flash review: akj concealco.

I’ve carried handguns for roughly *mumblegrumble* years now, and I’ve developed some preferences and opinions when it comes to holsters.

For comfort, nothing beats a good pancake-shaped belt holster.  For concealment, nothing beats an inside-the-waistband holster.  The comfort level of an IWB, however, is greatly dependent on holster materials and design.  I’ve had the best success with relatively thin, flat leather holsters with widely spaced belt loops.  A good IWB in that kind of configuration is the most concealable holster that still offers a normal draw speed, while offering a carry comfort almost on par with an outside-the-waistband belt rig.

When I was shopping for a properly fitted holster for the Steyr M9, I quickly found out that the peculiar shape of the gun kind of limits the holster selection.  Not wanting to stuff the pistol into a generically-shaped nylon rig, I checked out the limited variety of holsters available for the old-style Steyrs, and ended up ordering the A.K.J. Concealco holster pictured below.


It’s a rough-side-out cowhide holster that’s properly molded to the gun.  The fit is snug without being tight, the draw is very fast because the inside is smooth and unlined, and the leather is just thick enough to be durable without being too bulky.  The belt loops are spaced very far apart, which eliminates any rocking motion, and keeps the gun rock-solid in position.  The gun can be grasped with a full firing grip, and the forward rake of the holster is aggressive enough to pull the butt of the pistol in high and tight against the body.

The belt loops deserve a separate mention: they’re attached with solid brass screws, and the back loop can be adjusted down into a lower hole to make the forward rake even more severe.  The front loop sits on the front of the holster, which both reinforces the holster mouth for one-handed reholstering, and lets the belt wrap around the front of the holster (where it tends to want to go naturally anyway.)  It looks odd when you look at it for the first time, but it makes perfect sense once you thread a belt through the loops and test the fit for the first time. 


I got this particular holster on fleaBay for just under $50 with shipping, and so far I’m rather pleased with it.  It’s well-made, comfortable, and a bargain for the money.  The vendor who sold it to me has the same rig in stock for many more gun models, including rather exotic ones that can be hard to properly dress in leather.  (No affiliation or kickbacks, just a pleased customer.)  If you’re looking for a high-quality, very comfortable IWB holster that won’t break the bank, I recommend the AKJ Concealco.


17 thoughts on “flash review: akj concealco.

  1. Reuben says:

    I’ve been very pleased with the two holsters I have from AKJ Concealco. Both of mine have the “Sweat” shield that goes between the part of the pistol that sticks out of the holster and your skin. This is a must in hot weather like here in Texas when you can only wear one shirt.

    The model my 1911 rides in has been on my belt for the better part of two years straight and looks like it has many more left in it still.

    What I really find intriguing is the ebay seller who specializes in My Little Pony but seems to stock as many holsters as they do toys. Strange combination.

    • Marko says:

      Yeah, but that’s what makes it awesome.

      • Reuben says:

        Awesome indeed!

        The one issue I’ve found with this brand of holster is that those screws attaching the belt loops tend to back out after a while. Just tighten them once in a while or consider using some thread locker on them. I think the instructions mention to watch out for this.

  2. Scott says:

    Good timing. Just completed CCW course and started researching holsters.

  3. MarkHB says:

    Good timing as ever, old soak. Going to need one o’them puppies in short order.

  4. lenf says:

    Call me wiry, but I can’t imagine getting even a tiny gun inside my waistband and still function near normal. Sitting? Ouch! Standing? Walking? I can see the imprint and chafing in my skin now. A flat holster just behind the hip bone is the most comfortable and easiest to conceal with a loose T shirt. Bit of a reach to draw.

    • Tam says:

      Call me wiry, but I can’t imagine getting even a tiny gun inside my waistband and still function near normal. Sitting? Ouch! Standing? Walking? I can see the imprint and chafing in my skin now.

      You would need to buy trousers sized to accommodate both you and the gun.

