It is a rare day when I am wowed by a new holster. I, like many other every day carriers, have a box full of holsters that either don’t fit the bill, have fallen out of favor, or just aren’t good enough to work into the rotation. I am often approached by different holster companies out there and asked to review their products. Some holsters are outstanding, some are poorly constructed and not fit to use, and some are just…well…just like every other holster out there.
When I first got my concealed pistol/carry license, I spent a long time reading internet forums, researching, and trying to decide what holster would work best for my then-EDC of choice (Sig Sauer P239) and my body type. Internet experts would say things like, "You just spent $700 on a combat pistol, don’t slap it into a $20 Uncle Mike’s holster." Sorry Uncle Mike.
I went through mass-produced holsters such as Galco, DeSantis, and Kramer. I them moved on to more custom-style holsters such as Mitch Rosen and Milt Sparks, which were vastly more comfortable; with reinforced mouths, well-crafted, and the prices reflected the quality of those holsters. Some of those I still use, depending on the situation.
Later on I became a cop, and I was thankful that I already had a base knowledge of proper concealed carry, and what worked for me. The vast majority of my waking hours were in uniform though, so I didn’t have the need to continue my quest for the perfect concealed carry holster. My holster box collected dust, and I slowly started selling my old holsters off on various gun forums and eBay, as I had no use for them any more.
"The need for quality concealment suddenly became very important again…"
A few years later, I was undercover certified, and began to do basic UC stuff like street level dope buys, foot trailer surveillance, and a lot more plainclothes work. The need for quality concealment suddenly became very important again; not only for concealability and reliability, but for those long days in a car where comfort becomes increasingly important.
I recently was allowed to go on temporary assignment to a proactive undercover unit for about six weeks. I had been loaned out to them before, so I was familiar with the guys on the team, their work ethic, and their breakneck pace. This was the first time however that I’d be in a role for more than a day at a time, so other than enjoying extremely relaxed (non-existent) uniform standards, I needed to step up my concealed carry considerably.
Fortuitously, I was approached by Noah from Kilo Bravo, LLC at about the same time. Noah asked me to evaluate their IWB offering, dubbed the OMEGA. The OMEGA is a hybrid holster; that is, it is constructed out of kydex AND leather. Hybrid holsters have a reputation of being comfortable holsters due to the (typically) leather cowhide backing, and precision-formed outer kydex half. There are some very popular name-brand holsters out there that command a very high price; however have very large stabilizing "wings," a large footprint, and are not the best on the re-holster. The downside to hybrids, especially the Milt Sparks Versa Max II-Style holsters, is that the leather backing is typically soft and pliable (thus comfortable), but collapses under belt tension when the pistol is drawn from the holster. This makes reholstering a slower, more deliberate process or worse; the user must manually hold the holster open enough to re-insert the muzzle…bad juju.
So what makes the Kilo Bravo, LLC line of holsters so much different?
The Holster: OMEGA
My buddy Echo Foxtrot initially wrote about the Kilo Bravo, LLC ALPHA over on Blacksheepwarrior.com. Unlike the ALPHA, the OMEGA is 100% inside the waistband (IWB), which is where I prefer to carry when plainclothes and on surveillance.
For my LE, .mil, surveillance brethren, and the general stalker, most of us know that surveillance is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Rarely ever do we sit in a car side-by-side wearing suits and Ray Bans. Rarely ever does out target walk out of their house with rifles and contraband in plain view and never heat check to see if we’re watching. Rarely ever is there a bathroom we can get to when we need one. Rarely do we have gear and equipment options that adequately cover some basic concealed carry requirements, but the OMEGA affords me just about everything I could want in a concealment holster, especially one for on the job.
The OMEGA, as I mentioned before, is a hybrid holster; half cowhide, and half kydex. First and foremost, the leatherwork is unlike any that I’ve seen before. Smooth texture, and masterfully molded into the seams where the leather and kydex meet. Unlike most other hybrids, the OMEGA is a single clip design, with an exceedingly minimalist footprint. The kydex covers the holster where the holster needs to be covered, and the leather backing and sweat guard protect the wearer from grinding the rear serrations on the pistol slide into one’s midsection.
"…the OMEGA affords me just about everything I could want in a concealment holster, especially one for on the job."
