Out of This World Holsters from Alien Gear

Alien Gear holster in use at GunLink NRAAM CommandAlien Gear Holsters has been generating considerable buzz since they flew their UFO full of holsters onto the scene last year.  The Alien Gear business model is to “make and sell gun holsters directly to the public at below wholesale prices.”  It all sounds too good to be true, but I want to believe so we probed around a bit to learn more.  We already have a big Box o’ Holsters at GunLink HQ, so we were hesitant to order more but at this price point, resistance is futile.  After all… It’s the only way to be sure, so we ordered a couple.

Hybrid Holsters

Alien Gear IWB holsters are of the hybrid type, which means that they have a Kydex shell attached to a leather backing.  The wide leather backing allows the belt clips to be further apart than some other holster types, more evenly distributing the weight of the pistol and making carry more comfortable.  The Kydex shell provides a completely custom, form fitting scabbard that securely holds the pistol.  Being an IWB holster it, of course, rides inside the waistband of the wearer’s pants, attaching via the belt clips leaving only the clips and the grip of the pistol exposed above the waistband.

Price

The first thing CCW-ers will probably notice when comparing Alien Gear holsters to similar hybrid holsters is the price.  Alien Gear holsters start out less than $30 for the brown leather/black clips base model – about half the price of a fully-assembled holster from three leading competitors (and still 25% cheaper than other DIY “bag of holster parts” options).

We might note that figuring out who is a competitor and who is not could be tricky.  Alien Gear previously listed their location in the same town as another manufacturer of similar holsters.  When GunLink staff asked if they were associated with each other, they replied that they “are not related to any other holster manufacturers.”  However, the email headers on order status correspondence tends to indicate that there might at least be some relationship between the two.

Materials, Design and Craftsmanship

Alien Gear LeatherThe next thing comparison shoppers might notice is the materials used.  The backing material, 10-12 oz sweat-proof leather comes cut to a pattern that allows the wearer to get a full, positive grip on the pistol before drawing – a feature that some companies charge extra for.  However, if you prefer to have the pistol grip fully covered by leather rather than in contact with your skin, you will have to look elsewhere as this is currently the only grip pattern offered by Alien Gear.  Leather patterns do vary based on pistol size, however, as evidenced by the bottom cut on the compact auto holster we ordered versus the large-framed auto holster, allowing for full coverage of the slide.

Alien Gear Belt ClipThe sturdy steel belt clips – each one adjustable to one of three positions for nine ride height/angle combinations – are attached to the leather backing with the same quality hardware as the shell is.  The spacers that allow the user to adjust the stand-off height of the clips and shell from the leather appear to be rubber brake line – nothing fancy, but they work great and probably help to keep manufacturing costs down.  On the topic of hardware – the holster, which comes fully assembled, also comes with a bag of spare hardware pieces and a hex wrench that allow the user to adjust the retention level/stand-off height or replace lost parts.

Alien Gear KydexThe Kydex shell, which covers most of the pistol – all the way to the muzzle, is thicker than that of many other holsters:  .093″ compared to .060″.  This provides some extra protection and durability but also a very minor increase in weight and overall thickness – something that may concern those wishing to absolutely minimize the weight and thickness of their IWB holster.

As noted above, we ordered two holsters – one for the compact GunLink P-11 and one for another large frame auto.  Given the thickness of the Kydex, although the inside of the shell molds perfectly to the pistol, the features don’t show through to the outside of the shell.  This leaves the shell exterior with a bland, not-so-beautiful appearance with the occasional waviness.  We did have some fitment issues with the Kydex shell on our full-size auto holster, but everything got sorted out (see Warranty and Customer Service below).

Comfort

If you carry a pistol every day, comfort necessarily factors into holster selection.  The Alien Gear hybrid scores high marks here.  I have easily logged several hundred hours while wearing them, including during NRAAM 2014 as well as the entire drive to and from the show with no major complaints.

The leather break-in period is nearly nonexistent.  It is comfortable out of the box and is even more comfortable after several hours of wear.  Without a shirt tucked behind it, the smooth leather backing feels like it sticks to your skin at first, but this seems to go away in short order.  The sweat protection from the leather also seems to live up to its hype; even when mowing the lawn on a hot day, sweat accumulated on the surface but did not appear to soak into the backing.

While the “combat cut” pattern of the leather allows for an easy and full grasp of the pistol grip, it does leave the grip material in contact with your skin.  This may be uncomfortable when carrying pistols with roughly textured grips but, thus far, has been a non-issue with the pistols GunLink staff has carried in these holsters.

