Handguns Reviews Self Defense

JM Custom Kydex IWB 3 Holster

Looking for a high-quality inside-the-waistband custom holster that won’t break the bank and will ship quickly? The JM Custom Kydex IWB 3 may very well fit the bill.

As far back as I can remember, since I developed a deep interest in concealed carry, JM Custom Kydex has been considered one of the premier holster makers by dedicated concealed carry practitioners and armed self defense instructors. I’ve owned a handful of their holsters over the past few years, but really haven’t put them to hard use until recently. This came about as a result of me needing a concealed carry holster for the Smith & Wesson Model 66 that I intended to use in the Rangemaster Master Instructor Development course earlier this year. The thing was I had a custom leather holster, which I’ve yet to write about, on order for the revolver but was unsure it would arrive on time for the class. I needed something of high quality quickly and in my search I learned that not only did JM Custom Kydex make holsters for the revolver, but they also had a quick ship option available. 

I already had a holster from Speed Beez for the revolver at the time I placed the order. However, the Speed Beez holster was far better suited for competition applications than it was for defensive purposes – especially concealed carry. Thinking back, the Speed Beez holster might have worked for the course work. However, the coursework was specific to concealed carry and I would be doing myself a disservice in addition to disrespecting Tom Givens if I showed up with a competition holster instead of a concealed carry holster. So I did what I thought was best and ordered the holster from JM Custom Kydex. I’m glad I did that.

Before I get into the holster, I would like to briefly mention a bit about the quick ship option. JM Custom Kydex offers several holster designs with a myriad of options to choose from that allow one to customize their holster specifically for their needs and preferences. That level of customization takes time. Usually measured in several weeks (at the time of writing the lead time on custom holsters is 5 to 7 weeks). The quick ship option is available for the most popular holsters and limited to the most common configurations. There are still some customization options available on quick ship products, but not as many. This reduction in scope allows for quick ship products to be built and shipped in a matter of days instead of weeks (at the time of writing the lead time on quick ship products is 5 to 10 business days).

The IWB 3 holster is a wrap-around design, sometimes called a taco shell design, intended for strong-side inside-the-waistband carry. It is essentially a single piece of Kydex that is folded over and molded to fit a specific firearm. Like most holsters that use this design approach, there are two retention screws on the opposite side of the fold that can be adjusted to increase or decrease the amount of passive retention. I consider this holster to be a no frills minimalist holster. It’s a single layer of Kydex fitted to a specific pistol with a couple of retention screws and a belt attachment device. That’s it. There is no extra material and virtually matches the dimensions of the gun it is molded for. At the same time, the holster meets all the necessary criteria for a high quality holster. It retains the firearm securely and safely, the firearm is accessible and can be drawn efficiently and effectively, and the holster is comfortable enough to encourage daily carry.

Let’s look at some of the configuration options. 

This holster is available for a very large number of different makes and models of pistols, including, but not limited to 1911s, AREX, Beretta, Canik, Colt, CZ, FN, Glock, HK, IWI, PSA, Polymer 80, Ruger, S&W, Sig, Springfield, Staccato, Taurus, Tisas, Walther, and Wilson. A healthy subset of the supported make and models are available as a quick ship option. Belt attachment options include plastic or steel clips, DCC Monoblock, or soft loops (fixed, pull-the-dot, or split). The holster cant can be customized from 0 to 25 degrees in 5 degree increments or one can option for an adjustable belt attachment hole pattern. While the design isn’t ambidextrous, it can be ordered for either right or left handed configurations. There are about two dozen Kydex colors and patterns available to choose from. A subset of about 10 color options are available with a quick ship option. The sweat guard can also be customized in three sizes: full, mid, or none. Last, but not least, the holster can be cut for a pistol mounted optic. Basically, a quick ship option for the IWB 3 holster is possible for any popular concealed carry pistol configured any which way so long as one is okay with the limited color options. 

In the case of the holster I ordered, I went with plain old black Kydex with a DCC Monoblock, adjustable hole pattern, and mid height guard. Given the reputation that precedes holsters from JM Custom Kydex, I’m not surprised that the holster functions as well as it does and is proving to be exceptionally durable. It did what it was supposed to in the Rangemaster Master Instructor Development class and continues to do what it is designed to do every time I wear it. Admittedly, I don’t wear it on a daily basis, but I’ve worn it and used it enough to confidently know I can count on it. It’s a solid holster. Starting at $60 (at the time of writing), it is reasonably priced. Adding the quick ship option on top of that makes this holster very easy to recommend to anyone who is looking for a high quality inside-the-waistband holster in a hurry. 

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