I’ve had the opportunity to test out the Alien Gear Tuck 3.0 IWB (inside the waistband) holster – and the the new Alien Gear MOD OWB (outside the waistband) holster. They are excellent holsters, each suited for different styles of carry, depending on your own requirements and preferred method of carry. I’ve been wearing the Tuck 3.0 IWB for about a month a half.
Alien Gear Tuck 3.0 IWB
The material selection and overall thought into the design of the Alien Gear Tuck 3.0 IWB is beyond excellent. I’ll get into that more in a moment, as well as cover 3 other areas: Comfort & Wearability, Retention & Access and Concealability.
The holster is a hybrid, which means they’ve paired multiple material types neoprene, their own ‘Alien-skin’, stainless steel retention plate, boltaron plastic shell, ballistic nylon clips and steel screws. They’ve put a lot of thought into the design of the holster. Let’s get into it.
Materials & Design
I honestly can’t think of any improvements in the choices they made for the materials. The backing is neoprene and a thermo-elastomer ‘Alien Skin’ texture. The neoprene side is the back, the side next to your body, and it’s very comfortable. It also doesn’t have issues with soaking sweat like leather, and has a little sponginess which adds to the comfort. The thermo-elastomer ‘Alien Skin’ is the textured outer layer of the backing and it aids with weapon retention, drag and durability.
Sandwiched inbetween the neoprene and thermo-elastomer Alien Skin is a stainless spring-steel plate to help with retention. The retention plate is opposite of the holster shell.
The holster shell itself is made of boltaron, which is kind of like kydex, but lighter and still very rigid. Each shell is molded based on the model of handgun. So for example a Glock 21 won’t fit in a shell made for a Springfield XD or a 1911 handgun shell. The good news for those that carry multiple types of handguns, is that the shell is swappable. If you were carrying a S&W Shield and now you want to carry your Sig Sauer, you can simply swap out the shell and you’re on your way. (You do have to order a shell for each gun type).
Finishing out the materials are ballistic nylon clips and steel screws. The ballistic nylon clips in my experience wearing this holster provide excellent retention and are still easy to get on and off.
The steel screws keep the ballistic nylon clips and the holster shell attached to the backing. The screws for the clips may need to be tightened with the provided hex key occasionally. In my experience, this was maybe once a week or less. Screws allow you to adjust the tension.
Comfort & Wearability
The Tuck 3.0 IWB is very comfortable to wear. I carry a full size handgun, so the weight is still the weight of a full size gun. One couldn’t honestly say “I didn’t even know it was there” because that comes with the turf carrying a full size handgun. However, the weight is distributed nicely with the Tuck 3.0, and the neoprene backing makes it quite comfortable.
Alien Gear recommends wearing the Tuck 3.0 inbetween the 4 & 5 O’Clock positions. I don’t prefer this style of carry myself. I like it around 3 O’Clock with a cant. The larger area of the backing does limit your ability to wear it more forward. You couldn’t appendix carry very easily, for instance, with the Tuck 3.0. This was my only mild negative in wearing this holster. It does have 3 holes for the ballistic nylon clips to attach to on each side. This allows you to raise or lower how high the holster rides inside your waistband. At first, I tried it lowered all the way. I didn’t like at all. So I raised one side all the way to give me the greatest angle of cant. This worked for the 3 O’Clock position. It’s a little more bulky than a single clip non-hybrid would offer because of the “wings” on the hybrid style, though it wasn’t too cumbersome for my preferences. Each of us has a way we prefer to carry, and the Tuck 3.0 does offer a great deal of flexibility in how you adjust it to meet your preference.
Weapon Retention & Access
The retention was excellent. I had absolutely zero concerns about my handgun not being retained properly while in the holster. Access, or drawing my handgun was easy. Re-holstering my handgun was a breeze. This is the advantage of hard plastic kind of shells over just neoprene or leather. With other holsters I’ve worn, I usually need to take off the holster, re-holster the handgun, and then re-attach the holster in my waistband. With Tuck 3.0, I was easily able to re-holster while it was still in my waistband.
