Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tuckable Pancake AIWB Holster With a J-clip

Those of you who've read my blog have probably read my first kydex holster attempt for my Kahr PM9 in this post. Since then I've been wearing it off and on taking note of it's deficiencies. As you can see in the first design I used a scabbard design. That means I used a single piece of kydex and folded it around the gun. It's a simple design, which is very easy to make and for the most part it works well. It's probably the most widely used basic design for holsters out there.

The problem I was having with this holster mostly had to do with concealment. I had designed it to be tuckable with the shirt tucked over it behind a single kydex clip. The clip I was using is a standard (old-style) Comp-tac clip. They have since updated their clips to be almost half the width (folks seem to really love them). Anyways, first off because the PM9 is a very light gun I could get away with just clipping the holster onto my pants with the belt covering the exposed clip. My pants holds the gun that way with no problem, but the clip had a tendency to peek out beneath my belt. Wearing dark pants it wasn't noticeable, but in light khaki's it stood out. Another problem was with my shirt tucked over the gun. My bloused shirt would at times find it's way behind the folded rounded part of the holster and cause me to have the discretely pull at my shirt. Neither of these problems were problems if I could wear an untucked shirt, but I can't go to work untucked.

My solution was to change the design of the holster from a scabbard to a pancake and to create a J-clip that could hide it's J section. Molding the kydex into a pancake holster is a lot harder than simply folding over a single piece. You have to work with two separate pieces that like to move and shift. I don't own a press like many people do who work with kydex which would have made this part easier, but after a lot of trial and error and the extensive use of a heat gun I got it to mold the way I wanted. I used a couple of eyelets to rivet the two pieces together and then went to work on the clip.
I got the design for the clip from watching a video on youtube about a knife sheath that clipped onto the belt and slid to hide the clip behind a belt loop. In the video you can't see the actual design, but I could picture how it would work. After cutting & molding the clip and then trying it out it does work. A benefit to it hiding behind a belt loop besides concealability is that it adds to the overall stability of the holster. Another thing I found is that most pants don't give too much extra space in the belt loops for both a double thickness gun belt and a clip. I can get it on there, but it takes a couple seconds to work it behind the belt loop.Here's a brief video displaying it in use along with my T-magster.

I've been able to wear it a few days and I really like it. It's comfortable to wear (IWB appendix carry is never as comfy as OWB) to the point that I leave it on even after I come home from work. It provides good retention and a quick draw (once the shirt's out of the way). It definitely conceals better since the pancake design helps flatten out the gun and holster so the shirt just slides over it smoothly.

This one's a keeper! Now I have an idea to make one that incorporates a spare mag...I can't stop myself!


RockerWife said...

I carry the same gun but in a gun purse. I really wish there was something women could use. I really like your holster. Nice work.

Eric said...

Thank you. There are a lot of options out there for women, but unfortunately there's no silver bullet holster for every situation. As a man, I have the luxury of a fairly standard wardrobe so I don't have to think about skirts, dresses, tanks and all the rest of women's clothes. I've heard of many women having luck using SmartCarry for a wide range of their clothes so you might want to check that out. I love the PM9, it's so small and light.

RockerWife said...

I'll check out the smartcarry. Thanks.