Fast, Safe — And Comfortable
By Roy Huntington
Some things coming across our desks often look like holsters, some even sorta’ act like holsters — until they wear out, lose the gun or just plain fail, usually catastrophically. So it’s challenging to try to get our attention these days.
Unlike the mumbling phone calls I often get (“Um, uh …um … I kinda’ make holsters and stuff and was wonderin’, um … uh … if I could, you know, um, send you sumphin?”), when Joe Piazza (the owner of Viper) contacted me, he seemed dialed-in, confident and almost dared me to shine a strong light on what they do at Viper. What caught my ear was Joe’s sheer enthusiasm for quality and design excellence. When he asked if he could send a bit of gear over for a peek, I said sure. And they did. And it wasn’t at all what I anticipated. It quickly became obvious to me a huge amount of thought and real-world testing had gone into these designs. As a matter of fact, the stuff was so damn good looking — and functional — it’s made me completely re-think my Neanderthal-like suspicion of anything plastic.
I particularly appreciate Viper’s designs because they are minimalist in nature. Light is good — even excellent — as long as it’s strong enough to function and wear ruggedly. Quality raw materials paired with patient construction methods can result in gear so light you’ll raise your eyebrows and say, “Huh?” when you pick it up. If they are light and recognizably well made, they will also almost invariably work satisfyingly well. Which everything we tested did, indeed do.
Hybrid And Twist Loc Paddle
Made and fitted by hand, the edges on Viper’s holsters are contoured, polished and the holster mouth has a slight flare. Each one is made, then hand-tuned, like a watch, to make sure the balance and function is right. It’s an often ignored step. You can “assemble” parts, but unless you “tune” them they won’t work their best.
The Hybrid is feather-light and showcases a lamination of vegetable-tanned leather for your “skin” side. Hide for your hide? This inside-the-waistband rig is thin, while still covering the gun well. The design allows a full firing grip, and the clip is rugged and securely affixed to the holster’s Kydex body. I found it well-suited for what it’s designed for — deep concealment and comfort.
The Twist Loc Paddle Holster is one of my favorite types of CCW holster. I like the ability to quickly remove a “belt” holster if needed, yet have it be secure. Outside the belt, strong-side carry is my favorite, and the unique “paddle” on the Twist Loc makes that easy. You take just the holster and turn it 90 degrees to your belt, “muzzle” to the rear. Placing the paddle side toward you above the waist, rotate it until the muzzle is down. This allows the curved edges of the paddle to “roll” behind your belt, while resting behind your pants. It sort of “grabs” the bottom of the belt through your pant’s material. The fact it doesn’t extend below your belt means it can be more comfortable than conventional paddles, which can dig into your hip. A quick twist off (rotate the bottom of the holster forward) and it comes right off. I liked this rig a lot.
The inside of the Threat Response Kit is well-padded …
and shows the attention to detail at Viper.
The Hybrid with Kimber Solo (left) has leather next to your skin. The Twist
Loc Paddle has a unique “paddle” making the on/off chore easy.
Solo grips are by SGM.
Threat Response Kit
When you wake in the dark at home in your jammies — or not — you don’t want to try to defend your family without the gear you need. A gun is obvious, but how about a reload, light, knife and holster to stash the gun if you need your hands free? I’d say right now it’d mostly be “Nope, nope, nope and nope” to the parts after the “have a gun” bit. Viper to the rescue.
The Threat Response Kit isn’t just for cops or soldiers. With the RTG TAC 1 holster (.125″ Kydex, the heaviest available), three vertical mag holders, Powertac E5 or E9 light and Ka-Bar TDI LEO knife, all hung on a padded “battle belt” — you suddenly have everything at-hand. No more “nopes.”
The belt has an inner belt built like a police duty belt, with the padded outer shell having MOLLE points and suspender-anchor D-rings. The gear is attached to the inner belt so it’s not going anywhere. Frankly, this is a brilliant solution to this problem. It routinely goes something like this: “Bump” … “Click” (sound of belt being clipped on … “pad, pad, pad” … sound of your feet finding out what’s up. Preparedness equals confidence, and don’t you forget that.
According to Joe Piazza, founder of Viper Holsters, “All Viper holsters are wicked fast, safe and comfortable. Viper stands behind everything we make — and you can talk directly to the owner, anytime. That’s me.”