If you've ever carried a firearm in an outside-the-waistband holster, especially on a law enforcement duty belt, Safariland is undoubtedly a name you're familiar with. The company, established in 1964, has become the industry standard for retention holsters. However, their options for concealed carry holsters have been somewhat lacking — a fact they'll openly admit. Safariland's Product Manager David Higginbotham said bluntly that taking a Safariland outside-the-waistband duty holster and making it into an inside-the-waistband design is “a garbage idea,” since OWB retention holsters do not translate to IWB everyday carry. The company needed a different approach. So, in order to capture a bigger segment of the civilian concealed carry holster market, Safariland partnered with someone who has considerable experience in that field: Travis Haley of Haley Strategic Partners (HSP). Together, HSP and Safariland developed the new INCOG X holster, which will begin shipping on July 14th.
The original HSP INCOG was conceptualized in 2011. At that time, Travis Haley wanted an appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB) holster with an attached magazine caddy — a format that has become commonplace today, but was substantially less so back then. He began experimenting with some sheets of Kydex, foam, and a toaster oven. The resulting design became the original HSP INCOG holster, which was manufactured by G-Code for roughly 10 years. In 2022, Haley began thinking about updating the holster design, and after a conversation with acquaintances at Safariland, decided to partner with them for this tenth-anniversary redesign. It's aptly called the INCOG X after the Roman numeral.
The new HSP / Safariland INCOG X is constructed from thermoformed Boltaron polymer, finished with an outer layer of microfiber suede for added comfort. It features re-engineered clips, one of which includes an integrated concealment strut. The strut comes with three modular, snap-in spacers to fine-tune the angle of the gun's grip against the user's body and reduce printing. The optional mag caddy is designed to flex slightly with the user's belt, but it does so based on the stiffness of the Boltaron material, not an additional hinge or elastic. This, along with the use of minimal hardware (4 clip screws plus 2 for tension adjustment), is designed to eliminate as many points of failure as possible. Many of us have had holster screws work their way loose over time, so Haley's logic is the fewer to check, the better.
For users who prefer different clips, Safariland noted that the clip screw spacing allows for installation of various aftermarket options.
Knowing that many users carry pistols with red dot sights and compensators, the INCOG X comes standard with breathing room for these accessories. Light-bearing and non-light-bearing options will be available, with the former intended for compact, EDC-friendly lights such as the Streamlight TLR-7. The holster comes in HSP's signature grey with black and red accents. At launch, 16 models will be available to cover the following platforms:
Each holster will be available with or without space for a weapon light, and with or without an attached mag caddy. A Safariland rep mentioned that other pistol applications are being considered for the future, including Walther, H&K, and Staccato, but those may not be available until 2024. MSRP will be $120 with the mag caddy or $90 for variants without it.
For the launch of the INCOG X, Travis Haley invited a small group of media members to his training facility in Scottsdale, AZ. As mentioned in our previous article about the Haley Strategic D7 course, this facility has a multi-million-dollar VirTra shooting simulator that can be used with gas-blowback training guns. After taking a look at the INCOG X holsters, we put them on and stepped in front of the projector screen to warm up on some virtual paper and steel plates.
After spending the morning doing concealment drills in front of the single-screen VirTra sim, we moved on to the wraparound VirTra 300. Inside this immersive environment, we experienced a variety of scenarios, starting with our CO2-powered Glocks concealed in our INCOG X holsters. The VirTra system isn't just pre-programmed for one outcome, it's operated by an instructor who can send you on branching paths and cause armed assailants to react differently each time, so we had to put ourselves in Haley's “thinkers before shooters” mindset and react dynamically to threats.
Since I've spent time in the sim before, I was given a challenging scenario involving a gunfight with two shooters who both had AR-15s and body armor. Other attendees faced scenarios ranging from an ATM mugging to a home invasion to a shooting inside a crowded movie theater.
I'm looking forward to spending more time wearing and training with the new INCOG X to see how it compares to my other favorite EDC holsters. For more information on this holster, keep an eye on HaleyStrategic.com and Safariland.com as we approach the June 14th official launch date.