About a month ago, we had the privilege of announcing a new holster to the market, the X-FER by Armordillo Concealment. My initial impressions after running it for a few days were positive, but I promised to report back after I had the chance to test it more thoroughly, and it’s now time. If you follow Monderno, there will be a little bit of overlap between my announcement post and this more in-depth review, but not much.
One thing to note is that most of my testing was done with a Glock 19 and a Smith & Wesson M&P full-size, carrying the X-FER in the appendix position, which I know many of you hate. That’s ok, as I think everything that I found holds true for other IWB positions as well.
What is the X-FER?
The X-FER is a patent pending, minimalist inside the waistband (IWB) holster that is designed to allow you to carry a pistol with a weapon mounted light concealed. Think Raven Vanguard 2, but with a weapon light attached.
- Weapon light specific, not handgun specific
- Minimalist design
- Works in any IWB position
- Adjustable for ride height and cant
- Patent pending
- 100% made in the USA
The X-FER is designed for a somewhat niche market – those who want to carry a pistol with a weapon light, and carry it IWB. So first off, this holster isn’t for everyone. But there are a lot of folks out there that operate in low light situations that have to carry concealed, and there are a lot of normal every day people that want to carry a handgun with a weapon light.
Generally speaking, bad stuff tends to happen in low light situations, so the philosophy of carrying a weapon light (in addition to a flashlight) makes sense. The X-FER provides a minimalist way to accomplish that.
The first thing that came to mind when I heard the idea of the X-FER was “there’s no way that can be comfortable”. I’m happy to report that I was wrong. Typically, I carry my Glock 19 in a PHLster Skeleton, which is, for me, very comfortable. The X-FER isn’t as comfortable as the Skeleton, but it’s close.
Of course, this isn’t an apples to apples comparison, as my Skeleton doesn’t support a weapon light, and the discomfort with the X-FER comes from the weapon light sticking a couple inches past the barrel.
Bottom line on comfort: it’s pretty good, especially considering the fact that you have a weapon light hanging off the end of your pistol. I found the comfort difference even more negligible in other IWB positions like 4:00.
So it’s pretty comfortable, but how well does it conceal? Actually, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between concealing a pistol with and and without a weapon light. The biggest dimensions that affect concealability for me are width and height. Adding a weapon light can increase the length depending on the light and the pistol, but does nothing to the height. If you can conceal a Glock 19, you can conceal a Glock 19 with a weapon light.
You’ll notice that the X-FER rides fairly high above the belt line, a bit higher than most other holsters I’ve used. Depending on you – how you carry, your body type, etc – this might work to your advantage or disadvantage in concealment. The reason the X-FER can get away with riding higher, at least in my testing, is that there’s enough weight below the belt line to balance out the equation.
The ability to re-holster was a moderate concern for me, since that’s one of the things I didn’t like about the Raven Vanguard 2 - you can’t re-holster. I think Armordillo is stating, for legal reasons, that it is NOT safe to re-holster a hot weapon using the X-FER, so for legal reasons, you should listen to them.
Personally, I’ve never been one to read disclaimers and directions (it’s gotten me in trouble once or twice too) and I’ve been re-holstering with the X-FER without any safety issues. Turns out if you keep your finger (and other stuff) off the bang switch it don’t go boom, regardless of the holster.
A couple things to note on re-holstering with the X-FER, which of course you should never do according to the lawyers:
- Re-holster slowly – you should do this anyways, but you will need to slow down particularly with the X-FER since the weapon light is the retention mechanism. Therefore you will need to line up the weapon light with the opening of the holster and slide the weapon light along that channel.
- Try not to tilt the gun as you re-holster. With a lot of holsters, once you get the front of the handgun into the opening, even if the gun isn’t perfectly straight, it goes right in without fuss. With the X-FER, you’re going to want to line up the weapon light and the holster opening.
Retention and Durability
Another big concern I had was how well the retention would hold up under repeated use. I’m happy to say that so far I haven’t noticed any change in the retention, and I have drawn and re-holstered several hundred times easy. Additionally, I dropped this holster off with Mr. Colion Noir for a couple weeks so that he could test as well.
Through the course of both our testing, so far, the retention is still spot on. If that changes I will of course report back.
The Armordillo Concealment X-FER is a unique concept, and it works. If you’re interested in carrying concealed with a weapon light, this is definitely a holster you should look into. It’s reasonably priced, well-made, is weapon light specific so one holster will work for many pistols, and at the time of writing, is shipping in 3-5 business days.