PHLSTER is a fairly new company, started in 2010 by its owner Jon Hauptman messing with Kydex in the spare room of his Philadelphia home. It has grown to offering several types of holsters as well as an innovative concealment system called the Enigma that’s based on Jon and his wife Sarah’s experiments with beltless concealment. PHLSTER carries parts to upgrade their holsters and weapon mounted lights, as well as a WML of their own. They also sell practical emergency medical components and pouches/holsters to carry them every day.
I recently ordered a “Skeleton” holster from a company called PHLSTER recently on a recommendation from folks that I trust.
I’d been eyeballing their snub revolver specific “City Special” appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) holster; made for J Frame S&W revolvers or Ruger’s LCR. I appreciate the concealment and retention/accessibility virtues of AIWB carry but have only carried small revolvers using this method. Partly because of the safety margin offered by DA revolvers, but also because I hadn’t found a holster that was comfortable and concealable with small autos.
I understand the concept of leverage with this type of carry; longer holsters hide the gun better by pushing the grip into the body more than a short holster will. I hadn’t found the holster that would allow me to apply this concept comfortably in everyday life.
I chose a SIG 365XL as an ambassador for this new breed of micro compact autos with 10-13 round capacity. The XL is longer than most guns in this class but seemed like it would be more “shootable” than its stubbier contemporaries. I saw the Skeleton on PHLSTER’s website (which is excellent by the way—they have a helpful section on the basics of concealment mechanics which is a must read) and noted that it was offered for the 365XL. The description claimed it was “ideal for users who are sensitive to holster length”. That statement compelled me to produce my credit card.
Ordering was simple and the shipping fee was reasonable. Within a few days, the holster arrived in my mailbox. The Skeleton came packaged in a Ziplock bag. It was supplied with two heights of “cleats” for the ModWing, the attached one was 3/8” tall and the other ½” tall. The entire holster was very modular and completely ambidextrous.
The 1.5” inch grip hook clip supplied as a belt attachment and the mod wing were reversible to easily render the holster suitable for left-handed use. The holster had no sharp contact points, it was thoughtfully radiused on the edges. It was cut to accommodate suppressor height sights and rail mounted optics. It was also relieved to clear the Sig’s optional ambidextrous thumb safety.
I had used some good AIWB holsters that employed foam wedges at the bottom, but I had no experience with ModWings. The Skeleton gives a little bit of adjustment in the grip hook clip, so I left it a little loose to allow it to settle where it needed to be and donned the holster at about 1 o’clock. The grip hook clip was a perfect fit on the stiff nylon 1.5” belt I use for IWB concealment.
It took a little coaxing to get the mod wing aligned behind my trousers. Once there, I snugged down my belt and seated the SIG into the holster. The 365 slid into place and seated with a positive click of the Kydex. I was immediately struck at how well the mod wing drew the butt of the pistol into my body. I was also pleased with the height of the holster body in relation to my beltline that the grip hook clip placement produced.
I performed several presentations and was able to repeatedly grasp the pistol in a solid firing grip. This has been an issue of contention with most semiauto AIWB holsters that I have tried. I snugged down the screws on the grip hook once it settled comfortably.
I wore the holster for the next few evenings and found it to be more comfortable than I was expecting. The SIG’s beavertail poked me when bending at the waist, but this was more of a “I’m weighing in at light heavyweight when my Dr. tells me I should be a middleweight” issue, not a fault of the holster. The Romeo Zero optic I ordered showed up and was promptly installed on the 365XL. My midsection provided enough soft cover above the optic that it didn’t cause additional printing of the gun, nor was the comfort affected.
This is a well-designed, well executed holster. It’s also compatible with the Enigma Concealment Chassis System. It allows me to comfortably conceal the 365XL when a small revolver had been my limit. I’m well pleased with the Skeleton, and I will be a PHLSTER repeat customer. Check them out.