Holsters are something I think a lot of people take for granted – I know because I used to be one of them. However, as I started expanding the types of pistols I carried and the styles used to carry them, I quickly learned that there is a lot of give and take when it comes to both holster design, and concealability. Although many are staunch opponents to the appendix inside the waistband style of carrying (AIWB), there are those that not only love it but preach it as the superior style of concealed carrying (I’m looking at you Hop). To see what all the buzz was about, I started going to the range and practicing with this method. To aid in this trek of firearms self-discovery, I reached out to Blackhawk for a sample of their Stache IWB Premium Holster Kit. On the surface, the Stache seems like your standard Kydex holster, and it kind of is, however, with the premium holster kit, you’re also getting access to a modular system that can adapt with you and your style of carrying. Today we’ll be going over my experiences working with the Stache IWB Premium Holster Kit and how it taught me to better appreciate AIWB carrying.
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TFB Review: Blackhawk Stache IWB Premium Holster Kit
The Stache IWB Premium Holster Kit is sold directly from the Blackhawk website for a price of $64.95 and comes with everything except for Blackhawk’s discreet carry clips which tuck underneath your belt instead of over it like the ones provided do. The kit also comes with claws, additional rubber spacers, and mag carrier hardware so you can convert the Stache IWB from a standard IWB Kydex holster into a sidecar style holster.
Out of all of those features, the biggest thing that sticks out to me is the affordability of the entire kit. $65 is about what I’d expect to pay for a decent holster for one gun but in the case of Stache, not only are you getting a standard split-shell polymer holster for this price, but you’re also getting additional configurations as well. For comparison, a T-REX Arms sidecar holster starts at $100 and similar options from places like Tier1 Concealed start at around $130.
Just based on what’s in the package and how it’s presented to you, I could see the Stache IWB being a great option for new concealed carriers who are still experimenting with their carry setup and aren’t quite ready to commit to a specific style of holster just yet.
The Blackhawk Stache Premium Holster Kit comes with a very detailed instruction/assembly manual that includes pictures. I grew up playing with Lego sets so the pictures are always a huge bonus for me since I can barely read as it is – I’m even worse at following written instructions. The holster comes in a completely stripped-down configuration and isn’t quite ready to use right out of the box. In order to start using it, you’ll have to attach at least one of the included clips to the holster using two of the included brass Chicago posts and mounting screw sets.
On the positive side of things here, I really like that Blackhawk included a thread locker with their hardware. Over months of constant use, holster hardware can loosen up if not paired with a thread locker, and tightening everything down without a thread locker isn’t always a good solution as you may prefer less tension on your firearm or magazines.
There is one huge negative I’ve observed with this holster, both from an assembly and a maintenance perspective and it has entirely to do with the Chicago posts – they aren’t notched on the head. This wouldn’t be an issue if the posts were more aggressively serrated, but the way they come there is no easy way to securely tighten them without marring up the finish. If I had to make a decision to change anything about this holster kit it would be to use posts with a notch cut out for a flat head screwdriver for easier assembly and maintenance.
Before I even got to the range, I noticed that my mobility was limited with the sidecar AIWB design. One downside of carrying this way is that unless you’re sitting leaned back in your vehicle, the holster tends to allow both your spare magazine and the butt of your gun to poke you in the gut. People with larger frames might also take issue with this method of carrying as it would just exacerbate the issue.
Just like all firearms skills, drawing is one that has a learning curve, and since I don’t often carry AIWB, I had to take a bit of time to get all the kinks worked out. I was having a little trouble getting my hands in a firm position around the grip of the gun so after a couple of practice sessions, I adjusted the holster so that it sat higher off of my belt line. Once again, this was kind of difficult to do at the range but thankfully, I had a spare pair of channel locks in my truck so that I could retighten the hardware after the adjustment. After this, I was able to get a consistent and clean draw with a good grip.
One point of concern has to do with the wing that is used to attach the main holster body to the mag carrier. This portion of the holster is made from a very thin piece of flexible polymer and while it held up to a lot of bending and twisting (i tried to see if it would break easily), I did notice that after my range session the hardware had slipped beneath the wing’s eyelet. Thankfully, the other one stayed in place so it didn’t turn out to be an issue – just something to keep in mind.
From casual observations, the Stache IWB didn’t seem to print any more than a standard holster. I suppose if you’re staring directly at someone’s waistline for a good amount of time you’d be able to see an odd shape there but just walking around town I didn’t feel like the holster was showing at all and perhaps even less so than when I carry strong side.
I like the Stache IWB Premium Holster Kit for what it is. It’s basically an entry-level sidecar-style holster. I definitely think there are better options out there if this is your main method of concealed carrying but this option might be good for you if you either change carry styles based on the weather or you haven’t settled on a particular style of carrying yet and you’re experimenting.
The Stache IWB also earns a couple of extra points in my book since both it and its included mag carrier attachment are completely ambidextrous, the design of the holster allows for this without the need for any extra hardware. So aside from a few gripes about the type of hardware used and some questionable design choices in respect to assembly and maintenance, I think the Stache IWB Premium Holster kit is a solid choice for someone on a budget or who is in need of a more affordable sidecar style concealment holster.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Stache IWB Premium holster kit. Do you have any experience with it or similar holsters and what are your thoughts on them? Thanks as always for reading and thank you once again to Blackhawk Holsters for providing the holster kit for this review!
- Quality holster body materials
- Simple and easy-to-understand assembly instructions
- Can be used standalone or with the mag carrier attached
- Hardware, specifically the Chicago posts, could stand to be upgraded to better-designed ones
- Wing attachment could also stand to be beefed up or reinforced around the eyelets
- Not the best option if a sidecar is your only method of carrying
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