Sunday, February 26, 2012

REVIEW: VersaCarry

I have a ton of holsters. When I added a Crimson Trace Laserguard to my Taurus 738 TCP and my Taurus 709 Slim, I had to replace TWO Crossbreed IWB holsters, one SuperTuck and one MiniTuck...$140. A funny thing happened while I was researching holsters. I was scrolling through Google images of carry holsters and this little J-clip thingy showed up on screen and I clicked on it. I was taken to VersaCarry.com. I was immediately intrigued. So intrigued, I bought one and after reading this, I think you'll buy at least one of them also.

Before I get to the review of the actual product, I think you need to know a little history behind Justin Sitz and how he came up with the idea for the VersaCarry. It's an awesome story of tragic loss, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. To make it easy, just click this link (VersaCarry Story) and read the story on the VersaCarry web site. But to get your curiosity up, the Verscarry would not exist if Justin's house had not burned to the ground. Yep, this is one of those American dream stories, just come back to my blog and finish reading my review after reading his story...unless you want to go ahead and buy one.

Lately, my pants have been getting a little tighter. Maybe my wife has been washing my jeans in hot water and over-drying them or something. Or maybe I've been eating too many cupcakes. Anyway, I was having to really suck it in to get my jeans buttoned around my gut and my Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe. To get around this issue, I had to switch to my Taurus TCP and the MiniTuck until I could buy some new jeans or lose a few pounds. I decided to lose a few pounds but I needed a way to carry my 9mm until the pounds came off. While in transition, as I said, I stumbled across VersaCarry. As I looked though the site, I realized this could be a great opportunity to test a new product and keep from buying new jeans.

Most of the pictures I post on Firearmfun.blogspot.com are my own. Most, not all. In this case I'm going to use several of the photos from VersaCarry.com, as well as some of my own. I can't beat their product shots.

When I pulled the manilla envelope from the mailbox, I immediately tore it opened and put my new holster to use.

Justin's design system functions as easily and flawlessly as a fork. He molded a J-shaped piece of Kydex into a belt clip, bolted on a Delrin retention post and bingo...VersaCarry. They come in XS, S, M, L XL but that only indicates the length of the J-hook to accommodate barrel length. The second option is retention rod size which corresponds to caliber. The cool thing is that one post fits the .380, .38, .357 and 9mm if barrels are about the same length. The Gen II version adds an optional trigger guard.


Two guns, same 9mm XS VersaCarry
I skipped installing the optional trigger guard for this first use (At first, I didn't see the need for it, but after several days of use, I can see it's benefit with small pistols that lack safeties) and the half-circle piece seems to keep the pistol from rotating. I grabbed my Taurus 709 Slim, slipped the retention rod into the barrel and clipped it into my waistband. It fit perfectly. No need for new jeans! For four days, I alternated carrying both my Taurus 738 TCP and my 709 Slim and I was amazed at how secure the pistol sat and how light and slender the system was. It felt like the gun was just wedged into my belt.

Notice something important in the size chart photo. If you do opt for a larger size that gives you deep concealment, remember that having the entire grip in your pants takes of a lot of waistband and makes drawing much more difficult. 

I can't wait to use this thing in the summer when I'm wearing light weight khaki shorts or cargo shorts. I think it will get a lot of use once it starts getting hot outside. 

Also, my wife has her carry permit but her form fitting clothes make it hard to carry concealed without printing or flashing. Some of her blouses don't hang down very low. She did some testing and found that the VersaCarry does give her the ability to carry a small .380 in form-fitting designer jeans and a good-looking blouse. FYI: She'd never in a million years wear a 5.11 tactical carry shirt (nor would I want her to) and even a Crossbreed MiniTuck wouldn't fit in those sexy Rock & Republic or 7 For All Mankind Jeans. But the VersaCarry does seem to work when matched with my Taurus 738 TCP .380ACP.

