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modular holster

Is There A Compromise To A Modular Holster?

There is usually a trade-off to everything, but is there a compromise one has to make to carry with a modular holster? What attribute does a person have to give up to get the convenience of modular function?

After all, there is almost always a compromise somewhere.

The answer? It depends on the modular holster. Not every modular holster, after all, is created equal…

Many Concealed Carry Holsters Involve A Compromise

modular holster

Most concealed carry holsters often involve some sort of a compromise. The conventional wisdom is that you have to choose between cheap, good or fast. Pick the one that's most important to you.

For instance, a handmade custom leather holster will be good, but it won't be fast (lead times are long) and definitely won't be cheap. You can get a holster from your local gun store or sporting goods store, which will get it fast but so many will not be very good in terms of fitment, retention or overall functions. Sometimes you can find one on store shelves that actually is good, but it often isn't cheap.

This isn't a hard and fast rule, however; there are a number of holster makers out there that do offer affordable holsters with all the function you need for a secure, comfortable carry, that have very moderate lead times.

But are there any compromises to a modular holster? To get the convenience of a modular design, what compromises do I have to live with?

It's a good thing to wonder. After all, you're the one who will have to live with it.

Modular Holster Design Depends On The Maker

modular holster

The short answer is: modular holster design depends on who makes it. The design of the holster impacts what, if any, compromises are built into it.

Some modular holsters are modular OWB holsters or open carry holsters only. The holster itself can switch between attachment platforms. You can take the holster shell itself and put it on a paddle for a paddle holster, a belt slide, a drop leg rig or even - in some cases - a shoulder holster harness.

However, many of these are either a "universal" holster, or feature poorly-designed active retention to make up for bad fitment. The compromise is that it works, but you trade good fitment and function in the process.

Some other modular holster designs are not unlike Alien Gear Holsters' Universal Shell System, found on our Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster and Cloak Mod Paddle Holster, among others. The holster is modular in that the retention shell can be moved from an IWB platform to an OWB platform.

If, that is, you have a hex key or screwdriver on you.

Some such modular designs are actually viable. Passive retention is usually adjustable, the backing platforms can be pretty comfortable and fitment - with a molded retention shell - is also good. However, many companies that make such a holster often charge a premium for their "modular" design...when in reality it's just making a bit more use of the hybrid holster format.

That said, the more conscientious holster companies will offer you something like a 2 Holster Combo, which gives you the same amount of function but at a competitive value.

Then you have "modular" holsters that attach the gun holster to a backing platform using hook and loop fabric and maybe a few leather flaps. The attachment won't feel or be as secure as you know a holster should be.

The ShapeShift Modular Holster System Knows No Compromise

ShapeShift modular holster system

The ShapeShift Modular Holster System, however, involved more than two years of design and testing. This involved a LOT of prototypes (it did not look anything like what it does now when it started, we can assure you of that) and millions of dollars invested in creating it.

We set out to create a holster system that didn't compromise a thing in any configuration you carried it in, be it the 4.0 IWB, the Belt Slide OWB or the Paddle Holster OWB. Toolless operation was a design priority as well.

To start with, the ShapeShift holster switches seamlessly between backing platforms, without the need for tools. This way, you don't have to worry about dialing in the hardware once you switch the retention shell to another backing platform. Neither do you have to worry about the security of the connection with the ShapeShift's locking tabs.

Comfort isn't an issue when you carry inside the waistband. The ShapeShift's two IWB holster configurations - the 4.0 IWB and Appendix Carry Holster - feature a plush, durable backer, padded with CoolVent Neoprene as a cushioning layer that wicks away sweat and moisture, with bound edges for a comfortable all-day carry.

When carrying OWB, our Paddle Holster has one of the most durable, secure paddle attachments on the market. The paddle is contoured for comfort and has a retention lip for a secure carry. This can be changed for the belt slide, giving you a durable belt channel for the utmost in secure carry. Or, you can also carry in the Belt Slide configuration and conceal OWB with minimal layering.

Our holsters all feature adjustable passive retention, and our Paddle Holster OWB also has an active retention device for further security. However, unlike other "modular" designs, it's removable. You can carry with or without active or passive retention as you see fit. No other holster design allows that option.

We also have our Drop Leg Holster, Ankle Holster and Shoulder Holster platforms available as well. For secure mounting of the holster, the ShapeShift OWB configuration can be docked with multiple attachments such as our MOLLE and backpack strap adapters, the ShapeShift holster mount and our Driver Defense car holster. The holster rides securely due to Alien Gear Holsters' docking spline design, staying put until you decide it's time to undock the holster.

Other modular holster designs may involve some compromise. Ours has none. It's a comfortable, secure carry from Alien Gear or nothing at all.