Why I put a $700 HK in a $25 nylon holster

If you follow me on Instagram (and you totally should if you booze, cars, guns, and pictures of my dog) you might have seen this photo and caption:

HK VP9 Blackhawk nylon holster

I’ve never been more ashamed of a holster than I am of this. I’m so sorry, HK for putting your excellent VP9 in this holster. I needed a rig that fit the gun with a Crimson Trace Railmaster.

So, that happened. The backstory is simple: I needed a holster that did two things, and those things were “retained the gun during vigorous movement” and “fit the VP9 when it had a Railmaster laser installed.” And I needed them on relatively short notice, because my original plan for handguns at M3GI fell through. I used the VP9 because it has a nice, big 20 round extended magazine, but then I was stuck. I needed a holster. Getting a proper kydex holster from Blade-Tech or Comp-Tac would take something I didn’t have: time. Time was not on my side.

The holster itself was a nylon generic “large autos” holster from Blackhawk. I chose the Blackhawk over the various similar designs, because the Blackhawk is made in the USA, so at least my 25 bucks was going to support American labor. At the actual match, the holster did everything I needed it to do: it retained the gun nicely, it provided a consistent presentation when attached to a CR Speed belt, and fit the VP with laser attached. So it’s hard for me to knock it too much.

But at the same time, it wasn’t ideal. A Safariland ALS or even a SERPA would be preferable to the cludgy thumbbreak release, and as you can see from the photo it didn’t cover the entire trigger guard, so debris could theoretically get down inside the holster and trigger guard.

However, immediacy has a certain value to it. So when I needed a functional holster in a hurry to perform a specific task…the $25 Blackhawk was there. All the custom kydex in the world won’t do you a lick of good if you can’t get it when you need it. That being said, I have ordered a proper holster for the VP9 laser combo.


  1. All you need is a hot plate, some kydex, rivets, neoprene foam, and a belt attachment. It might look ugly, but it won’t be made out of nylon.

    1. It seems to me that a toaster oven would work better than a hot plate. Between craigslist and freecycle, it shouldn’t be hard to find someone getting rid of one for practically nothing…

    1. No, I’m pretty much aggressive-aggressive. Here’s an example: “What the fuck are you talking about?”

  2. This is actually a pet peeve of mine. I once saw a guy on Facebook trying to sell his FNX-45 Tactical “With light/laser combo and holster”.
    The light/laser was one of those Nebos you get from Wally and the holster was something nylon(probably from Wal-mart, too)
    My immediate question was “Why would you put a $30 light and a $20 holster on your $1000 gun!?!?”
    At least you had a legit reason!

  3. “At the actual match, the holster did everything I needed it to do: it retained the gun nicely, it provided a consistent presentation when attached to a CR Speed belt, and fit the VP with laser attached. So it’s hard for me to knock it too much” …ok so it wasn’t pretty but it did the job well enough, so does a spare tire (which beats the hell out of being stranded in the middle of a North Dakota winter… Trust me!). My point is why apologize for a tool that works instead of no tool at all?

    1. True, it’s just that I have consistently campaigned against these holsters as being useless for anything other than protecting your gun’s finish.

      1. Given that you were able to compete with it, and that it securely held the gun, would you say that this holster could serve the poor schmuck who has inherited some generic Gun ™, and just wants to be able to carry it until his generic Low-Paying Job situation finally changes? What are the chances that it would hold up after a year of daily use? While I myself generally carry in a custom-made leather holster made to my specs, I do feel for those who cannot. And while I find these nylons tacky, I have suspected that if they worked as advertised, they don’t deserve my complete derision. For the poor citizen who has to pass in and out of gun-free-zones, and wants to keep their gun and spare mag together, I’ve suspected that they might serve. You know, for *other* people.

        1. I’m honestly having to do a tough self-assessment about my opinion on these sorts of holsters. Yes, they’re kind of cheap…but at the same time, this one did work. And it worked within my performance envelope, and I’m still using it because my expensive kydex holster hasn’t shown up yet.

          1. There’s a lot of gear that falls into “I wouldn’t recommend this, but it does cover your 90% scenario, and it’s cheap.”

            Usually there’s somewhere else to squeeze some cash from, but if it came down to it, I’d rather a dude squeeze training into his gun budget over a custom kydex holster.

  4. Fair point and consistency (what concepts, I like it) I’d forgotten about that, obviously I haven’t commented for a while (tech issues) sorry for the missed click counter times. I also have some reading to catch up on.

  5. I have a whole drawyer of Cheap nylon Holsters. I even made some from Ozite in-door/outdoor carpeting. If it gets dirty; just wash it. I have a nylon holster sewed on the back (Lumbar Region) of a Construction back brace. It’s for a 1911, but fits my Glock Mod. 20 just as well but just a little tighter. Works great for Motorcycle riding, Horseback riding, and in the car.Just add a foam pad on the inside before sewing on to cushion the back & prevent gougeing.

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