Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together a potential everyday-carry kit. Today, we're using the Stoeger STR-9 inside of a Clinger Holsters rig, a quick-mount weaponlight from Blackhawk, a Fobus light carrier and a Browning EDC knife.
Stoeger STR-9 ($299)
Right now, many of you might be thinking, “Stoeger? For everyday carry? But they make shotguns!” Yes, Stoeger is known for making affordable, budget-priced shotguns, and we’ve reviewed a couple of them in our magazine and on our website. However, for 2019, Stoeger moved into the handgun category while still maintaining affordability. The STR-9, like the company’s shotguns, is made in Turkey, but unlike other Turkish-made handguns, this isn’t a clone of another design. This pistol has been developed from the ground up by Stoeger designers, who aimed to make a gun that appealed to the greatest number of users possible.
For a gun that’s purpose-built to appeal to as many consumers as possible, you might not be surprised to find that the Stoeger looks like some of the most-popular handguns selling today. Generally, you can describe the gun as a striker-fired, double-stack, polymer-frame compact pistol, and that description is apt for a lot of guns today. However, that’s not a bad thing. It’s a proven concept that finds its genesis in the Glock G19, and this particular iteration is one of the most-affordable of the bunch. Molded finger grooves, aggressive slide serrations and an interchangeable backstrap make this pistol comfortable and configurable to nearly any shooter, and the ridged trigger with the blade safety will feel familiar to anyone who owns a Glock.
Clinger Holsters V3 No Print Wonder ($69)
Since the Stoeger STR-9 is a pretty recent arrival to the market, there aren’t too many dedicated holster fits for the gun. However, Clinger Holsters is on the ball with its new V3 No Print Wonder. On the surface, this might just look like another Kydex inside-the-waistband holster, but it’s far more than that. This single holster can, with the right clips, convert from a single-point IWB design to a dual-clip design and can even convert to an outside-the-waistband design. So, for the price of one holster, you basically get three, and that’s pretty cool.
Now, it begs the question. Why is this called the No Print Wonder? Well, it’s all due to this particular part called the “Cling Tab.” The hardest part of a gun to conceal is the grip, as that wants to protrude from the body, and that causes printing. Good holsters will have a design that cants the grip inward, pressing it against the body and making the grip easier to conceal. The V3 No Print Wonder accomplishes this with the Cling Tab, which is a stiff design that pulls the grip inward as your belt tightens.
Blackhawk Night Ops Xiphos NTX Weaponlight ($204.45)
We’ve got a solid holster and self-defense gun, but what do you do if you’re stuck in the dark? Flashlights are incredibly useful tools, but they have one drawback: you need to have a free hand to use the light. That takes a hand off your handgun, which makes it harder to use effectively. Weapon-mounted lights are the solution to this, but they’re often bulky things, and they require specialized holster fits. Why not just have a light that can clip onto your frame rail and give you light when you need it without having to dedicate holster space to it? That’s the inspiration behind the Blackhawk Night Ops Xiphos light, which features a cantilever locking mechanism that allows you to quickly mount a light and go. The light is activated with an ambidextrous lever located at the rear of the light body, and you can cycle through momentary-on, constant-on and strobe options.
Fobus N3 Light/Laser Carrier ($31.99)
So, you’ve got this easily mounted weaponlight, and it works great when it’s on your gun, but what do you do when you’re not using it? Stick it in your pocket? Actually, Fobus makes a dedicated light-and-laser carrier that you can carry right on your belt. If you’re heading out to an area where you might want some lumens on-hand, just stick the paddle inside your waistband, and you’ve got a handy weaponlight you can detach and mount to your gun with ease. Or, in a pinch, you can just use the weaponlight as a flashlight.
Browning Prism II EDC Knife ($14.99)
We’re rounding out our EDC kit with a simple, bare-bones carry knife from Browning. I’ve said before that I like inexpensive knives, because they work fine for utilitarian tasks and I don’t have to worry about damaging a knife like the Prism II. For less than $15, you get a 440A stainless-steel blade that opens easily with the attached thumb stud. The aluminum bolster carries a pocket clip that allows for tip-down carry, and the scales can be had in a number of colors for a personal touch. Blade length measures 2 and three-quarter inches on this model, which is perfect for a solid EDC tool.
All of this gear represents just one of an incredible number of combinations on the market today, and it’s important for everyone to find the EDC kit that works best for them. Looking for something different than what you see here? Stay tuned to “I Carry” to see more concealed-carry setups.