Small details are important, and many holster makers overlook left-handed concerns. Most of you know that I’m a lefty shooter, and therefore, my mag release button faces outboard. Some holster makers cover the mag release button, but on a concealment holster, that creates a little space to wedge the flesh of your middle finger in-between the holster and the mag release button. The OMEGA has just a little kydex coverage on the mag release; enough to keep the squared edges of my Glock 26 magazine release from snagging on anything, but not so much that the kydex gets in the way of mag release operation.
The clip is another area where the OMEGA truly shines. Tuckable holsters are nothing new, but Kilo Bravo, LLC has done it right. I was initially wary of the spring metal clip, but it is deceptively robust despite it’s ultra-thin profile. The clip holds firm with jeans, slacks, athletic shorts, and all other manner of pants that I tried it with.
Additionally, the clip can be mounted to four different depths, and Kilo Bravo, LLC provides a 1ml tube of Vibra-Tite VC3 Threadmate to lock the single set screw and post down in place. Now, it is easy to see where a single mounting point could be a cause for concern, but the fact that the clip can pivot, in conjunction with the minimalist design of the holster itself, makes for a very comfortable holster, as the holster will shift slightly and contour to the crease of the wearer’s hip when seated.
The movement is minimal, but greatly aids in comfort and does not pull or rotate the holster so far as to hinder the draw. That being said, since I was carrying a Glock 26 and had it riding very low, conscious effort is employed to establish a strong master grip on the pistol for sub-compacts, however the draw itself is still buttery smooth from the holster itself once the grip is established.
Last, the holster is tuckable. This is simply the icing on the cake when it comes to discrete carry. Sitting in a car or on a rooftop all day gets pretty darn boring, but not only is important to keep your eye on your target, but to be aware of your surroundings and to make sure your head stays on the proverbial swivel. It is easy, while trying to maintain focus on an objective, to get tunnel-visioned not see who’s watching you, or coming into your area.
I’ve sat on surveillance a few times in neighborhoods with the vigilant retired guy that does nothing all day but garden and see who’s driving around the neighborhood. I’ve been approached on a few occasions by pedestrians simply asking for directions. Having your firearm tucked out of immediate sight in this instance is advantageous for obvious reasons. I don’t know if it’s a neighbor, a passerby, or possibly my target’s confederate who is on the approach. Having a readily accessible firearm is of great importance until their intent is realized, but I don’t want them to know I have it until I choose to let them know.
"Had I been carrying appendix carry in any other holster, it would have been visible and maybe generated a 911 call on me."
The last time I was in a parking lot observing a target location, a large pickup truck with a lift kit pulled in right next to me. The driver, from his vantage point could more than likely see into the cabin of my car due to his elevated position. Had I been carrying appendix carry in any other holster, it would have been visible and maybe generated a 911 call on me. Fast way to blow my location. However, since my pistol was nicely tucked into my jersey, I was just another schmuck glued to his smartphone.
The OMEGA pretty much covers all of the bases when it comes to a quality concealment holster in that it is sturdy, highly concealable, adjustable, comfortable, and I can reholster without having to manually hold open the mouth of the holster. Due to current events, I now more often than not carry my G19 when off duty for capacity considerations, but I wore the OMEGA pretty much daily for the six weeks that I was on undercover assignment, and it is my go-to appendix carry IWB holster.
The only concern that I have is that over time, the cowhide will lose its form or get soft enough where one-handed re-holstering becomes an issue. However, the OMEGA, despite its excellent characteristics only retails at $59.99, which is on par with lesser quality production line holsters on the market today, and is a price I’d very willingly pay if the original ever wore out.
This is about as close to an endorsement as I’ve ever given for a product. I find the OMEGA holster to be exceptional for my needs and purpose both on the job, and off duty. I have never used an appendix holster that is this comfortable before, and I’m now even more interested to find any out there that can compare to it, as I think Kilo Bravo, LLC has set the standard to beat when it comes to tuckable IWB holsters. As always, I will circle back around if any other issues or points of note present themselves. Until then, the OMEGA has solidly secured itself as my number one pick for IWB appendix carry for my Glock 26.
The Kilo Bravo, LLC website lists the following makes and models available for purchase:
* The views and opinions expressed on this web site are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Guns & Tactics Magazine,
the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.