DeSantis Gunhide | SL Raptor Holster: For your IWB and OWB needs

Having the right holster makes all the difference, and after trying a few, you realize there are many similarities and differences out there.  Ever since I purchased my Glock 17, my first firearm, I have experimented with countless Kydex holsters from various manufacturers.  When the opportunity came to try out another holster, this time courtesy of DeSantis Gunhide, I jumped at the chance.  For those unfamiliar with DeSantis Gunhide, take a look at their catalog because they offer an impressive collection of holsters.

About the SL Raptor

Though DeSantis Gunhide makes popular leather holsters, they offer a decent lineup of Kydex holsters as well.  The DeSantis Gunhide SL Raptor holster is a high-ride Kydex thermoformed holster.  The holster features a high shirt guard, active retention system, and OWB/IWB interchangeability.  The nice thing about ordering the SL Raptor is that you receive three sets of belt loops to reconfigure your attire as you please: 1.5” loops, 1.75” loops, and a pair of soft polymer straps for IWB configuration.  It is apparent that DeSantis Gunhide wanted the SL Raptor to a practical holster for all users and purposes, props to them for being thoughtful.

 

While the Glock 17 may not be ideal for conceal carry, the SL Raptor’s low-profile makes it work for compact pistols.

What makes the SL Raptor unique

One thing you will immediately notice is that the SL Raptor has a great low-profile on the body.  Being that the SL Raptor I requested was for a full-sized Glock 17, I had the intention of using this as an open carry holster.  However, for those of you who conceal carry OWB, the low-profile and contoured shape of the SL Raptor makes it convenient to conceal more compact pistols.

With that being said, this holster does utilize an active retention system whose mechanism is defeated by a thumb-depressed release button.  DeSantis Gunhide calls this their Redi-Lok self-locking feature.  Unfortunately, I found the Redi-Lok difficult to manipulate when wearing the holster in its IWB configuration because of how close it is to the torso.  Additionally, some people find an active retention system to be a redundant feature in a concealed carry holster; the pistol is already hidden from plain view and is therefore less likely to be taken away from you.  Instead of having to defeat an active retention, some prefer to shave off the milliseconds from their draw.  If you happen to prefer a passive retention holster instead of an active retention one, then you should consider the standard Raptor holster, which does not have the Redi-Lok feature.

Though the Redi-Lok may present slight discomfort when the holster is carried IWB, its design is meant to ensure that you can achieve a flawless draw.  The draw is often mistaken as the action of “drawing” the pistol out of the holster, but the term also encompasses achieving a proper grip on your pistol before it ever starts to leave the holster.  The Redi-Lok is deactivated by using your thumb and does not interfere with achieving a proper grip.  Even if you decide on a different holster than the SL Raptor, just keep in mind that a holster that forces you to manipulate your draw to defeat the active retention is not a good holster.

 

The author’s Glock 17 holstered in the Raptor, which utilizes their Redi-Lok retention feature.

The Verdict

The good

  • OWB/IWB interchangeability
  • Low profile holster
  • Comes with 1.5”, 1.75”, and IWB belt loops
  • Made in the USA

The bad

  • Only available for small selection of firearms (Glock or Smith & Wesson)
  • Active retention can be inconvenient when carrying IWB/concealed
  • Expensive compared to similar holsters

The SL Raptor holster does what it’s advertised to do, but the biggest determining factor is going to be how you intend to use your holster.  If you’re exploring options solely for IWB purposes, the standard Raptor holster is just one of the many other holster options available from DeSantis Gunhide that may suit you better.  The biggest downside to the SL Raptor is the price, which is listed for $83.99 on the DeSantis Gunhide product page, but the same holster can be found from other online retailers for significantly less.  Aside from the price and personal preferences, there is nothing else to dislike about the holster itself.  The design and profile of the holster allows it to sit comfortably on your belt, and is capable of meeting your IWB and OWB needs with one holster.