Alien Gear pistol holsters have benefitted from some excellent marketing on the internet as of late. Thanks to Facebook’s targeted marketing algorithm, Alien Gear ads have inundated my news feed for months, touting the holster as the “world’s most comfortable” inside-the-belt holster. The price points for these holsters run between $29.88 and $43.88, which seemed (in all honesty) too cheap to be very good, but when I purchased a new (also cheap) daily carry recently, I thought it couldn’t hurt to give the Alien Gear IWB Holster a shot, and to be honest, I haven’t been disappointed.
As a frame of reference, I carry a full-frame American Classic II 1911 with a five-inch barrel. The pistol is one of the less expensive Colt replicas on the market, but it’s held up well at the range in comparison to my brother’s Sig Sauer at less than half the price, and because my wife is a lot less easygoing about me buying “another gun” than his is, I couldn’t ask for much more. Normally, I wear an outside-the-belt Blackhawk SERPA CQC concealment holster, complete with the dreaded Auto Lock system that I love…but can be seen on YouTube causing a number of people without trigger discipline to shoot themselves in the leg on the draw.
It’s worth mentioning that the reason I tend to carry outside the belt is because it’s just more comfortable, and Georgia’s gun laws aren’t too dissimilar from the laws I grew up with in Vermont: namely that you can wear your gun just about anywhere, and in any fashion you see fit (though in Georgia you do need a license first). Unfortunately, carrying outside the belt can draw unnecessary attention to you and your firearm, even if your holster is intended to have a low profile, so it seemed appropriate to make the shift to inside the belt.
Six weeks ago, I received the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB holster in the mail and, like a kid on Christmas, immediately swapped my pistol into it and tried it on. To my surprise, it was actually pretty comfortable, even with a gun that was not designed with concealment in mind. The holster is completely adjustable, allowing you to change the ride height and angle of the pistol based on your preference. It also allows you to adjust the holster’s retention force by adjusting a few screws with an Allen wrench, which may not be as secure as the Active Lock on my Serpa, but seems to hold the pistol in place just fine.
While I found I was able to manage to display almost no pistol footprint in my normal jeans and a T-shirt with the pistol sitting at around four or five o’clock on my waist (assuming front center is 12 and my right hip is three), I’ve opted to keep the pistol sitting right on my hip—in large part because of familiarity and comfort.
The backing that separates the weapon from your body is made of neoprene, and its shape ensures it covers every jagged edge my pistol tries to poke and prod me with throughout the day. The neoprene forms to the shape of your side, which Alien Gear claims will evenly distribute the pressure of the pistol and make for a more comfortable carry. The pistol is held in place by a molded sheet of Kydex plastic that can be removed using the same Allen wrench you use to adjust the holster.
This Kydex plate that holds the pistol in place is actually one of the best features of the Alien Gear Holster. If you purchase a different daily carry weapon, but want to continue wearing your Alien Gear holster, you can actually remove the Kydex portion of the holster, send it back to Alien Gear, and they’ll send you another one that fits your new weapon at absolutely no cost. You can also opt to purchase additional Kydex holster components, allowing you to swap out the pistol-holding portion of the holster if you opt to carry a different weapon at some point.
Over the past six weeks, I did my best to put this holster through its paces. I wore it hiking, I wore it grocery shopping, I even wore it at one point while driving 60 mph go-carts around a race track, and I found it to be consistently pretty comfortable. The only thing the holster didn’t do well was sitting comfortably while I was at my desk. Despite the neoprene backing and clever design, the 1911 still did its best to chew a hole in my love handle every time I found myself on a long conference call. But to be honest, I can’t help but feel as though I’m picking knits. How many concealed carry holsters could keep a full-sized pistol comfortable while sitting at a desk all day?
Thanks to years of martial arts training, retention is always one of my primary concerns. I’ve spent years teaching people firearm retention techniques for the very same reason I’ve always practiced ways to disarm an opponent: If someone brings a gun to an Alex fight, I intend to disarm them if at all possible. I wore the Alien Gear IWB holster while working on cars, climbing over rocks, and even chasing my 18-month-old nephew around at the park, and at no point did it slip or even give me pause. It’s worth mentioning that I did tighten the retention screws before I started wearing the holster.
Over the past six weeks, I estimate to have put nearly a 150 hours of wear into the holster, and although the top of the neoprene portion has lost a bit of its shape, it’s held up extremely well. I would not, however, go so far as to say that it’s the most comfortable IWB holster on the market, but it isn’t far off. I would absolutely argue that, for 43 bucks, it would be hard to do much better.
The holster has proven comfortable and reliable through multiple range visits, the occasional can shooting in my backyard, and whatever nonsense my social life could throw at it. Although I do still wear my Serpa from time to time, I’ve actually switched almost entirely to carrying inside the belt thanks to the comfort of the Alien Gear holster. Although there are better holsters out there, at this price point, the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB holster may be one of the best on the market.