For those worry about slipping a plastic-like rod into the muzzle of your pistol, don't worry. I too wondered about it breaking off in the barrel or damaging the crown, but after reading the VersaCarry web site and using it myself, the system seems safe and functions as advertised.

videoI practiced a dozen draws with both pistols and at first I would occasionally draw and the gun wouldn't come out very easily. I looked in the mirror and noticed that I was not pulling the pistol straight up, but forward, as I drew. This angled the retention rod in the barrel and added friction. I don't care what holster you have, you can't pull a gun at an angle, it needs to be pulled straight up and out. Since the VersaCarry doesn't have a sheath that completely shrouds the gun, it's easier to do a tilt-and-draw than with a Crossbreed but once you realize the issue, the pistol comes out very easily. Plus, the gun comes out easier as the VersaCarry breaks in. See my video.

Also, if you're like me and have several 5-inch barrel 9mm's and several 3-inch barrel 9mm's and a .380's all you need to do is buy one XS 9mm VersaCarry and one Medium. Fifty-bucks and I can carry five guns! I would need to spend $350, buying five unique Crossbreeds to carry all those guns IWB! $350! That money could buy me another pistol!

But like anything, even forks, there are trade-offs (forks won't work for soup) The VersaCarry is simple, slender and inexpensive, but it's not as comfortable as the Crossbreed. Due to the leather backing, the Crossbreed is more comfortable but it takes up a lot of room in your waistband. Since the VersaCarry leaves your gun against your skin, you feel every corner, edge and lever. I never realized my 709 Slim has pointed corners at the back end of the slide, but it does. To increase comfort, I have to wear an undershirt tucked in between my skin and my gun, something I don't have to do with the Crossbreed (but usually do anyway). Right now it's winter, but in the summer, sweaty skin could cause long-term issues on cheaper pistol finishes.

Click to enlarge
Trade-off number two is that it's really hard to get you pistol re-holstered once it's drawn. Crossbreeds have solid, custom molded Kydex holster boxes that retain their shape once the firearm is removed. This makes re-holstering extremely easy and safe. I successfully re-holstered my unloaded Taurus 738 TCP repeatedly but the process isn't easy and I don't think I'd do it with a loaded pistol that doesn't have a safety.

Trade-off number three is that since it's a single clip system, there isn't a way to adjust carry camber. Some like a forward tilt, some like straight and holsters with two clips usually give you the ability to make that custom adjustment. Even though this is a trade-off, it's not one that I had an issue with. I found that my guns rode comfortably straight up and down.

Right now I only have an XS 9mm version, but I'm planning on buying a medium for my Ruger SR9. I think the bigger/thicker the gun, the more important a thin IWB retention system is so I'm looking forward to seeing how it works with a 9mm that's bigger and heavier than the 709 Slim. I'll post the results when I get it.

Remember I wrote that I believed you would buy at least one VersaCarry? I'm going to give you several really good reasons.
1) Every concealed carry owner has a ton of holsters anyway, most are in a box in the garage, so one more good one isn't a big deal. Especially when it's as well designed and useful as the VersaCarry.
2) You gotta love supporting a guy like Justin Sitz who took all he had and started a real cool business. I hope he sells a million of these things.
3) You will find that the VersaCarry is a great way to carry concealed, especially if your pants are tight or you're dressing light.
4) It's only $25! You spend more than that on 50-rounds of 9mm! Get off your wallet cheap-skate and get one already.

7 comments:

  1. This is great! I like the idea and want one for my LC9. I may try ordering the small size after looking at the picture size chart. Let me know if you test other sizes.

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  2. I've never seen one of these before. Looks like a good idea and for $25, why not. I'm not sure I'd want to carry a full-sized 1911 with it, but for a small semi-auto, I imagine it'd be a great way to carry. I'm convinced...

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    1. I just ordered a small and medium to go with my X-small. I'll update the post once I get them.

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  3. Will it work with a revolver. Say a J-frame .38?

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    1. I tried it with my wife's Ruger LCR and the cylinder is a bit wide. It forces the gun to sit off kilter in the VersaCarry. It works, it just seems to work a lot better with semi-autos. Something tells me that with the success they are having, they'll invent an J-frame model. I think it'd sell.

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  4. -I have the small Versa Carry for mySigP290, with laser. It also fits my S&W 3954. I am left-handed, however - the Versa Carry doesn't know that, and allows carry on either hip, inside or outside the waistband, a supr buy. I am a retired LEO, 35 years in the business. This is my favorite method of carry!

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