I’ve held a concealed carry permit for a dozen years come this August. I have owned a ton of holsters over that time period (see DeSantis Nemesis, Fobus IWB, Fobus E2 Evolution reviews). I have decided there is no one perfect holster for all situations. There is a triangle of comfort, accessibility, and concealment that can never be perfectly balanced. The E2 Evolution holster is king for accessibility and okay for comfort, but not so great on concealment. The Uncle Mike’s nylon belt holster I have for my Glock 27 is super comfortable and has decent accessibility, but if I reach too high with my right hand my piece may show.
I soon realized that concealed carry is a lifestyle as much as it is a means of self-defense. There are certain times that you absolutely, positively do not want anyone to know you are carrying a handgun. It might be for political/social reasons. It might be for work-related reasons. It might be for legal reasons. I bump into the first two on a regular basis. It’s legal for me to carry at work, but against corporate policy. If my piece falls out in the middle of a meeting I’d be fired. I certainly don’t want to lose my job, so what’s a guy to do?
The SmartCarry holster makes a big claim: that their unique holster keeps a weapon concealed and undetectable by anyone. I plunked down about $50 and waited for the postal carrier to arrive.
First, let’s play a little game: Where’s the handgun?
This is my standard work attire, with the tightest pants I’ll wear to a place of business. Note that I have to keep my shirt tucked in, and don’t wear anything on my belt like a mobile phone that would normally cover the anchor of a “tuckable” holster.
The back view. Notice the wallet in my back pocket. These pants are not baggy or even “loose fit.”
I love showing off my hairy gut. Oops, I meant to type “this picture shows that I’m not wearing an inside the waistband holster.”
The money shot: my Kel-Tec PF-9 in the SmartCarry holster.
I weigh about 180 pounds and have a size 32 waist, and I think the PF-9 is pretty damn undetectable in this “worst case” of fitting conditions. One nitpick is that butt of my PF-9 is visible through my more form-fitting pants. I don’t think anyone would ever notice it unless I pointed it out to them, but I camouflage this by handing my ID badge on my belt loop. The pistol is TOTALLY invisible if I am in the looser-fitting shorts or jeans I wear outside of work.
SmartCarry, pat yourselves on the back: you backed your claim up in spades, and I salute you.
You can attempt to traverse SmartCarry’s Web site for product information, but I’ll give you the short story. The holster is made out of fabric and is secured around the hips via a two inch wide hook-and-loop (Velcro-like system). The front is a soft cottony material and the back is a waterproof fabric called CushMax®. The front is divided into two, asymmetrical pouches. The handgun is held in the strong-side pouch. The other pouch is for a spare magazine, a speed loader, or in my case, nothing.
The holster positions the handgun, to be crude, right over my junk. It’s worn low on the hips (see my “money shot” photo to see how low it is compared to my boxer briefs) and in a jock strap position. No, I am not afraid of shooting myself in the wang. I think this is a safer position to carry a handgun than appendix carry, as the PF-9 isn’t pointed at anything except the fabric of my pants. Muzzle blast may be an issue, but that sure beats taking a 9mm Hydro-Shok round to my manhood.
So, it’s concealable. Is it comfortable? I’d say it’s 95% comfortable, far more comfortable than any other “deep concealment” holster I own. Sometimes I notice the holster when I walk, crouch down, or run stairs. But the vast, vast majority of the time I don’t even remember the handgun is there. I sit for probably ten hours a day. It is far superior to an inside the waistband holster carried on the front of the body (appendix carry).
There is a slight problem when using the restroom. SmartCarry recommends pushing the holster to the side when taking a piss. When you’re done, tuck up and slide the holster back into place. Seemed straightforward until I actually tried it. The holster is worn tightly to the body in order to maximize concealment, which means you aren’t pushing the SmartCarry very far. Some of my underwear has a very wide “barn door” in the front, and in order to manipulate everything I need a little more clearance than the SmartCarry typically provides.
It is totally awesome when another guy comes into the restroom and I am fondling myself, trying to get the front of my holster back into place.
Finishing up is even more of a nuisance. I haven’t figured out how to replace the SmartCarry exactly where I had it, and I am nervous that the holster isn’t placed optimally. What’s more weird than playing with yourself in a men’s room? Checking your crotch out in the mirror afterward. I need more practice tinkling with the SmartCarry.
Is the SmartCarry accessible? Much more than I expected. I unloaded my PF-9 to practice drawing. The process is simple: pull the front of your pants forward with your off hand and put your strong hand down in your pants. I can go from business casual to get-down-to-business in less than a second. It’s at least as fast as drawing from my paddle holster with an untucked shirt. It is much faster than drawing my Glock from my IWB holster, as the grip is carried almost at the waistline.
Is the SmartCarry the perfect concealment holster? I’d say it is your absolute best choice if you need deep concealment. There are still day-to-day issues with wearing holster, but it’s a fantastic option if you don’t want anyone to know you are carrying. I love my “assault diaper.”