Product Tests : SmartCarry Holster

In the Holsters area of M1911.ORG, you can find a listing for a holster called "SmartCarry". In that area, I mentioned that I would not like to carry a cocked and locked M-1911, so close to my private parts. Recently, I received an e-mail from Charles Parrott, the owner of Concealed Protection 3, Inc., the company which makes this holster. In his e-mail, Charles first of all informed me about the new name of the holster (it was previously called Thunderbelt, the new name being so much more suitable), and he proceeded to tell me of some changes they've done to make this holster more user-friendly. He also suggested that I try one of his holsters, and make my own mind about it. I agreed, and Charles send me one of the holsters to try out.

First of all, let's make sure that you understand what SmartCarry is all about. SmartCarry is in reality a pouch, made out of a jean-looking fabric, with two straps attached, left and right. These straps have Velcro closing at their end. The pouch itself, is separated down the middle, by a seam, thus creating two pockets. The pocket on your strong side is slightly bigger than the other one, and it is used to carry your firearm, while the smaller, weak-side pocket is used to carry a spare magazine, or a folding knife, or whatever. The rear of the pouch is covered by Cushmax, one of those hi-tech materials which allow moisture to get out but not to get in, thus protecting your firearm from your own perspiration.

Now, what makes this holster different than anything else, is the fact that it is designed to be worn over your private part, very low on your abdomen. It is like a "jock strap" per Charles words.

Soon after this e-mail exchange, a box arrived with a SmartCarry for me to try out.

Upon close examination, it looks as if whoever designed this holster has done his homework. The holster is made in such a way, that there are no seams on which a drawn firearm could engage, thus stopping a fluid draw. All stitches are on the outside of the holster only. Second, the holster is a generic thing. It comes in four sizes, but there isn't one made for your 1911 and another for your large-size Glock. Thus the holster is a bit generous in size, to accomodate almost any type of large automatic or up to 4" barreled revolvers. The straps which hold the holster on your waist, have cotton backing, so they are comfortable on your skin.

I was really interested in trying out the holster, to see if Charles statements, about it being very concealable and comfortable, were true. So, I stapped it on myself, per the instructions and inserted my 1911. Oh, yes, the instructions! Put on your underwear and whatever you wear on the top, like t-shirt etc., but not your pants. Put the holster on, really low on your abdomen, with the straps over your hip bones. Put your firearm in it, and then put your pants on, with the waist of your pants, just above your pistol.

Does it work? Well, yes, the holster is very concealable, if you wear a set of exercise pants or something like that. If you wear a pair of tight jeans, then forget it. Also, the holster allows you to sit, without too much trouble, although in my case, the pistol was pushed uncomfortably into my lower abdomen, when seated. I guess my pants were not loose enough on me.

To draw your pistol, you insert the thumb of your weak hand into your pants waist, and pull your pants away from your body (another reason why a belted pair of pants is not suitable for this holster). The pistol's grip is exposed, allowing you to grab it and draw.

I kept the holster with the loaded M-1911 on myself for a couple of hours. It was quite comfortable, even though you did notice the pistol when seated. Maybe a pair of more loose pants would help on that. I also got to get used to having the loaded pistol in front of my private part, although I was constantly thinking about it. Maybe a few days of carrying it in that position will make me change my mind set. One thing I definitely do not like about this holster, is that the gun's muzzle can point to parts of my body (my lower leg at least). Charles had explain to me that this is not the case, since the gun muzzle points in between your legs, but still....

Would I buy such a holster? I really cannot say. In order to use it, you need to wear loose garments, like sports clothing. In that case, the typical holster is a funny pack, which is definitely more cumbersome to use. I guess that Charles has found a niche market, which he is exploiting with the right product.

P.S. :

1. After this report went public, Charles wrote to explain a few things. First, you can wear the holster with your jeans and belt, if your belt is a bit loose. Since the gun is there to stop the pants from falling, you do not have to tighten your belt too much. And when you need to draw, you only need to pull the waist of your pants out a short distance, enough to expose the pistol's grip. I'll have to try that and come back to you. But Charles seems to do this every day, check the following link.

2. Charles also explained that the rear of the pistol poking me in the gut when seated, is generally caused by wearing it too high on my body. I'll have to give it another try and see.

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