Sunday, April 21, 2013

WHATHolster? In Plain Sight Style Holster Review

WHAT Holsters are custom handmade pouch holsters that are worn on the belt or waistband.  The nice part about the holster is that it completely conceals your pistol and allows for outside the waistband carry.  I had never tried this "in plain sight" type of carry holster before so when Dave Turley contacted me about trying one and possibly doing a review on the holster, I gladly accepted the offer.

For the last two weeks I've been using my WHAT Holster every day.

During the first week, I carried my KelTec P-32 in the holster.  I was really surprised by how easy it was to forget you had the holster on your belt.  Years ago, I carried my cellphone, and before that my pager, on my belt every day.  Within a few days, I found myself back in the habit of threading my belt through the holster while getting dressed each morning.

After a few 7:30am to Midnight carry days, I asked my wife if she noticed anything different about me.  After a hard stare up and down she told me I had something on my hip.  This was the first time she had noticed it so I gave her a quick holster demonstration.

For the second week, I carried my Diamondback DB380 in the same holster.  I think the fit was a bit better with the Diamondback with the grip completely filling the mouth of the pouch.

The three pictures on the left show the holster as it was worn throughout the two weeks.  The shirt I was wearing in the pictures is typical of my daily dress code so most of the time the holster was under my shirt.  I did have a few meetings that required khakis and dress shirt so the holster was completely uncovered on those days.  The holster was never mentioned even when it was clearly visible.

I really liked the carry method after getting accustomed to having something on my belt again.  I also noticed a few significant advantages of this carry method over pocket carry.  I'll list them below in no specific order.

1)  I liked that it was possible for me to access the pistol quickly when seated and even in the car when wearing a seat belt.   
2)  No hot spot on my leg from pocket carry.
3)  I literally forgot it was on my belt within a few minutes after putting it on each morning.
4)  I was able to reclaim my right front pocket for other uses.
5)  Some days I don't leave the house so I typically won't carry on those days.  The WHAT Holster got me back in the habit of carrying ALL the time.
6)  If you need to run into an unfamiliar office, pick up your kid from school, or go into a firearm unfriendly establishment like our local FedEx Depot, you can discreetly remove the holster and its contents while still seated in your car.  The holster provides complete 360 degree coverage of your pistol so it's protected from damage and prying eyes when you place it in your console, glove box, or other stash spot.
7)  The pouch is perfect for backpack or purse carry if you decide to pull it off your belt/waistband, but still want to bring it along with you.

Dave sent me two samples to work with.  I started out using the smooth matte black leather holster with Velcro closure and simple back cuts for 1.25" belt attachment.  It was perfect for my needs and that holster is on the right in these pictures.

The second holster, on the left, was crafted in a slightly glossy black grained leather.  This holster featured a snap closure and dual belt clips on the back.
As I stated earlier, the spartan simplicity of the matte black holster won my preference and after two weeks of constant wear shows no "printing" on the front of the holster, but you can see the muzzle shape starting to form on the body side of the holster.  Since there are no clips or snaps to deal with, this holster requires no lining to keep the metal clips and the back of the snap away from the pistol so it's thinner and lighter than the other holster.

Dave Turley makes each holster by hand to your specific requirements.  Dave uses a $40 flat rate pricing structure for his holsters that is really quite unique.  When ordering you specify the pistol make and model to assure proper sizing, and then you can add as many options as you like to your holster with no additional charges.  Your $40 price also covers your shipping cost.

Dave sent me pictures of his personal carry holster.  I'm including the pictures so you can see a sample of the available brown grained leather and his sewn on belt loops.  Dave carries his Diamondback DB9 with compensated barrel horizontally on his left side as a cross draw holster.  You can also see he favors the Velcro over snap closure hardware.

In addition to black and brown, Dave will also make What Holsters in pink.  According to Dave, some folks use his holsters as pocket holsters.  I can see folks doing that in a cargo pocket or even the back pocket.  It won't be a speedy draw, but at least you'll have your pistol on your person and not sitting at home in your secure storage location.   

Dave is currently working on his web store so orders can be placed by phone or by email.  You can reach the WHATHolster ordering page HERE.

I think this type of holster is a good fit for my personal carry needs so I will continue to use the matte black holster while it's still belt weather.  I'm actually proud of myself for getting back into the habit of daily carry with the help of this holster.  For those that like to carry a bug, Dave's horizontal cross draw style may be appealing to you.

Dave's pricing is very good considering the quality of the holster and all the available 'no additional cost' options.  Dave told me that he will even make you a holster from exotic skins, but there will be an up-charge for the material.  If you have any questions or just can't decide between snap or Velcro closure, just give Dave a call and I'm sure he would be happy to help you with your decision.   


  1. Interesting..........sort of reminds me of the military issue CZ82 holster.I've known of a couple guys who wore their CZ82 in those and always said no one was ever the wiser.

    Now you can get a similar rig custom made for lighter pieces like kel tec's and kahr's.


  2. I've worn a similar holster before and it's true what these gentlemen are saying is true. There is no better way to carry your weapon than with a holster like this one.

  3. I want an IWB for my DB380 for the small of my back which doesn't need a belt but just a hanger clip to keep the holstered firearm from moving south. It should be made from that grippy material on the outside and a lining that allows for an easy pull. That to me would be ideal. Haven't found a manufacturer yet. Hane you seen one?

    1. Most of my IWB holsters are from Remora. They are "sticky" and don't even need the clip to stay in place, but I've never tried one SOB 6 O'clock as you describe. It might we worth a try.

    2. Yes, that's the manufacturer I was thinking about, Remora. But I'd like it with a clip because I'd like my 380 no more than 1/2 above my beltline. Thought about buying the Remora and fashioning my own "hanger" so that I could choose the depth and perhaps have multiple attachment points built into one "sleeve holster".

    3. Remora does have a tuckable holster with a clip that snaps on and off. Not sure why I didn't remember that the first time I commented. If they don't have exactly what you want email Alan. He'll probably put the clip exactly where you want it for your 1/2" requirement. He's a good dude when it comes to getting the customer what they want when they order.

    4. Thanks for the info. I'll look into it further.