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4 holsters holding their own at SHOT Show 2018

New products from Desantis, Galco, S&S Precision and UM Tactical are expanding the options for how cops carry their firearms


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One of the things I wanted to accomplish at SHOT Show 2018 was to find holster innovations. It is pretty tough to find new stuff in the holster industry. After all, how many different ways can you hold a gun? Here’s what caught my eye.

DeSantis Gunhide

I wanted to get this on record before they change it. DeSantis Gunhide released the Model 160 – currently called the Pipe Hitter Holster – which is deep riding with an integrated magazine pouch in the front.

It is designed and constructed exactly the way cops like this type of holster. It has adjustments for cant and the depth it will ride in relation to the belt line. It is extremely low profile and differs from its competitors because most of the flat area, which causes the print, is toward the outside of the holster.


DeSantis released the Model 160, currently called The Pipe Hitter. I like the name.


Everyone knows that DeSantis is a “no-nonsense” brand. The company does a great job of promoting products before they are released on the street. However, I am guessing that the name Pipe Hitter for the Model 160 probably won’t be in the final release. I think they should keep the name. What do Police1 readers think?


Following the success of the KingTuk series of holsters, Galco has released the ExtremeTuk IWB holster.

The KingTuk is a hybrid IWB holster that uses leather typical of the Galco product line. It’s called a hybrid holster because the backing plate is made of leather, while the shell is made of Kydex. The KingTuk holster uses premium leather, while the ExtremeTuk uses a cow hide backing plate, which brings the MSRP down to $45.


The ExtremeTuk by Galco is the cowhide version of the KingTuk, a concealed carry system for full-sized guns. The cowhide brings the MSRP down to $45.


If anyone knows the history of Galco, they know Galco originated from The Famous Jackass Leather Company, a leather holster producer known for high-quality products. The most famous of these was the shoulder holster popularized by many movie and TV cops.

Rather than use a vest holster while wearing a utility uniform, I carried an Officer’s Model in a Galco shoulder holster, which never failed me. I have known many officers who swear by the KingTuk. The introduction of the ExtremeTuk will only make it more popular.

S&S Precision

One of the coolest things on display at the S&S Precision booth at SHOT Show was a product called a PlateFrame. It is a skeletonized web that surrounds the plate. Rather than using a plate carrier, straps and accessories are attached to the PlateFrame. Thus there really isn’t a plate carrier, only a lightweight thing that goes around the plate. The cummerbund and shoulder straps – which are also lightweight – are attached in the PlateFrame loops.


S and S Precision takes a different approach to holster and plate carrier manufacture. The plate carrier starts with a precision-cut web called a PlateFrame that fits around the plate. A cummerbund, shoulder straps and tool-hanging devices are added. The holster mounts and Trifecta Connecta were designed to accommodate a number of different popular holsters, allowing police officers to adjust the height and use the same holster for duty as they would for critical response.


S&S Precision also makes holster products that can be fitted to the PlateFrame, or anything else, actually. The company’s Trifecta Connecta is a universal plate that is designed to attach to any standard holster mount. Using S&S Precision’s Holster Extender GRT, users can adjust, attach or remove holsters from one gear set up to another.

S&S has solved one of the most common LE issues in the industry: How a cop can go from working on a critical response team to patrol to detective and still use the holster he or she trained with.


S and S Precision holster mounts, including the Trifecta Connecta, allow a police officer to use the same exact holster and platform for a variety of assignments. Besides the modularity, this set up is extremely light.


UM Tactical

The UM Tactical Qualifier is a IWB holster made of Boltaron 4332, a lightweight, strong PVC that thermoforms like Kydex and offers uniform thickness when pressed. It has a moderate amount of pinch retention, which is common for a Kydex scabbard.


The Qualifier by UM Tactical looks like a typical lightweight Kydex scabbard. While it does not differ much from the one that the author carries on a regular basis, it comes with a lightweight strap with belt loops that screw into the shell after removing the clip. It allows the lightweight IWB holster to become a lightweight OWB.


The Qualifier really isn’t much different from the one I carry now, except for one feature: a lightweight strap with belt loops. The strap attaches to the outside of the holster in place of the belt clip, converting an IWB to an OWB.

UM Tactical’s Keith Houston told me that the Qualifier was designed by a regional DEA Agent. Their officers normally use IWB holsters. When they do their annual qualification, the policy dictates qualifying with an OWB holster. I’m assuming that someone is working to address the policy. In the meantime, the Qualifier is the answer.

Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. He has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Online Teaching and Learning. Lindsey has taught shooting techniques for over a decade. His articles on firearms tactics have appeared in print for over a decade. Lindsey enjoys competing in shooting sports, running, and cycling events.