Looking for IWB or AIWB holster recommendations - H&K VP9SK

Discussion in 'Handguns: Accessories, Holsters, and Optics' started by MrSpiffy, Nov 12, 2017.

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  1. MrSpiffy

    MrSpiffy Member

    May 22, 2008
    First-off, thanks for taking a look at my post. I'm a complete newbie when it comes to carrying a gun, concealed or otherwise. But, I've been shooting for several years now.

    Recently, I took a defensive pistol course that included the CCW exam. I took it and passed, and would like to get my CCW permit. I'm still on the fence about carrying a concealed weapon, but I'd like the permit just in case I want or need to use it. We sometimes go hiking or camping, and I'd like to have some protection with me against bears or mountain lions. Or any threat on the trail, human or animal. I may also decide to carry around town, if I become comfortable enough with it.

    While looking at some possible handguns for CCW, I stumbled into the H&K VP9SK. I haven't shot it, yet. But, it just fit my hand like a glove, and I was very happy shooting the USP in 9mm. It was obvious to me that H&K makes quality guns. And so, I'm very much eyeballing one at the shop near me.

    It seems IWB is the most-common way to carry, though appendix carry is becoming popular, as well. As far as holsters go, I'm looking for some recommendations for IWB/AIWB. And is it possible to adjust a normal IWB holster for appendix carry? (I've seen the removable foam wedges... seems a bit cheap, but it might work just fine.) Which have you found to be the most-comfortable of the two? Any issues or downsides to one or the other as far as comfort and ease of use?

    A few brands I'm considering that I've run across while looking for holsters, and some impressions, so far:
    • Crossbreed SuperTuck: Seems very popular. Reviews state it's quite comfortable. But over time, it seems the kydex can lose shape, or maybe a compression groove in the leather where the gun is pressed against and slides in and out frequently can create extra clearance. This could cause poor retention as the holster wears. And it doesn't seem the kydex is replaceable, in the case that I crack it or change guns.
    • Black Arch Single or Dual Clip IWB Protos-M: I like the modularity of this design. If I change my carry preferences, I could switch backers for single or double clips, or loops. Whatever I prefer at the time. Reviews seem solid. But, I don't see BA recommended a ton, so maybe they're newer..?
    • Skull Crush: These guys started with motorcycle helmets, I believe. High-end carbon fiber stuff. They now make holsters. They only have a few reviews here and there on their site, but they're all very positive. Correspondence with customer service was good, and they responded quickly. They were quite helpful in answering my questions. Funny, though... they look very similar to the Garrett holsters. In fact, their "appendix" version of the VP9SK holster looks identical to the Garrett Silent Thunder Slim II. I wonder if Garrett makes their holsters...
    • Garrett: They make multiple models, seem to have good reviews, and make leather-lined holsters for a quiet draw. Smaller form factor may result in a little less comfort than something like the SuperTuck. They don't specify models on their holsters, they just have you type in your gun model. But, it seems they make gun-specific holsters. Sounds like customer service is top-notch, as well.
    Does anyone have experience with Garrett, Black Arch, or Skull Crush? I'm curious to get some more feedback on these holsters. And any additional feedback, or advice on picking out and using holsters is appreciated. Even advice just on carrying for the first time. I've done plenty of reading, but it would be nice to bounce questions off of this fantastic community.

  2. JTQ

    JTQ Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    NW Florida
    AIWB is a specific holster. I'm not aware of a holster that isn't specifically designed as an AIWB holster that has a good reputation in the AIWB position.

    The Crossbreed SuperTuck that I'm familiar with is far too wide to be used AIWB. You'd have trouble finding a spot for that holster forward of your hip. The SuperTuck is designed for aft of the hip wear.

    Garrett makes a superb product. I don't have experience with their AIWB model/models, but they are a very good company.

    Some of the better respected AIWB makers are ...

    JM Custom Kydex http://www.jmcustomkydex.com

    Custom Carry Concepts http://www.customcarryconcepts.com

    Dale Fricke https://dalefrickeholsters.com

    Keepers Concealment http://keepersconcealment.com

    5 Shot Leather SME http://www.5shotleather.com/sme.htm

    Some of the more knowledgeable AIWB folks (I'm not knowledgeable on the subject) tend to prefer hammer fired guns over striker fired guns when carrying AIWB, for what it's worth.
  3. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 15, 2012
    I'm going to break this down and respond a little at a time.
    Congratulations on passing the exam. Personally, I carry everywhere legally permissible, but that's a choice you'll have to make for yourself.

