AIWB Carry: JMCK 2.5 vs. 5 Shot Leather SME

NPV

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For the past few months I have been carrying my 1911 in the Appendix position. I have found it comfortable, concealable, and fast. I know a few members have asked me to give them my impressions of the 5 Shot SME and I recently bought a JM Custom Kydex 2.5 holster to compare it to. So I figured it might be best to give a quick comparison of the two holsters.

Belt Attachment: As with anything from JMCK you have an array of options to choose from when deciding on belt attachments. I decide to go with pull-the-dot loops in the the "Wide" hole position as I prefer to not have to take my belt off to thread my holster on. Also the wider space between the loops adds in stability. The SME comes with a fixed 1.5" split loop which allows you to position your holster directly over a belt loop on your pants. I have found the JMCK to be more versatile on holster position due to the wider width between attachment points. It is also more stable because of this. With a lot of pants I wear the belt loops are too far to the outside to use with the SME as I prefer my holster to be closer to my centerline. So for the majority of the time I don't actually use the split loop as intended; as seen below.


SME

JMCK 2.5

Ride Height: The JMCK holster comes with two holes in each side of the holster so that you can adjust both ride height and cant. The SME comes fixed in one position and has a few degrees of cant built in. Currently I have the JMCK holster adjusted to the lowest possible ride height with no cant and I plan on keeping it that way as it allows me to quickly get a master grip without being uncomfortable or too high. The SME still rides a bit lower and because of the negative cant it places the grip of the pistol parallel with your belt.




Comfort: Both of these holsters are very comfortable even with a Government model 1911. The JMCK holster has a piece of velcro on the back with a sponge pad attached which eliminates any kydex rubbing where you wouldn't want it to. The SME being made of leather has a "soft" feel but it doesn't have a wedge or pad at the muzzle end and sometime this can cause a bit of discomfort when sitting for long periods of time. Though the full length sweat guard on the JMCK can and will poke you if you bend over with an empty holster. The only time this a problem is if I'm at the range picking up dropped mags in between strings of fire, but really it's not a big deal on a day to day basis.

Concealability: Surprisingly both of these holsters make concealing a full-size 1911 a breeze. Both holsters have a built in "wing" to aid in tucking the grip in toward your body. The JMCK use a Raven Concealment Claw and the SME uses a stitching in leather wing. I've found the RCS Claw to add a bit more tuck than the wing on the SME. Sometimes the grip, when using the SME, will push away from my body a bit and the magwell can print ever so slightly.

In the pictures below I am pushing my stomach out a bit so that you can see some printing. If I am standing up straight with good posture at a natural rest you would not see any printing. As seen though the magwell of my 1911 prints through my shirt with the SME just a bit.



JMCK


SME

Speed: It is often unfair to compare the speed of draw from a kydex holster to that of a leather holster but not in the case of these two. I took the average of 5 draws from concealment with both holster and came up with the following; 1.198 seconds from concealment with the JMCK and 1.214 seconds with the SME. Obviously I'm no Miculek but it gives you a pretty good idea of what's achievable with these holsters.

Cost: Neither of these holsters are cheap but to me they are both worth it. The JMCK cost about $80 depending in the options you choose. The SME costs $200 and has a long wait.

Final Thoughts: I have no qualms about recommending either of these holsters or AIWB carry to any individual who is well versed in firearms safety. As long as you re-holster properly it is impossible to "blow you balls off." One holster allows for more options while the other is just a well-executed piece of leather from one of the best holster makers in the industry.
 

GROOT

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Excellent write up, very informative.
Well done for sure.
 
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Bender

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OP,

Very informative and rather impartial review. I have a SME and find it rather cormfortable if I am up and around. Sitting and driving can be a pain. I do have the Commander length model.
 
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NPV

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OP,

Very informative and rather impartial review. I have a SME and find it rather cormfortable if I am up and around. Sitting and driving can be a pain. I do have the Commander length model.
I've had issues while sitting with the SME before too. I've found the trick is you need to have the holster positioned so that the muzzle will sit between your inner leg and groin. If it's not in-between and sitting on one of those things it is very uncomfortable.

The built-in negative cant of the SME sometimes makes getting this position just right somewhat difficult without having the holster positioned too far to the outside. Also I find if my belt is adjusted too tight the holster will poke when sitting.
 

Hammer

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Pointing a loaded gun at my junk and the biggest artery in my body. Think I will pass on that. It's safe till it isn't then it's too late.
 

NPV

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Pointing a loaded gun at my junk and the biggest artery in my body. Think I will pass on that. It's safe till it isn't then it's too late.
If you re-holster correctly the muzzle will never sweep your junk or femoral. Sure it may be pointed there when the gun is in the holster, but that's the case with any holster. At some point no matter what the muzzle will sweep a part of your body whether it be at the 12:30 or 4 o'clock position.
 

Hammer

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If you re-holster correctly the muzzle will never sweep your junk or femoral. Sure it may be pointed there when the gun is in the holster, but that's the case with any holster. At some point no matter what the muzzle will sweep a part of your body whether it be at the 12:30 or 4 o'clock position.
Very true, just stated what I based my personal carry choice on. If appendix carry works for you that's great. I'm sure we can agree it's not for everyone.
 

NPV

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Very true, just stated what I based my personal carry choice on. If appendix carry works for you that's great. I'm sure we can agree it's not for everyone.
Fair enough, and we can agree on that.
 

Bender

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While I may not completely agree with everyone’s opinions, I love to hear them. I relish a fresh opinion, It often turns on that little “great idea” light and improves a process for me or others. I respect those differing opinions, I thank those who will offer a respectful bit different opinion.
 

tomrkba

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Please post detailed photos of the SME (front, sides, etc). I really want to see the wing. I have been thinking about getting one but the price is steep for a mistake.

I have a rather large stack of JM Custom Kydex AIWB 2.5 holsters and decided they're good for some guns and mediocre, or even bad, for others. It works great for a HK P30SK, but is terrible for a Glock 30 (needs more vertical adjustment and less wing).
 

Spokes

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When I was slim and good looking and working a radio car on the mean streets of Baltimore I carried my 4" model ten appendix style..
After I retired and got fat and ugly It was impossible to carry any model handgun that way.
I think it is a good way to carry if you are slim and muscular..
Great write up NPV.
 

NPV

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Please post detailed photos of the SME (front, sides, etc). I really want to see the wing. I have been thinking about getting one but the price is steep for a mistake.

I have a rather large stack of JM Custom Kydex AIWB 2.5 holsters and decided they're good for some guns and mediocre, or even bad, for others. It works great for a HK P30SK, but is terrible for a Glock 30 (needs more vertical adjustment and less wing).
387038713872
 

41 Charlie

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Great write up! I love the AIWB concept, and it may have worked for me 40 years ago. Unfortunately, I tend to carry a little too much Holiday weight to pull it off... :rolleyes:
 

Zipper046

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Nice write up NVP. I’m still staying in the camp of I’m not pointing anything at my balls that is made to destroy things.. ;)

wish I knew this before I met my ex-wife....LOL...

Great write up NPV! I've been contemplating a JMCK for my DW ECO....
 

Chax

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I carry in 3 different ways almost everyday. In the knife shop with overalls, i need to use either shoulder or i cross snap a disantis cozy partner (snap on opposite snap with only one retention strap) to convert it to appendix, or use a cross draw rig. Out and about a 3:30 rig, and finally when around the house in warmup pants, a "3 speed" rig.
Sorry if im a bit off topic and maybe low buget.
 

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