Let’s get one thing straight: I live in leggings. When I’m not plinking in jeans out on the range, you’ll find me cozy and comfortable in yoga pants or leggings. The downside to leggings is that they often don’t pair well with traditional holsters. Without a belt loop and usually constructed of fabric that sags under the weight of most guns, leggings aren’t easy to carry in.
It was for this reason I was very excited to see UnderTech UnderCover’s new line of concealed gear for women. The Original Concealment Leggings looked to solve my dilemma of concealed carry in a comfortable platform; but did could they actually live up to expectations?
Style meets comfort
The leggings are capri-length and fashionably black. The material is thick enough to slim and smooth but still breathable. Two holster pockets sit in appendix carry and the 5 o’clock positions. A spare pouch is fixed inside the waistband and is perfect for a spare mag or a small flashlight.
Off the bat, the leggings are the most comfortable pair of pants I own. I found myself wearing them everywhere. I slept in them, lounged in them, ran errands in them. I even took them on my trip to SHOT Show because I knew they’d be perfect for air travel. (They were, by the way.)
The holsters act as generic pockets and I was able to fit my Samsung S5 phone in the rear with my small wallet and passport in appendix. The material is also great for long flights. I clocked over five hours of airtime on my trip and was comfortable the entire time. If anything, these leggings will surely be accompanying me on every trip in the future.
Aside from pure comfort, they err on the side of fashion. The material is sleek and slimming. I think it flatters the figure very nicely. It also can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I wore it out to dinner with a blazer and boots and got plenty of compliments. I’ve also worn it while working out with a t-shirt and it’s fit right in at the gym. Versatility is this rigs biggest ally.
While the pants are great for errands and trips around the world, let’s not forget they were meant for concealed carry. I was a little leery of how well these leggings would work at actually keeping my firearm hidden.
From a pure concealment standpoint, they were on point. Paired with a Ruger LC9, the leggings fabric kept the firearm flat against me. The Ruger felt secure the entire time. In fact, I expected a little sagging but was pleased to find none at all.
The leggings also allowed me to carry with a variety of outfits. From longer tunics to shorter t-shirts, holster placement was perfect on these leggings.
I wish I could say that the leggings met all my testing with the same positive results, but like most fabric style holsters the Original Concealment Leggings proved to have some faults.
Pitfalls of this platform
The first of two significant problems I encountered dealt with the trigger. The fabric on the holster does cover the trigger area, but it doesn’t protect against negligent discharges. In fact, the trigger was so easy to engage through the fabric my son accidentally did so while thrusting a toy at my hip line.
I notified UnderTech UnderCover of this and at SHOT Show 2016, Tammy Magill unveiled the prototype for the second version of the leggings. This version features a reinforced holster area, therefore addressing the trigger problem I brought to them. She invited me to pull the trigger while she was wearing the prototype and I was unable to engage the trigger. With that problem seemingly solved with the next iteration of Original Concealment Leggings, I moved on to the next flaw in this design.
Though the fabric of the leggings is retention friendly, UnderTech UnderCover opted to add a retention strap to the holster pockets. This strap is an elastic loop designed to slide over either the grip or the rear of the slide.
My first encounter with the retention loop negated my usual EDC firearm right out of the gate. The Springfield Mod.2 is my usual carry gun. Equipped with a grip safety, like all of the XD line, the Mod.2’s trigger can only be engaged if that safety is squeezed. Unfortunately for me and for the concealment leggings, the retention loop on the pants does just that. If that loop is placed over the grip of my gun, the grip safety engages and the trigger can be pulled. I can affix the retention loop to the rear of the slide, however, it could move and come to rest on the grip. Unlikely, yes but possible. Frankly, it was too much of a risk for me to carry the Springfield and I was forced to switch out firearms to continue this review.
My next attempt came in the form of the Ruger LC9s. While this model of Ruger has no external safety, I began to notice that my ill-fated adventure with the retention loop was not yet over. Every time I drew, the front sights on the slide caught the loop. These front sight catches slowed down my draw time but not too dramatically. The slide snags, on the other hand, were most troublesome.
My Ruger has a space between the slide and frame and this is where the retention loop liked to grab. As I drew, the loop would snatch onto that space and hamper my draws. At first, it just slowed me down. Then I tried to draw one-handed.
What started as just a mere nuisance proved catastrophic. My firearm and the loop became ensnarled to the point I had to remove the leggings to untangle the loop. In the comfort of my home, this was a nuisance. In a firefight, it could cost my life.
I again notified UnderTech UnderCover and talked with Tammy Magill at SHOT Show. To my disappointment, the prototype of the new leggings version still had that retention loop. Magill acknowledged that the company is working to find a better solution but until then, the loop is here to stay. Her suggestion to users was to cut the loop out of the pants and bypass this issue altogether.
I did try some exercises with the loop pushed to the side, to include headstands and cartwheels. On me, the firearm remained in place. On a different figure, I’m not sure it would. Never one to advocate the modification of a holster, it was disheartening to not see a better solution.
As regular leggings, the design works. As a travel outfit, it’s even better. Concealed carry, however, needs some work. With the trigger issue worked out on the next generation of leggings, UnderTech UnderCover needs to focus on a better solution for that problematic retention loop.
Though comfortable and stylish, the Original Concealment Leggings suffer from what most first generation holsters face. They need a little retooling to be as good as they could be. The Original Concealment Leggings retail for $79.95.