The First Breathable Holster – StealthGearUSA IWB Holster Review

FNX_45_tac_3_largeIf you have been in one of my classes in the last two years you have seen and touched the StealthGearUSA ONYX holster. It isn't the only holster I use but it is one of my favorites. My favorite thing about the holster is the patent pending fabric on the back that breathes and allows air to flow. Especially in hotter weather there is a tendency for IWB holsters to get a little sweaty and nasty. This one doesn't. The material is thin despite having a comfortable padded back.

I also appreciate how the belt clips pivot so that you can make easy adjustments as you go. I think the construction is of very high quality and the company takes pride in their work and their brand.

On the downside their holsters are on the more expensive side of the industry running close to $100 each. Further, I've found that they are more difficult to get on and off that comparable styles of holsters.

In wanting to learn a little more about StealthGear holsters I recently asked the CEO Tyler Ely some specific questions about their company and their products. (Update Tyler is no longer with SteathGearUSA.)

Below is the interview in text:

Q: Can you tell me a little about the genesis of StealthGear? Specifically why did you see a need for another holster company?

StealthGearUSA™ started after Paul Laemmlen's (SGUSA founder) firearm fell out of his pants when his big-name IWB holster failed in a retail establishment.  He then purchased a different (well-known) holster, only to realize that the perspiration that accumulated behind the hybrid leather backing quickly became uncomfortable.  He decided to make himself a holster that solved the problems that he experienced with his previous holsters, namely the sweat-inducing leather backing and the lack of complete muzzle protection.  After a year of testing different materials and designs, the StealthGearUSA ONYX™ was born.

stealthgear front and backQ: What are one or two things that make StealthGear holsters different?

Ventilation -StealthGearUSA makes the only truly ventilated holster in the industry.   Our VentCore™ platform made with high-end synthetic materials makes our holsters more comfortable than any others, hands down.

Custom designs -None of our current holsters use “one size fits many” kydex shells or backings.  Where our competitors use only 4-5 holster backings to which they install all of their shells, we have nearly 200 different holster platform designs.  Literally one for every single gun model.  This gets you a perfect fit around the trigger guard and a perfect combat-ready draw every time, with every holster.  It also means that there is no unneeded material surrounding the Kydex shell that you see on our competitors' holsters.

Q: Can you tell us about where the materials come from?

The materials were carefully selected after a lot of testing and trial and error.  The padding, meshes, and hardware are all the best quality materials that we could find and will last years and years of comfortable use.  Others cut corners with their materials to offer a cheaper product.  We have spared no expense to use only the best materials available.

Q: Tell me about where you manufacturer the holsters.

Our holsters are all manufactured here in American Fork, Utah in our production facility.  They will always be MADE IN THE USA.

Q: Is the Ventcore fabric patented?

Yes, we have multiple patents pending on our holsters.

Q: Tell me about the two different lines of holsters.

Our ONYX holster is an IWB holster made to wear from the 3-6 o'clock positions right handed or 9-6 o'clock left handed and was our first product.  This is your “put it on before work and take it off before bed” holster, designed for maximum comfort and concealability ALL DAY.  No need to take it off midday to let your back dry out or to relieve back pain.  Your gun will go virtually unnoticed all-day in an ONYX holster.

Our AIWB holsters are the BEST option for Appendix (front) carry.  Featuring a custom VentCore™ platform for each gun, they are everything you need, and nothing you don't.

Q: What improvements have been made since the first launch of the StealthGear holster?

There have been a few improvements along the way such as improved belt clips, phillips head screws instead of hex head screws, and a few designs have been tweaked such as raising the backing up a little higher on 1911's so that the beavertail doesn't poke the customer.  Our facility improvements have been the biggest change.  Starting in the owners' garages, moving quickly into a 700 sq. ft. shop space, quickly again into a 3000 sq. ft. facility, and now an additional 3000 sq. ft. facility.  All in about 30 months.  We have been chasing our growth since day one.

Q: Can you tell me about any future plans for products?

We do have multiple products on the drawing board that will compliment our existing holster line and be improvements on the current market offerings.  We are dedicated to continually design innovative EDC products that will add appeal to the concealed-carry industry as a whole and ideally help and encourage more citizens to lawfully carry a firearm.  An armed nation is a safe nation.  Stay tuned for some exciting announcements in the next few months!

You can learn more about SteathGear holsters on their website.

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.


  1. Bob Mutch on March 27, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Your assessment of the Stealth Gear (SG) Holster is right on target. I own 4 Stealth Gear holsters, 2 for each of my carry guns (Revolver & semi auto). For various types of attire worn. I have all three models the AIWB (appendix in waist band) Standard IWB and mini IWB. The only other non SG holster I use is an ankle holster and that’s on Sunday.
    This is by far the most comfortable holster for “LARGE SIZE” people. I’m 6’3″, 265 lbs. a full size XXL. I live in south west Florida and today its a nice cool winter day at 84 degrees. So far the SG holsters have not caused any rubbing or abrasions directly against my skin.
    To anyone reading this, all I can Say is “Try it, You’ll like it”

    The SG customer service Representatives, Andy and Laramie, are the most pleasant people you will find on-line to chat with. They are extremely helpful to the point we have become Pen-pals over the course of my on-line purchases.
    Bob Mutch

  2. John Doe on July 6, 2018 at 11:53 am

    This is not a review, as the title states; it is a q&a session.

  3. Wayne Kreutner on May 8, 2023 at 1:34 pm

    I would like to buy the ventcore IWB for my Glock 45 w/ optics. Where can I get one and how much do they cost?

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