There are, according to a completely-made-up-by-me-but-probably-not-too-far-off-number, approximately six billion custom kydex holster makers in the world. Don’t believe me? If you belong to Facebook, find a large Facebook group (or internet forum) for a handgun you have, join it, and then post the following query to the board: “I just got [insert make/model of handgun here] and I’m looking for the best holster for it. What do you guys use?” Sit back and prepare for the maelstrom. An example: I belong to a Sig Sauer P320 board on Facebook. Someone recently asked for the board’s opinion on the best inside-the-waistband (IWB concealment holster). In 21 responses, there were 14 different holster manufacturers named, and 16 different models. I hadn’t even heard of most of them.
With all these options available to a consumer, it’s really, really difficult to narrow your choice down to one offering for you to plunk your hard-earned greenbacks down on. A company/product would truly have to stand out to be noticed.
…And notice a company called GunfightersINC I did. Initially their “Kenai” chest-mounted holster caught my eye on a Facebook feed ad, so I contacted GunfightersINC to purchase a Kenai rig. While I was perusing their catalog, I noticed a slick-looking outside-the-waistband holster they had dubbed the “Ronin Concealment Holster”. The interesting little details they put into their holster, plus the overwhelming need I had to find a hip-mounted home for my then-new full-sized Sig Sauer P320 meant that I felt compelled to order a Ronin up at the same time. To, y’know, save on shipping, I told my wife.
Who is GunfightersINC?
GunfightersINC is a small, veteran-owned holster making company that found its beginnings in the year 2010 when – like many other company beginnings – the owner/founder decided to make his own holster after finding a glaring lack of gear that fit his stringent needs, for his brand of pistol (HK USP45, according to their website). Soon, the holster-making hobby turned into a business, and GunfightersINC has since been pushing forward-thinking, practical ideas and design philosophies of simplicity, ergonomics, and durability into the world of quality kydex holsters.
GunfightersINC uses only US-made materials, and all their products are made by Americans in Leavenworth, Washington. A perusal of their website will inform you that GunfightersINC is fiercely proud of their innovations, quality, and product lineup. That product lineup encompasses several practical designs – some mainstays of any holster manufacturer like the Outside The Waistband (OWB) “Ronin”, Inside The Waistband (IWB) “Wraith” holster and the “Spectre” shoulder holster – but they also offer belt-mounted magazine pouches for rifles and handguns, as well as the aforementioned “Kenai” chest-mounted holster. They also offer a gorgeous-looking leather gunbelt that is simple and unobtrusive, but designed from the ground up as a sturdy, long-lasting platform for your holster, mags, and pistol. Their product line is not cluttered with bells and whistles and unneeded glitz; it’s simple and straightforward and worth a look or three when you need a new holster, mag carrier, and/or belt.
Enter The Ronin
The Ronin Concealment Holster is an all-kydex, outside-the-waistband belt-mounted holster. Do an online search for “kydex holster” images, and you’ll see that there may be a couple variations on a theme, but most kydex OWB holsters pretty much look the same. So the question arises: if all kydex holsters look the same, what sets them apart or makes individual designs better than others?
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The answer is “attention to detail”. Placement of belt loops/clips, rivets vs. screws, gun cant angle, materials, retention, and the way the holster’s contours fit your body and keep the firearm pulled into your body and hidden (if that is your goal.) Pretty patterns and colors are irrelevant (though GunfightersINC offers many) if the function of the holster is not thought out and executed properly. It takes a lot of testing, modifying, and holster evolution before a holster can be really good at its intended job – any schmuck can buy kydex and some tools in an attempt to make his own holsters, but chances are the final product is not going to be truly great at what it needs to do.
