To be honest with you, I have lost track of how many reviews I have written on holsters – a tactical gear product which, along with handguns, I believe to be one of [the] most important assets that all of us who are into firearms can own.
Like I have said many times before in my previous reviews of holsters, there is an inherent and/or mutual dependency between handguns and holsters as their combined use could, at any given point in time, be detrimental in a potential life-threatening situation, thus warranting our need to give the purchase of any holster serious considerations.
While at the end of the day, choosing the best holster possible for your particular mission or needs is a matter of personal preference, there are, still, certain features and/or criteria all of which should be carefully analyzed or evaluated before opening your wallets and pocketbooks and buying the wrong holster.
My review today is strictly limited to Alien Gear’s Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster – a system that enjoys great popularity in today’s world where being prepared for the unexpected should be among our top priorities – a world where comfort, concealment and reliability are just critical considerations that we all should look for in any self-defense endeavor.
Key Features to Look for in Holsters
So, as I said before, there are some distinct key features that we should look for in all holsters, regardless of what system you are ultimately looking for.
Yes, I know, when it comes to holsters as well as when you deal with firearms, there is not such a thing as one-size-fits-all.
Quite the opposite in fact.
The holster universe as well as the handgun universe, nowadays are as close as we have ever come to being specialty items in their own right.
Needless to say, the variables in holster choices, nowadays, are literally endless.
That said, however, I have always contended that there are some critical features or considerations which could be thought of as generic, as, besides all else, the latter may be fundamental to our final selection.
Some of these crucial features include, however not limited to, the following:
Cloak Tuck – Definition
As noted, today’s review is about the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster.
Notably, I am often asked the question, what does Cloak Tuck stand for?
Best way I can describe it is, the Cloak Tuck is a classic leather hybrid holster with a plush leather holster base joined with a custom-molded retention shell.
It is [the] classic hybrid holster design that has been around for quite a while.
And, for the novices out there, if you are wondering what a hybrid holster is, well, by default the word “hybrid” is defined as something made by combining two different elements: a mixture.
A hybrid holster uses a hard polymer shell on one side (typically Kydex or Boltaron), and some sort of malleable material on the other side of the firearm.
Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 - Overview
Before I even go any further in this review, let me disclaim that, in spite of my best efforts to try and give you an objective viewpoint on the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5, I may be somewhat biased, as for me, the name Alien Gear is synonymous with greatness; with great quality, craftsmanship and design as has been shown in all of their products.
So, if at any time in this review you perceive a certain unbalanced preference for this holster, now you know why.
The success of the Alien Gear Holsters, like most any other success stories, comes with a history of accomplishments well worth sharing.
It all starts when company founder Thomas Tedder could not find a handgun holster, he genuinely wanted to carry a pistol in.
The operation began in his kitchen as he developed a design he was willing to wear as concealed carry. At his wife’s request, he eventually moved to his shed and in 2013 he finally relocated Alien Gear Holsters to Hayden, Idaho.
And, as they say, the rest is history.
Tedder’s success centered around the realization that the most potential lay in a hybrid holster design, which mated a rigid plastic retention shell molded for the gun it would hold to a backing platform made of a durable cloth such as leather.
From its inception, the main objective of the Alien Gear design was to address the weaknesses found in typical holster designs of the epoch.
Whereas conventional hybrid designs of the time used an 8-ounce leather backer, Alien Gear used a 12-ounce backer, and, instead of using a thin shell made of thermoplastic acrylic polyvinyl chloride [PVC], such as Kydex, Alien Gear used a thicker shell devised for greater durability.
Another yet common feature of Alien Gear’s holsters was their use of hex screws and crushable rubber washers to attach the retention shell to the holster.
Competitors had traditionally used rivets which were non-adjustable. Belt clips on the Inside-the-Waistband [IWB] holsters were also made adjustable by Alien Gear so that the holsters would ride at the height and tilt angle preferred by its user.
In addition, Alien Gear developed a universal shell system, in which the same holster shell could be placed on any backer made by Alien Gear.
So, the “Cloak Tuck” Holster is an inside-the-waistband [IWB] hybrid holster designed specifically to hide your gun. The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 was designed focusing on comfort and prolonged usage under everyday carry.
The system features a fully swappable plastic shell that is interchangeable for use with the Cloak Slide OWB holster.
The Cloak Tuck 3.5 comes equipped with either Alien Gear’s standard nylon clips, designed for 1 ¼ to 1 ½-inch belts, or the steel clips that fit belts up to 1 ¾ inches.
For enhanced concealment, Alien Gear has optional nylon “C” and “J” clips as add-items.
Included in the purchase of the Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster is a parts pack (2 - 1/2" screws, 4 - 3/8" screws, 4 - 5/8" screws, 2 - 1/2" rubber spacers, 4 - 3/8" rubber spacers, 4 - 5/8" rubber spacers, 1 - T Nut, 1 - Finish Washer, 1 - 3/32 Hex Key).
Our Final Verdict
To wrap it all up, yes, I would give the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 a 5-star review.
Overall, I was rather impressed with what this holster has to offer.
Summary and Conclusion
By way of summary, I put the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5's design at the top of the list of key features, namely one that centers around concealment and comfort.
Right behind the design I have construction. The Cloak Tuck 3.5 base, backed with their CoolVent™ neoprene, is just a great concept designed specifically for comfort carry even when used for prolonged periods of time.
The fact that you can easily adjust the cant and ride height of the Cloak Tuck 3.5 with Alien’s toolless clips, provides for a perfect fit to the firearm. Their innovative twist and lock technology allow for adjusting relatively easily, again with no needs of tools or hardware.
So, for the sake of objectivity, in most of my reviews, I tend to have a section where I detail all the “Pros” and “Cons” of the particular product being reviewed.
With the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IMB Holster, however, the list of positives far outweighed the negatives. In fact, most of my evaluations were positive and just about the only gripe I could came up with was the holster can be somewhat difficult to put on.
Unfortunately, it is not quite as easy to tuck this holster if your pants are buttoned or your belt is fastened. That said, I ended up reading the instructions provided with the system and it was definitely of help.
I would have preferred for this holster to be easier and faster to don, but then again, nothing in life is perfect.
Last but not least, at a price point of approximately $50 dollars, I think the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB holster is priced extremely competitively when compared to many hybrid IWB designs on the market.
Bottom line friends, what can I say, I am a fan of Alien Gear products, and I am also a fan of their Cloak Tuck 3.5 holster. If you happen to be looking for an IWB holster, I have absolutely no hesitation in highly recommending this holster – one you must, for sure, include in your considerations.
Do yourself a favor and check this one out before making that final decision.