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Editor's Review: DeSantis Nemesis Pocket Holsters

While I was at SHOT Show this year the “big news” was Glock's release of the Model 42; their single stack 6+1 .380ACP.  With Glock’s Model 25 never having been sold in the United States (at least to anyone not law enforcement), the availability of a Glock in .380 seemed huge.  As a result, anything .380 related also grew in news value.  So I found myself with four .380s to test and a number of holsters to fit them.  With the popularity of “pocket carry” for the smaller .380s like the Glock 42, Kahr’s CW380 and Ruger’s LCP, the Nemesis holsters from DeSantis Gunhide were added to my list to test and evaluate.

First I had to educate myself a tad about the holsters, what guns they would or wouldn't fit, the materials they are made from, etc., and then I had to actually try one or more of them out on a regular basis.  The thing about testing holsters is that you can’t wear the holster just once or twice and form an opinion.  You have to wear it or use it for weeks and, where pocket holsters are concerned anyway, with different pants, shorts, guns, and so on.

DeSantis Gunhide makes three versions of The Nemesis pocket holster that will fit the .380s I had to test (Kahr CW380 and Ruger LCP):

  • The Nemesis original
  • The Ammo Nemesis
  • The Cargo Nemesis

The original Nemesis was designed to hold the gun dropped into a pocket. Nothing more; nothing less.  The outside material isn’t specified in published materials (that I can find) but is tacky to the touch… like rubber nubs on a floor mat.  The inside material is slick pack cloth and there’s foam in between the two that allows the holster, seated in your pocket, not to look like a holster… or a holstered gun.  Unless you’re wearing your pants tight enough to pull the material across the grip of the weapon, it looks like you have a wallet or something else in your pocket.

The Ammo Nemesis and the Cargo Nemesis are manufactured of the same material but add an ammo carrying capability in the same package.  Both allow for a reload.  If you’re carrying a revolver, then the added pocket lets you carry a speedstrip full of cartridges just behind the gun (assuming strong side carry in a pocket).  If you’re carrying a semi-automatic, then the ammo pocket fits a magazine.

The difference between the Ammo Nemesis and the Cargo Nemesis is the overall length of the holster.  The Ammo Nemesis isn’t long enough to fill a standard cargo pocket, like those founds in most “tactical” pants, so the holster might move, turn, flip, etc. especially during vigorous activity.  The Cargo Nemesis is longer and made to fill the bottom of standard sized cargo pockets (NOTE: If your pants have an OVER-sized cargo pocket, then the chance of the Cargo Nemesis turning, flipping, etc. still exists if you’re doing vigorous activities).

All Nemesis holsters are ambidextrous and depend on gravity to hold the gun into the holster. There are no safety straps; and none should be needed.  The gun is, after all, in the holster in your pocket.  Unless you completely invert your body or let someone else reach into your pocket, why would you need or want a safety strap on such a holster?
Prices (on the DeSantis site) run from $24.99 for the Nemesis, to $26.99 for the Ammo Nemesis to $31.99 for the Cargo Nemesis.

The holster that I had for testing was the Ammo Nemesis.  I tested it using both the Kahr CW380 and the Ruger LCP.  As I’m right handed, I only tested the holster in the front right pocket of my pants – long and short – across the span of the past couple weeks.  I also, on occasion, dropped it into the cargo pocket of several pair of shorts to see how much it might move.  Obviously, for safety reasons, I only did so when I knew I’d be doing nothing vigorous; just sitting around or leisurely walking.

I guess the first and most important observation to make is that the gun rode comfortably.  This particular testing period actually taught me that pocket carry can be quite practical.  The second observation is that no one else, including my family, noticed that I was carrying a gun.  Several times during this test my wife actually asked if I was going to go put on a gun because she didn’t realize I had one in my pocket.  To me, that makes a statement about how well the holster breaks up the pattern of the gun’s shape and how unobtrusive carrying a gun in this manner can be.

WITH AN UNLOADED WEAPON I performed a number of practice draws from the pocket just to familiarize myself with getting a grip on the gun within the restricted confines of the pocket – and every pocket is different – and getting the gun on target once it was clear of the pocket.  With just a few practice runs I felt competent at draw and presentation.

Two things I will note here that I feel are important and need to be at least acknowledged if you intend to pocket carry, the first of which applies particularly to the Ammo and Cargo Nemesis:

With the spare ammo carried in the same holster system, it’s impossible (or damned close to it) to use your weak / off-side hand to do reloads.  If the ammo is in your right front pocket and you’re right handed (why else would it be there?) then to reload you HAVE to put the gun in your left hand, using your right hand to reach into the pocket to get the spare ammo.  What this means, if you want to be proficient at reloading from these particular pocket holsters, is practicing methodology.  Slide locks back on your empty mag, DITCH the magazine and THEN put the gun in your left hand.  REACH into the pocket to secure the spare magazine, firmly seat it in place, decide which hand you want the gun in, drop the slide and continue engagement.

The second observation is this: If you’re the kind of person who often stands around with his (or her) hands in your pockets, you might find yourself just standing around with the gun in your hand.  Albeit, the gun is holstered and still in your pocket, but there you are being social with a shooting grip on the gun – and not even having thought about it.  What concerned me (when I realized that I had done this) is that you should never be holding a gun without full conscious awareness.

All in all, I give the Nemesis holsters two thumbs up.  If you prefer to pocket carry, or even use it as an option on occasion, having a good holster IN said pocket is a must.  It shouldn’t have to be said, but for safety’s sake, nothing else should go in that pocket except the gun in the holster (and the spare ammo if it’s the appropriate holster).  Keys, change, etc. should be placed elsewhere.

Stay safe!