Once again it’s the week of the SHOT show, the trade show where the firearms industry gathers together in Las Vegas to show their wares. New firearms, new optics, new lights, new wonder lubes made from angel tears and Chuck Norris spit…you name it and it’s at the SHOT show.
This year Raven Concealment Systems is debuting a new holster system called the Eidolon. (Pronounced, I’m told, Eye-DOE-lon) Last week they kindly sent me a pre-SHOT sample for testing. I was first introduced to Raven Concealment’s products **inaudiblemumble** years ago at a class with Ken Hackathorn. They made some holsters for us on the spot while the class was ongoing and I was sufficiently intrigued with their modular approach to place an order myself. The concept of having a holster that could work inside the waistband or outside the waistband easily by just changing a couple of pieces of hardware seemed very appealing and once I received my first “Phantom” holster I found that it was quite comfortable in either role to boot. The Phantom’s ability to change from an OWB holster to an IWB, and to have adjustable ride height, proved to be pretty useful.
The new Eidolon takes that idea of a configurable holster Raven originally debuted in the Phantom and steps it up several notches. The basic concept is to have a holster shell to which you affix various attachments in order to work as either an IWB holster or an Appendix Inside the Waist-Band holster…and one that will work for either right or left hand carry. It’s a rather ambitious goal for a holster. So ambitious, in fact, that a healthy dose of skepticism is certainly warranted. I like multi-taskers as much as anybody, but it has been my experience that gear which claims to do several things often doesn’t do any of those things extremely well.
Opening the box reminded me of when I was a kid and my parents bought me one of those Lego sets for some sort of vehicle that I could never quite build right because I never actually looked at the instructions. I should note that the nice folks at Raven Concealment shipped perfectly legible instructions with the Eidolon, but in keeping with my genetic predisposition for instruction manuals I immediately tossed them to the side and started playing with the parts to figure out how it works. (Note: I don’t recommend this as a general practice in life)
I wanted to set the Eidolon up for right-hand AIWB carry so I installed one of the stabilizing winglets and one of the bumper pads on the holster straight away. One of the keys to a good AIWB holster is the ability to tuck the butt of the pistol into the body so that there isn’t this odd gun-shaped protrusion visible through your covering garment. The trick is finding just the right amount of tuck…too much and the pistol digs into your flesh. Too little and it prints. Different body types, modes of dress, and types of handgun may combine to require different levels of tuck for different individuals. The winglets and the bumper pad can be installed together to get the maximum amount of tuck, or used individually to get a bit less. I like as much tuck as possible so I installed both and for me it makes my Glock 17 disappear under a closed-front garment like a polo shirt or a 1/4 zip pullover as well as my other good quality AIWB holsters.
The Eidolon I received shipped with Raven’s new tuckable overhooks which I’ve been hooking on to the waistband of my pants rather than my belt. I’ve found that they grip aggressively enough to keep the holster attached to the pants even with the most aggressive draw strokes. This also has the unexpected side effect of making the holster print slightly less than my other AIWB holsters because there’s no bulk added by strong belt loops that can show as a very slight bulge under the right circumstances. The tuckable overhooks hold so well they even work with my gym clothes, to the point where I’m seriously considering retiring my belly-band holster and using the Eidolon.
I’ve been tinkering with the configuration of the Eidolon since I received it last Friday afternoon and I’ve been carrying my Glock 17 in the holster every day in as many situations as possible to get a good read on how it works for AIWB carry. I’ve changed the ride height, tuck, the placement of the overhooks, the number of hooks installed on the holster and I’m going to tinker with the winglets in the next few days as well…but in all that tinkering I’ve found the holster to be comfortable. Set up properly it does a good job of concealing the pistol and it does so with comfort. It’s difficult to compare the Eidolon to the comfort of my other AIWB holsters like the SME because I’ve carried in the SME every day for about two years now and I haven’t had the Eidolon for even a full week yet. I’m still working through how I want to set the holster up and where exactly on the waist it needs to ride for you-can-barely-feel-you’re-carrying level comfort…but it’s performing well enough so far that I’m willing to put in the work to get it dialed in.
At the moment as I type this I’m wearing the Eidolon with the single overhook around the trigger guard, the right-hand bumper pad, and the winglet just as it appears in the picture. It’s comfortable and sufficiently invisible that none of the hipsters in this coffee shop have any clue that I’m carrying a Glock 17…although I’m tempted to actually use the Glock to silence whatever electronic device they have pumping this hideous hipster lumberjack music into the store. (NOTE: This is a joke. Humor. I would not actually pull a handgun and shoot a hipster’s stereo…but I think we can all admit that the world would be a better place if I did.)
Getting used to new gear always takes some time and there are always little quirks you find along the way. One of the things I like about the Eidolon is the adjustable retention feature. It’s pretty slick and tensions only on the trigger guard. The quirk to that is when you’re reholstering you meet some resistance right as the pistol is about to be fully seated in the holster. My AIWB-conditioned brain reads a code-red emergency when I feel a sudden increase in resistance during the reholster…especially with a striker-fired pistol like my Glock 17. Ingraining what “normal” feels like will take some time so for now I’m reholstering with exceptional caution and care just because the feel is different than what I’m used to. The upside to the design is that you clear the retention tensioner right at the beginning of the draw stroke and the rest of the draw is fast and slick.
So the big question: Is this worth 99 of your hard earned dollars? My experience so far says yes. It works even when I’m not wearing a belt, and it allows switching to left-handed carry readily. I’ve had issues with my right shoulder and tendinitis in my right arm to the point where I could barely make a fist, much less effectively draw a handgun. With the Eidolon I have a holster that will let me carry left handed AIWB comfortably if I can’t use my right arm properly. Instead of having a dedicated lefty holster I rarely use, I can have an Eidolon that fills multiple roles for my carry needs. It’s apparent that RCS put a lot of thought and engineering into the product and the result is a multitasking holster that is likely to offer good utility for most people.
Right now the Eidolon is only available for the Glock family of pistols, but I would expect that in the relatively near future RCS will expand their offerings to other guns. When they do I’ll likely order one for a Beretta and a 5″ 1911.