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Author Topic: Kinetic Concelament KC Baby IWB / AIWB Holster Review  (Read 146 times)

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Kinetic Concelament KC Baby IWB / AIWB Holster Review
« on: August 03, 2018, 12:26:59 PM »
The patented original dual-layer IWB holster

If you have carried a pistol IWB for any significant amount of time, then you know that it can, at times, get uncomfortable. If you haven't carried IWB very much and are here researching carry options for a first holster: what you envision it feeling like to stuff a one- to two-pound chunk of steel, polymer, brass, and lead into your waistband and humping it around all day is, in general, probably pretty accurate. That isn't to say that concealed carry can't be comfortable and you shouldn't let the comfort factor dissuade you from carrying a valuable tool for defending yourself and your family. There are numerous holsters on the market that seek to make concealed carry as comfortable as possible, and the Kinetic Concealment KC Baby is one of those.

Earlier this year, at the 2018 USCCA Concealed Carry Expo in Louisville, we ran into Josh Sykes in his Kinetic Concealment booth. What actually drew us into his booth were some nice looking AR uppers that grabbed our attention (and, serendipitously, a bucket full of mil-spec buffer tubes at good prices that we needed for a couple of builds). As can be seen from his website, Kinetic sells a relatively broad assortment of products, many of which were covering every available surface of his booth space. As we were ponying up the dough for our buffer tubes we got to chatting with Josh, who introduced us to his holster line and offered us a sample unit to try out and review.



The KC Baby holster is the smaller, single-clip version of Kinetic's original hybrid holster. In case you are unfamiliar with hybrid holsters, these are holsters that are typically constructed from a gun-shape-molded shell of one material attached to a flexible backing of a different material. Both of Kinetic's holster lines feature Kydex shells (interchangable between product lines) that are attached to a dual-layer backer constructed from leather and neoprene (wetsuit material).

As a side note, you may have seen similar competing dual-layer holsters on the market. Interestingly enough, during our conversation, Josh mentioned that Kinetic Concealment was the first to offer this design, which he told us had recently gone from "patent pending" to "patent granted." Being the diligent gun nerds that we are, we did some digging and, sure enough, Kinetic Concealment owns US Patent US9568275B2 for Multi-Material Handgun Holster with Josh himself, along with co-inventor Christoper - originally filed for all the way back in 2013. Since the USPTO website is nearly unnavigable, details of the patent are easier to peruse on the Google Patents website if you are interested.

Construction - Kydex Shell

The Kydex shell of the Kinetic holsters is not as thick as that of some other available holsters.  It is not the thinnest that we have seen, but it is fairly thin. I could not find any details about the Kydex thickness on the Kinetic website, but based on the average of measurements that I took in several places, I'm guessing they are made from 0.07" sheets.



The shell itself looks plenty sturdy to hold and protect the pistol; through a couple months of wear - including sitting on the pistol/holster combo, banging it on things while working, etc. - we didn't notice any cracking, weak points, or any other issues with the shell.  However, with the single, wide belt clip position directly over the pistol near the mouth of the holster, putting on and taking off the holster necessarily means prying the clip outward to get it over the belt, which may stress the clip mounting holes that are roughly 1/4" to 1/2" from the edge of the shell. Although, again, we did not see any stress cracking around the clip mounting screws, this does strike me as something to keep an eye on.  While hanging out at the local gun shop a few weeks ago, I saw someone come in with a hybrid constructed from slightly thinner Kydex with a similar clip-mounting design that had experienced a failure from that same thing.

Given that we didn't actually experience any issues with the Kydex cracking over months of relatively hard use, and that Kinetic backs their American-made holsters with a lifetime warranty, this concern is probably a non-issue.

The design and shape of the shell are pretty nice. Most of the shell does not actually contact the pistol on the Glock 19 sample that Josh gave us, but the portions that do (namely, the area covering the trigger guard and the front portion of the right-front side of the slide and frame) are molded nicely to the pistol's shape. The fact that the clip is mounted directly over the pistol means that portion of the shell is molded out away from the pistol to accommodate the mounting hardware and the top of the slide has an angled channel that not only comfortably accommodates the standard Glock sights (and probably also medium-height sights, although not likely tall suppressor sights) but also takes up some of the void where the waistband/belt lay when worn for strong-side carry.



One nit that I have to pick with the holster is the exposed (albeit, recessed) belt clip mounting hardware on the inside of the holster. It is not hard to avoid having your pistol come into contact with the Chicago screw nuts if you are paying attention when holstering and unholstering the pistol but it is possible to drag the front edge of the slide across them if you have the pistol twisted or at an angle when doing so. Once the pistol is in the holster an inch or so, the shape of the shell corrects the angle and keeps the rest of the slide away from the hardware. My carry pistols are tools that get used, so a few scuffs wouldn't bother them but if you carry a "safe queen" then it may be something to keep in mind.



