Review: Dark Star Gear Clip-On AIWB for Shield

Tom of Dark Star Gear and I have been friends for several years. Like most internet friendships, I don’t recall exactly how we connected, but it was probably over something non-firearm related that was said on a mutual friend’s Facebook wall, or on a firearms forum about flashlights or something. We hit it off and have been internet bros ever since.

Anyway, fast forward to a few weeks ago and I sent in a request for a quote for, “A clip-on appendix holster for my shield in an obnoxious color, made how you would make one for yourself.” His response was, “I got you, fam”. I didn’t know what that meant until I received a surprise from the postal service last week.

Why I needed it:

I needed a holster to carry my S&W Shield when I was wearing my Gi pants on the way to Jiu Jitsu, mowing the yard in shorts, running for beer, filling up at the gas station, and so on. Sometimes a sturdy belt is too much trouble. Some days I can’t even be bothered to put on pants. I’m that lazy. The color scheme is because I like to offend the multicam crowd. Toxic Green Houndstooth fit the bill and was a pleasant surprise.

I appreciate the utility of a belt-looped holster for ultimate security and retention when you’re being lifted up and slammed by your holster in training (or in da streetz).

ShivWorks ECQC grounded evolution. The gear grindhouse.

Sometimes the convenience of a clip-on holster can’t be beat. The failure point for clip-on holsters is usually the clip itself. There isn’t enough ‘bite’ to grab the material of the pants without a belt, and you end up drawing the pistol and holster as one unit. That’s bad. Tom chose his clip wisely. It has a barb that turns back into the pants material and has gripped every kind of leg covering I own, and it also works with a belt.

Luckily for me, there are guys like Tom who apply good materials, quality components, and an engineer’s touch to carry gear.

This is the Semi-Auto Clip-on IWB/AIWB Holster. I’m not sure if you need to request the extended length or not.

4 things this holster does very well:

  • The spacing resolution of the holes in the vertical adjustment of the clip. They are about .3″ center to center, which makes for nice fine tuning of ride height in the pants.
Three sets of holes spaced close enough to give good adjustment for ride height.
Three sets of holes spaced close enough to give good adjustment for ride height. Middle set of holes used in this photo.
  • The clip has an aggressive bite that grips every pair of pants exceedingly well. Whether gi pants, nylon gym shorts, cargo shorts without a belt, jeans, swim trunks, whatever. The gun comes out, the holster stays. That’s what we want. My testing will be ongoing, but I’ve tried it with all of the above types of garments at least 100 draws in each. Same result every time.
A very bitey clip.
  • A satisfying click when the gun is holstered. The gun has enough retention for running, jumping, and somersaulting. I have video. It won’t shake out when held upside down and jostled. And there is a retention adjustment screw.
  • The holster extends beyond the muzzle of the gun by nearly an inch. Why would you want to make such a tiny gun effectively longer, you ask? Because the shield has much of its weight behind the trigger guard (AKA above the belt-line). Most small-frame pistol clip-on holsters are prone to print significantly more as the belly (#dadbod) presses the grip out, and there is no counter-pressure from the muzzle end against the pubic area to keep it flat behind the waist. By making the holster Glock19 length, Tom has created a longer lever that helps keep the grip flat against the belly, even without a belt. It’s a subtle, but valuable, feature.


If Tom hadn’t insisted that he send me this holster as a gift, I would have gladly paid for it (don’t tell him that). It’s a great design. I’m confident you wouldn’t be disappointed.

I want to set up some force-on-force with this holster to see if I can break it or get it to pop out of my pants in a fight. I’ll report back if any new information comes to light.

Thank you,


If you find value in my ramblings, please subscribe, share, and shop through our amazon affiliate link.

Gear Featured:
Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm
Dark Star Gear
Phlster holster
Ameriglo I-cap sights Orange outline
Apex Sear