Thursday, August 25, 2016

Crossbreed MiniTuck Holster - Mini Review




Since 2005, Crossbreed holsters has been producing their hybrid holster designs from their production facility in Springfield, Missouri. As an innovator of hybrid holster designs, the MiniTuck has been a Crossbreed catalog staple for many years.  The MiniTuck holster is intended to be worn inside the waistband with the metal clips hooking over the belt.  A concealment garment can be worn un-tucked, or tucked inside the waistband between the belt clips and holster backing.    

While I'm not a stranger to hybrid holsters, this was my first opportunity to evaluate a Crossbreed holster.  The MiniTuck I received featured a black dyed cowhide backer with a black Kydex shell (Crossbreed calls it the pocket) custom molded for a Walther PK380. The holster included standard belt clips and would cost approximately $77.00, with shipping costs included, if ordered directly from Crossbreed.  Crossbreed also offers different styles of belt clips and premium natural cowhide and horsehide holster backers for additional fees.  

With limited exclusions, Crossbreed holsters come with "our 'Two Week, Try it Free Guarantee' and a Life Time Warranty. Once you receive your holster you have two weeks to try it out. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied simply return it and we will refund the purchase price of the holster. Shipping charges are not refunded. If the holster should ever fail under normal use, we will repair or replace it as long as you own it."  The company definitely stands behind their product.

My typical Summer carry has been a snub revolver or micro semi-auto carried in my right front pocket.  I will occasionally carry a larger semi-auto AIWB as the weather cools down and we transition into Fall.  The PK380 is a fairly large firearm as compared to the majority of available 380 Auto pistols available today. With an overall length of 6.5 inches, I thought the Crossbreed MiniTuck would be a good holster choice for this handgun.

It turns out I was correct that the MiniTuck would allow me to comfortably carry the PK380 at the 5 O'clock position.  Crossbreed adds two additional sets of holes in the holster backer to allow for adjustment of the belt clips.  Raising the clips pushes the holster deeper beneath the waistband.  Raising only the front clip cants the holster forward.  I personally liked how the holster felt and the ease of drawing with the clips set as they came from Crossbreed.  The key point is you have options to experiment with and decide which clip setting works best for you.

The leather backer on the MiniTuck features the Combat Cut as a standard feature of the holster.  The Combat Cut trims back the leather backer to allow for an easier grip on pistol during the draw.  The downside is this also exposes more the pistol grip surface to your skin.  The smooth grip on the Walther wasn't uncomfortable rubbing against my back.  If you have a pistol with super aggressive grips, you may want to consider the larger SuperTuck holster instead of the MiniTuck.

I grabbed 8 video captures of the draw stroke when using the MiniTuck with the PK380.  I think photo 4 is the most important as it shows how a correct master grip can be established on the pistol as it is drawn from the holster.

I've worn the MiniTuck several times out on the range this Summer.  The cowhide backer is starting to take on the patina of absorbed sweat, but the belt clip attachment hardware shows no signs of rusting.  If the clip hardware does rust, Crossbreed sells replacement hardware packs for a nominal fee of $3.00.  The MiniTuck arrives ready to be worn, but has become more comfortable with use.  That may be due to the holster breaking in, or me becoming more accustomed to wearing the holster.  It's probably a combination of both.

I think the base model MiniTuck, reviewed here, is a pretty good holster for the money.  Others must feel the same way because new holster orders placed on the Crossbreed website will ship in approximately two weeks.  That's not a bad wait for a holster made specifically for your handgun model.  It also indicates to me that Crossbreed must be doing things right for their holsters to remain in such high demand after 10 plus years of continuous production.

Crossbreed offers additional holster types and models for handguns and magazines on their website.  I'm sure they wouldn't mind if you stopped by and browsed around a bit.  If you do the Facebook thing, check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/crossbreedholsters and subscribe to their Discounts and Promotions newsletter.   
  
The back of my holster had my name on it.  I've strategically covered it with the Crossbreed logo for photo purposes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Prestigious and Practical New Lights from Lumintop

The Prestigious

The Practical and Fun

See all Lumintop Lights on Their Website

Late last year I wrote my first review on two very different lights from Lumintop.  At that time I reviewed the full-sized tactical TD16 and pocket-friendly Tool AAA.  You can find that review here.  Lumintop has been very busy creating new lights since my original review and recently introduced four new lights.  Two of the lights are new concepts, while the others are enhanced versions of previously released lights.

Before I jump into the specifics of each individual light, I feel compelled to cover some basic commentary on Lumintop products in general.  I've had the chance to handle, take apart, put back together, carry, drop, lose, and use seven different Lumintop lights in the last eight months.  While very different in form and price, they all share some common traits.  I think the build quality of all lights is exceptional.  I see the same manufacturing attention to detail in the lowest priced lights as I do in the higher priced lights.  All lights are also water resistant to IPX-8 standard.  Regardless of which light you purchase and how much you spend, I think you will be satisfied with the overall quality of the light.

