Wednesday, July 20, 2011

AIWB Carry: The Dale Fricke Zacchaeus Holster

. . .and a wee little man was he.

I just got received two Dale Fricke Zacchaeus "Zack" holsters in the mail today; one of them for a Kel-Tec P3AT and one for Glock. I've only worn the one for the Glock, and have been impressed enough that I thought I would do a review of the Zack for your entertainment.





The Zack is as minimalist as a holster can get -- kind of like a speedo for your handgun. I see it as a modernized version of using a looped shoestring to keep your pistol from falling down into your pants. The first thing you notice about the holster is that it significantly cuts down on the bulk of plastic that you will have inside your pants. Comparing it to the modified BladeTech IWB holster in the 2nd picture you will notice the disparity in bulk; there simply is none with the Zack, and you only have to contend with concealing the pistol and not the holster and straps. It's very well made, and is profiled so that it doesn't interfere with the relief under the Glock's trigger guard where the knuckle of your middle finger sits.

I modified that BladeTech holster in the above pictures with a rubber plug that helps torque the grip in towards the body, aiding in concealing the grip:



It does add some chunk inside your waistband, but it does the trick well. The Zack holster does not have any sort of material or device to torque the grip in towards the body, but I don't think that it needs to, and may in fact violate the whole concept of this holster. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here's a downward shot of the Zack with a Glock 17 tucked in my waistband:



And here just for instructional purposes I stuck a Fenix flashlight in between my belt and the Zack to show you how it can turn the grip in towards my guts:



The flashlight/lump of material obviously aids in concealment, but adds a great deal of mass to what is supposed to be a simple minimalist holster. One of the greatest benefits of the Zack is that it makes the firearm all but disappear when you are sitting down, like when you're driving. It feels like the gun is not even there. The main reason for this is the narrow profile of steel and plastic that is down your pants towards your crotch - the BladeTech has all that kydex that surrounds the muzzle, and it pushes up against your body.

With appendix carry (AIWB) the muzzle and holster fall into the crease where your thigh connects to your hip. There's a natural pocket there, and that's what you're looking for. With the BladeTech, I can comfortably AIWB but it took several days of trial and error to find the sweet spot, as I had to do a bit of adjusting to learn where it was just right. The Zack will work its way into that sweet spot in a few minutes walking around the house, and will stay there all day. It is not going to be as firmly fixed and stationary to your belt as a holster with a hard point belt loop, as it has a tendency to move a little here or there while it maintains its place in the sweet spot on your belt, but this aids in comfort. This brings me in to how the Zack attaches to your belt.

The Zack is affixed to the belt by a simple looped string. I didn't take pictures of this, but you push the loop down in between your pants and belt (right around the 1st belt loop) and then run the loop up over the holster. That's it. The Zack snaps onto the trigger guard firmly, and you then tuck the gun down into your waistband and you're done. The Zack holds the gun with enough grip that a full up loaded Glock 17 will dangle there if you let it hang, and I doubt will come off on its own even if you got into a foot chase. Drawing is literally a snap, as when you pull your piece the Zack reaches the end of the string and is pulled off the trigger guard with an audible snap. I found that I could adjust the depth of how the gun sits in the waistband by where I put the knot in the cord on the Zack, so that the gun sits about a half inch from the belt:



The shorter you make the looped cord, the higher the gun sits and the faster the Zack pops off the trigger guard when you draw. The muzzle gets about an inch outside of the waistband when the holster lets go, which is perfect. It's very fast to put on, and only takes a moment. Just loop the Zack onto your belt, click it onto your trigger guard and tuck the whole thing into your belt line. You can do this while seated in your car at a stop light. The Zack completely encapsulates the trigger, so nothing can make its way down into it and touch the trigger.

As far as concealment goes, I was surprised at how the Zack can make a full sized handgun disappear. Though it doesn't tuck the grip in like my modified BladeTech, there's not as much stuff jammed between your belt and your guts like rubber or plastic loops and such, so it's easy to conceal, and you can also tuck your shirt in over the gun. The looped cord is not noticeable at all, and would be hard to spot against a black belt, and even harder to spot when the tail of a 5.11 rigger's belt is velcro'd over it:




I didn't try to fluff that button down shirt out to help with concealment; I actually tucked it in pretty tight. You will notice also that my cargo pants are pulled up a little high there above the fly in that last picture; I was trying to hurry as it was late, and I quickly tucked in the shirt and took the picture.

I wouldn't hesitate to wear the Zack with a full sized gun with a button down shirt and tie. Even twisting and turning doesn't reveal much, if anything. I do still recommend a tucked in undershirt for all things AIWB though; it keeps the grip of your firearm from grabbing at your skin when you sit and stand. For a couple of days now I've worn the Zack with the Glock 17 in public after work, concealed with a T-Shirt, and it's good to go. Nobody can spot it, and I'm confident that it will stay in place and I can make a quick draw if I ever need to. If you're looking for a svelt, comfortable holster at a minimal price, this might be for you.
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