Disclaimer written by Nicholas Albright: I am not under any obligation to Concealed Protection 3. Prior to July 3rd, I never had any contact with this company or any staff. I am not paid, either through advertisement or directly by anyone, for my opinions contained in this article.
Weapons used for evaluation- S&W Model 3913, Charter Arms UC .38 Special, S&W Sigma. Clothing used to cover holster-Jeans, Shorts, dress slacks, sweats, and a skirt.(yes it was drafty).
Day One – July 3rd
Spent several hours online reading customer comments concerning the Smart Carry Holster. I also viewed the Patent information to get a general understanding about how the unit was developed.
I debated spending the money. After all, this holster hasn’t been noticed by any major magazine since its birth, how good could it be?
Day Two – July 4th
Placed order for Holster. Order was placed midday. I received a call from what I assumed was a company rep. I was told my credit card came back invalid. Not very surprising since I’d had problems with this bank before. A quick call to the bank got me a new number and a valid card. I re-placed the order. A few minutes later I received a call from Smart Carry® again. The same guy both times. I was surprised, so I asked him, “Who are you?” I was told his name was Charlie, and he OWNED SmartCarry. My initial thought, being a nicer web site, very pleased customers, and such a great looking product was that this company was large. However, as he explained I began to understand that this is
Volume 01 – Issue 02 a FAMILY RUN BUSINESS who places a great deal of effort in customer satisfaction. Charlie talked to me, LONG DISTANCE, for about 30 minutes, explaining the pros — AND CONS about his holster. He spoke not as a sales person, but rather as a friend I’d known for years who just stumbled upon a wonderful product.
Charlie boasted that many police officers were buying his product, and that he had a recent inquiry from the United States Marshals Service. Of course, this boasting seemed to be the salesman in him coming out. So I decided to test him. After 4 phone calls to the US MARSHALS SERVICE I found that his claims were TRUE. Deputy Marshals from Colorado (my home state) were in fact ordering these items, and WEARING them for on and off duty protection. Working in the fugitive recovery field myself, I understand how a hidden gun is really the difference between life and death. Not to mention the recent publicity of SKY MARSHALS.
Day Three – July 5th
I tried to mimic the SmartCarry® holster by simply putting on a belly band, very low, and holstering my weapon. I was not happy with the results. I felt upset I purchased such an idea. Another Internet scam!
Day Four and Five – July 6th and 7th
I actually forgot I ordered unit. Slept a lot, tired after the holiday.
Day Six – July 8th
Surprised, I found a plain soft package from Florida in the mail. I opened the unit to find my dreaded purchase. It was Monday morning, and my wife had gone to work. I wore the holster all day with various weapons. My excitement was the only thing that would give the holster away. It concealed all my weapons with very little bulge. However I found using the holster in the method described in the instruction sheet was not comfortable for my build. It describes placing the gun over your “private area” however, I found that it was quite restricting there, and the extra pressure made it difficult to sit down. Also, there was a bulge made from the butt of the gun just to the left of the right pocket. This also made me feel odd, after all I’m not THAT large.
Day Seven – July 9th
I played with the holster a bit more, moving it around on my hips. I found that if I moved it slightly left, letting my groin ride UNDER the butt of the gun, and having the bottom of the magazine under my zipper, the “bulge” was gone.
The holster was completely unnoticeable.
I wore several different outfits, and with the exception of sweat pants, I was unable to see a bulge via a video clip of myself walking through a room. I decided to show my wife. She was happy to see the holster came in, and even more thrilled that I had been wearing it for 2 days. She said she never noticed. Not even slightly. She did point out that it looked like I had a pocketknife in my left pocket, which seemed unusual since I am right handed.
Day Eight – Day Ten: July 10th – July 12th
Wore holster during every waking hour. I did start to develop a raw spot on my leg were the barrel was rubbing, however this can not fault the holster, because I do not use it in the recommended fashion. On the 11th I emailed Charlie asking for a quote on a thinner holster, the Standard model, with a mag pouch for 1 simple magazine. He promptly sent me one to try, an exchange if I wish.
Day 11 – July 13th
I wore the SmartCarry® to a wedding (No, not my own; however, Jeff Foxworthy should use that in his next Redneck Joke.) and to a family gathering. I mention the gathering simply because the family I spent time with is very anti-gun, and it would have been a battle should they have seen it. I even had my shirt tucked in, which always puts suspicious people at ease. Out of sight, out of mind I suppose.
Day 12 – July 14th
I received the “Standard” Smart- Carry® Holster, along with a couple of extra brochures. I was far more impressed with this style. The extra pouch provided by the security model just took up extra space. Since I no longer routinely carry handcuffs, I can place them in a back pocket should the need arise. The ammo pocket is also about half the size, which makes the “print” in my left pocket drastically less!
Duty Holsters are regulated by the retention ability. Since this item has no retention strap, or locking of any kind, one would rate it simple R1. However, with your outer garments protecting the weapon, it is nearly impossible to draw unless you are the wearer. The best-proven retention level is an R3, however I could rate this higher, R4 or R5. This holster does not have any “riding” problems, unlike the belly band. My holster stayed in place, all day every day from 8 a.m. till 10 or 11 p.m. The only comfort concern was the raw spot on my leg, which was easily fixed by placing a band-aid patch on the back of the holster.
The Draw time on this holster was introduced at about 1 and a half seconds, however I suspect with more practice and extended use I will reduce that figure. The nice part about drawing from the front of the body is that the weapon is immediately in the “WEAPON READY” position. Re holstering was quite an ordeal, but as my worker, an ARMY SRT member, pointed out, simply tucking the weapon in a waistband during cuffing, or other similar activity would by fine, until proper re-holstering can be accomplished. Considering the fabric the holsters were made out of, I would not make it a point to re-holster a dirty weapon often, without washing. Save that for your Kydex or leather rigs.
With both units paid for, I gave one to my test partner and kept the standard one for myself.
The straps are made from durable Velcro®. They do not give easily under incredible strain. In fact, although CP3 advised me they do not support my abuse test, I felt it should be done. I tied the straps together around the hitch of my Durango, and hooked a tow rope around the holster. Simply placing the rope inside the holster would obviously rip out the seam, however the Velcro straps stayed intact, and very little stretching was done to the elastic. I managed to pull a Durango of equal size as my own. The pull was nearly 100 feet on a level grade. I then wore the holster for a day, making sure it did not have any problems. It continued to perform nicely.
I repeatedly washed the unit (it needed it after touching my tow rope) and all held tight. The only damage all this abuse caused to the holster is a slight bit of “dressing” (the black strap attached around the holster) being pulled up in a spot about 1 inch long. My wife was able to fix that with some thread.
With both units paid for, I gave one to my test partner and kept the standard one for myself. My test partner is an Army MP SRT member who wished to remain nameless due to his active status.
Due to the lack of fanny packs seen in public today, the inability to use leather coat rigs during the summer, as well as ankle holsters, this is the best method I’ve seen! The only time you will see me with a holster on is while I’m on duty or practicing speed draws. I have even replaced my Coronado leather with a lighter standard jacket.
Please visit Concealed Protection 3, Inc. at www.smartcarry.com or email smartcarry.univox.com. To place your order today, call 1-888-459-2358 have VISA or MasterCard ready. Please visit the web site for current prices on holsters. Charlie does offer a discount to Police/Federal officers. Have a copy of your LEO ID ready to be faxed to 727-393-8153. This article was reprinted with permission from Concealed Protection 3, Inc.