A closer look at 3 appendix carry options from Blade-Tech

bladetech_1_all_3As we continue the exploration of appendix carry we are looking at 3 holsters made by Blade-tech.

The New Blade-tech Appendix Carry holster and the Nano are both Kydex holsters for  the M&P Shield that were provided for this project.  The 5.11 Appendix holster is injection molded by Blade-tech for 5.11.  This model was designed for the M&P9c (which I don’t own) and was given to me during a the filming of a Shooting Gallery episode, but I am including it here because it has an innovative feature.

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Belt Clips

I started talking to Blade-tech 8 months ago about doing an appendix carry project and was told they were close to releasing a new product and that the proto-types were really well liked.

Then then 6 months ago, I was told that they weren’t happy with the belt clip and they were redesigning it… while I was disappointed, I was happy to see that they weren’t releasing the product until they were happy with them.

The final result is the injection molded clip on the upper holster on the right.  The early model clip is on the 5.11 holster.  Both holsters use a standard clip design with an exaggerated barb to keep the holster secured on the draw, which can be more of a problem with an appendix carry holster than other designs.

The Nano uses a completely different system with a pair of adjustable straps.

Blade-tech Appendix IWB Holster

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While it was designed to be worn as an appendix carry, it also can be shifted around and worn as straight draw IWB.

Blade-Tech’s Appendix Carry Holster is molded with a thinner material to reduce bulk when worn and be highly concealable. The holster has a positive friction retention molded into the trigger guard.

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The Appendix IWB holster uses Blade-Tech’s latest injection molded clip that is incredibly strong and durable; however, it is only currently offered for a 1.75″ belt. This is .25″ larger than the width of most common belts like my Milt Sparks or the common wilderness tactical belt seen in these photos.

This extra height allows the gun to torque on the belt and actually makes it easier to grip. Unfortunately, it is not possible to keep the gun in this position so over time it falls back to a  straight drop, to where the grip rests on top of the belt and it is difficult to get a full grip on the draw.

While an important issue, it is my only criticism of the holster.  The retention is good, it doesn’t create any real hotspots.

5.11 Tactical Appendix IWB Holster

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Because this holster wasn’t designed for the Shield it isn’t fair to compare its concealability or comfort to the other models, but there are a few features worth mentioning…

1. The belt clip is a folded metal design and not the injection molded clip on the Blade-tech branded model.  Its sharp edges can be hard on leather belts and does scratch them readily when being put on over the belt.  I think this is why the initial product launch was delayed.

But even though this clip also is designed for a 1.75″ belt its extra width keeps it from canting on the belt and ensures the gun is in the same place every time.

2. Because the trigger guards of the Shield is so similar the M&P9c, the Shield does fit in the holster (and seems to retain well), but it sits really low and the grip is partly inside the pants.  Does it do that with a gun it is designed for? I can’t say for sure, but I suspect so.

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3. A couple of the more unique features of this holster are due to the involvement of trainer Kyle Lamb and Viking Tactics.

This design has the highest sweat shield of any of the models at the request of Kyle and it has a small loop on the leading edge of the holster to clip a tactical light.

This is really a great idea because your holster creates a void for the light and allows you to carry a tactical light that is available to either hand with no additional effort.

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Quick Tip: You can to this with many IWB holsters by clipping your light onto the sight channel.

Blade-tech Nano

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When I announced the holsters in this project I was criticised for including a number of models that are not specifically marketed as an Appendix holsters. However, a good appendix holster is nothing more than a minimalist straight drop holster… right?

The Nano’s body is very similar to the Blade-tech Appendix IWB, except the edges are eased, the sight channel isn’t quite as exaggerated and the retention is adjustable.

The belt loops are adjustable for belts from 1.5-2.0,” adjustable for cant, don’t let the pistol rock on the belt and

You may have also noticed that the Nano hold the gun higher than the other models. For me that means I can get a good grip before drawing the pistol and it can be worn with lower-rise jeans, but it also means it isn’t quite as concealable as it lets the gun list away from the body slightly.

The listing wouldn’t matter with a longer slide gun, but with the M&P Shield it also keeps the gun from getting up under my ribs when I bend forward.

What do you think of these Blade-tech appendix holsters? Let me know in the comments below!

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