Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clipdraw Review

Over the years I've bought a number of IWB holsters, but I've never been satisfied with them and they're all sitting in storage unused. The chief complaint I had with them is that they are just too thick and uncomfortable to wear. I've tried nylon, Kydex, and leather holsters to no avail. I prefer concealed carry over open carry so I tried the Clipdraw, and it's my preferred mode of concealed carry along with the Thunderwear.

I first tried the 1911 Clipdraw (#1911-B) with my Les Baer SRP. Installation was simply a matter of removing the right side grip panel, placing the Clipdraw on the grip, and then screwing the grip panel on top of the Clipdraw. Unfortunately, the 1911 Clipdraw does not work with some ambidextrous safeties, so I had to cut a notch in the Clipdraw with a Dremel tool in order to clear the ambi safety. Not having the width of a holster made carrying very comfortable. I only carry with the Clipdraw with an untucked shirt or sweater, and carry on my strong side hip slightly to the rear. When I'm not wearing a sweater or need to tuck my shirt in, I use the Thunderwear instead. Using the Clipdraw conceals the gun very well, and is comfortable to use.

The Universal Clipdaw model for semi-automatics sticks on the slide with a special tape, and works perfectly as advertised. I have the nickle plated model (#SA-S) on my Kahr TP9. The clip can be removed while leaving the leaving the tape and mounting plate in place if you want to temporarily put the gun in a holster. I like the Universal model because it's small, versatile (you can choose how high or low to mount the gun on your waist), and has a lot of clip tension for better retention. I would even use it for a 1911 instead of the dedicated 1911 Clipdraw due to the Universal model having more clip tension as well as being able to be used with any ambidextrous safety without modification (although you can always increase or decrease clip tension by manually bending the clip).

  • Conceals very well under an untucked shirt or sweater
  • Comfortable to use due to no added thickness from a holster
  • Can be quickly drawn by pulling up untucked shirt first
  • Can switch to using a holster with little effort
    • Remove the clip on the Universal model
    • Undo the right grip panel and remove the Clipdraw for the 1911 model
  • Must wear an untucked shirt or sweater, or a jacket that you do not plan on taking off
  • Retention is a potential problem depending on how a number of factors
    • The Semi-Auto Universal Clipdraw has more tension in the clip than the 1911 model (though you can increase tension on the 1911 model by bending the clip)
    • Clipping over a belt helps by creating more clip tension if too loose, but also works well clipped under a belt
    • Loose pants at the waistband coupled with insufficient clip tension is detrimental to retention
  • I like my guns canted forward a bit and the Clipdraw will allow this, but after a long day the gun sometimes end up vertical as depicted in the pictures above
    • Depends on clip tension and/or tightness of pants waistband
  • Trigger is theoretically not as well protected as having tougher holster material covering trigger
    • I would only use on guns with a manual safety or a with a long or heavy trigger pull just to be on the safe side
    • Saf-T-Blok
    • The manufacturer does not recommend using the Clipdraw with a Glock that has a round in the chamber due to its light short trigger pull with no manual safety, though they do have a safe workaround with their Saf-T-Blok trigger safety for Glocks
  • Because the Clipdraw puts the gun right up against your body, wide protuberance like a wide safety/decocker or slidestop may dig into or abrade your skin
The Clipdraw, particularly the Semi-Auto Universal model, is a great product for concealed carry while wearing a jacket or untucked shirt. I recommend it highly. Although I listed more Cons than Pros, none of the potential downsides significantly affect or bother me except that the Clipdraw doesn't allow for a tucked in shirt without a jacket (I use a Thunderwear when I need a tucked in shirt with no jacket). I haven't tried these, but there's also dedicated Clipdraw models for the Glock and J-frame S&W revolvers, as well as a Universal revolver model. There's many more details to note about this product, and Clipdraw has a great and comprehensive review from Combat Handguns posted on their website. Average Joe also has a good review.

Rating: **** ½

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