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Bawidamann Gotham V2 Pistol Holster Review

Ever run into a problem that you just flat out can’t figure out until you look at it upside down? That is exactly how I envision the Bawidamann brothers gave birth to what I believe is the best light-bearing appendix holster for the Surefire X300, the Bawidamann Gotham V2.

Just as the name implies, the Gotham is designed for those that need to comfortably carry a handgun with a duty grade, darkness destroying 500 to 1,000-lumen weaponlight– depending on what X300 Ultra variant you own. Sure, the X300 Ultra might seem like overkill, but there are reasons that an X300 Ultra or Streamlight TLR-1 HL might be a better choice than you might think.

Since the Bawidamann Gotham's release in late 2015, the holster was redesigned to address some customer feedback.  The result was a holster over half of an inch thinner, better coverage for the trigger guard, and a bunch of new design cues.

Curious how different the two revisions are? Take a look at the headline image, the holster on the left is the newer V2 and older V1 is on the right.

[Author's Note: This is a pretty long read, but the Gotham has a lot of untold history as well as a bunch of features to cover.]

Bawidamann Blades

To get a better idea where the Bawidamann brothers got their inspiration for the Gotham V2, I called Andrew up and had him talk us through how the holster came to be. We really should take a quick look at Bawidamann Blades to get an idea where their holster making thought process stems from.

The brothers had been making knives and knife scabbards for some time, but Andrew took a TDI Knife class with Greg Ellifritz and John Benner that changed his viewpoint on how to utilize a knife in a defensive role. Taking what Andrew learned in the TDI Knife class, the Bawidamann brothers now focused on making knife and scabbard systems that worked well with the offhand centerline carry position rather than just a knife.

The Huginn and Muninn knives have been the most sought after Bawidamann blades; currently, they are back in stock on their website if you have been on the hunt. We have featured the Bawidamann Huginn on RECOILtv in the past, or check out their Muninn knife if you are looking for a slightly smaller version of the EDC blade.

Why the Gotham Exists

As you might expect, many of the lessons that the Bawidamann brothers learned making knives that were ready to carry right out of the box carried over to holsters. At the time the original version of the Gotham was being developed, there was only a single option on the market that sort of made sense, the Raven Concealment VG3.

Even though the VG3 was a fresh look at concealment, there were still some drawbacks, the more notable of those was the inability to incorporate a wedge and a claw to get the desired level of concealment.

The Bawidamann's took inspiration from the VG3's approach to wrapping the kydex around the light and used that as the basis for the Gotham.

This reverse wrap approach meant that the holster has to be closed in a more unconventional way. The Gotham uses a short piece of BioThane similar to the soft loop holster attachment for sight channel closure. The V1 holster only had one position on the strap, but when the V2 holster hit the market a slightly longer piece was used that allowed it to be adjusted for taller or wider guns.

Also built into the Gotham is the ability to add a Raven Concealment claw and/or a Raven appendix wedge. The object of the claw, if you aren't familiar with it, is to rotate the pistol into the body, reducing the potential for the grip to print.

The optional Eidolon wedge will help with tipping the pistol grip into the body, again reducing the potential of the pistol to print. Additionally, the rubber wedge does a great job of keeping a hot muzzle from tattooing your thigh during practice sessions.

You might have incorrectly assumed, like me, that the Gotham was designed for the Glock 34 and happens to also fit the 19, 17, and Roland style builds as a result.

Bawidamann says that the Gotham was designed especially for the Roland Special, the EDC carry gun given birth to by Chuck Pressburg of Presscheck Training and Consulting, that was in vogue at the time.

We should note that when you holster a Glock 19 size slide that has a KKM 4-port compensated barrel attached into a Gotham V2, the end of the muzzle is ever so slightly recessed to prevent contact with the shooter's leg. The earlier V1 holsters still allowed the comp to protrude just a touch, the V2 addressed this among several other small changes.

Since the Gotham V2 was carried with some variation of the Roland, this wasn't a concern of ours.

Why Carry A Surefire X300 Ultra Equipped Pistol?

Up until the last several months, my EDC pistol has been a Streamlight TLR-7-equipped Glock 19 that has been lovingly massaged by Doug Holloway of ATEi. While most of the time, the TLR-7 is more than adequate, there are some specific circumstances that the tiny 500-lumen WML just doesn't have enough output to power some of the more challenging photonic barriers that we see every day.

The best examples of some conditions that could leave you wanting more light output from your pistol light are when your target is behind some headlights or you have someone standing in front of a bright light source. There are the more obvious examples like a power outage or a movie theater, but the all too common headlight can stop you from being sure that what you think might be a weapon isn't a cell phone.

Still need convincing? Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics has a pretty solid video on why more light is better.

Hard-Won Lessons in Comfort

As a longtime fan of the Surefire X300 series, I gave concealing an X300 Ultra-equipped pistol a try more than once but was only able to pull it off in an OWB holster like a Raven Concealment Phantom or the newer Perun LC. The problem was that just about every AIWB holster on the market has a sharp edge that inevitably creates a hotspot just below the inguinal crease (crayon eaters might know it as the thighbrow).

Bawidamann got around this limitation with the reverse wrap we mentioned earlier, the real secret to why the Gotham is so dang good.

After trying several other holsters and finding that unless I carried the pistol in a position that Steve Fisher of Sentinel Concepts lovingly refers to as “centerline dick carry,” tolerable concealment of a large pistol just wasn't in the cards.