In my opinion, this category of evaluating a holster system is extremely subjective. As noted, Alien Gear recommends carrying the Tuck 3.0 at 4 to 5 O’Clock. If you’re skinnier than I am, that may be perfect for you. I don’t like it, generally. If I do carry at 4 to 5 O’Clock, I need to have layers of clothing to wear over it, or a jacket that will cover it. Then, my concern with that style of carry, is exposure when bending over or squatting down. I like my handgun on my hip with a cant, my preferred style of carry, and the Tuck 3.0 does accommodate this pretty well. I’d love to see an option from Alien Gear that kept all the materials in the current design: neoprene backing with their ‘Alien Skin’ material that included the stainless steel retention plate and holster shell, but with a single clip instead of the wider 2 clip style that characterizes the hybrid design (for basically all hybrid holster manufacturers). [Are you writing this down, Alien Gear? 😉 ]
The Tuck 3.0 is still very concealable at the 3 O’Clock position, as-is. It does take a little longer to get on than a single-clip option. Sometimes I still opt for a simple IWB holster depending on how quickly I need to get out the door, where I’m going, etc. For my body type, I always need to think through what kind of clothing I’m wearing. I definitely can’t do just a t-shirt and call it good, and that would be the case for me with any style of carry or holster.
Overall Grade: A
They might be able to get an A+ if the single clip attachment is workable with this line. Maybe a Tuck 4.0, or Tuck Single Clip line.
Alien Gear MOD OWB:
I’ve worn the Alien Gear MOD OWB holster much less than the Tuck 3.0 IWB because I conceal carry unless I’m in the woods. I fully support those who wish to open carry in town, but that’s not my own preference. I have however worn the MOD OWB holster on several outdoor hikes, including an overnight hike with bivy/shelter style camping, and it was great!
Materials & Design
The major difference in material from the Tuck 3.0 is that the MOD OWB holster is not really a hybrid (it does have some kind of rubberized layer, so maybe technically it qualifies — but it doesn’t have the neoprene/’Alien Skin’ wings as attachment points for the ballistic nylon clips). It’s primarily hard plastic.
It comes with a paddle clip and an optional belt slide attachment. I opted to leave the paddle clip on. The paddle and belt slide attachment, holster back and holster shell are all hard plastic — I assume it’s all boltaron, like the holster shell, to keep the weight down.
There’s a stainless steel retention plate just like the Tuck 3.0 and it’s behind some sort of rubberized plastic layer. The rubberized layer and the holster shell are what retains your handgun. The rubberized layer gives it grip and aids in retention.
Finally, there are the steel screws and spacers which are adjustable for retention tightness. I found it to be excellent retention strength as it was sent to me from the factory.
Comfort & Wearability
Outside the waist carry is where it’s at for comfort, and I think anyone who’s done both IWB and OWB is aware of this fact. This is true regardless of holster I think. The MOD OWB is very comfortable. With the paddle clip, it’s a breeze to put on and take off, which is why I opted it that way. I found it does bend/flop over a little on my pants/belt with the paddle attachment. You’ll get better retention on your belt with the belt slide option, but sacrifice ease of getting on and off. It’s a matter of your preference.
Weapon Retention & Access
Weapon retention between the rubberized layer and holster shell is excellent. I have complete confidence the weapon will remain in MOD OWB holster. Drawing and re-holstering is also easy. The steel screws have spacers that allow you to adjust tightness to loosen or tighten to your preference. As noted, I left it as-is from the factory.
I wore this holster on an overnight hike and bivy/shelter camping trip. I hiked lightweight, and slept with my hiking gear, belt and the MOD OWB holster on. I was never concerned even slightly about retention. And this was with the paddle clip. If you changed out the attachment for belt slide one, this wouldn’t go anywhere until you wanted it to and took it off your belt.
I don’t really worry about concealment when I’m hiking in the woods. And I don’t open carry in town, so I’m not the best person to ask about concealing in this style of carry. I’ve seen people wear longer shirts over an outside the waistband style of carry, but in my opinion, this method is way less concealable than inside the waistband carry. I wouldn’t rate the MOD OWB holster high for concealability, but no less so than other OWB holsters. It’s simply a limitation in the style of carry.
Overall Grade: A+
I can’t imagine any way to improve the outside the waist carry option that Alien Gear offers in this holster.