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I came home from work and guess was upon my stoop.. a brown box from Black Arch Holsters !!!! Of course I immediately tore into it... and i got some knitted socks . Not really... what I found was the coolest thing since sliced bread !!! My box set ( it comes in a super cool wooden box, laser engraved, and with all of the available clips, belt loops, and tools needed, as well as sccrew sets for the various backers. Protos M holsters. In case anyone has not seen, the Protos M is the newest offering from Black Arch Holsters ( formerly SHTF Gear). The protos-M is a hybrid holster system that combines the quality and craftsmanship Black Arch is known for, with a modular ability to be converted from a dual clip hybrid, into a single clip hybrid, and then into a OWB hybrid. Thats right, its not one, not two, but three holsters in one. Now, some of you may be saying " but Big T ( thats what I call myself now), it has been done before and it never works. Maker XXxxx did it, and it was a fail." And you would be correct, but hey were not Black Arch Holsters. So what makes this so special? good question.

Possibly the biggest factor is that it is modular. One shell, three backers. Clay and his team designed the system this way to create a modular holster that accommodated each carry style equally well, instead of compromising for flexibility. This is achieved by creating specific backers that share the shell, instead of one backer to accommodate a variety of shells for multiple firearms. The shells are not interchangeable for different guns, as each backer is desinged for each carry style and is specific to the gun itself. If you carry a G19, only the G19 shell will fit the backers. This allows the backers to be as small as possible and properly fitted to the gun, instead of requiring a large single backer to accommodate different gun shapes. The shell itself is very small, as is each backer.

Fit and finish: Exactly what I would expect from Black Arch...Top notch. The kydex edges are butter smooth and rounded with no points or hard spots. The leather appears to be the same used on the Gen 2 ACE-1, and I can tell from personal experience the leather is incredibly durable. I have been carrying the Gen 2 / g19 and Gen 2/ vp9 combo since release and both show almost no wear on the leather surface. Stitching is solid and even with nice tight stitches. The shell is attached with t-nuts and chicago screws as is common with holsters of this type. A note on the screws, the t nuts ship with a small amount of thread locker in them. This is not super locktite. I initially thought it was rust but in better light it is obviously not. I spoke with Black Arch and it is a thread locker compound used to help keep the screws from loosening over time. It WILL NOT set and harden like red locktite, and will allow you to remove the screws as needed. One element missing, found on the gen 1 and gen 2 ACE series holsters, is the bright yellow kydex thread. It always seemed to be a bit of a hallmark, something to distinguish it by. Alas, it does not come on the Protos-M holster.

To replace it however, is a very genius idea..... Each backer is laser engraved with the company logo, but is also laser engraved with the model and what gun the backer is for. No more guessing if you should have it for more than one gun. A novel idea indeed, if you ask me.

So if you are still with me, you are porobably wondering how this all works? step into my office and lets chat...

The holster arrives configured in the traditional dual clip configuration. In the box set, you will also find the backers for the single clip and OWB configurations in a neat and tidy stack. If you lift this entire tray out, below is another tray, neatly arrayed with all of the various accessories... soft loops in in black and a coyote tan or fde ( not sure which), steel clips, Delrin clips (high strength molded clips, very very durable material). Also on this tray you will find a variety of screws and spacers. These are for the backers depending on congfiguration. Also included is a handy dandy reversible screwdriver for changing the screws.

Changing the backer is as simple as removing the screws and placing the shell on the desired backer with the appropriate screws. there are separate screws for the trigger guard retention adjustment, and for mounting the shell.In its as arrived configuration, the G19 provided three holes on each side for ride height adjustment. The holster no longer has the comfort curve as seen on the gen 2 holster, but i was assured the holster is equally, or exceedingly comfortable.

In Single clip configuration, the clip is attached via the slot in the center of the holster. This slot also allows for ride height adjustment, and remains tuckable as needed for you folks that dress fancy.So thats one shell, two holsters... but we said there was three !!!!

There is !

The third backer again utilizes the same shell, but is made with belt slots in the backer instead of mounting holes for clips. The backer looks like a rather typical OWB holster accept for the part of needing the shell. My holster is cut for 1.5" belts. The leather backer for the OWB configuration is thicker than the other for added stiffness. An important difference... I got mine with the suede backer... which i have come to love for numerous reasons. The OWB does not have this. Instead, the OWB backer is two pieces of finished leather sewn and bonded, so both sides present the finished side. The finishing of the OWB is so tight, I cannot see the seam where the leather is bonded. And of course all the leather edges are rounded, smoothed and dyed.

The Protos -M , in its initial apperance, seems to be one heck of a set up. Having much experience with the offerings from Black Arch Holsters, I know their commitment to quality, and expect nothing but great things from the protos-M. I am looking forward to using the Protos-M and doing a long term review down the road. Also, I got the boxed set. Each configuration is available individually as well, so if you just want one , you can have your cake and eat it too !!!

I hope you have found this informative, and maybe even enjoyable. I know I did, and always do.

PS: I know pictures or it didnt happen... i am uploading them now from my phone as we speak so keep the window open and refresh occasionally, you have to see the box they come in, it is awesome!!! And the holster is pretty great as well!

A note on the box. It is solid plywood and laser etched with the logo etc. It is not cardboard printed to look like wood.
 
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Cost?


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Cost for the box set is 210 for everything shown, which is every available accessory for the protos.

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An awesome review of the box set, which is really a complex carry system, at least to me.

I'll be posting about my set in the perpetual Black Arch Holsters on my Doorstep thread.

No doubt, that I will not be able to match your reviews, so keep them coming.

Also, I see your box set is for a Glock, mine is for a PPS M2.

Fits the IWB configuration holster perfectly from the box:)
 
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