A couple of weeks ago, the Liberty First Foundation/Religion of Arms was approached by Douglass Kahlstrom, the owner/operator of Tactical Measure, a holster manufacturer in Lampasas Texas. Douglas found us on Facebook and appreciated the work we are doing so much that he volunteered his time to help us with our organizational efforts when it came to opening State Chapters of our group. Through the course of our interview with him, and after he had already been approved to be a leader in the Great State of Texas, it was soon learned that he manufactured custom-made holsters and volunteered to help out our members by offering discounts for his hand-made products. Not having any of his products to have a look at, Doug said “Name a gun, and I’ll send you a holster for you to have a look at…I don’t want you referring my company without you knowing how good my holsters are”. Douglas was right. Before the L1F/ROA gives the “stamp of approval” for a given product or company, we give the item in question a good going over beforehand. We don’t want anyone spending their hard-earned cash on something if it is going to be substandard. With that being said…Here is what happened next.
I asked Douglas to send me a sample of an inside-the-waistband holster for a Springfield XDS 3.3 9mm, for a right-handed shooter. I figured that would be enough information for him…it wasn’t.
Douglas wanted all of the following information…
Do you want to be able to tuck in a shirt?
Do you like your holster to be have a specific cant angle or adjustable?
What is your most common belt width?
How close to your body do you like the holster to ride?
Pre-set or adjustable retention?
What color?(then gave me a list of options)
Do you carry extra magazines, and how many?
Do you carry your spares on your strong side or weak?
Do you carry your mags bullets forward or backwards?
Douglas asked me all of the questions I would have asked myself had I been shopping for a holster…and some questions I probably wouldn’t have. After giving him the few pieces of information he requested, he said “Very good, I’m on it”. The very next morning, August 28th, I get an e-mail with 2 pictures and a note…”They’re on their way…pull no punches”.
Friday…I get this in the mail. (minus the gun, mags, and ears)
What I got was a hand-made Kydex holster with an offset belt hook, with adjustable cant and retention screws. I also received a dual magazine pouch, which was also fully adjustable.
Here is what the XDS looks like while holstered in the Tactical Measure holster.
Here’s what the XDS looks like in a competitors holster that I’ve been using for 3 months.
The competitors holster, while having very nice lines, is only adjustable for retention, and is fitted with a “press-fit” belt loop that mildly secures to the underside of the belt. With each holster adjusted for maximum retention, the competitors holster had a 4 in 10 chance of unhooking from the belt with the draw, and a 6 in 10 chance of releasing from the holster while in a seated position. The TM holster, while set to the maximum retention did not release from the belt one time. The thinner width profile of the TM holster belt clip and deeper cut hook allowed a tighter, firmer grip on the belt than that of the competitor.
However, even when set to the maximum tension, the TM holster did not give an audible “click” when re-holstering the sidearm, whereas the competitor gave a loud audible note. Upon examination, we figure out that the competitors holster was only giving tension to the sidearm at the foremost part of the trigger guard, explaining the snapping sound when holstering. The TM holster applied tension, not only to the trigger guard, but to the entirety of the XDS frame, giving it more surface area to hold on to.
The one advantage that could not be overcome by the Tactical Measure Holster Design was the ability to remove the firearm from the holster with one hand while not connected to the belt. The Higher rising edge of the competitors holster allowed me to place my thumb on the edge, push down, therefore releasing the firearm. The lower interior edge of the TM holster forces you to grip the butt of the gun with one hand and the holster with the other in order to remove it.(height difference shown below)
(Tactical Measure Holster) (Competitors Holster)
However, you can also see from the photos above that the Tactical Measure Holster, still provides more than enough room to get a solid purchase for your draw, as well as providing a bit more coverage for the slide. Also worth noting is that the TM holster gives a generous amount of room for High-Rise or Competition sights as well.
One of the other differences we noticed was the texture of the Kydex itself. The TM holster has a look and feel of a stiffened leather, almost reminiscent of “Shark Skin”. That surface, while having a good visual note, also provided an unexpected level of “grip” to the inside of the denim jeans, while the smoother, more plastic look and feel of the competitors model made it very easy for it to slide around, and worse…up. Having a holster that remained in the same position regardless of movement is, in itself, a Tactical Measure.
Then there is Comfort. The easiest way to describe what it felt like to wear this holster is in the title of this review. “Where’s My Gun?!?”. For the last few months, I have not had to ask myself that question as I ALWAYS knew exactly where my holster was…mostly because I had to keep readjusting it, re-hooking it to my belt, or sliding it back to where it was comfortable. With the Tactical Measure holster, I kept finding myself reaching for my hip to verify that I hadn’t forgotten it behind. Even while driving, the thought of “Where’s my Gun?” kept popping into my head. After checking once or 10 times, I finally got used to it, not because I could actually feel the holster, but because I could feel the weight of the gun on my hip.
So as for my grade on the Tactical Measure Holster, on a 1-10 scale, I am going to give it a solid 9.5. If Doug were to just make that one interior portion come up about a half-inch higher, it would be a perfect complement to a fine sidearm.
Now, as for the Magazine Pouch….
This thing is a work of art. Not only could I NOT feel it after putting it on, when I removed it, I searched for over an hour and could not find one single edge that had not been hand scraped and polished smooth. There was not one edge to catch on anything once I had it in place. The ONLY thing that I can say is that I had to load my magazines into the pouch before putting it on, rather than afterward, as finding the mag wells was difficult due to it riding below the elevation of my belt. Sadly, I believe that that is more the fault of my girth than it is the Tactical Measure design.
Now the big question…..PRICE.
After speaking with Douglas, I asked him what the retail value on these two items would be and he told me that the price of this holster design, with the features I requested retailed at $43, and the Mag Pouch was $40.
Given that I paid $37.50 for the competitors holster at an LGS, and was unable to find a double mag pouch on the shelf at 5 other places, I think the price is more than reasonable….in fact, I would say that it’s a bargain given the fact that it’s hand-made, custom ordered, and made in the U.S.A.
And if all that isn’t enough, Tactical Measure is offering a Coupon Code for any and all members of the Religion of Arms, The Liberty First Foundation, and all of our State Chapters. Just use the code ROA1 when ordering.
You can find these holsters, as well as choices for over 200 other model handguns at WWW.TacticalMeasure.com or find them on Facebook under Tactical Measure.
Footnote…As a Certified Firearms Instructor, there is NOTHING more important to me than the safe handling of firearms, and that includes the equipment we use to house, store, and access them. If a product, regardless of price, or manufacturer, does not meet the standards I would set for myself, I would NOT recommend it to anyone under ANY circumstances. If something has a shortcoming, or does not meet my own standards, I would not only tell you, I would warn you against it. I can say in confidence that the review above was made in accordance to those standards, and the product reviewed therein met those standards based entirely on the its own accord.