Low Profile UltiClip Offers Deep Concealment, Improved Retention

IMG_3920In their recent press release, Florida-based Ulticlip claimed that they intended to “bring concealed carry into the 21st Century.”  As far as we can tell, they’ve done a pretty good job of modernizing one of the integral components of many holsters:  the belt clip.  Check that.  Calling it a “belt clip” might not be all that accurate since the Ulticlip allows something somewhat uncommon:  CCW without a belt.

Company owner Randall Darby sent over some of his Ulticlips to check out, so we gave them a try on a few different holster types.  UltiClips are designed to work with a variety of holster designs.  Basically, if your holster has belt clips that attach by a screw or fit through a sleeve, the Ulticlip will likely work with it.  Paddle style holsters and pocket holsters without clip might be able to be cobbled up to work with the Ulticlip but, by their nature, they probably won’t work as designed.

IMG_3938We did most of our testing on our EDC IWB rigs from Alien Gear and N82 Tactical.  Our N82 testing was done on the Pro model holsters; although the Original and Original Tuckable models use a clip that fits into a leather sleeve with a notch for the rib to stick out of, the sleeve is too tight for the Ulticlip rib to fit through.  We also took the Ulticlips for a spin on a couple other styles of holsters and let some gun-buddies try them out on their holsters to get opinions.

The Ulticlip makers claim three main benefits of the upgraded belt clip:  “ultimate retention, ultimate concealment, and ultimate versatility.”  Let’s take a look at how they do in reaching these three goals.  

Retention.  This one is pretty much a no-brainer.  The Ulticlip uses a mechanical cam-lock type system to clamp down onto the wearer’s waistband or belt to make sure that it stays where you put it and it does a great job of that.  As long as the clamp stays closed, there is probably more of a chance that the material it is clipped to will fail before the clip pulls off.  Mr. Darby even has a YouTube video up that shows the Ulticlip supporting a holster with over 50 lbs hanging from it on a pair of jeans. Even if it somehow comes unlatched, the holster will most likely stay put when you draw thanks to the hook shape of the clamp (you will likely notice this when you go to remove your holster and have to manually open the clamp).  Top marks in the retention category.

IMG_3944Concealment.  There is no doubt that the exposed part of the Ulticlip is much shorter than that of most traditional clips.  The Ulticlip can be worn in a couple of different ways:  clipped directly to the waistband with no belt, clamped over both your waistband and belt, or clipped to your waistband with the belt over top of the cam mechanism.  Using the first two methods, about the only way to have less clip showing is probably with ultra-low-profile C- or J-clips; even then, it’s a close call.  If the Ulticlip is clipped to the waistband and then covered up by a belt, little to none of the clip is left exposed.  This method does create a small bulge under your belt but, hey – you have a pistol tucked in your pants – a quarter-inch lump under your belt isn’t likely to get you “made.”  The clip is definitely good at disappearing.

Versatility.  As noted above, the Ulticlip can be worn in a variety of ways:  with or without a belt, with the belt over or under the clip, etc.  Clamp it to your jeans, slacks, gym shorts, PJ pants, bathrobe pocket, whatever – it’s going to stay put and stay hidden.  But its versatility doesn’t stop at which clothes you can clip it to.  Because regular clips generally rely on the “ledge” of the bottom of a belt, they aren’t really great at holding on to other things.  For instance, when doing a lot of driving, I’ll often have my EDC pistol tucked in the outer pocket of a backpack that is, appropriately, “riding shotgun” or on the passenger-side floor.  That usually involves tucking the pistol into something like a Sticky Holster so that, if the pistol needs to come out in a hurry the holster doesn’t come out with it and that means carrying extra holsters.  The Ulticlip lends itself perfectly to just this kind of carry – in a pack, a briefcase, ladies’ purses (or men’s murses, if you’re into that sort of thing).  Clip your normal carry holster onto the pocket and rest assured that if you intend to pull the pistol, the pistol is all you will pull.  No question that the Ulticlip can help make a holster more versatile.

But what about other aspects of a holster that make for good concealed carry?

Ease of use.  As far as installation goes, the Ulticlip installs no differently than a regular clip.  To make things even easier, some holster manufacturers are even offering the Ulticlip as a factory upgrade.  If you are replacing a full-loop type clip that requires threading your belt through it, taking an Ulticlip-equipped holster on and off will be easier after the upgrade.  For regular open-ended clips, J-clips, C-clips, or loops with snaps, putting on and taking off the holster is no more or less difficult with the Ulticlip.

