The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster (Inside the Waistband) is available for nearly 600 handgun models, and one of those handguns just so happens to be a 5” 1911.
The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster is unique in that different shells can be ordered. Say, for example, that you currently have an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster for a Glock 19, you have purchased and broken in a H&K VP9 that you want to carry but have yet to purchases a holster for it. Well, you can purchase just the shell for the VP9 from Alien Gear and when it comes in simply remove the shell for the Glock and install the shell for the VP9. Or you can take my approach and simply purchase another holster specifically for the pistol that you need.
I have plenty of holsters for a 1911 pistol and really did not need another, but for the sake of having yet another holster for a 1911, I get to write a review on what I think of the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster.
The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster for the Glock G41/G34 is excellent, as is the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster for the Springfield Armory XDM 5.25. Both of these holsters have a sweat guard, and this is a feature that I do not care for when the pistol being housed in a holster, regardless if the holster is “Kybrid” or leather, is a 1911 with an external thumb safety. And if a holster does have a sweat guard, the sweat guard must be small enough to allow the hand full access to the grip of the pistol.
I have had sweat guards on holsters before and have carried a 1911 pistol in them. In some cases, the thumb safety, especially if it was an extended safety, would be pressed into the sweat guard leaving an impression in the leather. If the grip safety was in the “Safe” position when this occurred, the impression could serve as a “safety retention device” in a way. When the 1911 is removed from the holster, the operator presses the sweat guard inward to clear it from the pistol. This is similar to action used to open the retention snap on a shoulder holster before withdrawing the firearm from the holster. The object here is to prevent the thumb safety from being deactivated before it is desired to do so.
With my IWB holster from Black Arch, I was simply able to cut the sweat guard off of the holster, which means that nothing interferes with the thumb safety and my hand has no interference while on its way to the grip of the pistol. Removing the sweat guard on the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster is something that I cannot do, because the holster consists of layers stitched together to form a single backing unit. (Note that the sweat guard of the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck IWB Holster can be surgically detached because the backing piece is a single layer of leather.) With the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster; however, the sweat guard keeps the firearm away from the body and especially mitigates the hammer from coming into contact with the body.
The construction of the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster is excellent, and I have noticed a consistency of quality from specimen to specimen. The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster has a center layer of thin metal that resides behind where the pistol resides in the holster. The top and bottom layers are expertly stitched together with the metal insert sandwiched between the two layers. Note that the shell mounting nuts are not exposed on the inside layer but are also sandwiched between the two layers.
The shell is secured at four locations. Retention is controlled by adjusting the four mounting screws that attached the outer shell to the holster base. A bag of extra hardware, including screws and spacers of various lengths (1/2”, 5/8”, and ¾”), allow for retention based on your particular customized settings.
Ride height and cant can be quickly adjusted without tools. Two polymer belt mounting clips can be rotated downward 180-degrees to unlock them, removed from the holster, inserted into the desired adjustment hole, and then rotated upward 180-degrees to lock into place. This is quite a relief from having to remove screws and fumble with captive nuts each time you want to change ride height or cant. (Note that even with the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck IWB Holster, the mounting nuts are integrated into the holster; therefore, there is no need (as with some holsters) to remove the mounting nuts. Ride height and cant can be adjusted in a matter of seconds rather than minutes.
The mounting clips, although polymer, are robust and when attached to the belt are not about to come loose; in fact, it takes some effort to get the holster attached to the belt.
The inner layer is made from Coolventä Neoprene, a moisture-wicking, breathable material that protects both the firearm and your body. I always wear a T-shirt, but for those that don’t, you will like the comfort afforded by this holster.
The Kydex holster shell is form-fitted to the firearm for which the holster was ordered. While I ordered the holster for a 5-inch 1911, I can use the holster for any length of 1911 (except a 6” long-slide model). My “Commander” and “Officer” length 1911 pistols fit just fine in the holster. The 1911, from the rear of the trigger guard to beyond the muzzle is fully protected. The open body design of these holsters makes cleaning of the interior surfaces very simple.
