A minimalist inside-the-waistband holster design for appendix carry
By Warren Wilson
I admit to never having given appendix carry (where the pistol is carried at approximately the two-o’clock position for a right hander) a lot of serious consideration. Inside-the-waistband (IWB) carry has been popular for decades, but with this mode of concealment, the pistol is most commonly worn just behind the hip. That’s how I have carried for years.
However, I’ve noticed a lot of cops the last few years wearing their duty holsters more forward than the standard three-o’clock or four-o’clock positions. When questioned about their decision, they each said they were simply more comfortable drawing their pistol from the appendix carry position. Around the same time, Gary Quesenberry started posting some hints on his social media page indicating that he was involved in the introduction of a new holster system for concealed carry. Gary is a firearms instructor for the Department of Homeland Security and a U.S. Army veteran of Operation Desert Storm. You may also have seen him competing on The History Channel’s television shows Top Shot and Top Shot: All Stars.
Like a lot of us, “Gary Q” struggled with finding just the right concealed carry solution; especially for appendix IWB, since that was his chosen concealed carry position. He tried a lot of different options and just ended up with a box of holsters in his closet. Anyone who doesn’t have a box of lonely, unused holsters tucked away somewhere is either new to concealed carry or just got lucky and found the perfect holster design early on. Unable to find exactly what he was looking for, Gary decided to design an alternative himself. After years of research, he came up with the Q-Series Holsters. Maybe it was time for me to open my mind as well concerning the viability of Appendix-Inside-the-Waistband (AIWB) as a carry option.
I was able to obtain one of the Q-Series Stealth holsters for review and upon first observation, it is obviously made of quality material. The single piece of molded kydex, steel clip, and even the screws are top-shelf. The holster is labeled as being fitted for Glocks in 10mm, .45ACP, .40 caliber, 9mm and .357 Sig. This system really does fit all Glocks except the .380 caliber model 42. Q-Series Holsters offers a Stealth model made specifically for the little G42. I tried the test model with a Glock Model 20 (full-size 10mm), and Glock Models 22, 23 and 27 (full-size, compact and subcompact .40 calibers) and it fit each of them equally well. The Stealth is so versatile because its design attaches only to the trigger guard of the pistol and not the slide. Glock pistols are close enough to being uniform in that area of the trigger guard and frame to allow for a good fit on most of the production models.
The Q-Series Stealth is a minimalist ‘tuckable’ design. After the holster and firearm are positioned IWB, your cover garment can be tucked in front of the holster, leaving only the belt clip exposed. The holster can also be worn at positions other than the appendix mode. In fact, Q-Series Holsters, LLC only advises against carrying in the six-o’clock position (small of the back) because doing so can cause a serious spinal injury as a result of a fall.
The Stealth has a reversible belt clip, making it fully ambidextrous. It can even be used without a belt if your trousers have a strong waistband or drawstring. For those who don’t like the clip, it can be removed and a Para-Cord attached with one end in the screw hole and the other to the wearer’s belt. Q-Series is starting to include the Para-Cord with the Stealth holsters. Upon the draw, the Para-Cord holds onto the holster and allows the gun to draw free. Re-holstering is accomplished quickly by simply grasping the holster and pressing it onto the pistol’s frame. The pistol and holster are then simply placed back inside your waistband at the chosen position.
I wanted to know if the Stealth could be pressed into service in a more traditional IWB role. I carried my Glock model 20 in the Stealth at the four-o’clock position with and without a belt for a few days. It worked surprisingly well. In fact, the only time I cussed the holster was when I was trying to remove it from my beltless trousers at the end of the day. The clip held on like a politician to an ill-gotten office.
The Draw Stroke
The draw stroke took me a little getting used to, partially because of the necessary location of the clip and partially because of my extremely long fingers. With practice, the gun started coming out of the holster quickly, really quickly. Because of the extra length in grip, the mid-size guns are easier to draw from the Stealth than the ‘baby Glocks,’ but that could be said about all holsters due to the gun’s shorter grips. There is a video of Quesenberry attempting the ‘5x5x5’ or ‘Triple Nickel’ drill with a Glock Model 32 drawn from his Stealth holster. The video links are on the Q-Series Web page. It’s impressive to see the drill successfully completed with a full-size gun drawn from duty gear. It’s quite something else to see Gary do it with a mid-size .357 Sig from a Stealth holster in the AIWB position. The demonstration not only shows how quickly a pistol can be drawn from the Q-Series rig, but also shows that consistent re-holstering is possible with practice.
A Gun Guy
This quote from Gary Quesenberry sums up his enterprise’s mission, “During the designing process, I kept three guiding principles in mind: If a holster isn’t comfortable, no one will wear it. If it’s too expensive, no one will buy it, and if it doesn’t work, it’ll just get thrown into a box with all of your other lackluster gear.” He told The Police Marksman that Q-Series is planning to introduce holsters to fit more guns in the near future. I’m excited about the Q-Series and look forward to see what they come up with next. PM
Warren Wilson is a Lieutenant with the Enid Police Department in Oklahoma. He is a former SWAT team member/leader and has been in law enforcement for 17 years.
- The Stealth can also serve as a traditional IWB holster for a full-size pistol like this Glock 10mm.
- Q-Series holsters are “minimalist” designs, which aid in concealment.
- With a reasonably stiff waistband or drawstring, the Q-Series Stealth can comfortably carry a “Baby Glock”
- The author easily conceals a Glock Model 23 AIWB with a Stealth while wearing exercise shorts.