      With a good belt and holster, it’s a lot more comfortable than you think. I’ve CCW’ed a full-size 1911 that way for many years. Fallen asleep on top of it plenty of times, too.

  5. Atom Smasher says:

    I would love to try one of these babies out for my M9. Just to be clear – is yours the “compact” or the full-size” one?



  6. aczarnowski says:

    I’ve been trying a crossbreed super tucker with my PM9 and I have to say IWB confounds me. Like lenf imagines, the grip pokes me when I’m sitting (5 o’clock), prints like crazy (4 o’clock) or grinds bones and prints like crazy (3 o’clock).

    Could this be the holster, or do I just need to stop whining and push through?

    The PM9 is pretty short barreled and is grip heavy. Could its size be too much of a good thing?

    • Reuben says:

      I carry my PM9 in one of these holsters when I’m not wearing my 1911. It works like a champ. I can hardly tell I have it on. I carry at basically the 3:30 position. Very comfy there for me. I have a little extra padding around the waist. Your results may vary if you are rail thin.

      I’ve found a lot of the printing and comfort issues go away if I pulled my pants up a little higher than I wore them before I started carrying. A good quality gun belt is also a must. The belt makes a huge difference. A $10 belt with a $100 holster ususally makes for a sad combo. Small 1″ dress belts are out. You need a stiff belt that will hold up to the added weight and not roll over like a limp noodle.

      I highly recommend the holster with the optional “sweat shield” that they list on their website. It will cost a little more but it keeps those sharp edges off the skin. The new version has a stiffer piece of leather inserted so it stays open with the pistol removed. Makes one-handed holstering a lot easier.

      • aczarnowski says:

        With you on the belt – I wear a Wilderness 5-stich Frequent Flier. I usually carry that same PM9 in my back, strong side, pocket and the belt matters then too.

        I’ll take a look at my crossbreed, but I think mine has the cutout for the grip instead of the sweat shield. Given that opening, the PM9’s aggressive checkering and my habit of not wearing a t-shirt under the holster maybe I have a few other attempts to try.

      • Reuben says:

        I tried a couple other holsters first but having the bare metal of the slide with all the serrations against my skin drove me batty.

        These holsters don’t protect your skin from any checkering on the grip, just the slide. If that’s your problem an undershirt is probably the only solution.

    • Tam says:

      The PM9 is pretty short barreled and is grip heavy. Could its size be too much of a good thing?

      Well, obviously not every holster style works well with every gun, so you may want to try some different things.

      (Incidentally, this is one of the strongest arguments for carrying common guns…)

  7. Jim says:

    I’ve been carrying a full size 1911 in an AKJ Concealco for a good while now. In fact, the belt loops could stand to be replaced. They make a great holster and at a great price too.

  8. Jared says:

    You should just block out the angel on your shoulder and listen to the devil for 5 minutes and order the real thing….a Milt Sparks VM-2. You wont be sorry. And if by some freak of anatomical deformity it doesnt work for you you can typically find someone to buy it for what you paid for it (at least), just to not have to wait for one direct from Sparks.

    They are seriously fine holsters. At this point I dont even think about it. New gun = call Sparks and give them my CC number.

  9. Eric says:

    I was very glad to find this review of the very holster (not for the same gun though) I just ordered. I came across these Ultimate ValueLine AKJ Concealco holsters and I had to get one for my wife to try with her Ruger SP101 3″. It hasn’t been easy to find holsters for a 3″ revolver that aren’t $100+ customs so I was excited to find it. I wasn’t sure about the quality though until I read your review.

    For the guy with the PM9, I use a CBST for my Sig P239 and I think it would be too much holster for the tiny PM9 which I pocket carry primarily. If you have to go IWB then maybe one of these budget Concealco’s for your PM9 will work for you. I noticed the ebay seller has those available too. It is funny the combination of stuff that seller has listed.

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