When the holsters arrived I gave them a once over and a quick test fit. I noticed that a stiffer polycarbonate material was used where most holsters makers would use every day Kydex. That gave the unit a much more solid feel and eliminated any flex between my belt and the backer. The leather front gave the pistols a smooth surface to slide against when drawing and at the same time is guaranteed to be gentle on their finishes. The back of the panel was made from a fine suede that felt pretty good against the skin and helped reduce the sticking and irritation that is possible with many other materials. The hardware was a simple polymer clip that can be rotated and locked in a variety of positions, helping you find the right setting to avoid printing. This design allows for a tucked shirt and we tested it with a black oxford in a semi-formal setting. The acid test came in the form of a cocktail party among industry friends, AKA gun people. Needless to say, it passed……either that or nobody cared!
Out on the range, we tested the retention system from this same outfit to see how long it would take to access and land a shot on a full-sized champion IPSC steel target 10 yards away. My first draw took a little bit of getting used to, simply because I was gripping like I had to defeat typical Kydex. The N8 Professional series holsters are designed for you to firmly plant your hand into the backstrap, just as you would anyway to build your best grip. In this process, your hand will slightly rotate towards you, naturally. The trick to the N8 design is to just let that process happen to clear the retention bump, thus releasing the pistol. Once I understood what was happening I was able to land first-round hits in as little as 1.38 seconds.
After wearing the gun home I unloaded it and asked my wife to first find my pistol and then try to get it from me. Naturally, I didn’t make it easy and we found ourselves rolling around on the living room floor. I noticed that she would grab it and attempt to get it out by pulling it away from my body, which obviously failed. This simple design not only works with the wearer’s natural tendencies, but it works against a potential thief’s natural tendencies as well.
After a few weeks of testing the two samples, I didn’t find any shortcomings to really speak of. A more washable design would be nice, but placing the unit in the sun or in a bag full of baking soda helps to refresh the material if it gets a little funky. I would have also liked to see a little bit of labeling on each holster because honestly, I forgot which guns I requested them for (oh the life of a gun writer). On the upside, it’s pretty easy to figure out because when you click the right gun into an N8 holster you KNOW it. For more information visit www.n8tactical.com
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