On the plus side for the shell design versus the construction of some others is that the shell is the full width of the pistol rather than a half or three-quarters shell with spacers. This allows the backing material to stay completely flat rather than be pulled toward the shell or pushed out by the pistol. This not only makes it more comfortable but probably also extends the life of the holster.

The Patented Dual-Layer Backing

It is obvious that the holster backing is well built from quality material. It is based around a hefty piece of black dyed leather around 1/8" thick with no visible defects in the exposed grain side. The neoprene layer is attached with what appears to be very heavy duty thread in clean, even stitching. The stitching is a little over 1/8" away from the edge, which does allow the neoprene to slightly curl away from the leather after some use, but I think that going any closer to the edge would likely cause issues with the stitches ripping out the edges.



On the Glock 19 holster, the backing extends around 1" past the muzzle - taking up a little more space than necessary, but making it allows the edge to flex and curve, making it a lot more comfortable for AIWB carry (especially when seated or bending) than if the muzzle or other rough edge were directly exposed.

Comfort, Concealability, Wear, and Draw

To be perfectly honest, I am a bigger fan of leather holster backings than I am of non-breathable synthetic materials like neoprene. I live in a pretty warm climate where summer time temperatures have no problem reaching triple digits and I find that a swath of leather causes (or at least, retains) less sweat under the holster than neoprene. The KC Baby backing is no different. If worn outside for any period on a warm, humid day, we ended up with a pretty damp spot under the holster at the end of the day.  Perhaps a bit uncomfortable and a little gross, but the firearm (and leather) is protected from perspiration thanks to the neoprene. Fit may vary on other models, but on the G19 the backing does not fully extend to the rear of the slide, leaving about 3/4" uncovered; however, unless the muzzle is being tilted outward, that portion should stay away from your body due to the spacing created by the rest of the backing.

Hot outdoor temperatures aside, the Kinetic KC Baby is very comfortable. The backing material is much smaller than on many other hybrids, so you have less material laying against your body. There are no pokes or jabs from corners, edges, slide serrations, slide stops, etc. because the backing isolates you from all of those things and provides a cushioning layer.

Draw from this holster was very easy.  The backing lines up just short of the trigger guard cover, allowing for a full grip on the firearm so that it can be ready as soon as it is drawn.  The draw was actually a little too easy on the sample that we got with very little passive retention provided by the shell clicking into place over the trigger guard. I hit it with a heat gun for a few seconds and formed the shell a little deeper into the front of the trigger guard to achieve the slightly stiffer retention that I prefer.



In our testing, we tried the KC Baby holster in various AIWB and strong-side carry positions from 12 o'clock to 5 o'clock and it was plenty comfortable in all positions. The belt clip mounts allow for a 0-degree cant or a 15-degree forward "FBI" cant, which I preferred in all carry positions.

When used for strong side carry from roughly 3-5 o'clock, the holster concealed a G19 fine with an untucked t-shirt covering it. Due to how the clip is mounted, this holster can not be worn with a tucked shirt.

Despite being designed as an AIWB hoslter, concealment was not as good in those positions.  Some of this, I'm sure, was due to the larger firearm being used.  Some of it, however, is simply due to the design. The Glock was thick enough to begin with, but the clip positioned directly over the firearm added another 1/4" or so of thickness.  With as wide and flat as the clip is, it printed noticeably through t-shirts.

The grip was another issue with AIWB. Again, a mid-sized pistol like the 19 can be difficult to conceal in appendix carry and smaller guns may do better but the KC Baby, by design, keeps everything (the shell, backing, clip, and pistol) in the same flat plane. This left the grip sticking out and printing badly in all but the loosest shirts. If one could be attached, this holster may be a good candidate for a "claw" or wedge to pull the grip in closer to the body.

Conclusions

The KC Baby IWB holster from Kinetic Concealment is a well built, quality holster. As a small, strong-side holster, it performed great and was very comfortable with the Glock 19 and would likely perform even better in that role with smaller pistols. It is a good choice at just over $50.

If you want to appendix carry a larger pistol, you may find better options out there or find workarounds to make this one more concealable in this position. (disclaimer: nobody on the GunLink team frequently carries in the appendix position and we aren't experts in this carry method, so there may be tips or tricks that we are missing to that end). It is certainly easy enough to see how this holster could be a great AIWB holster for a smaller, single-stack pistol with a shorter grip.

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Kinetic Concelament KC Baby IWB / AIWB Holster Review
« on: August 03, 2018, 12:26:59 PM »

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