Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: 13 Zulu React Holster

My friend and shooting buddy, Double Tap, recently reviewed 13 Zulu's holster.  I've shot with Double Tap going on seven or eight years now and fully respect his opinions.  I've been after him for a while now to start his own blog/website for his reviews, but his time is crazy busy.  So, instead, I'm going to "steal" his reviews (with his permission, of course) and post them here.  I feel like his reviews are too good to be limited to just his Facebook page.

13 Zulu’s React custom kydex holster….is “da bomb”. That’s the executive summary, so let me back up to the beginning. I ran across 13 Zulu on facebook a few weeks ago, as I looked through the great gallery of photos I had to wipe the drool from my chin. I am a gun geek and knew at that point I had to have one. I’ve been wearing 13 Zulu’s “React” holster for a week now, I’ve worn it to the range where we shot carbine and pistol making many transitions from long gun to pistol. I’ve worn it as a conceal carry rig on several outings around town, I’ve worn it to work, I’ve worn it during dry fire practice. A week is about the minimum time I give something before I’ve made up my mind if it’s going to work or not. I can usually tell earlier, but let’s not rush to judgment, the media does a good job of that, but this is important stuff.

My Holster is a 13 Zulu “React” Alpha package. It’s a belt attached pancake style kydex holster which means the belt attachments are pushed to the edges for a wider distribution of the pistol’s weight. 13 Zulu does not market this holster for conceal carry, they have other models for that application, but strong side external is how I wear for conceal carry and in competition. Mike, the CEO of 13 Zulu, used my own words, “take your belt through the first loop, then through your belt loop, and out the other attachment for 3 points of contact on the belt”. I’ve used the exact statement in numerous conceal carry classes. Following these instructions insures the holster is in the same place every time, secure, and ready for use.

Why 13 Zulu’s holster? I’ve owned Galco Kydex, and more recently a Blackhawk Serpa paddle holster. I left the Galco because of the smaller size of the paddle they were using. The larger paddle of the Serpa and the security of their Level 2 locking device was a step up over the Galco. The belt attachment for the Serpa was a nice add on, but you can tell that not too much thought was put into it. The Serpa belt attachment is dated technology, it harkens back to the single point of contact against the belt, while the single point is wide, it’s nowhere near as wide as the React holster and after many hours of wear the comfort factor definitely tilts in favor of the React. Next let’s look at the dimensions of both the React and the Serpa. The React is form fitted on the curve to fit closely to the hip. I index the front belt loop on the holster near the belt loop on my pants so that the majority of the pistol rides at 3:30 on the clock face (just beyond the hip point). The widest part of the React holster is from the edge of the belt loop to the center of the outside kydex sheet, and measures roughly 1.5 inches on the React.
13 Zulu React holster
Photo courtesy Double Tap

This same measurement is 2 inches on the Serpa with a paddle attached! That’s a 25% slimmer fit on the profile for the React.
Blackhawk Serpa
Photo courtesy Double Tap

The retention is a friction type that is custom fit to your gun. You need a crisp, purposeful pull to unseat the gun, you’ll have a harder time easing the gun out of the holster, though that is possible with a constant pull and good security on the belt. Typical running and gunning will not jostle your gun out of this retention.

13 Zulu markets their holsters as a custom holster, they offer features that are not found on off the shelf kydex rigs, such as a sweat guard. The sweat guard brings the sheet of kydex higher between your body and the gun, keeping your gun dry and sweet smelling when you smell like a dead coyote that’s been left in the sun. I’ve not seen belt attachments pushed out to the sides, pancake style, on any other kydex holster. 13 Zulu also offers attachments to make their line of holsters compatible with MOLLE systems if that option is needed. It is solid retention. Other customizations include custom cant angles, custom belt loop sizes. The cant can be adjusted by the screws holding the belt loops, or you can have the holster molded with a 10 or 15 degree cant. Lastly, there are many kydex colors available, not just basic black, the MARPAT camo rocks and I see one in my future.

In my opinion holsters are about comfort and function. Poorly designed holsters end up in a bin in the closet that I take to class and say , “don’t buy one of these, it’s a POS”. The holster I wear in class is a different story, this is the holster that is the most comfortable I have found, doesn’t pinch, keeps my gun securely in place and at the end of a 10 hour day has not added to my discomfort in any measurable way. I foresee wearing the React for many classes to come, starting next weekend (June 10 NRA Basic).

In closing there are many reasons to check out 13 Zulu holsters, I’ve mentioned criteria that are important to me. We all have different criteria we use to measure the success or failure of a piece of gear, and I’ve got limited space to write a review and keep your attention. In the week I’ve been wearing this product, it has measured up to my criteria. It has stayed in place, it has held my gun comfortably, I’ve been able to reholster my pistol immediately as if I’ve been wearing it for a year. If you have additional questions about the fit or function let me know, I’d be happy to respond.

13 Zulu, made in the USA ( here in Northern Colorado), from parts made in the USA, by Vets for sheep dogs, LEO’s and the guys and gals in the far parts of the world doing the work of the country. Take 10 minutes from your day and go give them a “like” and check out the photos of their work, and if you need a holster by all means give them a shout.


agirlandhergun said...

Wow, that is thorough. Will check them out.

The Lowry Place said...

Well I'm still searching for a holster so I'll check them out. I'm sort of waiting until I get a gun I want to conceal carry I love my Springfield but I don't think it's a feasible gun for me to carry. So I have my eye on a few smaller thinner guns.

Your from Colorado? I would love to make a visit to you one of these days. My second favorite state ever.

Momma Fargo said...

Great review! Very thorough and lots of information. Thanks!

GunDiva said...

I'm in Colorado; Mrs Mom is in Georgia; Shepherd K is in Texas - we're pretty much scattered :)