About two and a half months ago I decided that I desperately needed a new holster for daily carry. I had been using a Galco Skyops for the better part of two years, and although it wasn’t a bad holster, there were too many things I didn’t like about it to keep using it or recommend it. For one, the clip design and cant adjustment left a lot to be desired. Even with a solid gun belt, it did not feel sturdy enough, and reholstering was nearly impossible without loosening my belt or very carefully opening it up with my weak hand and making sure not to sweep my fingers when I put the muzzle in the holster (which is the method I used for multiple BUG matches). I recognize that the Skyops was designed for deep cover, but after a more than fair evaluation period, I was simply not impressed.
So after a little bit of research, and looking at samples from multiple companies, I decided to give the Garrett Industries Silent Thunder IWB holster a try. It was the right decision. The kydex Silent Thunder line of holsters derives its name from the effect of its smooth, high quality leather lining on the draw: it silences the characteristic steel-on-plastic sound that accompanies the draw stroke with most kydex holsters. And although that might sound like a trivial improvement, it offers a decisive benefit for concealed carry where the noise of the draw giving away your position could destroy any possibility of a tactical advantage. Additionally, for those people who like the idea of kydex but don’t want excessive wear on their expensive carry gun, it offers additional protection for the gun’s finish (but if you’re worried about holster wear, it might be best to carry something else). Garrett Industries uses a proprietary process that permanently adheres the leather to the kydex shell, and they guarantee that permanently means it’s permanent. It’s always refreshing to see a company stand behind their work in an era where it has become the exception rather than the norm, and the quality of the workmanship you’ll find on a Garrett holster certainly places this company in the “exception” category.
Since first receiving my Silent Thunder holster, I have worn it extensively. From walking around for hours on end to ten-hour car trips, it has been everything a holster should be. But what really blew my expectations away was how comfortable it is. One of the biggest strengths of the Silent Thunder IWB design is the fantastic cant adjustment, which I would characterize as one of the best systems on the market today. The range of cant that can be added allows the gun to sit high and tight regardless of a person’s build, to the extent that I have been able to hide my Sig P239 with a t-shirt or a polo, usually even when bending over or reaching. That’s saying a lot coming from a guy with zero places to hide a carry gun in the first place. Holsters, especially IWB-styles, are notorious for being the opposite of one-size-fits-all, and this feature goes a long way towards making this design comfortable for a much wider range of body types.
The retention adjustment feature does its job, and it is easy to find that sweet spot of weapon retention while also keeping a very smooth draw. The lining is top quality, smooth-as-silk leather, and it comes in a natural tan color or in black for a $7 up-charge, which was an option I selected for my holster. There are abundant clip options for the IWB holsters, ranging from standard, slim, and HD clips, to kydex loop clips, to “J” hooks, to tuckable leather loops, all of which come in multiple colors and belt sizes ranging from 1″ to 2.25″, which amounts to one of the most versatile concealed carry systems on the market today.
Kydex holsters are typically known for being extremely durable, famously smooth on the draw, and notoriously rough on delicate gun finishes. Garrett Industries takes the positive aspects of kydex, does a lot to negate the negative, and adds silence to the equation. These holsters offer a draw that is just as smooth and quick as pure kydex with a leather lining that protects your carry gun. Even when going up against industry titans like Raven or Bladetech, these holsters seem to offer a little extra value, and a few features you won’t see done this well by anyone else. There are certainly a lot of choices when it comes to concealed carry holsters, and it is a personal choice based largely on individual preferences, but if you happen to be in the market for a new concealed carry holster, Garrett Industries might be a good place to start. HP
Garrett Industries; Silent Thunder IWB Holster; MSRP $85
*Originally Posted 2/9/2014