Saturday, September 29, 2012

Clipdraw Glock Revolver 1911 Universal Model Review

Clipdraw Glock Revolver 1911 Universal Model Review
The idea is simple; attach a spring loaded belt clip to the side of a handgun so that it can be easily and securely, clipped, carried, and drawn. At some point you have seen the Clipdraw products in magazines or on the internet and wondered whether they perform as expected.  

As it seems almost every free state in the US now has a concealed carry law, folks are looking for simple and secure ways to carry a handgun.  More importantly they want a carry method which conforms to their lifestyle.  

The Clipdraw seems like a brilliantly simple idea to a rather complex and occasionally cumbersome problem. For most of us the idea looks a bit gadgetry but the question is does it work? In my situation, a buddy of mine is currently active DOD Special Operations.  I let the questions fly as I say him stuff a Clipdraw equipped .40 baby Glock G29 into his shorts as we were heading out for BBQ. 

He raved about how much he liked Clipdraw on his “everyday” carry gun.  I remember thinking, “wait a minute, a special operations guy is using a Clipdraw?”  His point was that he is usually wearing shorts or jean, sometimes without a belt, just running to the store, in between base, picking up the kids, or grabbing a bite to eat and in general usually does not have the time to slip on his Supertuck Deluxe Crossbread Holster. He also noted that in the course of the day, it was just far easier to just tuck the Clipdraw in this shorts running out the door than worrying about situating or belting on a holster.  If he was going to be out for the day, his Crossbread was more comfortable and because of the tuck feature, more concealable, however for any other carry situation of daily life, the Clipdraw equipped G29 was his prefered go to carry gun.

This was quite an endorsement from my perspective and ordered Clipdraws for my Glock 19, Ruger SR1911, Ruger LCR, and Ruger LCP which are all pistols I seem to carry often.  The other reason I bought in quickly to the concept was that I have been carrying a Ruger LCP .380 modified with a Keltec pocket clip for some time. I was not sold on the position of the clip, however the setup seemed to be stunningly convenient to carry for both myself and Mrs. Pandemic.

Clipdraw was developed almost ten years ago and is not what you would call a new product, but one which I feel is under publicized. The products were originally introduced by the parent company, Skyline Toolworks, which dedicated a division to the Clipdraw line of products.  Clipdraw has developed a number of other products including a Glock trigger safety block and a dedicated S&W revolver version in addition to those I am reviewing here. 

With the exception of the black Glock model, all the Clipdraw versions are available in black phosphate or chrome finishes and in general match up to the finish on the guns pretty well.  I went with all black clips as I think silver clips are a bit more noticeable during carry.  Overall the various models had a nice finish however I would have liked the edges to be a little more deburred as I found a couple sharper edges here and there and hit any significant edges with a nail files to prevent any from biting into my pants or belts.

I had no issues from a fit perspective on any of the models with the exception of the Universal Revolver model covering up the serial number on my Ruger LCR.  Should someone require to see the serial number, the VHB tape can be removed by prying it off.  While I am noting the 3M VHB (Very High Bond) tape, it should be noted that this is unlike any other double sided tape you have run across before.  VHB has incredible adhesion assuming you use the alcohol wipes to clean the mounting plates and gun well.  Clipdraw includes about four-to-five extra pieces of tape should you decide to move the clip to another gun at some point.  The VHB is VERY HIGH BOND!  Freeze it, wiggle it, get it wet, inadvertently get a little gun cleaner on it and it will stay put. At first I was sceptical of how securely the tape would hold, however I have had no issues through this super hot sweaty summer.

None of the Clipdraws interfered with any of my holsters and none required removal for holstering. In some cases the clips slipped under or over the holster, however I had no issues with holstering.

Glock Clipdraw - The Glock version attaches quickly via a rear plate replacement.  The rear slide plate on the Glock is plastic, however the Clipdraw slide plate version is billet aluminum and it the host for the clip to securely mount to via two screws.  Swap out the plate, bolt on the clip and you are done.

The placement of the clip does not obstruct ejection, however it does cover the right side of the slide. I typically carry empty chamber with the principle of draw, charge, fire which means I could use a little grip tape on the Clipdraw device to improve grip on the right hand side of the slide. The clip was very tight on the Glock model compared to the others which I really liked and provided secure carry even during more active situations.  I would have liked the clip to provide a little deeper carry, however I found that as long as I clipped to just the waistband, in most situations the fabric would slip under the clip beyond the belt notch and provide deeper carry. Will this displace my Crossbread holster? Not completely, because the Clipdraw is not tuckable, however I do tend to carry my G19 much than I have previously.  

