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Discussion Starter #1
Alright, I am sure you guys are tired of my posts and posts in general regarding IWB holster options for an XD9 Service. I just spent the last hour or so searching the archives back as far as 9/2003 for opinions on different IWBs, and with most all of the threads I read it comes down to personal preference.

Here are the options I am specifically considering:

-Cross-Breed ($36)
-CTAC ($70)
-HBE LeatherWorks "COM 3" (~$80)
-Versa-Max II (~$100)

The Cross-Breed is new enough that there arent much in the way of reviews, though the first few holsters in owner's hands are positive. I dont like that it doesnt have an adjustable cant, though it does look comfortable.

The CTAC has tons of positive reviews out there, but for some reason I am having a hard time imagining its lack of a "leather backing" as comfortable. (even though R/T Performance assures me it is). I almost think that the CTAC with the THIN leather of the Cross-breed would be ideal...(I dont like the ANSWER because the leather looks and is apparently way too thick..)

The HBE holster was created as a copy of the Versa-Max II, and is apparently a great holster. I have heard that because its backside is textured, it keeps the holster in place against the skin. A downside is that there is a 15 week wait, and one member reported the HBE's leather digging into his hip awkwardly...

The VMII is reported on all sites and by nearly all accounts as the best IWB holster available. It looks comfortable and is apparently of amazing quality. One problem is its smooth backside which apparently allows the holster to slide around against the skin. Other than that, its apparently amazing. They can be had (for a markup) in a matter of days which isnt too bad.

Of those options I am still swimmingly lost. While price is a factor, it isnt enough to sway me away from a better fitting holster or a better quality holster.

At first I think Cross-Breed, then CTAC, and back again. Now I am thinking VMII, etc, etc.

Any light anyone can shine on this for me? Any added advice and help would be more than appreciated. Even if you have already chimed into another one of my threads or posts, please do so again just to reinforce your opinions or experiences.

Thanks again.

-Richard
 

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All of the holsters you listed are nice. The reason I went with the CTAC was for the adjustability. That was important to me. I don't have any problems with the kydex against my skin. Haven't had any problems to date. What you can do (at least what I've seen) is hotglue a thin layer of hide on the back of the holster. Problem solved. 8)
Other strong selling points...it's tuckable and thin but won't colapse. Makes very easy one hand reholstering.

Here's a picture of the backside which we don't get to see often in pictures. It's smooth and not that bad. The screws and mounts look menacing but it's actually not.

 

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I'll agree with the above. I love my C-TAC and can't say enough positive stuff about it. Once you get it set to you you'll forget it's even there, it's that comfortable.
 

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Richard,

As we discussed in a few PMs, I make an IWB holster that has adjustable kydex clips on it. It can be viewed here: http://www.kdholsters.com/iwb-defend.shtml . It is the Cochise Defender model. There also is the Mini-IWB Defender, but that’s primarily for the smaller guns, such as Kel-Tec, NAA, or similar.

The Cochise Defender is a very versatile holster. You can wear it as an IWB, a tuckable IWB, and an OWB holster. By flipping the clips to the back of the holster is how you can carry/use it as an OWB holster. I can also add a sweat panel. Like the CTAC, the adjustability of the clips is a key factor for its comfort. Pictures on the above page show the many ways it can be worn. I offer two styles of clips primarily - standard clip and the c-clip. The j-hook is also available. I get my clips from the Comp-Tac folks.

Leather is measured in "ounces," meaning each ounce is equal to 1/64". Most holster makers use 7-8 ounce leather for IWB holsters and 8-10 ounce for OWB holsters, especially for the larger autos. The third piece (overlay) on the Cochise Defender is a 6 oz piece. That third piece aids in keeping the throat of the holster open for easier reholstering. I have made the Cochise without that overlay piece on it for those folks who wanted it to be a little bit thinner. (While overall thinness is oftentimes an important goal, you have to take into consideration the durability/function of the holster set up, both short and long term. The use of thinner leather will affect the durability/life of the holster.)

