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There was a time when a $30 holster was a joke. Any piece of carry gear that did not cost half the price of the handgun that it was designed to carry was considered junk and not worthy of consideration. Of course holsters were made of leather in those days and a quality piece of leather (coming from a top-quality hide) was costly. However, if you cared for the rig it could last the rest of your life. The downside to leather was it needed a break-in period, as a properly fitted holster came from the factory tight. If not, the rig would get sloppy in short order and the wearer ran the risk of having their gun fall out. I spent many hours breaking in leather rigs so that they would draw quickly but remain secure. I have also spent a large amount of time “re-blocking” leather holsters, meaning soaking and wet molding the holster back to a nice, tight fit.

The onslaught of thermo-plastic holsters, what are commonly referred to as Kydex holsters (whether they are truly made of Kydex or not), has made the break-in process obsolete. It has also made the quality $30 holster a reality. These days, it is not hard to get a quality holster that is fast, secure and concealable for under $50 from a number of manufacturers. I use any number of these rigs myself and while on a recent trip to Gunsite, I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Barnham of Galco Gunleather about their entry into the “plastic” holster market with the Matrix Series. These durable, injection-molded holsters are lightweight, comfortable, and nearly maintenance-free while remaining fast into action, concealable, and easy on the budget. Mike agreed to send several of the Matrix models my way for a review and after wearing them around for a bit, I can honestly say that they are among the “best buys” in concealment holsters.

M4X Matrix Auto Lock
With a move towards retention holsters, even for concealment applications within the law enforcement community, Galco now offers a rig with a high level of security but an extremely fast draw. The new patent pending M4X ALH is the latest addition to Galco’s growing Matrix holster line. Galco’s proprietary locking device retains the pistol until the ergonomic and intuitive thumb-release lever is depressed, instantly releasing the pistol for a quick, smooth draw. The smart location of the button and its ergonomic release motion make this a retention holster that is easy to manipulate. Constructed from the same injection-molded thermoplastic as the other Matrix holsters, the M4X also maintains the same durability and dependability while being quite cost-effective. The locking mechanism has endured torture tests involving thousands upon thousands of draws, and is well suited to hard, real-world use. Using the same paddle as the highly popular M5X holster, the M4X offers all the quick-on/-off advantages of a paddle design, while remaining securely anchored on the belt when in use. The slight forward cant allows a fast and comfortable draw, while pulling the pistol in tight for good concealment. The M4X fits belts up to 1¾ inches in size.

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There was a time when a $30 holster was a joke. Any piece of carry…