Alien Gear ShapeShift 4.0 IWB

Let’s flashback about three years to when I wrote a review on the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0. At the time, I said it was the best value holster available and the most comfortable of the ones I’ve personally tried. Otherwise, though, I said it wasn’t all that unique among the other hybrid IWB holsters available: it was a plastic, molded shell bolted to a backing. Price was really the only thing that set the Cloak Tuck apart, coming in well below the better-recognized brands.

And the holster wasn’t without its drawbacks. First was the exposed hardware on the back, but Alien Gear fixed that with the Cloak Tuck 3.0. But I also mentioned the hardware coming loose, something that was a continual battle because I… kept forgetting to put Loctite on the screws.

One of the features of the ShapeShift 4.0 holster, that is also on the Cloak Tuck 3.5, are belt clips that don’t attach with screws. So they shouldn’t come loose. So seeing as my wife needed a holster for her Taurus PT111 G2 (that we bought brand new at Cabela’s for only $200), I bought one for my Glock 19 as well.

As of this writing, I’ve been using the holster for about 3 months. Let’s start with what’s unique about this. From the product page:

To improve on the award-winning Cloak Tuck 3.0, the ShapeShift IWB Holster is designed with a single mounting point, allowing the holster base to flex and conform to your side.

The typical hybrid holster – the Cloak Tuck included – is a plastic shell molded to a specific firearm bolted to a backing, either held on with screws or riveted to it. The stretch around your body combined with the pressure of your belt gives the retention on the firearm – basically a friction fit. But it also causes the shell to collapse a little when the firearm is not in your holster – e.g. when at a legally-mandated gun-free zone like a US Post Office.

This can make holstering your firearm a little tricky if you’re not in such a position the plastic shell is at its loosest. Such as trying to holster your firearm while sitting in the driver’s seat of your vehicle. It’s the one thing I’ve never enjoyed about using similar hybrid IWB holsters. Or at least ones with a wide profile. I don’t recall having that issue with my MTAC holster, which has a much slimmer profile than the more popular IWB hoslters.

But this is where the ShapeShift stands out. It gives you an IWB holster that behaves like an OWB holster. Whether sitting in the driver’s seat or standing up at home, I’m able to holster and draw my firearm effortlessly. I don’t even really need to shift much to get the firearm back into the holster while sitting in the driver’s seat of my SUV.

The shell is half of what can be an OWB holster, part of the larger ShapeShift “system”, meaning it also completely covers the firearm like the MTAC holster. And Alien Gear gives you that other half as well with the IWB holster, so you can remove the shell from the backing and turn it into an OWB – some other accessories required, though the Starter Kit comes with everything to easily make it an OWB holster.

As described above from the product page, and shown above, the shell is attached to the backing only at the front side. This is a stark contrast from other IWB holsters, including the Cloak Tuck, which have bolts or screws around the entirety of the shell. This allows the shell to float free of the backing, meaning the shell isn’t deformed by being pulled around your body with the rest of the holster.

It also means friction force isn’t used to retain the firearm. Instead it relies on retention in the trigger guard, which can be tightened or loosened to make the draw as easy or difficult as you want.

And the floating shell is why I can holster my pistol effortlessly. As if I’m putting it into an OWB paddle holster on my belt. Regardless of whether I’m sitting in the front seat of my SUV or standing up and holstering my firearm before leaving for work. It’s as effortless in the former as in the latter. The shell’s shape is not determined by my position.

That is how IWBs should be. Why did no one think to do that before?

Now about the belt clips. Well there’s not really much to say. Again, from the product page:

Keeping this mantra in mind, the ShapeShift IWB Holster offers adjustable cant and ride height. Alien Gear Holsters made this possible with the invention of their unique, tool-less inside the waistband holster clips.

These clips remove the need for tools, eliminate the problem of loose screws and simplify the entire process of modifying cant and ride height.

To take them off, you rotate them so they are pointing completely down. This means they won’t come out when upright or nearly upright for attaching it to your belt. Which gives some peace of mind that you’re not going to take off the holster and find screws missing, or find one laying on the floor because it fell through your pant leg.

So… conclusions.

It’s currently going for 55.88 USD plus shipping. More expensive than the Cloak Tuck 3.0 and 3.5, but still less expensive than Crossbreed’s SuperTuck and White Hat’s offerings.

The value is definitely far greater than anything really anyone else offers. Alien Gear gives you the IWB holster as you’d expect, but also gives you the other side of the shell to make it into an OWB holster (again, additional accessories needed to use it).

Given my experience over the last few months with the Alien Gear, I don’t think I can praise it enough. The comfort is about the same as with the Cloak Tuck 2.0 I previously used without the frustration of the belt clip hardware just coming loose.

And it doesn’t collapse without your pistol, making holstering your pistol easy regardless of how you’re sitting or standing. Which looking back at the other holsters I’ve used, that is, again, how IWB holsters should be.

The Alien Gear ShapeShift 4.0 IWB holster just gets pretty much everything right. Again I’ve been using it for about three months, and I can’t think of… anything negative to say about it. A stark contrast from the negatives I could readily say about the Cloak Tuck 2.0 after only two weeks.

Note: Product images copyright Alien Gear Holsters, and used under the Fair Use provisions of 17 USC § 107 for the purposes of criticism and commentary.
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