In an earlier review, I declared the DARA Holsters & Gear Custom IWB one of the finest Kydex appendix carry holsters I’d ever tested. Sure, it wasn’t leather, but it was a really nice rig. So imagine my excitement when DARA sent me an OWB holster to try out as well. Figuring that if they’d done such a good job on their IWB, their OWB must be super awesome too. Real life resultL Meh, not so much . . .
Not to go tootin’ my own horn or anything, but after nearly four years at TTAG, I’ve reviewed quite a few holsters. Some I’ve liked, some I’ve truly hated. But at this point, I can unbox a holster, and ballpark whether I’ll like it or not almost immediately.
Unboxing the DARA, I knew we were going to have problems. The belt attachment system was centered on the holster and didn’t have a ton of contact with the belt area. This has always been an issue on other OWB holsters I’ve tested. Those who have had to use a pry bar in the past know that more leverage is certainly better. That’s why OWB holsters like the 2A I tested, while exceedingly ugly, does a great job of keeping the pistol from rocking back and forth. To the back and forth play in the DARA OWB, observe:
As you can see, the OWB is able to rock back and forth a lot. DARA was kind enough to send me both their paddle and their belt loop attachment and both systems suffered from this problem. Furthermore, both systems allow the holster and gun to rock back and forth from the body as you can see below. This lack of stability is decidedly not confidence inspiring.
What is confidence inspiring is the excellent coverage and retention afforded by this holster. As with most Kydex holsters, there’s an audible snap when you reholster to let you know that your piece is firmly in place. Speaking of reholstering, there’s a wide flared mouth that helps assist in getting your gun home. As this holster is custom built, there isn’t any extraneous material hanging around to interfere with your grip.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Overall Rating * *
I wanted very much to like the DARA Custom OWB given how much I liked their IWB rig, but the belt attachment system is a major weakness. Using a very stiff belt, I still had issues with the holster and gun rocking back and forth. Using a weaker belt, these problems were only exacerbated. While it offers fine coverage, and great retention, the general lack of stability presents a lot of problems for both EDC and competition work. For $57.99, you can find better Kydex OWB options out there.
In my experience, limited as it is, the only stable platform for OWB has to have two separate closed belt slots. No, they are not easy on and off, but they don’t rock either, and they don’t slide back and forth on your belt. Such systems are also the most effective of keeping the gun tight to the body.
Have you tried the G Code holster. I have one for my XD and I love it. Plus it’s made one America.
Admittedly, our paddle has issues we are working on. We should have our new paddle introduced mid April. The loop though, shouldn’t give you any pivoting movement if fitted correctly. This is the first we’ve heard about any movement with our loop attachment, and not for lack of customer response. We personally wear these rigs in competition on dual layer bull hide belts, and they ride like iron.
Your holsters look good and I like OWB. See if you can figure out what is going on here and you will probably have a new customer.
It may be an anomaly, you can check our reviews. Every holster has a lifetime warranty and a satisfaction guarantee.
I’ve got three OWBs by Dara and I have never had this problem. I don’t use a paddle, don’t know why anyone would. Their belt loops fit great with almost no wiggle room. There only room enough to slide onto your belt.
I would like to send you some gear for review, who can I contact to get it to you?
I don’t own a Dara rig, but I do have two kydex made holsters. On any holster the belt must be heavy duty and match the width of the belt loops in the holster. The belt displayed in the images appears that it may be a fabric web style belt. I may be wrong about that. I want two belt loops in any CCW holster I use, and I have been carrying CCW for well over 45 years as well as duty carry in law enforcement. A sloppy fitting holster/belt combination is a must not and can be very dangerous. I ware 1 3/4 inch width belts made for carrying a holster and gun, aka gun belt. All my carry holsters for CCW have matching belt slot widths so the holster is held firmly in place and up against my body so it doesn’t “flop in the breeze” so to speak, nor does it print against a loose fitting light shirt. Just something to think about when selecting a belt and holster for CCW. I also do not carry a full size handgun for CCW. I carry a compact Ruger 9mm LC9s, or a Ruger SP101 in 38/357 caliber. I have large handguns, but choose a smaller, lighter and more comfortable to carry handgun. Both will get the job done if needed.