1911 grip Clipdraw - The 1911 model is also quick to attach and only requires you to remove your right hand grip panel drop on the Clipdraw unit and reattach the grips.  It could not be simpler.  Like the Glock, on the 1911 model I would have like a deeper carry to offset more of the weight of the heavy 1911 and also a bit tighter clip. 

The model works fine as is, however this is a personal preference to carry my firearms deeper for improved concealment and higher retention.  I tweaked the tension of the clip just a bit with a strategic bend.  In general full sized 1911 are a pain in the ass to carry; they are heavy, bulky, and have lots of sharp points.  With that noted, I was quite impressed with how easily I could carry my SR1911.  

I probably would not choose to carry it in this way on an evening out, however it does make it super easy to slip it into your pants to investigate a bump in the night, to let the dog out, run to the grocery store...etc.  

It definitely has found a permanent home on my SR1911, however my challenge with this Clipdraw is that without a really thick belt, it simply does carry deep enough or clip secure enough to provide the retention I believe is required during potential “active situations”.  My fear is that I could drop a gun on the floor during an active two-step.

Universal Revolver Clipdraw - I love my Ruger LCR .357, however I have been fighting with it a bit from a “how to carry the damn thing” perspective.  Generally if I am going to “carry” all day, I go for my Glock 19 in a Crossbreed holster, however I have hoping to finding a convenient way to carry the super-ultralight LCR.  What I like most about this Clipdraw model is that it fits the Ruger LCR and secondly that it is tuckable.  

Because of the design of the clip, it has just enough room behind the clip that you can make it work as a tuckable/shirt-in concealment option.  In .357 this is a very compact, simple and easy carry option for those that like to carry a simple handling wheel-gun.  This is hands down the best upgrade for a Ruger LCR and if you happen to have another brand, the Universal Model will fit just about any small frame revolver out there including Taurus, S&W, Ruger, and others.  The clip looks small however it is very effective because it situates the revolver deer than any of the other Clipdraws.  For guys, this would even be a great setup to slip into the waistband on swim trunks carry gun.

Universal Handgun Clipdraw - This is an all purpose model which will fit just about any gun which has a flat area the base can attach to. In this case, the previous Kel-tec clip on my LCP .380 positioned the pistol too deep and did not leave enough of the tiny pistol to grab onto.  60 seconds later I had the base plate mounted with the supplied VHB tape and the clip screwed onto the mounting plate.  

Now the clip position works perfectly and I or Mrs. Pandemic carry this constantly because it is exceptionally light and only ½” thick.  It disappears on clothing. Due to the size of the clip with this gun, I would classify this model as semi-tuckable and in most situations I can tuck in a shirt and make the gun disappear. Larger guns will obviously be less concealable, however this is a good option for the 99% of semi-auto guns out there. This is a must have upgrade for any LCP.

You have to ask yourself, do you want to make a style statement or have an option which promotes safe carry so you can protect yourself. The Clipdraw does not makes the gun look better.  In reality, none of these clips look great, however if you are carrying a concealed carry gun, looks should be the last thing on your mind. The purpose of the Clipdraw is pure and simply to provide a convenient carry system which can easily morph to your lifestyle and promote concealed carry more... after all the super cool custom gun at home is helpful in a life threatening situation.

On guns which will be in and out of your waistband multiple times a day, in and out of cars, or used for short jaunts to the store, in shorts, jeans, or a skirt, the Clipdraw is an exceptional option and has become my prefered quick carry option.  In our get home bags we have G17 and I am thinking that Clipdraws on those guns would be a very smart option as well. We all have guns we would like to carry more. For 1911’s specifically, Clipdraws provides a quick attaching option to carry and use the gun more than you would normally and can be detached in a under a minute by just removing the grip screws.

This simple carry system dynamically transformed the usability of all the guns I have mounted them to greatly extended the amount of use these guns see.  The harder to carry LCR and 1911 suddenly became easy to tuck into my jeans to go for a walk or let the dog out at night all while not interfering with my dedicated holsters. Now my prefered Glock 19 sees more carry time as well and provides a more substantial carry option to my little Ruger LCP.  Simply put, get a Clipdraw and carry your guns more. As it turns out my buddy was right, maybe simpler is better.


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