Friday, March 13, 2009

Review: Uncle Mikes Kydex paddle holster

Uncle Mike came to visit recently, and stayed. For now.

Well, to be more exact, I went out and tried on holsters for my Smith&Wesson M+P 9c. There was an upcoming steel match, and a slight chance I’d score an extra magazine or two that would allow me to use this pistol for the match. The rules require the pistol carried in a holster, and my Galco JAK slide just wasn’t made for match shooting.

Well.... to be exact and honest… I had really just wanted to try out a new holster. The match
was a fair excuse to buy one. I’m sure most shooters will understand that. Besides, it was on sale.

I was in the market for a Blackhawk Serpa holster, but they haven’t made one for the M+P compact yet. The full size yes, but it’s an inch longer than needed and I balked at a carry holster that’s too big for no reason. In addition, I have heard a few un-nice things about the latch mechanism and dirt. Things like.... you can't have your pistol anymore because the holster is angry at you for getting sand near it.

In the local gun shop,
always a fun place to visit, I poked through the selection by Blackhawk, Don Hume, Galco, and Uncle Mikes. Of the armfuls the shop had on hand, I finally settled on one that actually fit my pistol; An Uncle Mike's Kydex paddle holster, (#5412-1).

The 5412-1 is marked as suitable for the Glock 26, 27, 28, and 33. I tried it only because it looked close, and I had nothing to lose but time…. and time spent in a gun store does not count as time wasted.

Later, looking it up on Uncle Mike’s webs
ite I found it’s also listed as for ‘other 9mm and compact automatics’. I guess the M+P 9c is an ‘other’?

Made of injection molded plastic, this holster has a very firm paddle arrangement for attaching to the belt. I found it would not pull off with any amount of obnoxious tugging on the pistol. In fact, I almost had to remove my belt to get the holster off.
Compared to the Fobus I reviewed previously, the Uncle Mike’s is much more secure on the waist.

Remarkable for a low cost holster, this Plastic wonder is fully adjustable for cant an
d tension. The holster can be angled forward or back, via mounting screws, seemingly enough to become a cross-draw holster if desired. The retention tension is also adjustable via two screws on the front of the holster. It was an easy matter to adjust the holster’s grasp on the pistol, although it was nearly perfect right out of the package.

Mounted on the belt, the Uncle Mike paddle holster rides high. High enough to elicit the only real complaint I have so far. The pistol is carried so high the wearer's arm must be bent quite far to draw. This is an awkward position, especially if the tension on the holster is dialed up. It takes some force to draw the weapon and can be difficult with the arm already bent that far. Leaning over a bit helps.

My thoughts.... This holster will be fine as a range-rig. For CCW it feels too bulky and sticks out too far. Now, if they could lose the bulky paddle and just give us some belt slots like the Blackhawk...... it might be a winner for CCW. These are my opinions, yours may vary.

Looking closely at the holster design, I am considering making a belt loop plate to replace the screw on paddle attachment. If I can make such a beast, it will pull the holster much closer to the body. I might also figure a way to make it an 'inside the belt' holster, which I prefer for concealed carry.

I know..... I can never leave well enough alone...... (g).


Old NFO said...

I've been shooting IDPA with Uncle Mikes kydex holsters for years. I like them, and yes, they are too bulky for daily carry... sigh...

Also, the stories about the Blackhawk SERPA are true. I had one lock up on me due to dirt, etc. Also, they can break off the paddle fairly easily (had that happen getting in the car).

dScott said...

Hmmm, just bought 2 Uncle Mike's #5421 holsters (I'm RH, my wife is LH) - and they come with BOTH the paddle and the belt loop attachment. Wonder if the belt loop is available separately?

I like 'em so far; got them for competitions (steel challenge) and defense classes.

Carteach0 said...

Yup NFO, I recall you telling me about breaking one of the SERPA's and about their jamming up. I like me some gadgets, but not ones that don't work as intended. I'll avoid the SERPA because of that.

dScott, Perhaps thats why mine was on sale? An older packaging that didn't include the belt part? Uncle Mikes does not have a customer service E-mail on the web site, but they do have a phone number. I'll give them a call. Thanks for the heads up!

Anonymous said...

My wife has a M&P9C, and we originally got an uncle mikes, but she didn't like it at all. We replaced it with a Fobus and she'll never look back.

As you say, no paddle holster is really a CCW option, they're all either open carry or "range rigs", but my wife found the quality of the Fobus (for this application, anyway) to be far superior to the Uncle Mike's paddle holster.

Huey148 said...

May I suggest the rig I use for my M&P 40c from custom carry concepts?

link is on the page, he is up and running after being down for a bit (many order versus his schedule) but the versaclip is only $20 and works great for my M&P.

Anonymous said...

I know this review is 6 years old, but I was glad I came across it when I was looking for a budget holster for my M&P9c. Since the original review Uncle Mikes has added a belt loop attachment, I am not sure if you still have it, but if so I would contact UM and see if they will give you the belt attachment. I was able to find this holster NIB (well probably opened) for $14 shipped on ebay, and I am pleasantly suprised. I dont care for the Blackhawk SERPA CQC, both the paddle and belt loop attachments stick out a bit to far for my liking. The UM with the belt attachment fits close to the body, it still stick out a little, but (from what I remember) it feels closer than the CQC. Until I can pickup a holster from a local company called K Rounds, this hoster orks for me. If anyone is looking for a high quality holster at a decent price, forget bladetech (all of the ones I looked at had rough spots and sharp edges inside the holster) checkout K Rounds.