The appeal of a comfortable IWB holster is easy enough to understand. Many of us put on our holsters first thing in the morning and don’t take them off all day.
Kydex is an indisputable benefit for holster makers, a wonder material that molds to guns perfectly, but it isn’t great on bare skin. Leather works, and has worked for generations, but it can get sticky when you sweat.
And then you have the issue of the gun itself coming into contact with skin and sweat. Many Kydex sheaths have sweat shields, but many of those are unyielding plastic fins that can hinder natural movement. The answer, at least lately, has been to combine materials to get the best results. StealthGear USA, maker of the Onyx IWB Holster, has just raised the bar for effective and comfortable IWB carry.
The StealthGear Onyx
The Onyx is, in many ways, a typical IWB holster. The Onyx rides in the small of the back, clips onto a belt with steel clips and incorporates a mix of materials (but relies on Kydex to really keep things secure). What makes the Onyx different is the way the Kydex is cut, and the way the back is constructed.
Let’s start with that back. It is flexible. It is a mix of materials, including a perforated core made of two types of closed cell foam, rigid nylon mesh mesh, and polyester, all of which is perforated with a diamond pattern. The result is a breathable sandwich of materials that let air pass through, but keep sweat off of the gun (because where the slide contacts the holster, the Onyx is not perforated).
The back is a shocking reddish pink, almost the exact same color of the inside of a Les Paul case from the 1970s. It is deceptively soft and marks the holster with a very distinctive look. I have a lot of holsters and this one just might be the easiest to identify on sight.
With some IWB holsters, I have to wear a shirt tucked under the holster to keep it, or the gun, from rubbing on my skin. Not with the Onyx. I actually like the way this one feels, even under a T-shirt.
The flex of the fit comes from the single sided Kydex construction. Where a normal Kydex holster would be have bends that follow the contour of the pistol exactly, the Onyx covers one side, and then stretches out to secure farther away. As such, it bends really well. When you put it in the small of your back, where it can ride almost flat, it does. If you move it over just a bit, which requires that the holster follow the curve of your hip, it does that too.
The only issue we had with this holster has to do with re-holstering the gun. The Kydex rides high, which is fine, but it doesn’t leave a wide mouth for the gun. After wearing the Onyx for a week or so, I began to pick up the motion. In the video above, Jacob is having trouble with the re-holster, but it was his first attempts with the holster, so it can be expected.
Yet, it isn’t the re-holster that matters. The real appeal of the Onyx comes in its comfort, but drawing works flawlessly. It is completely secure and maybe more so than some as the flexible back of the holster helps hold the gun in with just a bit more pressure. Though there’s no active retention, the gun stays firmly in place.
For true concealed carry, the Onyx is a rockstar. The Glock 23 is my go-to for winter carry this year. I’m amazed by how easily it disappears. The high ride of the Onyx keeps the grip of the Glock clear of a waistband, and easily accessible.
When StealthGear contacted us about the review, I thought the Glock holster would be ideal. Now I think I could have been even more ambitious. I’ve never really liked carrying a 1911 in an IWB holster, but I think the Onyx might just change my mind.
The Onyx holsters sell for $99. Not a bad price for this level of comfort and performance.