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.
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.
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.