After wearing the Gotham for a while, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the hotspot I normally experienced on my thigh wasn't occurring,  thanks to the smooth, contoured Kydex hugging the light rather than pinching it.

While other legally armed folks have embraced centerline carry, it does present its own issues. The largest of which is the pistol becomes much harder to conceal as a result of the width of the pistol being placed on a reasonably flat wide arc.

Once you move the bulk of that gun off to the side where your appendix is located, you might find that the pistol hides under normal fitting clothing a bit better.

Looking at the Bawidamann Gotham V2 closer, you might notice that the holster has some rather artistic touches to it. The Art Deco design influence not only makes the Gotham look pretty damned cool, but they also provide a contoured shape that ends up being far more comfortable than more traditional designs.

You can see that Bawidamann paid close attention as to how the pistol would interact with the body and placed a heavy emphasis on matching the body's contour without incorporating harsh edges.

Belt Attachments are Important

In a world where consumers still ask for the large plastic FOMI clip because it is easy to put on and take off, supporting separate tuckable clips is still a rarity. The Bawidamann Gotham comes standard with Raven Concealment plastic over hooks, but upgrading to the Discreet Carry Concepts clips is what we opted for.

Adding two DCC clips will increase the holster's cost by $26, but it is a worthwhile investment if you want the best possible carry experience. While some have said that the DCC clips are a bit rough on leather belts, feedback from other DCC clip users that prefer leather belts contradicts that information.

Since our go-to gun belt is an Ares Gear Aegis Enhanced made from synthetic webbing, the tendency for the DCC clips to eat up leather gun belts wasn't a concern. If you prefer something more traditional and leather, we might suggest sticking with the stock plastic RCS over hooks to be safe.

The DCC clips offer the slimmest, most low profile belt mounting solution that we have come across that still maintains a high degree of stability. The Mod 4 clips also offer a bit of rotation adjustment, but if you want more fine height adjustments, you can purchase some Mod 4 Universal clips to give you the most options when fine-tuning height.

The clips we had fitted to the Gotham V2 when the photos were taken are the older generation DCC clips. A revision to the clips is currently being rolled out featuring a new, more durable finish and a shorter lip that should keep you from putting holes in your t-shirts.

Carrying with the Gotham

There are two things that must be comfortable for me to do when carrying a pistol, driving for longer than 5 hours, and working at my desk for 8 to 10 hours a day. If I find myself removing the gun and holster because I need a break during either activity, the holster probably needs adjustment, the addition of a foam or rubber wedge, or it may not work well with my body type no matter what I do.

Just after I got the Gotham V2, my family and I took a trip to visit my in-laws 6 hours away, so I decided to throw my ATEi built Glock 19X into the Gotham and see how it felt after the drive. Once we pulled into the in-law's driveway, I got out of the truck and found that not only did I not feel the need to take the holster off, I didn't feel the need to take the holster off for the rest of the day.

Even though most feel that a shorter pistol might be a touch more comfortable for some, the extra length of the Gotham and similar sized holsters actually make it far easier to keep the pistol concealed.

Where you see the largest benefit from the extra length is sitting in a public setting like a restaurant or coffee shop with free-standing chairs. I didn't worry about my stomach pushing the pistol's grip tipping outwards slightly anymore, the extra length combined with the RCS wedge did an amazing job at keeping my Glock tucked in tightly.

So, does the Bawidamann Gotham V2 effectively and comfortably conceal a pistol? Yes, it does a fantastic job.

Conclusion

Would I recommend the Bawadamann Gotham V2 to someone looking for an AIWB holster that is compatible with a Surefire X300 Ultra weapon light? Hell yes. In fact, this is the only X300 U holster currently on the market that I could recommend as of November 2019.

Note: The Tenicor SAGAX SOL has just been revealed, I do not have any experience with that holster at the time this review was written.

After trying several AIWB holsters for X300 Ultra equipped guns, I have not personally found a holster that is more comfortable than the Gotham without sacrificing concealability.

If you already gave the Gotham a try and found it not to be your cup of tea, you may have used one of the V1 holsters. I would highly recommend giving the Gotham V2 a second chance even if there were aspects of the V1 you didn't care for.

The Bawidamann Gotham V2 is a bit pricy coming in with an MSRP as tested of $151, but if you don't want the optional RCS wedge and the Discreet Carry Concepts clips the price starts at $115. While that might sound like a lot, take into consideration that the popular PHLster Floodlight comes in at $119 with only soft loops, and the PHLster Spotlight starts at $84.99 but doesn't offer you the option to use over hooks.

Find more information about the Bawidamann Gotham line of holsters on the Bawidamann website. The Gotham is currently produced for Glock and M&P pistols for either the Streamlight TLR-1 HL or Surefire's X300 Ultra lights, Glock 17 & 19 with a Surefire XC1, Glock 43 with Streamlight TLR-6, S&W Shield with Streamlight TLR-6, and SIG P938 with a Streamlight TLR-6.

You can also find the full line of Bawidamann Blades on their website, their excellent line of magazine carriers, woobies, Andrew's art, Aloha shirts, and other apparel.


About the Author

Patrick primarily focuses his range time on sharpening his pistol shooting skill, but effectively using precision rifles and carbines are also skills he works on polishing as best he can. When he isn't writing, spending far too much time on the range, maintaining his website, or filming a video, he spends his time with his wife, son, and dog.

Website: FirearmRack.com
YouTube: youtube.com/firearmrack
Instagram:   @thepatrickroberts
Facebook: facebook.com/firearmrack


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