Those who ordered the holster without the overlay felt the reholstering aspect was a very low priority. The priority was to maintain the overall thinness. By taking away the overlay piece also provides for a bit more flexibility in the front side/end of the holster. Another aspect as to how comfortable these holsters are is the spreading out, or distance between, the clips. And then by attaching the clips to the leather allows for the whole set up to mold fairly quickly and easily to the body.

Another note on the clips - I offer either the c-clip or the standard clip when you order the holster. I also offer the opportunity to purchase the alternative set. That way you can switch them out at will. The most common choice of clip style is the standard clip.

I personally find the holster to ride very comfortably at the 3:30 - 4:00 position. I carried a Ruger P345PR in it. It just depends on your body structure as to what would determine the best spot. By being able to adjust the hooks, this allows you to fine tune the cant and depth of the holster. It allows you to put it in such a position that makes it easy and comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, and most importantly, it puts the gun where you can easily and quickly extract it from the holster.

The cost for the Cochise Defender is $55 + $5/shipping.
 

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Another thing to keep in mind even on the VMII is finding it in stock for the XD which I have not. I chose to go with the COM3 with sharkskin trim for a more customized holster for my XD 40 Sub. So my point is, that you may have a wait for the VMII as the COM3 if one of those are your choices. Unless you buy one used. There was a VMII on this board at one time.

ETA: I did own a VMII for a Sig 226 earlier this year and found it to be too much for IWB because of the larger pistol.
Good Luck! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies, and especially for the view of the backside of the CTAC, thats amazing helpful. :D

Kevin,
I am still considering your holster, though didnt include it in the options as I didnt think many people would have an opinion on it. I am definitely still anxiously awaiting the pictures of your holster without the overlay, though your comment in this thread makes it seem as if the holster really "needs" the overlay to remain solid..?

Again, I cant wait to see the pictures of yours. Does it have a smooth backside or is it a rough backside (against the skin)?

XDTOM, I know the wait can be a little rough on the VMII, I actually searched and found one for sale in the trading post last night, only to receive a PM this morning from the member to let me know he had already sold it. :cry: Its still an interesting holster..but definitely expensive and elusive. 8)

Any other comments and suggestions are more than welcome, thanks in advance guys.
 

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Hey..

Just had to chime in because I was about to post a similar thread today. I live in Minnesota, so I have concealability concerns about 6 months of the year, and sweat concerns the other 6 months.

I've done my research based on the forums recommendations. I purchased a Desantis "Tuck This" to check out what I might like/not like/ assume I want in a better quality holster. It was a cheap tester rig, and may start the "drawer collection", which I'm trying to avoid.

Here's my thoughts/concerns/discoveries before I purchase a high quality holster...

1. Kydex just doesn't seem like it would be all that comfortable. Do you get some/similar flexibility to a leather rig?

2. Does the Kydex stick to your skin or get cold?

3. Does Kydex scratch your skin with a lot of body motion/bending/etc.?

4. I discoved that I need a holster that is either supported directly in the middle or has 2 support straps with the forward cant that I want.

5. I need something that has a higher ride than the "Tuck This"

6. One handed reholstering is lower on the priority list, but is still on the list.

7. For an IWB, it makes sense for the flexibility to have a "tuckable", because I actually tuck in my shirt sometimes. :lol:

8. It would be a bonus to get a holster that works both IWB/OWB, as I get to wear lots of sweaters & big puffy coats in the winter, and nothing but shorts and a T-shirt for about 6 months in the summer. If I need to get 2 holsters to best accomidate this, so be it.

-I like the VM-2, but the ride looks too low.
-I like the C-TAC, but have the above concerns about Kydex
-I like some of the products by HighNoon Holsters like this

www.highnoonholsters.com/Product_Line/Closing_Argument/closing_argument.html

or this...
www.highnoonholsters.com/Product_Line/Tail_Gate/tail_gate.html


So, as you can see, like Richard I've done my homework, but I'm still in a quandry.

Any constructive info/opinions would be appriciated.

Mark
 

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a911scanner said:
Hey..

Just had to chime in because I was about to post a similar thread today. I live in Minnesota, so I have concealability concerns about 6 months of the year, and sweat concerns the other 6 months.

