Monday, November 29, 2010

MArooned Product Review: Michael's Custom Holsters Executive II, Redux

I’ve had an Executive II from Michael’s Custom Holsters for a little over a week now. I’ve had a chance to give it a little time on the belt, so to speak, and can add a more in-depth analysis of the holster to my initial impressions last week. I’ve had time to wear it out and about, from everyday errands to all-day sessions, with as much as twelve continuous hours of wear being part of the testing process.

IWB holsters for the Airweight Smith & Wesson J-frames are very difficult creatures to perfect. The small, light guns are perfect for pocket carry, and it’s very tempting to just grab a pocket holster with the 360 in it, toss it in the right front pocket, and call it done. Any IWB holster has got to be lightweight, unobtrusive, and user-friendly – if you have to think about it or manhandle it too much, it’s going to sit in the bottom of the holster drawer.

The Executive II isn’t going to sit in a holster drawer.

Comparing the Exec II to the DeSantis Nemesis, my go-to pocket holster, it’s only about a quarter inch wider and about the same length. The leather is thin yet sturdy, with solid molding and a “rough-out” construction for pocket holster duty. Michael designed this holster to be used in a pocket with the clips still attached – giving the user the option to move the holster from the belt to the pocket should the need arise. The rough-out construction – the “finished” side of the leather sits against the firearm while the “rough” unfinished leather is on the outside – anchors the holster quite nicely inside the pocket.

It carries equally well inside the waistband:

Executive II IWB closeup

It sits level with the belt line and is anchored firmly in place by the clips and the leather construction. The holster does not move once it’s in place; the grip is held tight against the body and does not print or bulge unseemly even while bending. The firearm is held securely at all times yet remains presents rapidly when drawn. The Executive II retains its shape even when empty on the belt – reholstering the firearm, even one-handed, is not only possible but simple. Here’s a longer shot of the holster in place:

Executive II IWB

A dark-colored T-shirt and I’d bet 98 out of 100 people wouldn’t notice this without a cover garment (not that I’d recommend it for anyone in a jurisdiction that disallows open carry, of course…) However, throw on a sweatshirt, oversized polo shirt, or other cover garment and you’re good to go. The holster isn’t going to move around or otherwise cause undue problems underneath cover, and has an added benefit: It’s tuckable.

Executive II tucked in

Not to get into a discussion on the tactical merits or drawbacks of “tucked” holsters (yes, they are harder to draw from than a holster that is not tucked; for carrying in unfriendly areas, though, the concealment really can’t be beat), but this is an excellent feature for those that favor the extra concealability of a tuckable holster. Looking at the picture, if I’d moved the clips under the belt rather than over that would be nearly invisible. As it is, no one notices the clips anyways – we’re so used to folks having two or even three different items clipped to a belt no one even blinks.

In closing, the Executive II by Michael’s Custom holsters is a hybrid that really does work well in both modes. Quite often, when an item is designed so as to appeal to two different segments, it winds up falling short in both areas; in this one rare instance, the Executive II shines in both areas. It is both a serviceable pocket holster as well as a solid inside the waistband holster, offering the wearer the option of switching between carry methods without having to contort or disappear into a phone booth…

My only contention – and I’ve discussed this with Michael and totally understand his reasoning – is with the clips. I prefer a Kydex or plastic clip as it reduces the likelihood of scratching cars/furniture/etc. in tight quarters; Michael warranties his holsters for life and prefers the longevity and durability of a steel clip. I can’t say I blame him for this - the clip really is the fail point for a holster, and it makes good sense to offer the strongest attachment method you can. Should you prefer a plastic or kydex clip, that’s an easy fix as well you can make in about 5 minutes with a simple flathead screwdriver.

All in all, I’m thoroughly impressed with the Executive II by Michael’s Custom holsters (and remember, they're on sale through tomorrow!).

That is all.


Anonymous said...

I like the look of the product but I looked all over for an order page and could not find it.

Am I so stupid as to miss something obvious?

Jay G said...

Y'know, I took a quick look and didn't see an "Order Here" button either.

I'd say your best bet would be to contact Michael directly:

B said...

RE: clips

Comp-Tac used to use formed Kydex clips. I know I broke at least two sets just in a couple of years of normal use on a C-TAC holster.

They have now switched to molded plastic clips that seems damn near indestructible.

Matt G said...

Having ordered a holster and a belt from Mike, I can tell you that he likes to talk to his clients to be certain of what they REALLY want, so that he can send them the best holster possible. He is very accomodating, and is tickled to make custom touches.

Laura said...

agreeing with Matt on this one. Michael and i built a friendship thanks to our talks about my purse...the guy really wants to make sure people are happy with his work, and he's an awfully nice dude on top of that.

ViolentIndifference said...

I'll chime in and state that he is an upstanding guy.

WV: gardthsh Guardtheshit