The Ronin Concealment Holster shows this attention to detail in a couple really useful ways. The first thing you notice that is a little different from most kydex holster offering is the belt loops. Instead of cast-off pre-made belt loops, GunfightersINC installs hand-formed, contoured loops that accomplish three holster-essential missions: they pull the holster closer to the body by hugging your body contours, the loops keep the holster secure and fixed in one spot on your belt, and they also maximize the comfort of carrying the holster and pistol. I will tell you after several weeks of wearing this holster and accompanying magazine pouch on a frequent basis, this holster is undoubtedly the most comfortable holster to wear – leather, kydex, or otherwise – that I own.
The belt loops are solidly hard riveted onto the body of the holster, ensuring the user that the holster will not move, wiggle, loosen, or work out of place. Many holster manufacturers offer a multitude of adjustment holes, with small philips head screws and rubber grommets so you can move the angle and placement of the belt loops to suit your needs. If you like a bit of adjustability in your holsters, I can see the draw (pun intended) to that sort of thing. However, for my money, I prefer a well designed holster that has gone through lots of testing to provide optimally-placed, fixed, hard-riveted belt loop attachment points.
The Ronin Concealment Holster also features a small strip of friction grip tape on the inside of each hand-formed belt loop. I thought this was a great feature, and it’s very effective when combined with the contoured loops: once the holster is installed on your body with a high-quality gun belt (I’ve been using the Magpul Tejas El Original) the holster DOES NOT move. This is a great thing once you have the holster on and where you like it; however, it does make getting the holster to that “just right” position a bit more of a tedious process – one must loosen the belt and pull the holster away from the body to adjust the Ronin’s position on the belt. But once the sweet spot is attained, rest assured – your Ronin will stay put tenaciously.
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I’ll be honest: the grip tape did pull off the inside of the belt loops eventually with use. After trying the holster with and without the grip tape, I can tell you that the holster works fine without the tape’s presence, but the grip tape definitely adds a bit of traction on your gun belt.
The holster materials are nice, high-quality slightly textured kydex. The form and fit to the gun is tremendous, which surely helps with the GunfightersINC motto of “Retention Defined”. The form is so detailed that you can actually see all of the accessory rail slots molded into the outline of the gun. While I’m sure this helps with traction on the gun, it also makes a weird “brrrrrt” noise as the gun is drawn and all those pistol rail stations have to slide through all those holster slot indentations. I’m sure this is quite gun-specific; the P320 full-sized gun has a full five accessory slots; most handguns have one or two, so your gun may not have this fun design auditory attribute.
The Ronin Concealment Holster – and all other holsters from GunfightersINC – come in a multitude of colors for the discerning buyer. I ordered Storm Gray, with black rivets – both no-charge options. For a slight upcharge, camo patterns or fabric coverings can be yours as well. GunfightersINC also offers custom touches as well, such as unit insignia on holsters and other cool items – contact them through their website to see what they have to offer.
Wearing The Ronin Everyday
So the Ronin OWB holster became my go-to holster when I could get away with wearing it – summer months came upon us quickly, making me don lighter clothing options if I didn’t want to sweat my posterior off. In addition, the sheer size of the gun I was putting in the holster – a full-sized Sig Sauer P320 with a 17-round capacity and 4.7” barrel – meant that the holster itself was quite long, and often protruded below the shirt or jacket I was wearing for gun-concealment purposes. But this is no fault of GunfightersINC or the Ronin design; it’s simply difficult to hide large, long-barrelled pistols – especially when worn outside the waistband.
However, when my exterior shell clothing was long enough to cover the holster adequately, the Ronin Concealment Holster was aces. The formed belt loops really suck the holster into the body nicely, and the general curved shape of the Ronin really helped blend the outline of the holster to my natural form. Grip printing – again, with a full-sized duty pistol – was there, but lessened compared to other OWB pancake leather holsters I’d tried in my local gun shop. After I obtained my P320 Compact, I gladly slipped the new, smaller pistol into the Ronin and the results were gratifying – much less grip printing under a one-size-too-large T-shirt.
