Generally, I’m leery of a product that claims to perform multiple functions. My experience is that when something tries to be everything, it turns out to be marginal at doing a variety of things.
Take, for example, the multitools produced by a variety of companies. They contain a veritable cornucopia of tools for various functions – pliers, saws, screwdrivers (regular and Phillip’s head), knives and so on. Each tool performs its assigned task adequately but not to perfection. In other words, not as well as a stand-alone tool designed for that specific purpose would do.
A 2-inch saw blade attached to a multitool won’t function as well as an actual saw in any situation.
The same goes for tactical gear and accessories. I am willing to shell out the bucks for a well-designed product manufactured for a single purpose, or, if the need arises, pay for multiple products to meet multiple demands.
Take holsters, for example. For my everyday carry, I use more than one holster. My primary carry gun is a Glock 30, compact .45. I often carry it in an outside-the-waistband Kydex holster. It’s not the ideal configuration for concealed carry as it prints a bit, but, from a tactical standpoint, it is my go-to rig. I can draw the weapon easily from it and it has good retention.
When going for concealment, I do appendix carry. I have two holsters, one leather and one Kydex. I prefer the leather one for comfort reasons. It is also very aesthetically pleasing with a rich, soft, brown leather. The Kydex one has better retention since it is form-fitted to the exact weapon. It gets a little “pokey” after wearing it for a while, as well as sweaty. Despite the thickness of the gun, these holsters conceal it very well.
RECENTLY, MY WIFE made a big purchase. She bought three Alien Gear Core Carry Pack holster systems. One is for her Glock 26 9mm, another for her Glock 43 9mm, and the last for a Glock 27 I own. She also purchased a drop leg adapter for her Glock 26.
Yeah, I have a cool wife. The holster system is designed to be used inside the waistband, IWB appendix, outside-the-waistband slide, OWB paddle, and a holster mount for mounting it inside of a vehicle. It’s the multitool of holsters!
The user can change the holster into its various configurations by following the fairly simple enclosed instructions. My wife opted to use YouTube to learn how to go about adapting the holster.
Between the two of us we tested three of the variants with three types
of Glocks. The only ones we didn’t try were the vehicle mount and the regular IWB (not the appendix carry).
We opted to stay true to what we actually carry at work and when off-duty to give the most realistic evaluation of the products.
Appendix: The appendix carry configuration used one half of the holster shell, along with a neoprenetype material as backing. The holster was comfortable and easy to draw from. The one thing I didn’t like about
it was that it used the tension from the owner’s belt for retention. Since it was essentially half a holster, the holster shell itself didn’t do a lot to keep the gun in place.
Guns have a funny way of falling out of unsecured holsters, so I like a little more retention in my carry rig. The other appendix carry rigs I
use will hold the weapon in the holster, even when outside of the beltline. That being said, it was a decent setup.
OWB: The OWB rig performed pretty well. My wife used this with her Glock 43. It printed about as much as any other OWB holster would. The additional material above the belt is good for wearing for extended periods of time to preventing chaffing. The gun rides pretty high in the holster. Depending on your preference, this can be a good or bad thing. We felt it made the handle of the pistol print a little more than desired, but this is true of all rigs that ride high above the waistband.
OWB paddle: The paddle rig worked pretty well. The holster attaches to the paddle portion via a plastic knob that can be easily removed, presumably to switch it out with holsters for other guns. You can attach your Glock 27 holster and swap it out with your Glock 43 holster. There is a retention lever that keeps the firearm firmly locked in place when inside the holster. It was easy to manipulate and facilitated quick draws.
IWB: I’m personally not a huge fan of IWB, other than appendix carry. I didn’t test this variant. Drop leg rig: This item is purchased separately and was probably the coolest rig tested. It allows the user to switch from a concealed setup to a more tactically functional one.
My wife tested this and found it to be very functional. It has an adjustable strap to set how low the rig will hang. The two leg straps keep the holster firmly in place.
THIS TYPE OF modularity makes a lot of sense to me. As law enforcement officers, my wife and I both saw a need and application for this because specialized units often have to switch out their gear to meet mission requirements. An officer may be working undercover one minute, then have to participate in a tactical operation such as a raid or high-risk warrant service.
An officer in plain clothes can throw on the drop-down rig, attach his or her holster to it, throw on a raid vest and they are off to the races! Overall, we found the Alien Gear Core Carry Pack to be a good
purchase. Individual preferences notwithstanding, I found it to be a
pretty good system. High marks go to the paddle holster and drop leg
configurations. I prefer other options for appendix carry, but it is still a use able system. It would be a smart purchase for someone on a budget that required multiple holsters.
So, if you’re looking for a functional platform that can perform multiple functions well, the Core Carry Pack by Alien Gear is the way to go.
Editor’s note: Nick Perna is a sergeant with the Redwood City Police
Department in northern California. He has spent much of his career as a
gang and narcotics investigator. Perna previously served as a paratrooper in the US Army and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has a master’s degree from the University of San Francisco. He is a frequent contributor to multiple print and online forums on topics related to law enforcement, firearms, tactics and issues related to veterans.