Open Carry With the ShapeShift Paddle Holster
For a long time, concealed and open carry holsters were simple: pieces of leather stitched to fit a broad array of handgun models.
There's nothing wrong with a classic design, but it's a simple truth: holsters have changed to improve safety, accessibility and efficiency.
The ShapeShift OWB Paddle Holster is an example of how technology can fundamentally improve this industry's sole purpose: keeping folks safe.
What safety features does the ShapeShift OWB Paddle Holster have?
Alien Gear has used the word "innovation" a lot with its recent product launches, and this has been particularly true for the ShapeShift OWB Paddle Holster.
- In short, this innovation applies to a few key attributes:
- Materials: injection-molded polymer that not only improves structural integrity, but allows for precision and consistency in the manufacturing process, removing any error in the craftsmanship of components like trigger guard coverage
- Accessibility: a 360-degree cant in 12-degree increments that allows positive and negative cant on any location around the waist — strong-side or cross-draw
- Retention: two levels of active and passive retention, the former being a thumb/finger release and the latter being adjustable for a tighter or looser fit without any tools like a hex key
- Modularity: compatibility with other holsters within the ShapeShift Modular Holster System, providing the option to change the carry style in a matter of moments with no tools
Adding to that, a separate holster mount is provided for safe off-the-body storage by disconnecting the spline attachment from the waist with the click of a button.
That polymer spline attachment was thoroughly prototyped, researched and developed for strength, rigidity and durability.
Silas Van Natter, an Alien Gear Holsters designer, explained the rigorous stress-testing implemented during the research phase. One critical aspect was ensuring the stability and hardiness of the spline attachment on the shell that grabs hold of the paddle attachment.
Innovation is just a brief way of saying new ideas are being pushed into utilitarian application.
Creating something just for the sake of being "new" is useless; a design must live and breathe as a functional tool to improve an intended real-world application.
New for the sake of being new is counterproductive. New for the sake of improvement is valuable.
The industry has moved from solely using protein-based, chemically treated materials like leather to synthetic thermoplastics molded by intense heat to fit precise gun models.
Kydex, boltaron and polymer have increasingly become household names wherein cowhide leather was the defacto material in the typical holster model.
With all this research and advancement, there is a necessary question to ask.
Who benefits from this open carry holster and why?
Concerning any open carry holster, as with most things in life, the most dangerous phrase in the English language is: this is how we've always done it.
Guns inherently are a product of perpetual technological advancement.
The ShapeShift OWB Paddle Holster is capable of level II retention.
Why is that important?
It keeps the the handgun on the waistline by requiring an extra action beyond pulling against friction alone to draw the handgun.
The majority of police officers use a level II retention holster, according to an article in the Journal of Law Enforcement by cognitive science professor Mark D. Thomas, PhD.
The paper, which measured the perceived time costs for police officers changing from higher or lower retention holsters, stated 15 percent of police officers use level I holsters, 45 percent use level II, 23 percent use level III and 4 percent do not use retention holsters.
If you're a gun owner that prefers affordable tools, this is for you.
If you're a gun owner that wants one holster that can be reconfigured into several others if desired, this is for you.
If you're a gun owner that prefers the option to have multiple levels of retention, this is for you.
If you're a gun owner that prefers open carry, this is for you.
If you're a gun owner that wants a rigorously tested holster, this is for you.
If you're a gun owner that prefers American-made products, this is for you.
If you're a gun owner that prefers a lifetime warranty, this is for you.
Holsters have changed — and not just for law enforcement.
That rule is becoming universal for holster manufacturers across the nation.
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.