Alien Gear Cloak Tuck IWB Holster, Version 3.0
By David Tong
Alien Gear Holsters of Hayden, Idaho has made some noteworthy inroads into the concealed carry, inside-waistband holster market with their series of Cloak Tuck holsters. The company has grown significantly since introducing their first version that featured a leather base three years ago. My understanding is that there are nearly twice as many employees now compared to a year ago.
The 3.0 remains a strong-side holster most appropriate for wear at approximately 4 o'clock, or just over one's rear hip pocket. The materials have changed significantly since last year's 2.0 and I think for the better. While the 2.0 had a bonded neoprene base with a slick nylon outward surface contacting the left side of your pistol (if you are right-handed), frictional retention with that holster was not as good as it could be.
In addition, the chartreuse green spacers supplied in the small kit that comes with the holster were easily deformed and I thought the material was too soft. These spacers are located under the nylon clips that secure the holster to your belt, as well as provide stand-off for the Kydex shell to make room for the pistol.
Alien Gear has re-worked the materials based on customer comments. While it still uses a thin neoprene foam backing against your skin for comfort, sandwiched in the base is a spring steel sheet that provides some tension against the pistol, as well as provides a bit of firm support isolation against your body to keep your pistol's control protuberances from causing discomfort.
The company also went to a synthetic, mildly-grippy rubber compound for the surface that contacts your pistol. This helps increase friction to keep your pistol more solidly positioned in the holster. The stability of a belt holster is crucial to a consistent draw. The Alien Gear logo is now molded into the holster shell for a more subdued look, compared to the previous silk-screened silver logo applied to the 2.0.
The nylon belt clips are best used with a 1.5 inch wide belt. The Cloak Tuck 3.0 has dispensed with four of the six female threaded mounting points that were riveted into place on the 2.0 version. They are now a pair of removable points that are easily pressed into place to change the height or draw angle of the holster. My understanding is that other belt widths can be accommodated by optional straps or clips. However, if one is going to carry a pistol of significant weight, e.g. approaching 30 ounces or more, a 1.5 inch belt is a comfort necessity.
Finally, those little green spacers are now made of a much firmer, plasticized rubber material that is not as easily crushed or deformed. You can now crank down on the holster and nylon belt clips with the supplied 3/32 inch Allen wrench and nothing moves. The screws remain tight.
The rest of the package remains substantially similar to the previous iterations of the Clock Tuck. When wearing a fairly thick service pistol the ease of adjustments to the ride height and butt angle are nice features. I lowered the holster one notch in my waistband by raising the belt clips one hole on both sides of the holster. This enabled me to submerge the holster a bit farther, as well as move the butt of the pistol away from my lower rib.
There are only three minor drawbacks to this type of holster. First, I have discussed with Alien Gear customer service their need to angle or curve the Kydex tabs that attach the holster shell to the base, because otherwise it is nearly impossible to keep a natural curve in your belt if the holster is worn in any position other than 4 o'clock. This can cause printing, depending on your covering garment.
Wearing the Cloak Tuck under a lightweight, short-sleeved shirt with a fairly long tail works, but obviously only in casual environments. I used a high-powered hair dryer, warming both side mounting wings of the Kydex shell (inside and out) to gently warp them into an angled mounting plate that follows my body contour better than it does completely flat. This proved to be a fair bit more comfortable.
The second issue is wholly dependent on one's physique. As I am slender, it is relatively easy for me to get comfortable with an inside-waistband holster, even with a somewhat thick handgun. Buying one size larger waistband pants size than normal and belts with two inches more length than you would normally use are crucial for wearing the Clock Tuck. The holster may be relatively comfortable, but it is also fairly thick, which is endemic to this type of holster.
Wearing any handgun behind one's hip makes it uncomfortable to sit in a car and makes it difficult to draw when using a seat belt. Ditto if you work sitting in an office chair. Again, this is not a criticism of the Cloak Tuck per se, but it is something to consider if you find yourself spending long stints behind the wheel or seated. I would greatly prefer wearing a handgun at the appendix, or 3 o'clock position.
I have been wearing the C.T. 3.0 for a couple of weeks and find the improvements work well. It is highly unlikely that any perspiration will attack your handgun, due to the shape and materials of both the base and the holster shell, and now with better retention than before, it is probably as comfortable as any holster of its design and intended wear position.
I think that the Cloak Tuck makes the most sense worn under a sport coat or suit jacket. Just make sure that the jacket is properly tailored for this role, looser in drape and fit than the 1960s James Bond, Saville Row type style now making a resurgence.
The 2015 MSRP for the Cloak Tuck 3.0 is just $43.88 and it comes with spare Allen screws, mounting spacers and a wrench for tightening. Full written instructions are included that explain how to change the height or rake angle of the holster.
Orders are processed quickly, taking a week or less in most cases. I have found the Alien Gear Customer Service department to be knowledgeable and friendly. Now, Alien Gear, please start angling or curving the shell mounting points from the factory.
Please note that I have no financial or management relationship with Alien Gear and the opinions expressed in this article are mine.
Copyright 2015, 2016 by David Tong and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.