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Old 10-03-2011, 05:06 PM   #1
darkwriter77
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Default Review of Remora holster for P11

(Sorry for the length, but I wanted to be sure I covered everything. )

For awhile, I’ve been using the DeSantis Nemesis as both a pocket holster and a clip-less IWB holster, and it’s worked pretty good for both – not great, but good enough to fill two roles/needs with one holster. I think I paid all of about $12 for it online several months back, I’ve been pretty happy with it, and I’ve been recommending it to lots of folks on several sites.

Then, a month or so ago, I was contacted on YouTube by someone named Jacqui in response to comments I’d left on a couple of videos where I suggested the Nemesis as a cheaper alternative to other clip-less IWB/pocket holsters like the Remora and Sticky Holsters. She claimed to be part of the Remora company and wanted to send me a holster to “dare to compare” it against the Nemesis, insisting that it was a far superior holster. I was a little skeptical right off the bat, of course. I mean, I’m no Sootch or Nutnfancy or anything, so I never get offers out of the blue to test/evaluate products. But I figured what the heck, so I took ‘em up on the offer. I told them I’d give them a fair trial for a few weeks and do my best to offer up an objective review and comparison of my findings.

Eventually, a fat envelope shows up in the mail with a handwritten to/from address. Inside is not one but THREE different Remora holsters – one of their standard holsters, as well as a reinforced top model and a spare magazine holster. Pretty pleasant surprise, indeed. So, I put the Nemesis in the cabinet for awhile to give all three of these holsters a fair shake.



First thing I noticed is the difference in outer material they use. DeSantis uses a fairly typical kind of rubber which kind of reminds me of the surface of a basketball – fairly grippy under normal circumstances, but loses its grip with a bit of moisture or whenever it gets a bit cold, and slightly dries out/hardens with time. While it LOOKS almost identical in texture, the Remora uses a far softer, sort of silicone-like kind of rubber which is downright sticky when new and holds its “grabbiness” well – this is both a good and bad thing, which I’ll get to later. The Remora is custom-made to fit specific models with optional features that include a sweat shield that extends the top edge of the holster and the aforementioned reinforced top, which seems to be a bit of semi-molded Kydex between the layers of holster material. As such, these holsters are hand-made, with handwritten model info scrawled inside the holster with a fine silver paint pen. They don’t have that mass-produced, machine-made exactness like the Nemesis, but they are nonetheless solidly made – no frayed edges, flimsy seams, or anything like that.



Like the Nemesis, putting the Remora on and taking it off is a simple and quick deal. Pull out waistband, shove holster into position, adjust for desired angle and height … done. As mentioned earlier, the stickiness of the Remora is kind of a downside in this part in that, whether you’re using it IWB or in your pocket, it’s so grabby that it can be kind of tricky to wiggle it down into position or pull it out with ease. However, once you get it where you want it, that’s exactly where it remains. Sit down, stand up, jump around, do the Funky Chicken, whatever – holster stays put, gun stays in holster. I’ve noticed that there is a minor bit of minor upward shift if you sit and then stand again while appendix-carrying, but I haven’t experienced this while carrying at or around 3:00. Also, I tend not to wear an undershirt if I’m dressed casual (usually a T-shirt and cargo pants or shorts), and the Remora does grab fabric a lot better than skin (especially when sweat is involved), so this could also be a factor.

The Remora retains its position well and holds the gun very well, both with the tension of your waistband (with IWB carry) and because the sticky outer material of the holster also rings the top rim, dragging against the pistol’s slide and frame. This does, however, create a bit of drag upon drawing, although not so much that it would even begin to cause the gun to stick within the holster or drag the holster out with the gun in a panic draw. Even when drawing from a pocket, the holster adheres so well that, at worst, you’ll turn your pocket halfway inside-out and have the top edge of the holster peeking out in the process of yanking the pistol out. Just for giggles, I found that the holster would even stay put while just shoving it into the waistband of a pair of elastic-waistband pajama pants, although the twenty-ounce weight of the P11 did seem to be about the absolute limit of this – for those with smaller and lighter pistols, this would be totally fine.

Besides its basic function as a holster designed to shield the trigger and protect your gun’s finish from sweat and friction damage, the holster offers a lot of carry position options. It works anywhere in your waistband – from cross-draw to appendix to 3:00 to small-of-back – and it also can be used as a pocket holster. It even works as a vehicle holster – just take it out of your waistband or pocket, shove it between the seat and center console, and you’re good to go.

Pocket carry was far less practical with the Remora, at least in the size and gun model with which I was testing these holsters, but this is more a trait of the gun, itself, and not so much the holster. A Kel-Tec P11 is very small, but being a double-stack design, it’s still a bit too thick and too heavy to really disappear in the front pocket of anything but my loosest-fitting cargo pants, and drawing from a front pocket while seated at a table or in a vehicle is nearly impossible. With the reinforced top option in particular, the Remora is excessively thick and prints visibly even in my loose cargo pants, although not nearly as much with the standard non-reinforced top basic version.

