The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Innovating the Wheel?

It can be hard to innovate in some parts of the shooting industry. For starters, the market is essentially conservative, and we don’t mean in a political sense. One of the legendary online debating gun forum topics pits fans of a 106-year-old pistol design firing a 112-year-old cartridge against fans of a 35-year-old pistol design firing a 115-year-old cartridge.

It’s kinda hard to figure who’s being Tom Tomorrow in that argument, but when it comes to lifesaving safety equipment, people tend to err on the side of stuff they know works. You don’t see radical new seatbelt designs every day, either.

This can extend to support gear, too. Holsters, for example, haven’t changed terribly much in recent decades. Various plastics have become accepted as material for making holsters, but the shapes and styles of the holsters made from those plastics are pretty similar to their animal hide or cloth forebears.

So, how to be innovative? There have been some attempts at holster innovation trumpeted at this year’s SHOT Show.

DeSantis has announced the…we’re not kidding, this is its for-real name…The ”Pipe-Hitter” model. (Someone needs to tell the suburbanites who think this is a synonym for “badass” what the actual etymology is.) The innovation part is that this is supposed to be a one-piece AIWB Kydex holster and mag pouch.

Of course, this is just a mass-production riff on the style of holster most notably exemplified by the Sidecar from T-Rex Arms, and that style holster itself was a riff on the optional attached mag carrier on G-Code’s INCOG. Long the province of fast-draw heroes on Instagram, the DeSantis mass production version has a sort of Buscemi-esque “How do you do, fellow kids?” vibe to it. If one of the big conventional mainstream holster makers is doing it, is it still cool?

The last really totally new style of holster to hit the market was the hybrid, with a Kydex shell fastened to a flexible backer. While various makers have been evolving the hybrid style of holster to make it more usable since then, there haven’t been any really revolutionary developments…until SHOT 2018.

In an announcement that had half of us checking our calendars to make sure we weren’t being pranked with an April Fool’s joke, Alien Gear announced a hybrid holster that solves the biggest downside of that style of holster with an actual cooling fan. The fan blows air through ducts in the large flexible backer of the holster, allegedly keeping the wearer cool and fresh, or something.

They say they will have prototype or pre-production models at SHOT this year and, whether the holster actually gets made or not, they’ve definitely ensured plenty of booth traffic as people come by to gawk at and photograph the first ever USB-rechargeable inside-the-waistband holster.

Holsters may be a mature technology, but apparently, the quest is still on to make a rounder wheel, and that is in itself a good thing, even if it does produce the occasional evolutionary dead end.

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