I've done my research based on the forums recommendations. I purchased a Desantis "Tuck This" to check out what I might like/not like/ assume I want in a better quality holster. It was a cheap tester rig, and may start the "drawer collection", which I'm trying to avoid.

Here's my thoughts/concerns/discoveries before I purchase a high quality holster...

1. Kydex just doesn't seem like it would be all that comfortable. Do you get some/similar flexibility to a leather rig?

2. Does the Kydex stick to your skin or get cold?

3. Does Kydex scratch your skin with a lot of body motion/bending/etc.?

4. I discoved that I need a holster that is either supported directly in the middle or has 2 support straps with the forward cant that I want.

5. I need something that has a higher ride than the "Tuck This"

6. One handed reholstering is lower on the priority list, but is still on the list.

7. For an IWB, it makes sense for the flexibility to have a "tuckable", because I actually tuck in my shirt sometimes. :lol:

8. It would be a bonus to get a holster that works both IWB/OWB, as I get to wear lots of sweaters & big puffy coats in the winter, and nothing but shorts and a T-shirt for about 6 months in the summer. If I need to get 2 holsters to best accomidate this, so be it.

-I like the VM-2, but the ride looks too low.
-I like the C-TAC, but have the above concerns about Kydex
-I like some of the products by HighNoon Holsters like this

www.highnoonholsters.com/Product_Line/Closing_Argument/closing_argument.html

or this...
www.highnoonholsters.com/Product_Line/Tail_Gate/tail_gate.html


So, as you can see, like Richard I've done my homework, but I'm still in a quandry.

Any constructive info/opinions would be appriciated.

Mark
I'll to answer the kydex question based on my opinions..

1. Kydex looks hard and uncomfortable but it's not. That's the beauty of adjustability. You need to really try one on first before making final judgement. Don't get me wrong, it's not for everyone though. I personally don't find it hard to wear (no pun intended).

2. I've never had kydex stick to my skin. It's never gotten cold yet either. Your body heat will keep it nice and warm. Heck even my gun gets warm.

3. Never had it scratch me. Check out the photo I posted. It's pretty smooth.

4. I like my belt support further apart. It distributes the weight evenly across the belt and makes a larger gun more comfortable to wear. For example, the Alessi CQC/S, CTAC, VM2 all have their belt attachments further apart.

5. Going off of the CTAC, you can actually move the clips down raising the holster up for a slightly higher ride.

6. Easy as pie with the kydex.

7. Yes with the CTAC
 

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Here's a link over to the CZForum concerning a couple of comments regarding two of the holsters I make, including a customer who ordered one of the Cochise Defenders: http://p201.ezboard.com/fczechpistols82792frm66.showMessage?topicID=416.topic

The overlay is not essential to the overall function of the holster. It's added as a means to help with the reholstering. The holster is generally made with the smooth side of the leather on the outside. However, it can be ordered to put the rough side out.

021411 answers to a911's questions are right on the mark IMHO. Comp-Tac makes an excellent holster. Kydex does originally have sharp edges, but they should be smoothed/rounded to prevent digging into the skin/body.

HighNoon Holsters makes a good holster and they provide holsters to a broad base of people.

If you ordered any of the holsters listed above and found that they were not to your liking, most of the companies have a refund policy. You would probably not have much problem reselling them either.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
K-Man said:
Kydex does originally have sharp edges, but they should be smoothed/rounded to prevent digging into the skin/body.
Does the CTAC (and by association, The Answer) come with the kydex already smoothed/rounded?

Guys, I am sure most of you have already seen this, but I found it for the first time today and it gives pretty decent reviews of all kinds of holsters, including many of the ones mentioned above:

http://www.rigrate.com/index.php

It has a good number of reviews with comments from users of the CTAC, COM 3, Milt Sparks VMII, and a bunch of others. (those are the most prevalent to this thread, however.)

Kevin, PM coming your way..

