide complete separation between my side and the magazine baseplates. I just didn't want the pad of the magazine poking me in the side all day. So I contacted Gavin and he was happy to cut the leather tall enough to accommodate my request. All I had to do was send him a magazine measurement to be safe. I put all the details in the comments section when I placed my order and he took care of the rest. It's not perfect though - the same downside that the holster has is present here. The leather does cover the extended magazines, but just barely. Another 1/4 inch or so would have been nice.

I had contacted Crossbreed with the same question about the leather height and I was informed that the leather on their magazine carriers were all made exactly the same size (for a given model). The leather pieces they cut for XDs magazines were for the short magazines and would NOT completely cover the extended magazines. I asked if they could cut a larger one for me and they refused. Incidentally it was that refusal that prompted my search for another holster. If Crossbreed had said yes I would have ordered a set from them and you wouldn't be reading this review. Crossbreed cost themselves a sale (and several more in the future).

Holster Comparison vs the Crossbreed Supertuck

The only other hybrid holster I have any personal experience with is the Crossbreed Supertuck (CBST for short). I've carried an XD or XDM in a CBST for several years now so that's what I'll use for comparison. In my opinion there are a number of areas where the CBST falls short, and one area where Crossbreed still has an edge (although minor). The holster from firearmholster.com is on the left in both pictures while the CBST is on the right.



Where firearmholster.com wins:

Leather: It may be hard to tell from the pictures but the leather on Gavin's holster is about 50% thicker than my horsehide Crossbreed (3/16 vs 1/8 thickness by my measurements). It doesn't sound like much but that extra thickness really keeps you from feeling all the specific bumps on the pistol (like the takedown lever or slide release). The fleece/rubber backing is an upgrade as well, making Gavin's holster noticeably more comfortable.
Kydex: The material itself appears to be the same thickness, but Gavin's holster obviously covers much more of the pistol than that of the CBST. More protection for both the pistol and clothing as well as a smoother profile for less printing.
Retention: This will vary from holster to holster of course. Neither holster has adjustable retention but Gavin's keeps a significantly better hold on the pistol than the CBST does. I can literraly hold Gavin's holster upside-down and shake it with both hands as hard as I can and the pistol doesn't budge.
OWB option: Gavin's can be worn outside the waistband using the belt slots, an option not available on the CBST.
Ease of grip: Shaping the leather to allow for a full grip on the pistol is standard on Gavin's holster, but a $10 "combat cut" upgrade from Crossbreed.
Price: Wow, is this a difference. This pair from firearmholster.com was $86 delivered. An equivalent setup from Crossbreed (CBST with combat cut + double mag carrier, no leather upgrades) comes to $142.75 before shipping (and I'd have magazine baseplates poking me in the side).

Where Crossbreed wins:

Clip options: As far as I can tell firearmholster.com only offers plain metal clips. I use velcro clips on my hybrid holsters so having no option from them was a small down side for me. Not much of a win for Crossbreed, but they can have the consolation that I put a pair of their velcro clips on both this new holster and magazine carrier. They're a little large though so I'll probably make some modifications to the clips to shorten them a bit.

Other holster brands I researched:

Full disclosure - I do not own a holster from any of these companies, these are just my observations from what turned up in my research.

White Hat holsters Maxtuck/Microtuck: Other than the various leather print options they didn't seem to be much different than the offerings from Crossbreed. They look nicer, but since it's a IWB-only holster what difference does that make? Prices are comparable to Crossbreed (i.e. expensive), although to their credit they were willing to cut the leather taller on the magazine carrier, so at least they're still open to some custom requests.
Alien Gear Cloak Tuck: Excellent price, but the lack of a molded sight channel in their kydex shell was a deal breaker for me. I put aftermarket night sights on my carry guns and the lack of a sight channel means they just won't fit properly in the aliengear holster.
Comp-tac MTAC: I have never liked the clip design on the MTACs. Depending on how you adjust the cant the clips may extend far below the bottom of the leather. Also, they're just as expensive as the Crossbreed/White Hat offerings.

Summary

Overall I couldn't be happier my new rig from firearmholster.com. It's only a matter of time (and budget) before I pick up another set for my XDM and retire the CBST altogether. If you're in the market for a holster or magazine carrier you'd be crazy not to check them out.

Website: firearmholster.com


Edit: More pictures added by request - inside and outside waistband shots of both the holster and carrier.

The magazine carrier is set to it's highest position possible and it's still pretty low. Keep in mind though that I switched to a pair of Crossbreed velcro clips that are about an inch longer than the provided metal clips. However there are enough mounting holes for the clips that you could easily get it this low with the provided clips.

 

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Not seeing any of the pictures in your post.....
 

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Excellent review. A lot of people on here agree with you.
 

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Nice review. I like the mag carriers - it looks as if both can be oriented to present the bullets facing forward into your index finger when you grab.
Can you show a pic of how high they ride in your waistband?
Of the three mag carriers I have, all print worse than the pistol because the mag is so high.

thanks again.
 

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Thanks for the review EvilElmo.
Since everything is made to individual specs, I'm often asked to make kydex clips or leather belt loops as an addition or substitution.
I know the web site does not show all the possible options....groan.... one day I hope to get everything straightened out there.
I guess until then folks just need to send me an email.
All the best!'
Gavin
 

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great review.... welcome to the Gavin fanclub!! I have had a couple of his holsters for a while now, and along with a great product, his customer service is top notch as well!!

Good luck with your holsters!!

BTW, on the clips. He has been looking at different materials and designs for the clips..... (kydex etc) if he hasn't started supplying them yet, he most likely will be shortly.

(Before he got around to that option, I found some kydex "C-clips" on close out from another mfg that I now use instead of his steel ones).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the review EvilElmo.
Since everything is made to individual specs, I'm often asked to make kydex clips or leather belt loops as an addition or substitution.
I know the web site does not show all the possible options....groan.... one day I hope to get everything straightened out there.
I guess until then folks just need to send me an email.
All the best!'
Gavin
Thanks for the info. I think my wife is jealous of my new holster so when she finally breaks down and wants one of yours I'll ask for some kydex clips while I'm at it.
 

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I'm really interested in one of these holsters but run a TLR-4 Streamlight and am not sure if he can accommodate. I also emailed him about 3 weeks ago asking but have yet to hear back. Do you have any idea if he can assist with this? If so, I would buy a belt, holster and magazine carrier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm sure he would. He was very responsive to all of my requests and emails. He's also post #6 in this thread so I'm sure he's watching the comments. Maybe send him a message through the forum?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Velcro clips attach to velcro on the inside of your belt. It has the advantage of still giving a solid hold like metal over-the-belt clips but since there's no part of the clip on the outside of the belt they're even less visible. They're pointless unless you tuck your shirt in over the top of your pistol grip, but if you need that ability from time to time the small edge of the clip that's exposed behind the belt is almost invisible.
 
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