The Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster vs. the ShapeShift 4.0 IWB Holster
These two IWB holsters are the culmination of design changes since the first company IWB holster in 2010 in Arkansas.
The changes over the years reflect growing investments in technology and innovation to improve the utility, compatibility and strength of this carry style.
Specifically, the difference between the Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster and the ShapeShift 4.0 IWB Holster rests within the shell, and what that shell can and cannot do.
Structural and functional characteristics will impact which Alien Gear IWB holster should be chosen.
Structural Differences Between These IWB Holsters
These IWB holsters have the same backer, which includes four layers of edge-bound materials.
On the front: textured thermo-elastomer for added retention.
On the back: cushioned, perforated CoolVent Neoprene that disperses heat and sweat.
In the core: ballistic nylon and spring steel for structural support and added strength.
The backer on both has the same twist-and-lock belt clips, which can be altered without tools in moments.
So what's different between them?
The shell and how it's mounted to the backer.
In the Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster, the shell is a thick layer of boltaron molded by heat to specific handgun models.
That 3.5 shell is mounted to the backer at four points. Each of those can be adjusted tighter or looser with a hex key for personalized passive retention.
The 4.0 shell is made on-site out of an injection-molded polymer compound with technologically advanced machinery. It is secured to the backer at a single point, allowing for even more flexibility than the 3.5.
The 4.0's passive retention is modified at one point with the passive retention unit on the trigger guard.
Note that some shells on the 3.5 will differ in composition, instead using the same highly accurate, injection-molded polymer compound as the 4.0, if the respective handgun is compatible with the ShapeShift Modular Holster System.
There is virtually no difference in depth between the two holsters. The 3.5 holster width is about an inch longer than the 4.0's.
The 4.0's polymer compound can be placed under extreme pressure and conditions without losing its structural or functional integrity.
Functional Differences Between The 3.5 IWB Holster And 4.0
Functionally, there are specific benefits between each IWB holster iteration.
The Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster is compatible with a much broader number of handguns — about 500 more than the ShapeShift 4.0 IWB Holster.
It also features free shell trades for life, which is not offered with the ShapeShift Modular Holster System due to the level of intricacy and labor required for its shell system — both in creating the shells and creating the molds for the shells.
The ShapeShift 4.0 IWB Holster, however, has the strength of modularity on its side. It can be reconfigured into seven other individually designed carry styles. More are scheduled for release throughout the year, including options like a shoulder holster and pocket holster.
As mentioned, the passive retention functionally differs between the 3.5 and 4.0.
The 3.5 attached to the backer at four points that individually can be tightened or loosened, but reduces the overall flexibility relative to the 4.0's single mounting point. The 4.0's passive retention is simplified to one adjustable point.
The backer is the same on both iterations, which means both models addressed the 3.0's largest shortcoming: screws in the belt clips backing out over time if not maintained.
Based on the functional and structural differences between both, which then should you choose?
How To Decide Between The 3.5 And 4.0 IWB Holsters
When selecting either the 3.5 or 4.0 IWB holster, there will be two primary pieces of information to consider:
Handgun compatibility and holster modularity.
The 3.5 initially will be compatible with more handgun models than the 4.0, and features most of the same comfort benefits as the 4.0, as well as the same clips.
The 4.0 will have a more advanced passive retention system, and the ability to be reconfigured into multiple carry styles. In every way, it is more flexible than the 3.5 IWB holster, literally and figuratively.
Most 3.5 shells will be thermoformed boltaron, some being polymer. All 4.0 shells will be injection-molded polymer. That polymer is the same used in many striker-fired handguns.
Both feature the same edge-bound backer, with a slight variation in width. Both include a lifetime warranty.
The choice is yours to make, but both American-made holsters feature a 30-day test drive.