Shawn Herrin | Aug 2, 2019 | 0
Shoulder holster with a twist
K.L. Null SMZ
The K.L. Null SMZ is a lightweight shoulder holster designed to carry a pistol tightly under the armpit with the muzzle pointing upwards. A loop goes over the weak side arm, and then a strap travels the distance from the top of the weak shoulder, over the back of the neck, down the strong side of the user’s torso, and clips onto the user’s belt. The straps are made of a synthetic material that resembles leather (smooth on the outside, textured and soft on the inside). The holster is simple and compact, and made of a smooth folded plastic material. A single strap is riveted to the holster. This is the interesting part; the strap travels behind the pistol’s trigger and fastens tightly on the other side with a snap. This setup is very secure, and presents no more risk of pulling the trigger than any other holster. A set of instructions are provided with the holster demonstrating how to draw from the rather unique rig. The user must push up, and twist the gun out. This action is supposed to unsnap the strap and slip it out from behind the gun’s trigger.
In theory, the SMZ is a compact, though non-traditional, holster that should hold a compact pistol in a comfortable and easy to reach position. In theory. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an answer to my prayers. For all of my testing I carried an FEG clone of the Walther PPK in .380 ACP. I wore this holster in cold weather, meaning it was always worn under a sweater and a coat. The holster was adjusted as per the directions included with the rig. With the holster properly adjusted, the muzzle of the pistol should be tight in the user’s armpit. Unfortunately, there is no strong side tie-down, meaning the weight of the pistol is free to swing to its heart’s content. Bending over caused the pistol to swing down over my chest and rest on my shirt. Any kind of quick movement and the holster bounced, bobbed, and slapped my ribs. When I sat down I had to be extremely careful not to slouch. The holster would readjust, the grippy material on the inside of the straps would grab my undershirt, and when I stood up I’d find myself stuck in an awkward angle leaning off to my weak side. The strap that crossed my shoulders had a tendency to ride up, and because it was grippy, it would also pull the collar of my undershirt up, exposing it, and causing some discomfort. Wearing the holster under my undershirt proved to be rather uncomfortable. The material rubbed back and forth on my skin. The holster’s plastic was a bit warped. I tried my best to bend the material a bit, but I was unable to get it to remain flat. As a result, the holster pushed the butt and muzzle of the pistol out away from my body, causing it to print pretty badly. The holster’s unique retention method also proved to be rather disagreeable. The holster comes with a direction sheet that includes photographs. I practiced quite a bit, but was completely unable to get to a point where I was able to smoothly draw the pistol. I apparently do not possess “the touch”. The retention method also makes it unlikely to re-holster the pistol without removing your shirt or the holster.
The SMZ is a good idea, though the execution is not perfect. If I were to redesign the holster, I would add a weak side shoulder loop to replace the weak side tie-down. I’d also add an adjustable strap across the wearer’s chest and back. I’d replace the holster’s behind the trigger retention strap with a more traditional thumb break. Finally I’d replace the sued-like interior of the straps with a smoother material, allowing them to move freely without grabbing undergarments or skin.
The holster is a good idea with good build quality, and some design choices that were not ideal for my situation. I’d love to try the holster again with some minor changes. At $75, the price is fair, considering the quality of the materials. When the holster didn’t shift or grab my clothing, it was very comfortable.