The nine ride height and angle combinations afforded by the three mounting holes for each clip allow for tweaking the holster position for maximum comfort, accessibility and concealment, whichever may be your priority.  Even with the large framed auto it was no problem finding a comfortable carry position to tuck the pistol/holster combo into my regular jeans with no need to move up a size.  Carrying the compact P11 was even more comfortable.

Warranty and Customer Service

Alien Gear offers an “Iron Clad Triple Guarantee” on their holsters that includes a 30-day “no questions asked, like it or send it back” guarantee in addition to the lifetime warranty repair and replacement guarantee on the holster parts.  On top of all that, they also offer lifetime swaps on their competely interchangeable holster shells.  If you decide to carry a different pistol, send them the old shell and they’ll send you a new one that fits your new gun (although, if you want to rotate between carrying different guns, shells can be ordered a la carte for $13).

The shipping time seems to be quoted at four weeks on all orders.  Although we received our order ahead of time, there is no shortage of talk online of wait times right up to (and past) the four week mark.  Our guess is that that this new company generated a lot of buzz about their quality holsters and was overwhelmed with a large volume of orders in a short period of time.  While it would be great if everyone got their custom ordered holsters immediately, we don’t hold these delays against them too much – especially when the holsters are half the price of competitors and the wait time is still shorter.

As noted above, we experienced some fitment problems and a relatively minor leather issue with one of our holsters.  After our email about the issue went unanswered for a couple of days, we connected with Alien Gear through their Facebook page and received a response almost immediately.  After the communication channel was opened our issues were all quickly squared away .  Again, this could be due to an unexpectedly large rush on a small company.  The rep that I talked to assured me that they were in the process of training a number of new hires in the customer service department.

Overall Impressions

The US-made Alien Gear hybrid IWB holsters that we ordered seem to be solidly built and durable.  They are plenty comfortable for all-day every day wear and plenty tough to stand up to constant use.  The price is unbelievable – or maybe this is how much a holster like this should cost and we’ve all just been convinced otherwise.  If you are searching for an IWB holster, we definitely recommend giving the Alien Gear a try.  With the no-risk 30 day trial, there’s nothing to lose by giving it a shot and, when you love it, you are only into it for $30.  Head over to AlienGearHolsters.com and check them out.

Game over, man!

AlienGear_1583 AlienGear_1585 AlienGear_1589 AlienGear_1590 AlienGear_1596

7 Responses to Out of This World Holsters from Alien Gear

  • Brian C says:

    I have an Alien Gear holster and love it. I had been looking for a good quality IWB leather and Kydex holster and couldn’t bring myself to spend the money for other brands. Once I learned about these, I had to have one.

    I agree with pretty much everything in this review. Customer service did take a day or two to hear back form, but once communication was made, their service was awesome. It did take about 4 1/2 weeks from order to arrival, but it was well worth the wait.

    The comfort, the adjustability, the price, quality, etc…all well worth it.

  • Daniel Wareham says:

    I was one of the early purchasers from Alien Gear. I carry a Glock 17 and I have yet to have any issues with it. I highly recommend them to anyone who wants a good holster.

  • Ronnie says:

    One of the other deputies here has one and had nothing but good to say about it so I ordered one. Seems like I have been waiting for a long time but based on handling one in person it should be worth it. The price does almost seem too good to be true especially compared to othesr.

  • MasterP says:

    Good review. I am going to order one. I will share my review after I get it. At that price who can resist?

  • Tim Talbot says:

    The price of Alien Gear holsters is the second of the two possibilities you speculated. The other brands cost much more simply because their malers knew that customers were already used to paying those prices for hand-sewn leather and they kept charging that price after significantly reducing the labor required to produce a holster.

  • Floyd Smith says:

    Just received my OTWB Holster from Alien Gear and it is a gem.Very comfortable and easy to carry and after two days of wearing it I almost forget that I have it on.Very well made, nothing fancy but just a damned good holster.The draw is super slick, so much so that you need to practice keeping up with it.The gun is in shooting position before you are ready,it is that fast.The design is simple but very effective and I recommend ordering this particular rig in black to keep it easier to hide and it is a good looking rig in that color as well.This rig is designed to be worn in the 3:00 position and under a vest or jacket it just disappears.Don’t listen to the BS about the Kydex being too thick and the leather being too thick as that is just crap. This is a quality rig for the money and very serviceable to boot!-FS

  • Pingback: Alien Gear Offers New Lines of Holsters, Accessories | GunLink Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Partners



The Carry Academy: Firearms Safety Training Course
Categories
Archives
R.K.B.A

Join NRA Save $10


GunLink is a proud member of NSSF