Gear Review: Blade-Tech Nano Holster

Since I’ve been doing a lot more shooting lately, between the classes I’m helping teach and my IDPA matches, I’ve been experimenting with gear a bit. One of the holsters I’ve been trying out is the Blade-Tech Nano that I picked up for a good price a while back. I’ve been testing it for about two weeks now Β and wanted to share my thoughts.

The Blade-Tech Nano is an inside-the-waistband Kydex holster. The manufacturer’s Web site says the holster is constructed of .080 Kydex, which is thinner than their standard material but can be prone to deforming under heat, and they recommend not leaving it in a locked car where the heat may exceed 160 degrees or so. The screw attachment holding the Kydex shell together, and the snaps attaching the belt loops, all seem quite solid. In fact, I had some difficulty re-fastening the snaps once I undid them.Β Gun retention was quite good with this holster, with drawing and re-holstering both being easy and secure.

The county I live in makes concealed carry permits nearly impossible to obtain except for the wealthy and politically connected, so I carried a Blue Gun version of the M&P 9C I usually shoot. I have one of these which is weighted to approximate the heft and balance of the genuine article, so this was a reasonable way to test the holster. In fact, the Blue Gun is weighted to approximate a .40 S&W M&P compact, so it’s actually a few ounces heavier than the 9C I shoot.

For the first few days of my test, I carried the holster on my strong side just in front of my hip, where I usually wear my OWB holster when I shoot IDPA. Big mistake. The rounded end of the Nano ground painfully into my hipbone. Standing, sitting, lying on my back on my bed – I just could not find a way to carry there that was bearable. I imagine men, and women different body shapes, might not have this challenge, but it was hideously uncomfortable for me. My body shape is approximately what Kathy at Cornered Cat calls “curvy celery” – I definitely don’t have an hourglass figure, but I have enough curves that this didn’t work for me.

So, for the remainder of my test, I moved the gun to appendix carry position at about the 1:30 position on my belt, as below:

This was MUCH better. Riding in this position, the holster was so comfortable it didn’t take long for me to entirely forget I was carrying it. And it did a great job of snugging the M&P up to my body and making it all but disappear there:

If you plan to carry this way, you should definitely read up about the pros and cons of appendix carry. Or watch Chris Collins’s video on the subject. Or both. There are definitely benefits to appendix carry. There are also definitely risks to carrying a pistol in a position where a negligent discharge could let loose a bullet into your femoral artery. I urge you to weigh the pros and cons and make your own decision.

I tested the Nano holster drawing both openly and from concealment. I also tested it drawing from a seated position in my vehicle, which worked fine but was easier with the seatbelt undone. If I was carrying in the holster while driving, I think I’d want to practice releasing the seatbelt as part of the draw sequence. Overall, the Nano performed admirably, though the high back piece meant I had to grip the gun from the front, rather than from the top, when drawing. No big deal, but it took me a bit of practice to get comfortable with it.

As with most if not all IWB holsters, my most efficient draws were those where I aggressively YANKED my cover garments out of the way with my weak hand. This, I’ll be honest and admit, resulted in me flashing my bra once or twice during my testing. If this bothers you during training, you can wear a light undershirt under your cover garment. In a self-defense situation? For me, safety wins out over modesty any day of the week.

So, what did I think overall? The Blade-Tech Nano is a solid, well-made, reasonably priced IWB holster. If you can find a spot that’s comfortable for you to carry, it’s certainly a decent choice and comfortable enough for everyday carry. At $59.99, I think this is a good value for the money.

Comments

  1. I have carried “appendix” for many, many years and never came close to an ND. In fact, (knock on wood) so far I’ve never had an ND at all. If you don’t touch the trigger, there is no danger of it, regardless of how or where you carry.

    Can’t imagine having a hard chunk of plastic in place of my good leather holsters, however, but I’m glad there are options for everyone. πŸ™‚

    • I know there’s no danger of an ND if your hand is off the trigger. I also know some people get twitchy about the idea of sweeping their own femoral artery, and I doubt a carry style you’re intrinsically uncomfortable with is conducive to safety. πŸ™‚

      I’m not sure a pure Kydex holster is the best choice for me, but I’m hopeful
      for the opportunity to try some other gear and see what I like. I know a lot of people seem to like the Kydex, though.

  2. That can be a dilemma, indeed. How to get over being twitchy and uncomfortable with your style to get to safer carrying. Still chuckle to remember the very early days for myself… I was unconsciously patting the silly thing every once in a while… as if I was afraid it would fall off my belt or something. Had to work on not doing that after friends told me about it.

    Pointing that muzzle at oneself anywhere is not a good idea, but not all “appendix” carry does so. Mine does not point at my body at all, no matter what position I’m in. The cant of my holster points it away from me just enough to avoid that. And, of course, mine is on the outside of my belt and pants, not concealed, so that makes a difference too.

    I know a lot of people like the kydex… I’ve just never figured out why. πŸ™‚ But you might also look at a few of the holsters that are now being made with both leather and kydex. Might be a good compromise for some folks.

    • I’m looking at the Crossbreed and Concealment Solutions holsters at present, since I’ve heard good things about both from people whose opinions I trust. My search for a comfy holster is about to kick up a notch in urgency, too, because I just found out that my city’s mayor may authorize the city police department to issue CCW permits in the near future. (Presently, our county sheriff is the issuing authority, and he’s vehemently anti-CCW, but California’s crazy laws DO allow cities to issue their own permits if they want to.)

  3. This was the first holster I bought (for my Sig Sauer P229R), largely because it was what they had available at the store. I lucked out; it’s been a great holster, comfy for me (usually 3:00 or 4:00), and accessible.

    I have another one for my Ruger SP101 revolver, my current carry piece, and it’s not QUITE as comfortable; for whatever reason, there’s a “horn” on the body side that sticks up quite a ways, digging into my side. I wear it at 4:00 and it’s fine under most circumstances. Retention on both is quite good, though you have to check the tension screws periodically.

    I got into leatherwork specifically to make myself a nicer holster for my Ruger; the stainless steel is too pretty to hide in an ugly plastic thing. Haven’t done it yet, but it’s on the short list.

    • I’m learning that holsters, especially IWB ones, are VERY individual in terms of what’s comfortable. Thanks for sharing your experience, though – I appreciate hearing how the Blade-Tech worked for you. And if you start making holsters for other than personal use, please let me know — even once I find something that works, I still always have that “ooh, shiny!!” impulse just below the surface. πŸ˜€

      • “even once I find something that works, I still always have that β€œooh, shiny!!” impulse just below the surface.”

        Oh yeah… which is why so many of us have at least one box full of assorted holsters! Just think of it as a future resource to show students. Helps justify the cost a little. πŸ™‚

      • This is a good rationalization, at least! πŸ™‚

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