Also, again more so a trait of the pistol than the holster, appendix carry is about the only comfortable IWB carry position I’ve found; carrying at 3:00 or father back, either the back of the frame jabs the underside of my ribs or the muzzle digs into my hip. There is simply no position I could find as a useful happy medium for this kind of pistol with this kind of holster in any other position. (For whatever it’s worth, the ONLY way I can carry a P11 on my hip is with an OWB holster or with a huge homemade leather IWB holster I fashioned for a full-size 1911.) If one were using the Remora in a smaller size for a .380 ACP or smaller pistol, such as the P3AT, then the Remora would be great for pocket carry, although the same issues of drawing while seated would still be there; likewise, with a mid-sized pistol such as a Glock 19 or Smith & Wesson Sigma, carrying IWB on the hip would also likely be much more comfortable and practical. I tend not to wear an undershirt if I’m wearing an un-tucked T-shirt, so I have one minor gripe that applies to any of these clip-less holsters with IWB carry. The holster’s rubber outer material against my bare skin kind grabs and pulls on both skin and body hair, and it can almost rub skin raw after awhile, although not too severely.

(more to follow…)

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Old 10-03-2011, 05:10 PM   #2
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To summarize the spare magazine holster, it’s a very handy little extra option. It can be used to carry any full-size double- or single-stack magazines. Short 10-round double-stack mags like those for the P11 fall too far into it to make it easy to pull them out in a hurry. Additionally, it can also instead be used to carry an average-sized can of pepper spray, a defensive flashlight, or a large folding knife or multi-tool. My girlfriend even came up with the idea of using it for carrying spare change and folding money, which it actually does fairly well. The only downside to this is that using it as an IWB holster, it means you’re cramming that much more hardware into your waistband. Unless you have pants that are about 3” larger than your actual waist size, trying to wear a pistol IWB on one hip (or even appendix-carrying) and squeezing a spare mag IWB on your other hip makes for an uncomfortably tight fit – you’re essentially making your hips an inch or two wider on either side. I found it much easier to just put the spare mag holster on the same side as the gun, with one right next to the other. Remora does actually offer a one-piece holster with the spare mag holder sewn directly onto the main holster, so this may be a preferable setup for some. I tried carrying with both the Remora gun holster and spare mag holster for a few days, but soon reverted back to using the Remora to carry the P11 as my primary and using my homemade leather rear-pocket holster for my backup pistol (a North American Arms Guardian in .32 ACP).



So, how does it stack up against the Nemesis as an IWB or a pocket holster? In favor of the Remora, it has a much more custom-tailored fitment with add-on options, whereas the Nemesis is a semi-universal sized holster. The Nemesis I have for my P11 is actually sized for a Glock 26, so it’s a bit too lose and, due to the open-muzzle design of the Nemesis, the P11 does eventually creep down into the holster a bit too far – fixing this required me to punch a rivet through it as a stopping point ahead of the trigger guard. Also, due in part to the semi-universal sizing of the Nemesis and the downward creep issue, I’ve found that the P11’s rear sight becomes a serious snag point upon the underside of the holster’s top seam – a serious negative, as I found (until I modified it) that it would sometimes lead to the holster coming out along with the gun in a hurried draw. Sized more specifically to my P11 and having a closed-muzzle design, the Remora does not have this issue at all. Again, the Remora is also has a much more sticky exterior that is better than the Nemesis when new and after a solid month of use. If it picks up enough dirt, lint, or whatever, a simple wipe-down with a damp cloth brings it back to new condition; with the Nemesis, once the rubber starts to dry out a bit over time, it just doesn’t grip nearly half as well as the Remora. Also, the Remora does cover more of the P11’s slide than the Nemesis does, although it does still leave the top 1/8” exposed to sweat without the sweat shield option – the Nemesis leaves a good 1/4” exposed, even after the gun begins its downward creep into the holster as it breaks in.



To be fair, however the Nemesis is cheaper (I paid about $12 for mine online, new), a tad bit thinner, a tiny bit lighter, and works far better for rear pocket carry than the Remora. By simply attaching a stiff, thick square of leather to the Nemesis, I made a cheap equivalent of the DeSantis Superfly that makes a P11, PF9, Ruger LC9, or Diamondback Arms DB9 look like a large wallet that drops right into the rear pocket of my cargo pants and stays put when I draw (again, once given the aforementioned modifications). Rear pocket carry with the Remora, however, is pretty much a non-option, so if pocket carry is your preferred method, the Nemesis may edge it out in this area … but only if you’re willing to give your holster a couple of jury-rigged modifications.