But the real takeaway I have from wearing the Ronin is that the holster is, without hyperbole or blowing smoke, superbly comfortable – easily the most comfortable holster I own, as a matter of fact. With the holster and matching mag holder, and their respective payloads sucked in tight to your body, the rig feels like part of your person – not an added-on burden that slaps or shuffles around. Note: an essential ingredient to this recipe is a solid, sturdy 1 ½” gun belt. A good gun belt doesn’t allow the holster to flex, pivot, or pull away from the body, and should be considered essential to any holster use.
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I’ve really fallen in love with this holster as an open-carry setup for when I’m out fishing, hiking, or canoeing. The excellent holster posture is a remedy to any ailment caused by other holstered handguns. In times past, I’ve gotten in the truck after a nice outdoorsy jaunt, only to discover foliage and other detritus finding a home between my body and the holster and/or belt. Pistols banging on gunwales, catching shirtsleeves, and pistol grips clunking on stocks of shoulder-slung rifles are maladies I’ve encountered with previous holsters – so far, the Ronin has combated these problems with comfort and excellent firearm retention. While this holster may be marketed and designed with concealment in mind, I feel it also comes into its own as an excellent outdoors use general purpose gun transportation apparatus.
I used this holster through many days of frequent one-handed draw drills, one-handed reloads and other manipulations, both strong- and weak-side. Draws were quick and positive, and the 10° forward cant helped hide the gun against my body without compromising access with the off-hand too badly if needed. The outside kydex shell was strong enough to allow me to rack the slide using the flat of the rear sight, though the edge of the holster got a little chewed up – this is to be expected with any kydex holster used similarly.
What I Didn’t Like About The Ronin
My complaints with the holster that are genuine faults of the holster are few and, to be sure, trivial. The edges of the holster are cut with wonderful precision, but then only minimally polished or sanded. This leaves a sharp edge that can scrape skin and abrade clothing. A simple light scuffing around the perimeter of the holster with a small scrap of 220-grit sandpaper remedied this problem nicely.
The aforementioned grip tape strips jumping ship from the inside of the belt loops was another small issue – but a little degreasing, sandpaper, and a very, VERY light application of epoxy (I used Brownell’s Acraglas because I had a bit left over after a stock bedding project) has fixed this problem so far. Other than the two small issues above, I have no cons for these holsters. Some may like a bit more adjustability or a steeper cant angle, but I am extremely pleased with this holster design and intend to buy another for my P320 Compact.
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I did have an embarrassing and painful anecdotal experience with the Ronin Concealment Holster that I will share with you. The body side of the Ronin sports a sweat guard, which is a tongue of holster material that rides between your body and the interior side of the pistol slide. This sweat shield does indeed guard against sweat as its moniker suggests, and also keeps any pistol terrain like slide serrations or sights from rubbing against your clothing or body – it’s a great idea that is effective when done well. I once went to re-holster the gun after a spirited range session, and the searing pain that immediately resulted informed me that I had pinched a tiny bit of the ol’ love handle between the outside of the holster sweat guard and the gun. I had a hell of a sharp red mark on my torso just above the holster, and my wife definitely capitalized on my pain for her mirth. I guess the moral of the story here is that maybe if you run a bit of a spare tire and a close-fitting holster, you may want to seriously consider getting rid of one of them – preferably the couple extra pounds. Looking down at the holster while you re-insert the handgun is usually wise too.
Wrapping It Up
In conclusion, I was very impressed with the Ronin Concealment Holster and GunfightersINC’s product line. The holster’s design is excellent, the comfort level is through the roof with a good belt, and it’s a solid, no-regrets choice for someone who wants a good, all-purpose OWB holster that performs above and beyond most other kydex designs. Several weeks’ worth of EDC use with this holster indoors and outdoors, concealed and open, on and off the range, cements that opinion. I have every confidence that this holster is worth your extended consideration and hard-earned greenbacks the next time you’re looking for a great OWB holster. Shoot GunfightersINC a line and tell ‘em Drew from Survival Cache sent ya…and keep an eye open for the upcoming “Kenai” review…it’s a badass setup.