Cook's IWB adjustable clip holster with the S&W M&P Shield
Cook's IWB adjustable clip holster
Cook's IWB adjustable clip holster, body side
Cook's IWB adjustable clip holster with the Shield, body side.
Last year I embarked on a project to find excellent IWB holsters for we civilians who carry concealed in everyday life. There are, of course, literally hundreds of holster makers out there vying for our money. Some of them are established, large businesses that also make other gear for law enforcement and military use. Some are medium to small businesses making gear of their own design to their own specifications and quality requirements. Some are people working out of their garages and basements making gear they believe in, and a few others are turing out cheap knock-offs to make some quick money.
Although one has perhaps too many choices in holsters, and most of us accumulate a box full of rejects while looking for the right one, holsters are a most important part of a person’s every day carry gear. You will see some people who have expensive handguns of which they are inordinately proud, but carry them in inexpensive holsters that may confer potential liability for the shooter. I have also seen some people who have inexpensive but well cared for handguns holstered in quality holsters that will always be ready to do their job effectively, every time. If you carry a handgun, you need, absolutely need, a quality holster.
A quality holster will do a number of things very well. It will keep your gun securely contained while protecting the trigger at all times. It will be constructed so that your handgun is easily accessed when needed, but will not come out unless you draw it. It will be designed to ride in the position you choose for carry, and not wobble, twist, or deform. It will be acceptably comfortable. I
t will be constructed so that it is ready for one-hand re-holstering without taking one's eyes off of the scene to search for the holster’s opening. Although some firearms pundits and internet ‘experts’ claim this is not necessary, they are wrong. There may be occasions when one needs absolutely to quickly and securely re-holster one’s firearm: if one is helping an injured person or shielding a child, or if one’s weak-side arm or hand is injured, or if the fight is probably over and the police are arriving. You do not want to be waving a gun around when the police are trying to sort out who they bad guys are.
After much trial and error, and as I’ve become more and more comfortable with concealed carry over the years, I have settled on appendix carry for 90% of my carry time. It just makes sense considering my life style and where I go and how I dress. Appendix carry makes getting to your gun easier and quicker while walking, standing or sitting, in the car or on the street. And, it is easily concealable even under a simple shirt. There are some who will not consider appendix carry because they have a fear of shooting themselves in the stomach, groin or leg when drawing or re-holstering their gun. It should be noted that many people and professionals choose this type of carry especially when concealment and quick access is primary. Given the fact that a modern semi auto handgun, even those without a manual safety like the enormously popular Glock, do not just go off by themselves, but require a positive, trigger pull, it only makes sense that keeping one's finger off of the trigger until ready to fire is a cardinal rule not to be broken. Allied with this is the necessity to keep any other object away from the trigger during holstering or re-holstering. That's where a plastic or kydex holster comes into it's own. They don't (or shouldn't, if the right holster is chosen) deform or collapse like fabric or leather holsters may do, especially after they are older. Keeping one's clothing out of the way when drawing or re-holstering is the shooter's responsibility regardless of the holster.
As I've mentioned before, there lives in our little town a retired law enforcement officer who often goes armed around town with his Glock stuck into the waistband of his jeans. No holster. No trigger shroud. He likes to call this "Mexican carry" and thinks he knows what he is doing. A few of us have reflected on how long it will be before he creates a negligent discharge. Speaking with him about the dangers of this to him and possibly others hasn't done much good. Maybe we should just take up a collection and buy him a holster?
Most of the various holsters I have used over the years are languishing in a box or have been sold. I’ve used leather, hybrid, synthetic, plastic and kydex holsters. For IWB appendix carry holster for my M&P Shield I reach for my Cook’s Holster’s IWB with the adjustable belt clip. Mine is made of 0.080” Kydex. Cook’s offers other thicknesses, but his one is light, strong and will not change shape. I could probably stand on it without damaging it. It has an ABS injection molded plastic belt clip that is strong, flexible and easy to slip on and off over the belt. Once it clicks into place, it stays put. The clip is wide enough to keep the holster and gun from rotating, and shaped on the end so that it’s easy to manipulate, but doesn’t stick out like those awful metal clips which are just waiting to sang on your shirt or sweater.
The other fine points worth mentioning are the sight channel built into the holster. No chance of your gun’s sight being snagged during the draw. The holster has a built-in sweat shield and sports a retention adjustment screw.
I have worn this holster in the appendix, cross draw and strong side positions to test its flexibility in placement. It rides extremely well in any of those positions and with the adjustable cant from the belt clip screws is readily adaptable when you wish to carry in different positions.
I have carried my Shield in many different places and situations riding in this holster. It is comfortable as a hybrid leather and kydex holster, and to my mind better, because it is easier to re-holster into, doesn’t move and I don’t have a large swath of leather and two clips to deal with. This is important when I need to quickly remove the gun and holster, then just as quickly and easily slip it back into place and secure it to my belt. Try that with a hybrid two-clip leather/kydex holster.
I’ve been using this Cook’s holster for the better part of a year, summer, fall and winter and I’ve yet to find something to complain about.
If you are serious about an everyday carry holster that offers quality, durability and is just plain outstanding at what it does, consider a Cook’s holster. They are plain outstanding kick-ass holsters. I call them “Chef’s” holsters, they are that good.
Another future candidate: G-Code's INCOG holster system.
I am looking for other candidates for my personal favorite IWBA (In Waist Band Appendix) carry holster for the S&W M&P Shield. I have been reading and seeing video reviews on G-Code's offering in this area. It's an injection moulded holster that can be part of a modular system, can be adjusted for different carry positions (not just appendix), has the ability to attach a magazine carrier, and has a unique coating called 'tactical fuzz'. It is getting very positive reviews. I hope to have one for testing and to report back here soon.