Monday, October 1, 2007

Uncle Mike's Kydex Paddle Holster Review

I would never buy another paddle holster, unless I needed it for some special situation, but I got this one as a freebie.

I don’t like paddle holsters, because they usually fall into one of two categories:
- The paddle doesn’t hold on well enough. Sooner or later, and probably at the worst possible moment, you’ll go to draw the pistol, and the holster will come out with it.
- The paddle holds on so well, that you practically need to take your pants off to remove the holster. This defeats the purpose of a clip-on holster.
The Uncle Mike’s kydex paddle holster falls into the latter category.

First Impressions:

- The holster is rather bulky. I’m told that the Uncle Mike’s Kydex paddle holsters usually pass IDPA tech inspection, but the holster still hangs out a bit from the waistband. As they come out of the box, I would not say that they are particularly well suited as a concealment holster.
- With the tension screws set a bit loose, the pistol will still be fairly secure, and will practically jump out on the draw. This is a fast holster.
- This is a seriously sturdy holster. I have a Sidearmor holster made from 0.09” kydex stock. I have a Fobus injection molded holster that is about 0.1” thick. The Uncle Mike’s molded holster is 0.11” thick or more, depending on where you measure.
- The box said the holster was made for a G26, but the holster also fits my model 17 just fine.
- I've heard that they don't have enough of a sight channel for tall sights, but my G17 had Heinie sights with a tall front sight, and I haven't noticed the front sight dragging on the holster. (EDIT: after some more use, I can see scratches in the sight channel)

At first, I really wasn’t sure what to do with it. I’ve got a good IWB holster for concealed carry, and therefore IDPA. It didn’t seem to be a good USPSA holster, until I had a EUREKA moment. Holsters that ride low, like a western quick-draw rig, are all the rage in IPSC/USPSA. However, usually when you are drawing from a holster in that discipline, you’re starting with your hands over your head, as if in surrender. With a holster up higher, like this holster, you don’t have to reach down as far, or come back up as far to engage the target. Although a belt slot attachment would make it easier to get on and off, the Uncle Mike’s holster works really damn well for this type of competition. If you are shooting IDPA as a “gamer,” the paddle holster is a great for that too, if you can get it by the inspector(s), and most of the time you probably will.

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