There were times when purchasing a holster was as easy as choosing from just a few basic options, mostly relative to the particular firearm that you wanted to accommodate.
While this criterion is still applicable, the options and choices have grown exponentially if only because holsters, like many other tactical gear products, have evolved considerably in terms of technological advancement, material construction, carry types, etc., etc.
Nowadays, just so you know, the alternatives offered to holster buyers are literally endless.
So vast that buying what used to be a simple system, now has become a project – a project where due diligence, and/or becoming thoroughly familiar with a product or a product line is inherently necessary to make the right purchasing decision.
That said, our mission is precisely one that entails giving folks like yourself an added-value level of understanding of certain products and product lines, which we, personally, are very familiar with.
Our choice for today’s review is the Alien Gear Low-Pro Belly Band Holster – a system which I personally have become remarkably familiar with, given my regular use of it for a varied number of missions.
Alien Gear Overview
For those of you who have read some of my previous reviews, the name Alien Gear to me is synonymous with success.
The Alien Gear company was founded as recently as 2013, thus we may still refer to it as a rather young company.
Like many other success stories, Alien Gear was founded by Thomas Tedder as he could not find a holster, where he genuinely wanted to carry a pistol in.
Tedder's beginnings were humble as operations began in his kitchen where he developed a design he was willing to wear as concealed carry. And, as they say, the rest is history.
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.
Alien Gear founder Tedder success can be readily attributed to the realization for the need of 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.
Another yet innovative feature of Alien Gear 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.
What is a Belly Band Holster?
Well, first things first, a belly band holster is a method of concealed carry that wraps around your midsection and allows lightweight clothing to conceal smaller firearms.
Belly band holsters are great for use when clothing options are limited or are lightweight by necessity.
My first observation in this topic is that carrying comfortably and concealing your firearm is much more difficult than it at first appears.
For most carry setups people must be wearing compatible clothing with belt loops, gun belts, some form of holster and a cover garment.
There are, as you well can imagine, gears that are uncomfortable and/or impossible to wear in certain environments.
Many people who like to stay strapped in situations like jogging, wearing jeans, a leather belt and an overshirt or jacket have turned to belly band holsters – a retention system that, as the name implies, is a band stretched around one’s belly.
Available in a variety of styles, materials and price points, there does not seem to be a clear consensus on the viability of belly band holsters.
Some view them as a gimmick reserved for those who do not know any better, while others see them as an ingenious solution to the issue of carrying while wearing less than ideal clothing.
Further down below in this review, I have compiled a list of “Pros” and “Cons” of issues that you can expect from all belly band holsters.
Pros and Cons of Belly Band Holsters
As mentioned before, there are, like anything in life, “Pros” and “Cons” to using belly band holsters.
That said, however, looking at the glass half-full instead of a half-empty, I think there are certain marked advantages offered by belly band holsters.
In my books, belly band holsters are ideal for anyone who needs extra security knowing ahead of time that they will have strong retention around their entire waist.
Belly band holsters are also best for those who have trouble concealing handguns in their waistbands only because of the type of clothing they like to wear.
In other words, for many, especially for women, concealment is an issue anytime that you want to wear clothes that have a tight fit to your body.
For the most part, however, belly band holsters are quite easy to wear and convenient, designed for complete concealment.
Alien Gear’s Low-Pro Belly Band
Concisely, Alien Gear’s Low-Pro Belly Band Holsters are a belly band design with a lower profile for easier concealment and increased comfort at the same time.
This holster is more comfortable, but less intrusive and less complicated - simple, but effective.
Unlike most other belly band holsters out there, Alien Gear’s Low-Pro Belly Band Holsters fit specific models of firearms.
You can order one for the gun you carry. There is no need for a retention strap that just complicates the draw. The gun rides on a reinforced platform, staying stable for secure carry and a reliable draw stroke.
The band is breathable, with a wicking neoprene padding. Use it under any clothing for any purpose, including daily carry, work or working out.
The trigger guard is totally covered with a rigid retention shell. Anything less would be unsafe to carry with. There is nothing to snag the front sight on the draw. The Low-Prow Belly Band Holster will work just as well at the range, so you can actually train with it.
The Low-Pro also uses a distinctive design of holster shell, so it is not interchangeable with other Alien Gear Holsters retention shells.
The Low Pro comes with a 30-Day Test Drive trial period after purchase, and Alien Gear’s Forever Warranty for the lifetime of the holster.
Summary and Conclusion
If I am going to be honest and objective in this review, I have, in the past covered as many different holster systems as you can imagine, anything and everything from inside-the-waistband [IWB] to outside-the-waistband [OWB] to shoulder holsters, appendix rigs, drop-leg, ankle, chest, you name it.
That said, I got to say that, generically speaking, belly band holsters are not necessarily meant for everyone.
Let me try and qualify that statement.
I have always contended that belly band holsters have more to do with your choices of clothing than anything else.
In other words, when it comes to belly band holsters the two key words to think about are 1) comfort and 2) concealment – that simple.
Honestly, belly band holsters certainly are not the ideal method of concealed carry for most individuals in the tactical gear universe.
Vis-à-vis, there are certain people and certain situations in which belly band holsters work extremely well, maybe even surpassing their counterparts.
I would say it all boils down to your lifestyle. In other words, when it comes to belly band holsters, your everyday lifestyle eventually dictates that this type of holster will be or will not be your preferred and/or your primary way to conceal your firearm. Again, for some it may be the perfect solution, but for others it may not.
Ultimately, when it is all said and done, belly bands have become quite popular with those who carry handguns for self-defense only because they aim to strike a good balance between concealment, comfort, practicality, and ease of access of your firearm.
As shown earlier in this review, I broke down some of the potential advantages and some of the drawbacks that you can expect from a belly band holster.
In the end, again, the ultimate choice is yours and yours alone.
While I can offer my best advice possible, only you can make the ultimate decision on whether a belly band holster is the ideal system for your particular needs and lifestyle.
If, however, at the end, you do decide to get yourself a belly band holster, I strongly recommend that you consider the Alien Gear Low-Pro Belly Band.
At a price point of approximately $88 ± dollars, you definitely cannot go wrong with this belly band.
As always, whatever you decide at the end, I wish you lots of success on the purchase of your belly band holster. I truly hope and expect to have provided you with sufficient information in this review, so as to be able to narrow-down your options in a way that best suits your particular needs and preferences.
Lots of luck in your purchasing journey.
While today’s review is about Alien Gear’s Low-Pro Belly Band Holster, I think it behooves us to learn some of what belly band holsters are all about.
To that end, I thought the best way to accomplish this objective would be by means of some FAQ [Frequently Asked Questions Section], posed to us in the past in which we attempt to give some basic guidelines and generic information about these particular holsters.
To answer the question, the answer is that belly band designs can be an excellent choice for concealed carry when they are thoughtfully and carefully constructed.
Yes, they do. In their Low-Pro line Alien Gear incorporates the same design and ingenuity typical of their other holster lines. Providing the comfort and reliability of Alien’s IWB holsters into a wraparound design secured by hook and loop, the Low-Pro Belly Band is Alien’s lowest profile holster yet.
Belly band holsters are perfect for anyone who needs the extra security knowing they have strong retention around their entire waist. These are also best for those who have trouble concealing handguns in their waistband because of the type of clothing they like to wear.