Holster Review: PHLster Syndicate

posted on February 12, 2020

When Polymer80 introduced its serialized PF9 and PF9c frames, I was intrigued. When there was a sale on the frames for $120, I couldn’t resist. I’ve built numerous AR-15-style rifles, 10/22s and even done some work on the Remington 700 platform, but I’ve never done much more on pistols than swap out sights. As it turns out, the Glock platform, or, at least, the Glock-like platform, is rather similar to the AR-15 in that if you can watch a video, differentiate various parts and operate minimal hand tools, you can put one together. 

For this first build, I kept it simple: standard Glock Gen3 OEM parts (trigger, magazine release, slide stop, etc.). The slide is a Brownells Gen3 variant cut for an RMR (red dots are the future), finished with a Lone Wolf slide parts kit and XS Sights RAM front and rear sights. For a more, in-depth look at the various procedures and tools that go into a Glock build, my colleague Bob Boyd has been doing excellent work detailing all the moving parts that come together. In the end, I had my very own, custom-built polymer-frame, striker-fired 9 mm that was certainly not a [name brand]. 

What I did not have, however, was a holster for it. Which, really, was a shame, because after testing this new pistol, it proved itself not only reliable, but also accurate. With the 3.25-MOA red-dot RMR from Trijicon I was making solid, repeatable, accurate hits at 10 yards right out of the box, and at times-on-target that didn’t differ significantly from iron sights. After shooting the Polymer80 PF9c frame, I’m a fan—the grip texture and overall feel are superb. If there’s any one thing I don’t like about the PF9c, it’s that it doesn’t fit standard Glock holsters. So, I started asking around—as a result of our “I Carry” series, I’ve been fortunate to talk to some really talented holster makers. 

One such holster maker is PHLster, out of Philadelphia (hence the PHL…). I mentioned, in an offhand comment in a PM to the owner, that I had put this pistol together and couldn’t find holsters anywhere. Almost as a pleading, throwaway line, I asked if he had a holster for the Polymer80 PF9 frame—and imagine my shock when he answered in the affirmative! A little creative searching (I think he sent me the last Syndicate in the office!) and one was on its way to me. 

As for the holster itself, it’s pretty standard PHLster fare: Kydex construction with a single “bend” (often referred to as a “taco” in how the Kydex folds), Modwing to help tuck the holster into the body, and both Quick-Clip and Griphook belt attachments. I left the Quick-Clip attached, as it makes putting the Syndicate on/taking it off ridiculously easy. It’s comfortable for all-day carry, virtually indestructible and quite modular—there’s a variety of clip-attachment options that allow the user to swap between IWB- and appendix-style carry. Heck, about the only negative I can come up with for this holster is that it traps sweat pretty significantly—but that’s true for literally every single appendix-style kydex holster I’ve ever worn. 

Bottom line, though, is that there’s a good amount of research needed when working with a, well, boutique pistol. I got super lucky with the Syndicate—I found a great holster from a great company that works perfectly. Had PHLster not offered it, though, there’s always the company’s excellent Floodlight series that indexes on an attached weaponlight—that’s now available in an OWB configuration new for 2020.


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