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Review: Orion Concepts MOD-1 Holster

Sometimes it seems that holsters are such simple things that are designed to do a simple task – carry a handgun. However, the sheer number and variations of holsters on the market should tell you that holsters, especially good holsters, are not such a simple thing after all. There are a lot of holsters on the market that really just aren’t any good. Thankfully, the MOD-1 from Orion Concepts is good – not perfect but really, really good.

The Same but Different

The MOD-1 from Orion Concepts looks new and familiar all at the same time. At first glance it looks like a leather pancake holster until you notice that it molded from kydex. There have been other companies who have adapted proven leather pancake holster designs to kydex but none that were quite like this.

While this looks very much like a typical pancake holster, it is designed to be worn in a different way. The MOD-1 has very large belt “loops” that are designed to allow the wearer to route their belt over the holster, not behind the holster. This results in a holster that wears in a way that I have never really experienced. The grip is drawn into the side of the wearer tighter than any other holster that I have tried and that is a very good thing. The gun rides very close, like an inside the waistband (IWB) holster, but allows the easy access and comfort of an outside the waistband (OWB) holster.

Other Features

The front of the holster (the part that is away from the wearer) is more molded than the back. The back of the holster (the part that is against the user’s body) is very lightly molded. This seems to be part of why this holster is so comfortable. There are no real hotspots or pressure points even though the holster is pressed very tightly against your body. I have always found leather holsters to be more comfortable than kydex. This is the first kydex holster that I have used that challenges that notion.

The MOD-1 has a small but effective sweat guard. It does a good job of keeping you separated from the slide of your handgun and, maybe more importantly, does a good job of preventing your shirt from sticking into the holster (especially important for striker fired pistols with no manual safety). There is also a small projection on the sweat guard that covers the magazine release button. It is molded generously enough to work with the Vickers Magazine Release.

Fit and Finish

As good as this holster is functionally, it is a bit lacking in the area of fit and finish. There are areas where it looks like whatever tool is used to finish the edges slipped and marred the surface of the holster. The edges are finished so that they are smooth but this has created some sharp spots on the bottom of the holster (these edges don’t contact the wearer at all and are easily fixed). Thankfully, the opening of the holster is nicely rounded and lacks sharp edges. The molding is not as crisp as some kydex holsters but the retention is solid. It also seems like there could be a couple more rivets used in the construction and the material around the bolt loops could be left thicker though I had no durability issues during more than 4 months of carry. These issues are purely cosmetic.

In Use

The MOD-1 carries very well. Like every other shooter, I have far more holsters than I have handguns and this is the most comfortable one that I own. It also carries closer and conceals better than any other outside the waistband holster that I own.

It carries very well right on the point of the hip thanks to its curved shape. This is generally where I like to place OWB but many holsters are either too flat or too bulky on the belt for this position to work.

One thing that worried me about the holster when I first received it was I had to skip a belt loop with most of my pants in order to wear the MOD-1. With a typical OWB holster you can route the belt through the holster so that it passes through the holster, a belt loop, and then the holster again. The MOD-1 doesn’t allow that but after months of use, it has been a complete non-issue.

The MOD-1 allows a pretty smooth draw stroke. It holds the gun closer like an IWB holster but higher like an OWB holster. The result is a draw that is easier than an IWB holster but perhaps a tiny bit slower than some OWB holsters that don’t conceal as well. Anytime the grip is held in close to the body, you will sacrifice some speed. This is why competition holsters ride out away fro the body and concealment holsters ride close. You are trading some speed for a holster that conceals very well.


The MOD-1 is a tremendous holster based on function. It rides so comfortably and so close to the body that it really just exceeds anything else that I have tried. There are some fit and finish issues with my example but these issues do not diminish function at all. I suspect that we will be hearing a lot more about Orion Concepts and their MOD-1 holster as they get into the hands of more users. These are excellent holsters.

Check out the MOD-1 with and without weapon lights on Orion-Concepts.com.


Omnivore Blade-Works Anubis Redesign

I have had the pleasure of reviewing a couple of tomahawks from Omnivore Blade-Works in the past. I was very impressed with the designs, the durability, and the function.

Omnivore Blade-Works is now in the process of improving much of their current line of knives and tomahawks for 2012. The Anubis, Omnivore’s flagship tomahawk, is one of the products that will benefit from a design refresh.

The Anubis will now feature an enlarged guard to keep the user’s hand off of the sharpened edges of the head. It has a more hooked base of the handle to improve chopping performance. The 1095 steel of the older version has been replaced with .285″ thick O1 tool steel. It will be electroless nickel plated for extreme corrosion resistance. Like the previous model, it will be available with micarta handle slabs or a bare steel handle with cord-wrap. Cerakote is optional.

These are some serious tomahawks that can absorb and dish out some serious abuse. Check them out at Omnivore Blade-Work’s website.

