Monday, November 5, 2012
I’m not what you call a “gear guy.” Please don’t misunderstand—I believe quality equipment makes a difference in performance during a conflict. But I don’t change gear every time something new hits the market. I know a number of police officers, young and old, who swap out a piece of their kit when a new product is introduced, whether it’s proven itself to be an improvement or not.
Let’s take a moment to consider that. How can a new piece of gear have a track record? Sure, any company worth a salt has tested their new product in field-like conditions. But one never really knows how well any new product will do until it’s been on the street for a while.
After three-and-half decades of law enforcement and security work, I’ve come to the realization that the best gear isn’t always the most expensive. The concept of “you get what you pay for” isn’t always the case. Sometimes you can purchase a perfectly suitable piece of gear at a reduced price over a more well-known and expensive item—and have it work the same or better.
Take, for example, a folding knife. You can spend $200–$500 on a custom model. Or you can buy a Gerber EVO for 20 bucks at Gander Mountain (and not wait six months for it to arrive.) The choice is yours. The knife needs to be sharp, hold an edge, stay locked open during normal use and be easy to sharpen. Everything else is secondary.
The same thing can be said about holsters. I know people who wait months for a Kydex concealment rig that costs almost $100 and it’s no different than less expensive rigs from other manufacturers. When I ask why these officers do this, they will usually say, “Because it’s the best.” Really!? It’s two pieces of Kydex molded together! What makes them think one company does it better than another? The differences between one Kydex rig and the next are 1) the quality of the material used, 2) the care that goes into building the rig, 3) the delivery time and 4) the price. Nothing more and nothing less.
In my August 2012 column, I wrote a review of a number of products I thought would be of interest to the readers of Law Officer and in this same column I wrote about X-Concealment Holsters. Since then, I’ve used their products more extensively and think they deserve another look. I’m convinced they make some of the best Kydex concealment gear found anywhere and the price and delivery time is very reasonable.
X-Concealment owner Shin Chen, a certified NRA firearms instructor, knows what’s needed in a quality concealment rig and is dedicated to supplying the highest quality holsters and firearms accessory pouches. Their products are innovative and carefully crafted to meet a customer’s high expectations. Their holsters and magazine pouches are used by firearms instructors at the top training schools, by military special operations forces, intelligence personnel, federal and local law enforcement officers, and legally armed citizens around the world. Their tactical and concealment gear has been proven effective in situations from everyday concealed carry to overseas deployment of military operations.
Why use their product? First, X-Concealment offers both military and law enforcement discounts to active duty personnel. But there are other reasons.
High-quality products. They use all virgin Kydex material and the best quality hardware. X-Concealment is also big on utilizing the latest technology from design process to final production. Although other Kydex holster makers use rivets alone to hold together the Kydex panels, X-Concealment uses both rivets and special cement to secure the Kydex panels for maximum durability and to ensure that their products will last for many years. This cost more time and money to build holsters, but they believe their customers deserve the best because their lives may be on the line.
Great customer service. X-Concealment provides some of the best customer service I’ve experienced. Regardless of whether you’re making a purchase, a return or a special request, they guarantee you’ll be 100% satisfied. Their turnaround time is five business days on regular orders, one of the fastest in the industry in my experience. I wanted a special cant to my holster due to a shoulder injury (lack of mobility) and Shin Chen gladly accommodated this and it didn’t slow delivery time.
A wide selection. The X-Concealment product line is reasonably extensive. They offer a broad line of holsters and accessories that will satisfy the needs of most end users, while still managing to keep up with incoming orders. The product line is based on two series of holsters: the “C” (Compact Concealment Holster) and “M” Series (Modular Concealment Holster). The M Series is the square-cut, riveted Kydex holster that has become quite popular across the U. S. Molded for light-mounted and non-light-mounted handguns, the M Series holds the pistol flat to the body while also offering cant and elevation adjustment to better fit the end user. The C Series offers a similar ride, but removes as much of the extra Kydex as possible to offer a more streamlined rig. The C Series is also offered with both belt loops and easy on/off snap-on belt straps.
Both holster styles are precision molded for the exact gun it’s designed to carry. Although most Kydex holsters are press molded, i.e. placed between two pieces of rubber that are pressed around the gun while the Kydex is warm and pliable, X-Concealment takes the extra step to ensure each holster is precision molded, which helps eliminate “hot spots” that rub aggressively against the gun, causing it to remove the finish almost instantly—something I have experienced with other Kydex rigs. The precision molding also retains the gun solidly in the holster so that it won’t dislodge, even during aggressive movement, such as a physical altercation or running.
X-Concealment also offers a series of accessories, including magazine pouches for pistols and rifles and flashlight pouches designed to fit most models. These pouches can be attached to the belt with either a convenient clip- or a cant-adjustable, dual-belt-slot plate. X-Concealment holsters, depending on the desired features, cost $50–$70, while magazine and flashlight pouches run around $30. This is certainly reasonable pricing for something that will last an entire career and costs less than a full tank of gas.
Noted trainer and former South African Defense Force member Henk Iverson of Strike Tactical has made X-Concealment the official holster of his training company and I regularly send my Handgun Combatives students to Shin Chen for top-quality, reasonably priced gear.
Quality carry gear doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. During these tough economic times, it’s good to know that top of the line carry gear is both affordable and readily available. Check out X-Concealment, you’ll be glad you did.