In the handgun self-defense world there is a tribe of proverbial pitchfork-wielding gun owners vehemently opposed to AIWB–Appendix Inside WaistBand–carry. Carrying AIWB means the gun is holstered inside the pants rather than outside and placed between the person’s belly button and hip bone. Whether it’s placed to the right or left depends on which is the shooter’s dominant side. This mode of carry was given greater visibility by the late instructor Todd Louis Green who worked to educate gun owners on its proper execution and related training. Today the first name that comes to mind for AIWB training is Spencer Keepers, owner, and founder of Keepers Concealment.
On the flip side, there is Marty Hayes, owner and founder of the Firearms Academy of Seattle (FAS) in Onalaska, Washington. Marty does not allow AIWB during FAS classes and makes his stance against AIWB carry clear. He states decades of protocols back his dislike of AIWB and that strong-side hip carry is the safest and most effective method. It violates one of the golden rules of gun safety, he says: never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. Admittedly, it’s true. Your groin and thighs are certainly not something you want destroyed.
Enter Jon Hauptman, founder of PHLster. Jon is a proponent of AIWB and endeavors to eradicate naysayers’ complaints with his holster designs. He created the PHLster Glock Classic Holster in 2016 as a custom option in an attempt to make a basic AIWB-friendly holster. Almost immediately he discovered the holster was a major success and it became a company staple. Instead of two loops, the holster features a single, tuckable strut and loop to secure it to a belt. Jon specifically designed the wing of the TuckStrut™ and the holster itself to be sympathetic to the body’s movements, shifting slightly with the body’s natural motions to accommodate the violent physical changes that occur while defending against an attack. The wing strut and belt loop are made to keep the Classic secure and in place both during daily carry and throughout an attack as though it was tailor-made for your body–and it does.
But wait, there’s more. For years AIWB carriers have relied on foam wedges and various remedies to attempt to angle their holsters away from their sensitive parts. After all, no one really wants the muzzle of a gun aimed at their femoral artery. This issue is solved with the PHLster Glock Classic Holster’s in-molded, teardrop-shaped raised area on the side of the holster meant to rest against the body. It looks a bit like a comma to me, as in something used to separate two parts of a whole–in this case, separating the muzzle of the gun from the carrier’s groin.
The PHLster Glock Classic Holster is made using modeling and thermoforming to create a minimalist design with stellar features. It’s adjustable for ride height and angle and has non-adjustable retention, the latter of which is a solid feature due to the snug custom molding of the Kydex. Other features include a full-height, optic-clearance body shield, anti-printing hardware, and overall ergonomic molding. In addition, the shape and cut make the holster compatible with suppressor-height sights and red dots.
I’ve been using the Glock Classic Holster with both Gen 3 and Gen 5 Glock 17s. From a concealed carry perspective it gets the job done due in part to the way the grip is angled towards my body by the teardrop feature. I have no problem concealing my Glocks with this holster even when wearing form-fitting shirts and skinny jeans. The single loop does keep the gun in place; there has been no slipping or unwanted shifting. The teardrop holds the muzzle away from my body at a sharp enough angle to make concerns of unwanted holes negligible. It’s a vast improvement over most AIWB holsters I’ve used and I’ve used quite a few over the years.
Doing drills at the range from the holster with the PHLster Glock Classic Holster has proven this holster is secure. Using a shot timer I ran through a variety of drills including Mas Ayoob’s MAG-40 qualification and had no issues whatsoever with the holster. The holster stayed put and my draw stroke was smooth and uninterrupted; re-holstering was easy thanks to the holster’s stiff, open mouth.
PHLster’s Glock Classic Holster has found a permanent place in my carry rotation. I vary my daily carry but on the days I carry one of the Glock 17s PHLster is my holster of choice. The PHLster Gen2 Skeleton Universal Magazine Carrier pairs nicely with the holster and performs as needed both for concealment and during reload drills. Considering how many holsters have found a home in one of several 18-gallon totes upstairs it’s saying something that I’ve become this attached to Jon Hauptman’s creation. The holster is currently available for the Glock 26/27/33, 17/22/31, and 34/35. I admit I am waiting for Jon to make one for 1911s (ahem, Jon?).
Whether you’re a seasoned AIWB carrier or AIWB curious this holster is an excellent option. It’s durable, provides much-needed concealment, and angles the muzzle of the gun away from your groin. Also, the mouth stays open for re-holstering and it oh-so-slightly shifts with your range of motion while fighting (or doing force-on-force training). Basically, it checks all the boxes for a good holster and then some. In fact, I highly recommend the entire PHLster line.
Visit PHLster Holsters to learn more about their products by clicking HERE.