Any more advice or information is more than appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the picture and words. Does it leave anything to be desired? (comfort, stability, etc)

Part of the problem is that most people have good experiences with whatever IWB holster they try, or more likely, imho, buy an IWB and decide it is going to be uncomfortable regardless of who makes it and of materials and they can live with that. These people arent likely to then go out and spend another $xx for another holster just to see if they can get a slightly better/different design for their already functional, yet SLIGHTLY uncomfortable holster.

So as I sit here and go back and forth, and back and forth to different web pages thinking about what is going to be "the one" for me, I remain confused. Should I be affected by the "you get what you pay for" mentality and avoid the Cross-Breed because its cheap, and instead go for the VM2 as its the most expensive and therefore = most comfortable and best quality...

Do I want the adjustablity after the purchase, or will guessing work in the case of the holsters that arent adjustable after they are made (VM2, K&D, etc)

So many questions... :roll:
 

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You will find most folks go thru several holsters (unless they get lucky) untill they find the one that works for them. What works for you might not work for another. Adjustability seems to be the feature that allows a rig to work out. I tried the Blade Tech UCH and it was too bulky for my needs. I have other IWB holsters for different firearms. Each firearm is different and the same brand holster for a XD might not be the best rig for a 1911. Unfortunately, unless you find a dealer that stocks a variety of holsters that you can try, you gonna go through the trial and error process.
The ultimate consideration is comfort and accessibility based on your intended use.
 

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Well good luck on your hunt. I can tell you that I have no complaints on my ctac at all. love the fit and feel, the clips are adjustable and hold well and the holster doesn't scratch or bother me at all. Couldn't answer about the cold... don't get much of that in Vegas :wink:
 

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Good luck on your quest! Just a note.. Two of the premier kydex holster makers are in Houston. Comp-Tac and Hoffners. 8)
Tucker is here too! :p Aren't I lucky??
The kydex and the holsters are already smoothed and round on the edges. There are no sharp points to worry about.
It's going to be a guessing game unless you have access to the actual holster. You may just have to order one and return it if you don't like it. Just a note so you won't get disappointed.. Just because the holster costs more and takes longer to get doesn't mean that it's going to be comfortable. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
021411 said:
It's going to be a guessing game unless you have access to the actual holster. You may just have to order one and return it if you don't like it. Just a note so you won't get disappointed.. Just because the holster costs more and takes longer to get doesn't mean that it's going to be comfortable. :wink:
I think I have narrowed down my choice for my first holster. I decided I want the first one to be thin and have therefore pretty much narrowed it down between the Cross-Breed and the CTAC.

The Cross-Breed I want (with options) would be $46.50 shipped, whereas the CTAC would be $77 shipped with C-Clips.

Cross-Breed Negatives:
The Cross-Breed has "different" clips described by the maker as "not as fancy", and because no one has the C-Clips, I cant get a feel for their quality yet. Also, there were reports on another forum of the Cross-Breed not fitting the gun very well (the gun in question was a Bersa .380)...though the only account of an XD in the Cross-Breed seems positive.

CTAC Negatives:
Lack of a leather backing, though comfort apparently isnt compromised. Also, its more expensive price over the Cross-breed. (+$30)

Both are super thin (within .01" in thickness of one another).

Atleast choosing from 2 is easier than choosing from 5.. :lol: :?

Any more opinions of my final 2 choices??
 

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Discussion Starter #19
021411 said:
The Cross Breed looks nice but the only potential problem I see is the piece of leather by the rear of the slide folding over the top of the opening when the gun is out of the holster. I guess it really depends on your build (ie love handle equipped or not)
I guess that absolutely could be a concern. I dont have love handles, and actually that is my primary reason for looking at these two thinnest holsters. I picked these because my workout plan is making me continuosly put on muscle while losing fat, and I think the thinner the holster the less obvious it will be against my skin.

A question for those who carry: Why does it matter what happens to the holster when the gun is drawn from it? (whether it collapses on itself, has the leather shield droop down, etc..) It would seem to me that once you have made the decision to draw, you need to keep the weapon out until the threat is over and you can take the time to reholster with 2 hands while looking at the holster. I could be way off base though...as I have seen lots of people mention a holsters ability to handle a reholstering..

Thanks again.
 
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