I Carry: Springfield XDs 3.3 in an Alien Gear ShapeShifter Holster

posted on September 29, 2017

Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together an ideal everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a Springfield Armory XDs 3.3 in an Alien Gear ShapeShifter holster, paired with the company's Cloak Mag Carrier. Rounding out the gear is an LA Police Gear Operator Mini EDC flashlight, a Bear & Son Cutlery Bear Ops Bear Edge knife and an Alien Gear Gun Belt.

Gun : Springfield Armory XDs 3.3 ($499)

The XDs 3.3 is designed to be a slim, compact CCW option that will fit easily in a number of different carry positions, whether that be outside the waistband, inside the waistband, appendix carry or even ankle carry. The gun uses a striker-fired action that features a trigger safety, grip safety and drop safety.

As its name implies, the 3.3 has a 3.3-inch barrel and measures less than an inch wide. The XDs is available in three different calibers: 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. This particular model is in 9mm and features a magazine capacity of seven rounds with the flush-fit baseplate and eight rounds with the extended option.

The pistol is available in a number of frame finishes, including black, flat dark earth and the tactical gray shown here. With an empty magazine, the gun weighs in at 23 ounces.

Holster: Alien Gear ShapeShifter Holster System ($99.88)

Many who are new to carrying a firearm are overwhelmed with all the different carry styles and holster choices. Luckily, the ShapeShifter from Alien Gear offers a starter kit that allows users to choose between four different carry methods: inside the waistband, appendix carry, outside the waistband with a belt slide and OWB with a paddle holster.

To switch between these carry methods, the ShapeShifter features two halves of a molded shell, held together by these twist-lock knobs. The system is customizable, allowing users to change the retention level of each carry style, and the modular system is even available with a thumb release.

The system also provides a fifth method of storage, coming with a mounting bracket that allows a gun to be attached to a wall or desk, if desired. All of these carry options come in an easy-to-use starter kit that retails for less than $100, giving users a chance to experiment with different styles of carry.

Mag Carrier: Alien Gear Cloak Mag Carrier ($33.88)

Alien Gear also brought modularity to the mag carrier system with its Single Cloak Mag Carrier. Designed for use both inside and outside the waistband, this modular mag carrier features a bucket that can be ordered in either single-stack or double-stack configurations.

Included is a neoprene-backed pad that allows the bucket to be carried inside the waistband. If users prefer an OWB configuration, they can remove the bucket from its liner and use the attached belt clip to wear it outside the waistband. Retention is fully adjustable with these screws here, and users can adjust ride height by selecting one of two attachment nodes.

Flashlight: LA Police Gear Operator Mini EDC ($29.99)

The Operator Mini proves that you don’t have to spend a lot for a usable flashlight that is sized right for everyday carry. It operates off a single CR123A battery, which provides a maximum output of 330 lumens for a total run time of about 50 minutes.

The light weighs just under two ounces without a battery and measures just over 3.5 inches long. The Mini features four different operating modes: high, medium, low and strobe, which are selected through the use of a tailcap switch.

Knife: Bear Ops Bear Edge ($39.99)

For an affordable knife made by a manufacturer with a trusted reputation, we looked to Bear & Son Cutlery, which produces the new Bear Ops Bear Edge knife. The knife features a blade made from 440 stainless steel for corrosion resistance, and the handles are built from durable G10 fiberglass laminate.

When closed, the Bear Edge measures just 4.5 inches long and incorporates a 3.4-inch blade. Total weight of the knife is 4.3 ounces. The blade is built with an assisted-open mechanism and a thumb stud for one-handed opening and includes a pocket clip for tip-up carry.

Belt: Alien Gear Gun Belt ($59.88)

Alien Gear secures this entire rig with its Gun Belt, which uses the same technology found in the company’s Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster, which is highlighted in a separate I Carry video. The belt features a reinforced core made from spring steel, which is wrapped between two layers of English Bridle leather.

The leather is stitched together using high-strength polyester thread, designed to withstand wear and tear. The belt is available in black and brown finishes and comes with a nickel-plated steel buckle or an optional black buckle.


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