Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 IWB Holster - A Second Opinion
By David Tong
The majority of the legal concealed carry license holders carry their handguns in a holster. This may be behind the strong-side hip, forward in the appendix position, cross-draw, somewhere inside the waistband (IWB), or in a shoulder rig. Mostly, the position that works best and is most comfortable depends on the physique of the wearer and the size (mostly thickness and butt length) and weight of the handgun to be carried.
At the request of Alien Gear's Ibro Palic, G&S Online Owner/Managing Editor Chuck Hawks recently reviewed the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 IWB and Cloak Slide OWB Holsters, which are made in Hayden, Idaho. Before beginning the review, Chuck warned Ibro that he generally finds carrying any concealed handgun uncomfortable in an IWB holster, no matter how well designed the holster may be. He says the reason is his waist is larger than it was when he was in college and that makes wearing an inside-waistband holster, even for a sub-compact Ruger LC9s pistol, uncomfortable.
I agree that, for certain body types, inside waistband carry can be uncomfortable, depending on the position and the size of the pistol. I am a pretty slender guy. I have long carried concealed a full-sized, steel, 1911 pistol weighing nearly three pounds and I have never considered it much of a burden. As a matter of fact, I have always thought of it as comforting.
I have gained maybe 15 pounds over the past twenty years, which for me is a lot. With the relatively recent introduction of so many interesting pistols, I have wondered whether a full-sized, steel pistol could be more comfortably carried.
Alien Gear (www.aliengearholsters.com) makes a 100% synthetic holster consisting of a nylon/neoprene base, with a molded Kydex plastic holster shell fitted specifically for most modern pistols, including a full size 1911. The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 IWB holster is adjustable for both tilt and height (to an extent). The President of the Company asked me to give the system a second review and you are reading the result.
I spent quite a bit of time wearing my 1911 pistol in the holster. I changed the holster's standard forward rake (butt forward position) by simply moving the nylon belt clips, as shown in the supplied instruction sheet, to place the pistol in a more vertical orientation. Wearing it at about 3:30 position, I commenced several days' worth of walking, climbing in an out of cars and driving. As a result, I have several observations to report.
Compared to most other IWB holsters I have worn over the decades, the Cloak Tuck 2.0 spreads-out the weight of the pistol over a longer distance. The wide supporting clips are indeed more comfortable than the narrow belt loops with which most IWB holsters come. Conventional holsters with a narrower base of support tend to make even a strong belt sway outward slightly with the weight of a heavy pistol, unless kept tight.
Additionally, the neoprene base completely covers the entire length of the pistol, including the rear of the slide, hammer and rear sight, eliminating all normal points of skin contact with the pistol. This makes the holster more comfortable, as well as protecting the pistol's finish from perspiration.
Due to the somewhat thicker overall construction of the Cloak Tuck 2.0 holster, compared to a normal leather IWB holster, one size larger waist size pants and belt, at the minimum, should be selected to wear it properly. Also, due to the breadth of the holster from clip-to-clip, it is only practical worn in the strong-side FBI position. You will need to wear a covering garment, such as a sport coat or suit coat.
The Cloak Tuck 2.0 can also be worn under a long, pull-over sweater or an untucked, dark colored shirt. (A dark garment may help keep the pistol from printing, or showing its outline inadvertently.) The latter may not work in more formal environs and the former is inappropriate in hot weather. Such casual attire is also going to make for a slower to draw than a coat or jacket, because you would have to lift your covering garment to clear the butt of the pistol before drawing.
I did some practice draws and the Cloak Tuck 2.0 did not disappoint. The big 1911 can be quickly drawn. The friction of the neoprene base against my body and the waistband of my jeans was sufficient to keep the holster in place, even while drawing, jogging or scaling a chain link fence.
I loaned the holster to a good friend of mine to carry his 1911 pistol for the better part of a day. He weighs roughly double what I do, is about two inches taller than my five feet, 10 inches and has a bit of a belly.
He reported the holster was, "Quite comfortable actually. I think I would still have to wear suspenders. However, the friction of the holster actually supports a considerable amount of the weight, which means less weight on the belt itself. It would be interesting to see what it is like with a small pistol; it would probably be great."
Please note the photograph at the top of this article. It shows a full sized 1911 in the Cloak Tuck 2.0 against my scrawny body. Note how even the pistol's rather long butt would be unlikely to print under any reasonable covering garment, as it was flush with my back when viewed in profile.
I have two minor quibbles with the Alien Gear system. First, the same one I have with any FBI position holster: the butt of the pistol will somewhat ride on the bottom of your lower-most rib. This is because FBI carry mode is generally high ride, to ensure full grip clearance.
I suppose if you left the Cloak Tuck in the lowest possible position of the three available, you can lessen this. However, you are going to have to put up with the tilt of the pistol in a rather pronounced forward rake, which means having to unlock your wrist during the draw.
The second issue that I have with the rig is that the other and somewhat thicker handgun I tried it with illustrated to me that the flat Kydex holster shell needs to have a curved shape added to it to make it truly comfortable. Otherwise a normal gun belt of double-thickness will bulge outward and make it more likely to print under your cover garment. I discussed this with the manufacturer's customer service department and they have already received similar comments.
With any IWB holster, it is my view that autoloading pistols are more comfortable to carry than a similar size revolver, simply because of the width of the revolver's cylinder. I look forward to testing that hypothesis sometime in the not-so-distant future.
Overall, when one considers Alien Gear's commitment to quality, their lifetime no-questions-asked warranty, the ability to inexpensively change holster shells to accommodate different handguns and the reasonable price (2015 MSRP $35.88), I think the Cloak Tuck 2.0 is a winner.
Copyright 2015, 2016 by David Tong and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.