When I was searching for a holster for the Springfield XDs 3.3 45, I searched first on my favorite vendor’s website. Not wanting to spend a lot money on a holster, I decided to take a chance on another brand. While perusing the offerings at Amazon-dot-com, I came across a holster made by SHTF Gear out of Logan, Utah and decided that it was worth a look.
“SHTF Gear LLC, based in Logan, Utah, is a manufacturer of concealed carry holsters for law abiding citizens and law enforcement. We stand behind the durability and quality of our products, providing a lifetime warranty. SHTF Gear LLC utilizes the latest in manufacturing technology, paired with traditional care and quality to create our holsters. As the maker of the ACE line of holsters we have set a new standard for quality, comfort, and reliability. We hope to give each of our customers a product that they can truly rely on.”The holster base is of dyed cowhide and measures 0.175 inches (average) in thickness. The Kydex shell is form-fitted to the firearm and measures 0.065 or so in thickness. Two strong retention clips held into place by Allen-head screws rather than by Phillips-head screws provide security while mounted on the belt. The backing is rough-side-in to help secure the holster when worn.
Four mounting holes provide adjustment for cant and holster depth. A rubber spacer between the mounting clip and holster backing allow for tucking in of a shirt. Note also that SHTF Gear holster have something that help when changing retention clip mounting points – indents for the lock nuts. One of the complaints that I have read (and also experienced) with a holster of this type is that the prongs on the backing nuts collapse when trying to tighten them against the leather. The SHTF Gear holster has pre-spaced indents. Simply place the prongs into the indents and press down to seat the nut into the leather.
The well formed Kydex shell provides plenty of clearance for things like ambidextrous magazine releases. The shell fits snugly around the pistol but not too snugly as to hinder drawing the pistol from the holster when worn.One feature of the holster is the fact that both rivets and stitching hold the shell firmly against the backing. A sealer on the inside of the backing prevents premature wear of the stitching.
The holster incorporates a “combat cut” sweat guard that allows a full grasp of the firearm’s grip without interference. SHTF Gear has embossed its logo nicely into the leather on the sweat guard. The top of the sweat guard blends into the profile of the firearm and does not extend far above nor fall below the slide of the firearm.Mounting the holster takes only seconds; pull the clips slightly to slide over the belt, adjust the position of the holster, insert pistol, and it is ready to go. With the holster that I received, the Kydex is just above the top of the trousers. The holster exhibits a slight forward cant and I found it acceptable for most but not fore me; I needed a little more cant and the front mounting clip was moved up one notch to provide it – perfect. With the holster mounted, a good belt pulls the firearm “high-n-tight” into the body, which adds to the low profile of a holster of this type. The holster width is short and does not take up a lot of real estate. It is extremely comfortable when worn. If I need to adjust depth or cant, SHTF Gear LLC provides an Allen wrench with the holster so I do not have to go searching though my Allen wrench drawer. The depth of the holster is enough to cover the muzzle completely, which aids in protecting the fiber optic front sight of the XDs 45. If I decided to carry a XDs 4.0″ 45 pistol, the muzzle would slightly protrude from the holster’s shell but not beyond the holster itself.
One concern with pistols that have the protruding “chamber-loaded” indicators that are common these days is that the holster is not damaged when holstering a loaded firearm or that there is enough clearance for the indicator. I am happy to say that this is not a concern, as the XDs 45 slides cleanly in and out of the holster.The holster has a great warranty attached to it; “If the holster fails for any reason return it to us and we will replace or repair it. We require the return of the original holster, to protect ourselves from fraud. You are responsible for the cost shipping the original holster back to us, we pay to ship the new or repaired holster back to you. The warranty does not cover mistreatment or damage.”
“Only our line of ACE holsters are covered under the lifetime warranty. All other products come with a 30 day warranty with a 14 day return policy unless otherwise specified.”
Free lifetime replacement clips are available; “…Certain holster companies charge exorbitant amounts of money for replacement clips. We use high quality clips, however if on the odd chance your clips lose their “spring” we will replace it at no cost. We do require that you send the remains of the old clip back to us in order to protect ourselves from fraud. Call for more details.”
I had only one minor complaint upon receiving my holster; there was slight “pre-dye” scratching of the leather – possibly tool marks. If this had been an open-carry holster, I would return it. That is the end of my whine-n-geeze party. This holster is excellent for its intended use – the concealment of a firearm and it does it well with the XDs 3.3 45.
The SHTF Holster is a viable alternative for IWB carry. It is priced competitively and is an excellent value for budget-minded IWB holster buyers.
Since I have purchased the holster, it has experienced many “practice” pulls from it. It continues to be one of the most comfortable IWb holsters in the collection.
When I replaced the standard sights on the XDs 4.0 45 with night sights, I was concerned that the front site may be too high. Fortunately, that is not the case and there is plenty of holster clearance.
Find more information about SHTF Gear holsters (and other SHTF Gear products) @ http://www.shtfgear.com/index.php?route=common/home.