Apex Tactical Parts for the S&W Shield

The new Smith & Wesson M&P Shield has been making some serious waves lately. Given that this is part of the M&P line, many people want to know which M&P parts from Apex Tactical Solutions will fit the Shield. Well, here is the answer…

It turns out that many of their parts will work. In fact, Apex has been testing a combination of their parts that they will be selling as the M&P Shield Carry Kit (SCK) which consists of their Apex Hard Sear, Apex Ultimate Striker Block Kit (USB Kit), and Apex Duty/Carry Sear and Trigger Return Spring (DC Spring Kit).

You can read about how these parts were tested, information about parts compatibility between the Shield and other M&P handguns, and other great Shield information from Apex Tactical Solutions in there recent email communication. Check out all of their products at ApexTactical.com.

Next Generation Arms Ceases Operations

Here is some sad news – Next Generation Arms (NGA) is ceasing operations effective immediately. NGA was doing some unique and exciting things with their X7 and upcoming X8 chassis. Hopefully the rifles and tech behind them will live on with another manufacturer.


Coming Soon: Short Crank Lever from Battle Arms Development

It seems like Battle Arms Development is always up to something and the list of available levers for the BAD-ASS is always growing. The new Short Crank will be the next lever released for this already extensively configurable AR-15 selector.

The Short Crank is a shorter version of the Crank lever. It is designed to be mounted on the same side as your trigger finger. The shorter length keeps it out of the way of your trigger finger while still providing enough leverage to operate it.

There is also another mystery lever that will be released soon. Stay tuned for details.


Patch Collecting: MADCAT Aviator/Operator Deafening Silence Patch

If you train hard to be someone’s worst nightmare, then this patch is for you. It doesn’t matter if you are law enforcement, military, or just a citizen who takes the defense of yourself and family seriously. This patch is for those who keep the bad guys up at night.

The background of this patch is very poignant. It was created by Brad at MADCAT Aviator/Operator to pay tribute to those who lost their lives when Extortion 17 was shot down. Brad says:

Back in August, when Extortion 17, its crew, and the SOF team aboard was shot down, I had to do something in their memory. So I spent a Saturday creating a remembrance piece for them. The quote came from me…just something that I had thought up over the course of the day going through all the emotions. I knew some guys in the unit that flew the chinook, and being a pilot, it hits close to home.The meaning behind it is that wherever the enemy may be, they have to constantly listening to that ringing…that deafening silence in the night because they know we’re bringing the fight to their doorstep. They have to constantly be on watch and listen because they’re constantly being hunted by us.

The remembrance piece that Brad mentions is the picture below and the quote from the picture eventually found a home on this patch. I am proud to have this patch in my collection. You can get your own at MADCAT Operator/Aviator.

Hill People Gear Kit Bags Now with Velcro

Hill People Gear Kit Bags are now shipping with a 1.5″ wide vertical strip of Velcro sewn into the pistol compartment. This will be a welcomed feature for those who want to use a Velcro backed holster in their Kit Bags.

I have been using a Kit Bag for a while now and I have been generally pleased with the way it carries a full size pistol without a holster in the pistol compartment. However, I can see how the addition of the Velcro would be a big improvement for those carrying smaller pistols. A Velcro backed holster should keep them from shifting in the large compartment.

The Kit Bags are available directly from Hill People Gear.

Be Heard: Range Time Planning

In the last installment of Be Heard I asked what you thought about the zombie marketing push that is so prevalent in the firearm industry recently. The majority of you thought it was fairly harmless but gimmicky and over done.

This week, I want to hear about your time at the shooting range. I am fascinated by the various ways people approach range time. Some people go with a regimented plan for what they want to accomplish in terms of drills or tasks like zeroing and load testing. Some people generally go with no plan at all and just play it by ear.

Do you plan your range time or do you just wing it? Maybe you do a little of both? Can either way make you a better shooter?

Comment below and Be Heard!

New Light Mounts from Haley Strategic Partners and a BCM Comp Sighting

Haley Strategic Partners let the cat out of the bag regarding two new light mounts from their collaboration with Impact Weapons Components – the Thorntail SBR and the Thorntail MIL620. Both of these mounts are based on the excellent HSP Thorntail light mount.

The Thorntail SBR is designed to keep the bezel of the light a little further away from the muzzle device on short barreled rifles. It accomplishes this by shortening the arm that the light is attached to. This shorter version may also be preferred by some who like the functionality of the Thorntail but just don’t need as much extension.

The Thorntail MIL620 is designed to be a low profile mount for the Surfire Millenium series weapon lights and the Surefire Scout 630 series weapon lights. These lights have been lacking low profile mount options until now.

Interestingly, there is also a good glimpse of the upcoming BCM Comp in this video. GearScout has a great screen capture and details.


If you are reading this blog, there is a pretty good chance that you carry a few EDC (Every Day Carry) items like a knife and flashlight. Well, now there is a new online store from some familiar people that you can visit to help get your EDC gear in shape.

PredatorEDC.com is the latest venture of PredatorIntelligence who are also the company behind PredatorBDU.com and PredatorARMAMENT.com. The new site carries EDC focused items like knives, flashlights, and pocket tools. They already have a ton of great brands listed and there are more coming.

Check out PredatorEDC.com.

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