I don't remember where I first read about the Versacarry, but the concept intrigued me. Unlike most holsters which wrap around or create a pocket for the gun to sit in, the Versacarry is hardly bigger than the gun itself and holds he gun in place with an unusual design feature. As they point out in their website, the Versacarry is technically not a holster. It's a retention device. So, I thought I would give it a try with my Diamondback DB380.
“The Versacarry is the most comfortable and covert way to carry a compact handgun that I have found,” says a testimonial on the Versacarry website. Well, I suppose that depends on how hard you've been looking. More on comfort in a moment.
The Versacarry is a unique design, no doubt. Basically it's a fancy belt clip that doesn't have to be permanently attached to your firearm. The plastic clip hooks securely over your belt, and the plastic frame then goes down into your pants. At the bottom, the plastic bends at a 90-degree angle to form a shelf for the muzzle of your gun. Through that shelf is screwed a colored rod which fits snugly into the barrel, holding the gun in place. The retention rods are colored to based on caliber for easy identification.
By design, the Versacarry is ambidextrous. It also works with most accessories, like lights or lasers. It's thin design means it doesn't add much bulk beyond the thickness of the firearm itself. The only real difference in models is the caliber and size, so the same holster will fit multiple brands/models of guns. If you buy one for your Kel-Tec P3AT and then later trade for a Diamondback DB380, the same Versacarry works for both guns, as long as they are the same caliber and overall size.
The website says the Versacarry is great for deep concealment, and I would definitely agree. The gun hides very deep in your waistband, as if you had nothing but the gun tucked there. The design, with the retainer plug and belt clip, prevents the gun from slipping too deep to be retrieved. This design works great for small guns, backup guns (BUG), and for deep undercover work.
There are some drawbacks that you should be aware of, though. The biggest for me was the fact that there is nothing between you and the gun itself, except your BVDs. Unlike a traditional IWB holster, which has a leather backing between the gun and your body, the Versacarry puts the plastic frame of the holster away from you, which makes the gun press up against you directly. In a hot, sweaty environment, dress appropriately and choose a gun that will handle the moisture, because the gun will be directly against your skin. It also means you'll feel the gun at all times. I found that the feel of a traditional IWB holster becomes second nature over time. I cannot imagine saying the same for the Versacarry. If the gun has an exposed hammer, beaver-tail, or other sharp angles at the back of the slide or in the grip, you will feel it intimately.
My first day with the DB380 was agony. Like spending the day with a lady in high heels standing on my lower back. I made a few adjustments (having an under-shirt between the gun and your skin will do wonders) and it was much more comfortable as time went on. While the Versacarry website shows the device used with full-sized GLOCKs and 1911's, I cannot imagine trying it. In my opinion, this design works best with very small, snag-free guns that are built for concealment. Think Ruger LCP, Beretta Nano, Diamondback DB9 or 380, etc.
Another downside is the inability to re-holster. Once you draw the gun, you're committed. If you don't have to use it and need to hide it again quickly you'll have to shove it in a pocket. Fitting the barrel retention rod into barrel takes some effort as it has to be tilted at an angle to fit the rod into the end of the barrel. Be careful when inserting the retaining rod if you have a round in the chamber. Trying to re-holster with the Versacarry is a recipe for shooting yourself in the ass (or worse if you are appendix carrying). To re-holster you have to remove the Versacarry from your pants, re-insert the retaining rod into the barrel and then put the whole thing back into your pants. Its basically one and done if you have to draw your weapon.
And speaking of drawing, it will take some practice to get used to. The gun does sit very low in your belt line, and the platic belt clip holds the gun tight against your waistband, leaving you very little room to fit your hand between the grip and the waist band of your pants. The tighter your belt, the harder it will be. The barrel retainer pin is also very tight, requiring a good firm pull to free the gun. So you'll need lots of practice to get a clean draw.
Fortunately the Versacarry comes with an optional trigger guard attachment to keep you from blowing yourself a new bung-hole when drawing. Unfortunately, the trigger guard only covers one side of the trigger. The trigger on the side toward your body is exposed, so be careful when adjusting tucked shirts or re-positioning the holster. I would recommend a pistol with a long DAO pull or a trigger safety lever.
All-in-all, the Versacarry is a more secure alternative to tucking your gun in your waistband. It's preferable to modifying your gun to add a belt clip, and the lack of re-holstering ability is no worse than the prophylcatic IWB holsters that collapse when the gun is drawn. With the right gun and some practice, the Versacarry is a perfect choice for deep concealment or for hiding a BUG. But I would not necessarily recommend it when there are just so many high quality, comfortable, and more secure options for EDC.