A few months ago I learned of F3 Holsters when my blogging partner purchased a new OWB holster for training (you can read his review of that holster here). I was interested in a new appendix holster for my Glock 19 and considering the competitive pricing of F3 holsters, I ordered both an IWB and OWB holster as well as an OWB mag carrier to carry my Glock 19 on a 1 ½ inch belt. As readers of the blog know, I prefer appendix carry, so I intended the appendix holster to be my primary purchase and I now also have another OWB holster for training if it’s required. This post is going to be a review of the F3 Holsters Foxtrot Appendix IWB holster and F3 Single OWB Magazine Carrier. This is representative of my preferred EDC setup, with my pistol carried in the appendix position and a spare magazine opposite behind the hip on my belt. I will caution readers that holster selection is a very individual and personal choice that brings many factors into play. This is simply what works for me… Your solution may be quite different.
A little further background is in order here. I have recently decided to standardize all my carry gear to fit 1 ½ inch belts, so a new magazine pouch at the minimum was required. I could have trimmed the Pull The Dot belt loops to fit on my previous holster, but I wanted to try something new anyway. Also, when I ordered the new holsters and magazine pouch, I made a commitment to carry my Glock 19 exclusively for one full month regardless of what I was wearing. For well over a year I have instead been carrying my Glock 26 in a Fricke Archangel (a setup that I have been very pleased with, BTW). While the argument is moot given the magazine capacity limits in place in my state of residence, I wanted to make a habit of carrying the slightly larger pistol. As I’ve mentioned previously, I consider the Glock 19 to be the ideal sized pistol for a civilian to own and carry for a variety of reasons. To echo Paul Howe’s advice, the G19 is large enough for duty, retains the accessory mounting rail, yet is still small enough to conceal.
As a result of my month long experiment (I literally carried the G19 in the F3 Foxtrot daily for the month of September), I have had the opportunity to test the holster in a variety of clothing, ranging from t-shirt to hoodie, from discreetly tucked to my standard everyday untucked shirt. I have worn it driving for periods in excess of an hour, and I’ve worn it while on my feet for several hours at a local fair. I’ve worn it to the range, and I’ve used it in dry fire practice. I even had the opportunity to wear it in a recent training class.
Let me start with what I like about the holster. For the price, I am impressed with this holster. It retails for $36.95, and F3 Holsters often features either sales or free shipping. The F3 Foxtrot Appendix IWB is made entirely from kydex and features a single belt clip that is reversible for ambidextrous carry and is secured to the holster with two screws. As such, it is a tuckable design with a minimal tell visible on the belt. The single belt clip allows the holster to be very easily put on or taken off with a minimum of hassle, and the clip allows to holster to almost “float” into a position of optimal comfort and into a sweet spot on the waist. I wear mine right around one o’clock on the belt. I mentioned earlier that this holster is tuckable, and this is one of the areas where it really shines. On a couple of occasions, I wore it behind a tucked uniform shirt on my drive into work and also behind a tucked dress shirt for a fancy dinner out with the wife. In these instances, I opted to carry my spare magazine in a DeSantis Mag-Packer. To my knowledge, no one was the wiser, including my wife and an off duty law enforcement officer that happened to be in line when I stopped for coffee. The clip allowed me to quickly and easily tuck and blouse my shirt and effectively conceal the Glock 19 on my small frame. (I wear a 30 inch waist, so real estate is limited…) As I said earlier, the clip would be an obvious tell to knowledgeable and observant people who were looking for it, but with a black belt and black clip in close proximity to a belt loop, the casual observer will probably never notice. Lastly, and this is going to be a bold statement, but I think this is probably the most comfortable appendix carry holster I’ve tried. I haven’t tried many, but this one is good! Make no mistake, I know the pistol is there, but it’s not uncomfortable. The only time I experienced any discomfort is when I spent several hours standing and walking at a fair, but I have the same problem with other holsters as well.
Now, I do have a couple of criticisms of the holster. First, and this is the big one, there is effectively no retention adjustment inherent in the design. The retention appears to be entirely dependent on the molding of the kydex, as the two screws serve only to secure the clip to the holster. I am able to shake the pistol out of the holster when it’s held upside down. To be fair, I have experienced no retention problems in everyday carry, and I’m sure that belt tension over the holster aids in retention, but nonetheless, it is a concern. I would be interested to see how the holster fares in something like a Shivworks ECQC evolution, but so far, so good. My other point isn’t so much a criticism as it is an observation. I have found that I have to wear my belt fairly tight to prevent the holster and gun from printing with lighter or tighter cover garments. The reality is that a Glock 19 is not going to virtually disappear such as a subcompact or thin pocket pistol might… I could wear my S&W Shield with anything and it would disappear AIWB, but it also only holds 7+1 or 8+1. In free states, the G19 packs 15+1! Further, belt tension is a very individual choice, and I happen to prefer mine tighter rather than looser. This holds true for me across a wide spectrum of gear ranging from chest rigs and rucksacks to climbing and scuba diving harnesses. The takeaway here is that FOR ME, a looser belt leads to printing with the holster and a tighter belt eliminates it.
I also want to say a few words about the magazine carrier ($25.95). I was at first skeptical of the magazine carrier when comparing it to other examples. However, after carrying it for a month, I am again impressed. It conceals well with an untucked shirt and is very easy to put on and take off with the belt clip. Retention is excellent, and I have no complaints. I was impressed enough to order a double magazine carrier ($37.95) from F3 Holsters to use in a training class, and I was doubly impressed by their customer service with that order. I procrastinated and only ordered the magazine carrier on a Monday night preceding a class that coming weekend. I selected Priority Mail shipping and noted in the comments that I was hoping to use the magazine carrier in the class. F3 Holsters shipped it the next day and it was in my mailbox on Friday prior to class!
Finally, I want to briefly talk about the OWB holster I ordered, the F3 Falcon. The holster retails for $54.95. I haven’t used it much, but I will essentially echo Robert’s comments in his review. I ordered the model that fully shrouded the slide based on his advice. My only complaint is similar to one that Robert noted… My middle finger contacts the holster on the draw where the kydex covers the trigger guard. I view this a design flaw, since every other holster I own has this area sufficiently relieved to clear the bottom of the trigger guard. It can be fixed with sandpaper or a Dremel, but I feel as though that shouldn’t be my responsibility as the purchaser. Beyond that, the holster carries well, is comfortable, and is well suited for OWB on or behind the hip concealed carry.
My only affiliation with F3 Holsters is that of a paying customer, and I will continue to use their products while remaining open to trying other manufacturers in the future. As of this writing, their Foxtrot holster is my go-to holster for EDC and I highly recommend it. I doubt I’ll go back to EDC of my Glock 26 because in truth, I can conceal the G19 as easily as I can the G26 with this holster. You can find F3 Holsters at www.f3holsters.com. Check them out!
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