All four lights have three available brightness levels that can be toggled through in sequence.  All lights start in medium and switch through low and high levels before returning to medium brightness. I think it's pretty cool that Lumintop offers the option of Cree and Nichia emitters on many of their lights.  Depending on your illumination needs you may prefer the maximum brightness of the Cree, or the color correctness of the Nichia.  It's nice to have the choice.  Personally, I have traditionally gone for the Cree. Confused on the difference between the two choices?  Here's a simple analogy using household light bulbs.  Cree is like buying day light spectrum bulbs and the Nichia like buying soft white spectrum bulbs.

The Prestige Lights
New in the prestige or luxury light category are the Tool Ti and Prince.  These two higher end lights are both available for well under $100, but look like a million bucks.  Confused about which EDC light to clip to the pocket of your tactical tuxedo?  I'd grab either of these lights because they just ooze class and refined taste.

The Tool Ti is a luxury variation of the Tool AAA that has been expertly executed in titanium alloy.  Joining the current line up of Tool AAA lights in black anodized aluminum and copper, Lumintop further upgrades the Tool Ti with a flush mounted tail switch that allows the Tool Ti to stand on its base in candle mode.  Using a single AAA battery, the Cree equipped Tool Ti pumps out 110 lumens on the highest brightness level.

The Tool AAA, in any body material, is a great EDC light.  It's small enough to stay out of the way when clipped on your pocket, but is always there when you need it.  As with all things titanium, expect to pay roughly three times as much for the Tool Ti versus the aluminum bodied Tool AAA.  The Tool Ti ships in a gift box and includes spare O rings and clasp keychain.
    


The brand new Prince is a larger and brighter light that uses a single rechargeable 18650 or two CR123 batteries.  It's so new that Lumintop doesn't even have a specification picture available on the light yet, so please excuse the specifications matrix on the left.  There are 3 variations of The Prince available.  All feature a copper body tube wrapped in carbon fiber.  I purchased the high polished stainless steel version.  Two other variants are available that have copper or brass light heads and tail switch assemblies.

I happened to notice The Prince when Lumintop announced the new light on their Facebook page.  I ended up buying my Prince as part of a pre-release group buy on the Budget Light Forum.  By now I have a "few" lights in my small collection, and the Stainless Prince is by far the best looking.  The nice part is even at current retail price, it's not even close to being the most expensive light in my collection.  You can find The Prince on Amazon with an 18650 rechargeable battery for about $75.  The Prince ships with spare O rings and an oddly too long leather holster.















The Practical and Fun
If you don't need or want a luxury light, Lumintop has two new lights available for more practical everyday carry.  The IYP365 and the 4th generation of the Colored Worm.    

When I first saw the name IYP365 for this new light, I though it was a little strange.  As I read through the marketing material on the light I didn't see anything specific about the name.  It finally dawned on me that IYP was most probably intended as a shortened version of In Your Pocket. With 365 designating the number of days in a year that you can carry the light.

The two AAA cell light generates 200 lumens at maximum and can drop down to 3 lumens at the lowest brightness setting.  I found that I can carry the IYP365 clipped to my pocket as easily as I can carry the Tool AAA.  The additional length of the light wasn't noticeable.

Intially, I had some concerns about the tail switch and accidental activation when clipped to my pocket.  The switch sits very low and is suitably stiff to avoid accidental activation.  The switch is flat so the IYP365 can stand on end for use as hands-free lighting.  Weighing about 1.5 ounces with batteries, this pen light can also be carried in a shirt pocket if you desire to do so.


The Lumintop Colored Worm 4.0 is the latest incarnation of their highly successful key chain light.  The Colored Worm uses a single AAA battery and produces identical light output as the Tool AAA.  Available in 6 colors and graphiak (gray/black), there is likely to be a Colored Worm you wouldn't mind carrying on your key chain or in your pocket.

A steel wire pocket clip has been added to facilitate pocket carry.  To maintain the smallest possible size, the light is activated and switched between modes by rotating the light head.  A glow in the dark silicone band has been added to aid one handed operation of the light.  The band is removable if the owner wishes to use the light without the band in place.  I left the band on because it really helped me with one hand operation of the light.

Thinking outside the box a little, I'm currently using the Worm 4.0 as a money clip.  The clip is tight enough for that purpose and the light length is a very similar to the width of US currency.



All Lumintop lights ship without batteries UNLESS you order them through the Lumintop Direct store front on Amazon.com.  If you wish to visit their Amazon store, this is the link to see what they currently have available for sale.  If you join their mailing list or follow their Facebook page, you will receive occasional notices of their Amazon Store promotions.


Lumintop provided the author with the Colored Worm 4.0, IYP365, and Tool Ti featured in this product showcase.  The author and blog are not part of the Amazon Affiliate Marketing program.