When I received my first Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster, I was concerned about wear on the outer layer of the holster due to a firearm being inserted and removed from the holster over time. I have seen a ‘layered’ holster from a leading manufacturer of holsters wear out the outer layer of the holster, and this concerned me. However, the outer layer of the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster seems to be of a thin textured and stamped polymer material. All indications are that this material will not wear quickly. In fact, all indications of the overall holster point to one of longevity and that the holster is capable of taking some abuse and would handle normal wear and tear quite well. Only time and use, as with anything, will tell the story.
Breaking in the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster is primarily the retention adjustment, if any. My EDC, a Rock Island Armory 1911 FS Tactical II, was inserted into the holster soon after it was removed from its package. The fit was perfect, if not a bit snug. However, some snug is good. Obviously, you do not want the holster to come out of the pants when the pistol is drawn. On the other hand, you do not want a loose fit when the pistol is in the holster under normal wear. But I have to leave the amount of retention up to the user, as they will know when that “sweet spot” is reached. There has to be some tension on the pistol, and you don’t want the pistol too difficult to draw nor do you want the pistol to fall out of the holster when you bend over. Note that the cant of the holster may affect retention. The pistol, depending on the length of the barrel, may place pressure on the body in different spots according to the cant of the holster. This is primarily due to the fact that a pistol is flat; whereas, the body is curved. You just need to find the balance point between retention and comfort. I’ll wear the holster and pistol combination for a couple of days before I decide if retention, depth, or cant adjustments are needed.
Alien Gear does recommend, after the retention point is optimized, the mounting screws receive a bit of blue Loctite to prevent them from backing out.
Speaking of comfort, the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster, once adjusted to my specific needs and wants, is one of the most comfortable IWB holsters I have worn. The wide mount spacing of the holster takes up some real estate, but the more real estate taken the more stable the holster. As aficionados of in the waistband carry, we are a bit more critical than those who carry OWB. After all, we are the ones who wear our trousers one to two times larger than what we would normally wear simply because we have to effectively conceal a holster and firearm, perhaps one or two spare magazines of ammunition, the carrier for those magazines, perhaps a flashlight and/or a knife of folding or fixed-blade persuasion, a pair of handcuffs (normally reserved for LEO types), and one to a dozen Slim-Jim snacks (if you are like me) … and a possible can of Altoids mints.
I definitely like the way the holster sets in the body. The holster may have a metal inner support, but it does not feel like it does. the mounting areas, where the clips are, is very flexible.
With all the pros there has to be a con somewhere. This is more of a “what I would like to see” con rather than a product defect.
When the holster is fully installed inside the pants, the bottom of the holster shell will be against the inside of the trousers. It is quite possible that, because of the tension against the holster by the trousers, the bottom of the holster shell could be forced more inward against the slide of the pistol than it is with just the pistol inserted into the holster. The retention is not affected as much as the wear on the finish of the pistol; the more pressure of the holster against the slide, the more quickly the pressure will harm the finish.
The second con, in my opinion, is the sweat guard. Or should I say the lack of options for the sweat guard. I feel that the user should have the choice to have the sweat guard or not to have a sweat guard. Cross Breed holster options include having a “Combat Cut” or not. To get a “Combat Cut” $10 is added to the cost. People like options. I like not having a sweat guard, but I don;t have that option – unless I get the simpler Alien Gear Cloak Tuck IWB Holster (Inside the Waistband) and perform surgery on the sweat guard myself.
If you carry a 1911 pistol, and have not yet tried an Alien gear holster, you are shortchanging yourself. It seems that I have been doing that for years, but we all have our preferences until our preferences change.
The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster is extremely comfortable to wear – even in the hot and humid state of Georgia (at the present time).
While I am not saying that the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster is “The” answer to all of your carry needs, it does provide another option
Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster (Inside the Waistband). https://aliengearholsters.com/alien-gear-cloak-tuck-3-0-iwb-holster-inside-the-waistband.html