By Jay Grazio, Shooting Illustrated
Shown with the Skeleton holster is the matching Skeleton universal magazine carrier, MSRP: $34.99.
I won’t go so far as to say the PHLster Gen 2 Glock Skeleton holster changed my life, but it did change my outlook on appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB) carry. Now, my objection—if you can really call it that—to AIWB is not the “you’ll shoot your [REDACTED] off” argument. If we assume that the rules of safe firearm handling are being followed, and we are cautious when re-holstering (as our Skills Check editor Ed Head says, never reholster quickly), the likelihood of an accidental discharge approaches that of a credible Bigfoot sighting.
No, my “objection” about appendix carry was simply that it didn’t work for me. Sure, some of that came from literally decades of carry at the 4-o’clock position, both IWB and OWB. Some of it came from a good chunk of my life where I was simply not of the correct body shape (read: way too “husky,” a euphemism I have always hated, just say “fat” and be done with it…). Recently, though, with the resurgence of appendix carry and a host of new(ish) holsters on the market, I decided to give it a try.
And, I found out, I still was not of the correct body type. I tried numerous AIWB-style holsters, and ran into the same complaint with every one of them: Even with a small pistol (Smith & Wesson Shield-size, for example), the grip would smack me squarely in the ribs any time I bent more than 10 or 20 degrees—in other words, every time I sat down. For someone that spends a good deal of time sitting at a desk (or trapped behind the wheel of my car in traffic), that’s not a good thing.
Enter the PHLster. Its line of holsters comes highly recommended by knowledgeable folks whose opinions I respect, so I reached out to Jon Hauptman, owner and founder of PHLster, to try one out for our “I Carry” video series. I wanted to familiarize myself with the holster and give AIWB a shot, so I decided to carry my Glock G19 in the Skeleton for “a day or two” to see what it was like.
That was three weeks ago. I haven’t switched back to IWB or OWB since.
What makes the difference? Well, there are a lot of little things. The PHLster is designed to ride low, so that the grip actually doesn’t jab me in the ribs. It is adjustable for left- or right-handed carry, and even has a ridged portion should you wish to tuck it in under a shirt. It’s a light, minimalist design that still allows for tall/aftermarket sights, red-dot optics and even compensators should your pistol be so equipped (I have XS Sights FR8 night sights on my G19, and they clear the PHLster easily).
Basically, thanks to the PHLster, I get it now. Before, I’d shake my head at those who worshipped at the AIWB altar, not understanding how anyone could carry with a grip stabbing them in the ribcage all day long. Now, with the right gear that fits properly and carries well, I completely understand the appeal. The PHLster underscores something we’ve championed for a long time: buy good gear made by professionals and you will not be disappointed.
MSRP: $54.99. Fit options exist for all 9 mm and .40 S&W Glock models, the Smith & Wesson Shield and SIG Sauer P320, and more options are in the works.