Comfort.  The Ulticlip’s cam axis rides about 1/4″ or so above the top of the belt/waistband and has some sharp edges on it.  Given my build, let’s just say that space in and around my waistband often at a premium.  I found that, in certain positions, the clip’s edges could dig into my waist.  It wasn’t so much that it was noticeably uncomfortable as it was that it was noticeably more comfortable when I moved out of those positions.  I can see how this might be an issue for those rocking the muffin tops.  This wouldn’t be an issue if you wear an undershirt or use a holster designed such that the clip is kept away from you.  Aside from that, the clips are pretty easy to ignore, which is what you want from a CCW rig.

L to R: Alien Gear, Ulticlip, N82 TacticalGeneral Observations.  In general, the Ulticlip behaves just like any other OEM holster clip save for the fact that it clamps on much more securely.  The entire clip is nearly the exact height of its OEM counterpart from N82 and slightly taller than those from Alien Gear.  Given that the uppermost part of the clip is occupied by the axis of the lever and clamp, the wearer’s waistband/belt will sit lower in the clip and, thus, the pistol will ride slightly higher.  I like my holsters to ride fairly low and, on the Alien Gear holsters (which I have adjusted to the lowest position), this extra height wasn’t enough to bother me.  The N82 Pro series ride height is not adjustable but, with the factory clips, they sit at just about the right height.  When using the Ulticlip with a N82 Pro for a subcompact pistol, the extra height wasn’t enough to be bothersome.  However, when using it with the N82 Pro for a larger pistol, the extra height was enough to make it feel somewhat awkward to me.

We also noted that using the method of clipping the holster only to the waistband of your trouser, rather than to your belt, doesn’t distribute the weight of the pistol as well and, depending on the spacing of your belt loops, can tend to cause the waistband to sag down behind the belt.

The fact that the Ulticlip ensures that you holster stays where you put it doesn’t just mean that it won’t come out when you draw your pistol.  It also means that your holster won’t walk its way around your body.  If you’ve ever started your day with your pistol ahead of the 4 o’clock position and ended up with it back closer to the 6 o’clock position, clamping it in place will solve that issue.  A pistol that shifts around can move into a less concealable position and get you spotted.  Worse still would be a situation where you reach for you pistol where you have practiced drawing it from hundreds of times… and it’s not there.  Being adaptable is important, but it isn’t inconceivable that the extra fractions of a second that you spend fumbling for it are fractions of a second that you need.

IMG_3924The Ulticlip achieves its great retention though its vise-like grip on whatever it is clamped to.  It’s great for keeping a holster in place, but I can see where this might result in extra wear on clothing.  With a lot of movement, I could see how it might not take long to wear through some fabrics.  My leather carry belt isn’t some fancy fashion accessory, so I am not concerned about scuffing it.  If you are the fashion-forward type that wants to keep a mirror sheen on your patent leather belt, you may want to think twice about clamping the steel Ulticlip onto it.

On the topic of belts, not all carry belts are the same.  Since the Ulticlip only goes over the top portion of the waistband or belt, the width of the belt is of no consequence as it may be with traditional clips.  Belt thickness, however, may be an issue.  Belt-free carry, regular-thickness leather belts, and all manner of web belts are no issue for the Ulticlip.  The thick, multi-layer leather belts that many like to use may prove to be too much to fit into the clip’s jaws.  On the other hand, “clamped over a quarter-inch thick duty belt” doesn’t really seem to be the paradigm in which the Ulticlip is designed to be used.

For the model in which it is meant to be used – without any belt, under a belt, over a thinner belt, etc. – it excels.  Ulticlip nails their three main goals of retention, concealment, and versatility and goes beyond that with additional benefits.  Although it may not be for every person or every CCW setup, if you feel like your stock holster clip just isn’t doing it for you, this may be the answer you are seeking.  If making absolutely sure that your holster stays where you put it or carrying IWB without a belt is what you are after, the Ulticlip is almost certainly your answer.  At around $10 – not too far from the cost of standard clips – the 100% American made clips are worth a shot.  You can find dealers or order directly at their website, www.ulticlip.com.

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