first published on August 10, 2020 by Josh Brooks[mashshare]
The two most important decisions anyone can make in the world of every day carry are, which gun to carry, and which holster to carry with. If you choose a bad holster, you’ll have a very bad time carrying. This is just a fact. The Axis Elite from Tier1 Concealed is a new holster one of our developers got his hands on. He had a lot of good things to say about the holster, so we figured we should get it into a review ASAP.
We have reviewed other holsters in the past, and plan to review more in the future. At the end of the day, holsters are always going to be a personal preference thing. Our experience with one holster might not be the same for you. That’s why we’re going to try to stick with the basics of holster ownership here. Comfort on one person, may not be comfort for another person with a different body-type or carry style. Find what works for you through trial and error, and stick with it.
There are a couple of different types of holsters that exist. When it comes to concealed carry however, there are just two primary options, not counting ankle and pocket holsters. Inside the waistband (IWB), and outside the waistband (OWB) holsters are those two main options.
With both types of holsters, there are pros and cons. Using one style of holster over the other comes down to what type of training you have, and which you are most comfortable with. For the purpose of this section, we won’t talk about carry orientation. Some people like appendix, some people like small of the back. Either way, at least you’re carrying. We’re not here to judge you, unless you training stops at making negative comments on Instagram photos.
The primary difference between IWB and OWB is your ability to conceal the holster easily. OWB is the more difficult of the two. While it is fully possible to conceal an OWB holster without printing, it requires that you wear baggier clothes or an outer layer like a coat. With an IWB holster, you can generally get away with just wearing a simple t-shirt. That’s why, during the summer months, most experienced concealed carry people will use an IWB holster. During the winter, it’s very easy to conceal an OWB holster with a fleece or coat.
At the end of the day, the effectiveness of the tool you choose is going to come down to training. Regardless if you use IWB, or OWB, you’ll only be as effective as your training. If you don’t practice clearing, drawing, and shooting often, you’re going to struggle regardless. There is no “best” style of holster in this regard. Ultimately, it comes down to how you generally dress, and how often you train with your holster.
The Axis Elite Holster from Tier1 Concealed is an every day carry holster designed with appendix carry in mind. While appendix carry may not be for everyone, the design choices made with the Elite make that carry style more accessible to a greater number of people. Just because it’s designed with appendix carry in mind, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way you can orient the holster though. (See: Images from our developer using it for strong-side carry.)
The holster itself is a kydex design that has a spare magazine attached by military grade shock cord. This design choice gives the holster more flex than your average holster, which allows it to fit in tighter to the body for added comfort. When it comes to customization, there are plenty of options on the table that we’ll cover below. For now, the holster is compatible with Glock, Sig, Smith & Wesson, STI, CZ, and Shadow Systems firearms. At this time, we’re not sure if Tier1 Concealed plans on extending that selection. For the average consumer however, this should cover most of the bases required to get you in the door for this holster.
As stated earlier, this holster was purchased by one of our back-end developers. He wouldn’t stop raving about how awesome it was to finally have a holster he could use for appendix carry. That said, here’s what Joe had to say about the Axis Elite after he used it as his daily carry holster for a little over a month.
The Axis Elite is a quality holster that has lived up to all of my expectations. It holds firm and conceals nicely. I consider the Glock 17 gen 4 to be a large firearm to conceal, but the flexible design allows me to store my holster in the front, back, or on my hip without being poked constantly. My biggest concern with the holster are the clips. If my pants are too thin or if I am not wearing a suitable belt, the holster likes to pull up with the firearm. However it has never been pulled out nor has it gotten in the way of me retrieving my firearm. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the Axis Elite, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a new holster.
All of the imagery provided for this blog post was also taken by our developer. We were surprised he was okay with having the holster out of his pants long enough to take the pictures.
When it comes to choosing a holster, you can never be too careful. Too many times I’ve made a holster purchase, and within a few hours of carrying it regretted the decision. A good holster will retain the pistol well, assist you in having a fast draw, and be both comfortable and a pleasure to wear every day. If your current holster is not checking these boxes, then there is something wrong and you should consider checking out another option. Fortunately, there are a ton of options on the market currently for you to choose from.
As always, this is just the opinion of one person though. Let us know down in the comments if you have any experience with the Axis Elite from Tier1 Concealed. What is your current carry holster, and why have you chosen it? Together as a community, we can always come together to help keep each other informed, and to make the best buying decisions possible. Until next time, we’ll see you out on the range.