    Given the inclusion of hiking and camping in your usual activities, I'm going to suggest that you start with something water-resistant, like Kydex. Like many others, I have A Box of Holsters, and different holsters for different occasions, as it were.

    I don't have a clue about converting from IWB to AIWB, simply because I don't appendix carry. However, I've carried IWB at about 4:30 for years. It's my favorite way to carry.

    I carried in a Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe (horsehide) for about 4 years. I never had the problem of poor retention. That said, understand that I work in an office environment and that the only hiking I do is from my car to my office. My CBST got 4 years of wear, but it wasn't torture tested. You are correct in that the Kydex is not replaceable. It certainly never lost shape, though. It was a good holster that I often called "ridiculously comfortable."

    With all of that said, I recently got a Stealthgear Revolution for my S&W Shield. I absolutely love it. It's about a third of the weight of my CBST, impervious to moisture, and ventilated. In fact, I like it so well that I sold my CBST to finance one for my G19. Unfortunately, Stealthgear does not make a Revolution holster for the VP9SK. They do have their Ventcore holsters for the VP9SK, and those look like they're a step up from the Revoution. I'd certainly give them a look: https://stealthgearusa.com/holsters.html?manufacturer=254&model=391

    I do not have any personal experience with any of the other brands you listed. I can only say: (1) Black Arch has some good-looking holsters & I've heard good things over the years; (2) I've never heard of Skull Crush before; and (3) I've heard lots of good things about Garret in the past.

    As for first-time carry: It's going to feel like everybody and their dog knows that you're carrying. They don't. We live in an age where everyone has a cell phone or some other device strapped to their belt. They're not going to notice one more little lump. Besides, for most of the American public, their faces are buried in their phones, anyway. Learn to squat rather than bend over to get things from the bottom shelf, and reach up to the top shelf with your weak-side hand. If you don't have a proper belt, get one. That will keep you from hitching up your pants every few minutes.

    Now, off to the Wally Walk with you!
    sbwaters and Armored farmer like this.
  4. MrSpiffy

    MrSpiffy Member

    May 22, 2008
    @Spats McGee, ha! The Wally Walk, that's awesome! It sounds like something first-time CCW people would totally do!

    Thanks for taking time to address all of those points. I appreciate it.

    I'm glad to hear your SuperTuck wore well. I guess it may depend on the user, how it holds up. I'm mostly a home office person, traveling a little around the area here and there. But, we also enjoy hiking periodically. Not every weekend, by any means. I'll also have to look into the Stealth Gear holsters a bit more. They look pretty nice, at first glance. The Ventcore is a bit more than the Garrett Silent Thunder / ST Slim I'd probably be looking at, but it's not a huge price difference.

    BTW, I can confirm, Skull Crush holsters are rebranded Garrett holsters. Why pay $50+ more, if you don't care which logo is on it?
    Spats McGee likes this.
  5. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

    Feb 12, 2011
    The HK VP9SK is a great choice! I carry a P30SK with a LEM trigger. I carry it OWB in a Stealth Gear Flex holster. Carries great. They have IWB and appendix holsters too. They're pricey but very comfortable and durable. I've also had good luck with Hidden Hybrid Holsters as well.

    Congrats man.
  6. 420Stainless

    420Stainless Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Like 460Shooter, I have the P30SK, which appears to be very close to the same chassis as the VP9SK. I don't have any experience with the holsters you've asked about or AIWB carry to relay to you. I've gone with a Remora holster with the Ulti clip option and have been very impressed so far in the 2 months I've been using it. I wear it straight to the side IWB, but as far as I can tell, it ought to work in the appendix position too since it relies on external friction of the fabric to set and hold the cant. Don't know anything as far as long-term durability yet though as this is my first Remora holster.
  7. Striker

    Striker Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    NE Ohio (and soon to be West Virginia)
    You might give Charlie a shout at [email protected]
    I have quite a few AWIB rigs from him. He does good work and has a fast turnaround. PM me for his phone number.
  8. ecureed

    ecureed Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    Hope Mills, NC
    I've got a drawer full of holsters for my various carry guns but I've gone to nearly 100% AIWB. I've got a Triad Holster for my Shield, a Concealment Express for my XDM 3.8 Compact and a JustHolsterIt for my P-01. All are simple, cheap, minimalist, kydex AIWB holsters with a single clip and they work perfect for me. I highly recommend AIWB for comfort and peace of mind (you never worry if you're printing) and it's nice that a simple inexpensive holster will work just as well with AIWB as the expensive fancy ones.
  9. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

    Mar 22, 2008
    South Florida
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