The IJ-70 is the import-friendly version of the Makarov PM. Not pretty like the German variant, it still gets the job done. (Photo by Jim Grant)
I’ve had a nice East German Makarov sitting in my safe for a good long while, waiting for the perfect holster. At first, I carried it in an inexpensive neoprene sleeve holster, but that just wasn’t cutting it. I also tried off-body carry in a variety of zippered pouches and bags, which worked pretty well for keeping it my car on long trips, but that’s not a good solution for everyday carry. I’m partial to hybrid inside-the-waistband rigs, but those were hard to find for surplus Warsaw Pact military pistols outside of a few custom shops, at least until now.
Alien Gear Holsters makes a great little rig called the Cloak Tuck for $29.88 that can be ordered for a huge variety of different pistols, including the Makarov and Polish P-64. The base price gets you the holster shell and base plate, while the various belt clips and accessories cost a few bucks extra, so you can tailor the rig exactly how you like. The whole process starts on their easy-to-use website, and ends up with an economical concealed carry system that can be had for under $50, including shipping. That’s a steal, considering the high cost and long wait times for custom and semi-custom rigs.
The Cloak Tuck’s c-clamps securely hold your pistol where you want it (Photo by Jim Grant)
The Cloak Tuck is a standard hybrid inside the waistband (IWB) style rig, with a thick leather base plate mated to a Kydex outer shell, molded to the contours your particular weapon. The belt clips come in sizes, styles and materials made to fit most trouser belts, and I chose the one and three-quarter inch standard nylon clips to fit my Wilderness Tactical gun belt.
The holster is adjustable for tension, cant and depth by using the hex-head screws that hold all the various parts together. A few turns of the screws and a little maneuvering of the clips, and your rig is set up just the way you want it in no time flat, while the shell retention screws hold the pistol with just the right amount of force to keep it from moving around or slipping out of the holster.
I honestly didn’t expect much for the low price, but I was very pleasantly surprised when I tried it out for the first week! This thing is comfortable and well made. The natural leather base plate doesn’t take long to mold to your body contours and settle in, and there are no sharp edges or hot spots to rub or chafe.
The standard nylon belt clips hang on tight, thanks to a small molded lip on the bottom edge that wraps around and under your belt, locking it in place. It’s easier to feed the belt through these than to try to clip it over the edges, depending on the belt, but I like the fact that the holster stays put once you’ve got it clipped on. Other types of belt attachments are available, such as spring steel belt loops, flexible nylon belt loops or deep concealment nylon C-clips.
After some use, the hex bolts holding the clips in place will loosen up a bit, but that tends to be the case with just about every bolt-on hybrid IWB clip I’ve ever used. For a quick, easy fix, I put a small dab of rubber cement on the threads that holds the bolts fast without sticking them permanently.
Alien Gear holsters use hex-screws to secure the kydex shell to the leather base. (Photo by Jim Grant)
Drawing from the Cloak Tuck is simple and smooth, with no tight spots or snags, but re-holstering takes a bit of maneuvering, because the leather base plate is fairly pliable in the area of the holster mouth. The top edge tends to collapse inward just the slightest bit, depending on how tightly your waistband is adjusted. Not a huge deal, and it becomes a non-issue with a little practice.
True to its name, the Cloak Tuck is indeed tuckable for deep concealment, and wears comfortably under a neatly tucked shirt without chafing or binding. The downside to tucking the holster in is that it slows down your draw considerably due to the necessity of pulling your cover garment up and out of the way, so it’s a good idea to practice frequently if this is your chosen carry method.
Wearing the rig in the increasingly hot Texas summer, I noticed that the leather base plate would get a little sweaty after a day out in the heat, but I don’t consider that a huge problem because it never got completely soaked, plus I regularly wipe down and oil my carry piece each day. Once treated with a suitable leather conditioner, the base plate should be protected against whatever you can throw at it.
That being said, Alien Gear seems to have responded to the sweat through problem by phasing out the original Cloak Tuck and introducing the Cloak Tuck 2.0, which is priced at $34.99, and features a neoprene backing material over a lightweight plastic holster base plate. The new design uses more synthetic materials in the base plate, which helps to ensure that your pistol won’t get sweated on during hot weather wear.
Alien Gear makes holsters for nearly every firearm currently made. (Photo by Jim Grant)
The last, but most important feature of the Cloak Tuck is the Ironclad Triple Guarantee, which is the Alien Gear warranty program that includes a 30-day test drive, lifetime outer shell swap and “Forever Warranty.” Basically, it says that if you just don’t like it after wearing it for a few weeks, want to swap out a shell to fit another pistol or if something breaks, they’ll work with you to make things right, no questions asked. So if I get sick of carrying my Makarov, I can switch to a Glock 27, since Alien Gear makes a shell for that.
The quality craftsmanship and ironclad guarantee combine to make the Cloak Tuck a solid choice that is very hard to beat. I’ve only been carrying it a short while, but so far, this little holster seems to hold up very well, and I’m planning to pick up a few more of their excellent products for the other compact pistols in my collection.