I've always preferred thermoplastic holsters such as those made of Kydex over traditional leather rigs. They're more durable and retain their shape for better retention and ease of re-holstering. Gould & Goodrich, a company known for its high-quality leather duty gear, recently expanded its thermoplastic line of holsters with the new Delta Wing line and I was eager to check them out.
Although the Delta Wing design is standard across all configurations, G&G was kind enough to send me both an outside the waistband (OWB) and an inside the waistband (IWB) holster so I could compare and contrast the merits of each. I'll start with the holster body and then move on to the belt attachments.
The first thing I noticed was the thickness of the material. I own several thermoplastic holsters and the Delta Wing is by far the thickest and most rigid example. This is necessary as the Delta Wing's design is essentially a symmetrical die-cut panel that has been folded in the center and shaped around the gun. Think of a hard-plastic taco shell for your pistol. There is a single retention screw near the trigger guard that allows for adjustments. My Glock 19 snapped in with a very positive click and was retained well enough to withstand moderate running or activity. Remember, this is a concealed carry holster for off-duty or plainclothes carry. It is not intended to be a duty holster.
Unlike other thermoplastic holsters, the main seam of the Delta Wing along the slide of the pistol is left open. This creates additional flex and allows the wearer to draw the gun at a slightly forward angle, not just directly up. If you shoot with competition holsters this will seem familiar. While this makes for a faster draw and less chance of holster hang-ups, it also greatly reduces the security of the weapon. In my testing even a small amount of twisting force would pop the gun free and allow it to be wrested from the holster shell. At the end of the day you'll need to consider your personal concerns between security and draw speed.
Now for the belt configurations. The OWB version comes standard with both a paddle and a 2-inch belt attachment that are easily interchanged. The paddle is comfortable but very thin, so I would definitely recommend the significantly more rigid and secure belt attachment. Both positioned the holster in an ideal mid-ride position and kept it close enough to the body that it could be concealed under a shirt.
The IWB version is secured with two leather straps that loop under the belt and snap in place. I found this configuration to be very secure and likely the best use of this holster design.
Delta Wing holsters are currently available for the Glock 19, 23, and 43; the SIG P365; and the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.
All G&G holsters, including the new Delta Wing models, are made in the United States and come with a one-year guarantee. You can pick up your very own Delta Wing for around $50 at www.firsttactical.com.
A.J. George is a sergeant with the Scottsdale (AZ) Police Department who is assigned to the Technical Operations Unit, Special Investigations Section. He has more than a decade of law enforcement experience in patrol, field training, and traffic enforcement.
Developing the Gould & Goodrich Delta Wing Holsters
Gould & Goodrich's new patent-pending Delta Wing concealment holsters were the product of one man's desire to perform better in International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) shooting competitions.
Lt. James Fairfield, a Florida police officer, says the problem was that the off-duty holsters he owned that met competition rules were not letting him get a fast and clean draw while clearing concealment. Fairfield, who is a member of Point Blank Enterprises' Ballistic Shoot Team, discussed his problem with Scott Nelson, president of Gould & Goodrich (a Point Blank company), and the two men brainstormed the Delta Wing holster design.
"This design is really flexible," says Fairfield. "It lets me bend the gun away from my body as I grab it and get my shooter's grip. I now compete with it and carry with it."
Fairfield explains that one of the most important benefits of the Delta Wing holster design is that it is forgiving. "This holster lets you get your gun up and out quickly even though you may not be at true vertical relative to the way the holster is mounted on your body," he says.
The Delta Wing design is not just about speed; it's about safety, according to Fairfield. "There's a fine line between fast and crash. People get panicked when they have trouble drawing properly. A lot of negligent discharges are preceded by a draw failure both in competition and in real world situations."
G&G's Nelson says the Delta Wing is one of the most minimalist holster designs produced by the company. "It grabs the gun in two places, the trigger guard and the ejection port. You get an audible click when you properly reholster. But you can clear the holster's Level 1 retention at lightning speed. It's a pretty unique holster. That's why we patented it."—David Griffith