This may or may not be worth mentioning, but just for giggles and to test a theory, I attempted to create an ultra-cheap and super-thin, super-light alternative to both the Remora and the Nemesis: a very thin mouse pad that I picked up from Big Lots for one whole dollar. I fitted it around my P11, stapled it together with plain ol’ office desk staples (don’t laugh, it actually holds together well, especially if you crimp them tight with a pair of pliers), and trimmed it to protect the full length of the P11’s slide. The end result was a holster equally as grippy as the Remora, but also far thinner, lighter, and far less visible in front pocket carry than either the Remora or Nemesis (and obviously far cheaper). However, with IWB use, re-holstering without removing the holster was simply not an option, it was worthless for rear pocket carry, and its super-thin and floppy construction allowed it to come out with the gun when drawing from a front pocket. And … well, let’s be honest, a holster made of a mouse pad and held together with staples isn’t very likely to last very long, even with gentle use. It’s nothing that I would recommend to anyone as a viable alternative to either the Remora or Nemesis unless it was an absolute emergency.

In conclusion, I must humbly concede that the Remora is, indeed, far superior to the Nemesis in many ways. For the relatively low price of a Remora, you get a holster that is custom-tailored to your specific make and model of firearm and your choice of options, is easy-on-easy-off and holds securely, gives you a lot of comfortable carry options, and is made in the USA by a small independent company with a lifetime warranty and excellent customer service. The only real advantages the Nemesis has over the Remora would be the aforementioned pocket carry details and its lower cost, which is about half that of a basic Remora. Which of the two would be the “better” holster depends largely upon your preferred method(s) of carry. Being that I prefer IWB appendix carry with my P11, the Remora is a clear winner for me. In fact, the reinforced top Remora has become my preferred holster for the P11, while the standard Remora has become my girlfriend’s daily carry holster of choice for her SR9C (which fits the P11-sized Remora quite well, actually). For those who are really big on pocket carry and don’t mind customizing their holsters, especially with the rear pocket, the Nemesis may or may not be a better option. Again, it all depends upon what works best for you.

I would like to extend a very sincere thanks to Jacqui and Alan of Remora for their generosity and the opportunity to evaluate their products. They have a lot of confidence in the products they make and sell, and with good reason – the Remora holsters are, indeed, an excellent value and a great holster design. I can honestly say that the Remora is one holster that will not wind up getting tossed into the dreaded “Holster Cabinet of Doom,” which is where my DeSantis Nemesis now resides.

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Old 10-04-2011, 04:29 AM   #3
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Good to hear cause I been wanting one!

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Old 10-04-2011, 01:38 PM   #4
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Just ordered mine last friday for my PF9. Got the reinforced model with the sweat shield. Besides other good reviews, the big selling point was the no questions asked lifetime warranty. Cant wait for it to get here

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Old 10-04-2011, 04:03 PM   #5
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I got a Remora for my PF-9 and one for my LCP. They worked so well that I bought one for my S&W 3" barreled .357 revolver for winter carry under a flannel shirt. Even with the Smith's weight it works well.

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Old 10-07-2011, 08:08 PM   #6
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Something I neglected to mention in the above review, the spare mag holster actually does work quite well in a rear pocket, particularly with full-size magazines (double- or single-stack). It has a flat bottom edge that helps keep the magazine upright, it stays in the pocket VERY well, and it has a broad surface that breaks up the outline nicely. Doesn't look QUITE like a wallet, but ... well, it doesn't look like anything I can think of, really, just a formless blob of a shape. Maybe like a wadded-up handkerchief...?

Again, it also works well to carry a flashlight, pepper spray, a large folding knife. I've even found that it will carry medium-sized push daggers quite well. It might seem a little redundant to put a holster inside of a holster, but if you do this with a knife holster that doesn't grip the knife super-tight (like if you have a retaining strap with a snap button), the Remora keeps it aligned upright for an easy grab (and hides the outline of the knife) and the top edge of the Remora grabs the knife holster enough to keep it in your pocket while drawing the knife.

I'm hoping to get the video review of the Remora holsters up on my YouTube channel today, hopefully to better illustrate all of my rambling above.

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Old 10-09-2011, 03:12 AM   #7
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After much fighting with bad connections, a dying 8mm Sony Handycam, a countless takes and retakes, and a constantly crashing Windows Movie Maker (eventually had to switch to Pinnacle VideoSpin), I managed to get the review together and posted up on the ol' channel, in case anyone doesn't feel like reading all of the above...

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Old 01-17-2013, 08:09 AM   #8
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Great review, darkwriter. I'm pretty much sold on them after this and talking to a guy at a local gun shop that had one. Just trying to decide if I want the reenforced top or not. Right now thinking ART with sweat shield.

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Old 01-17-2013, 11:34 AM   #9
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I have a PF9 in a Remora, seated at a desk as I write. For comfort and concealment, it's my default IWB for the PF9.

Always appendix carry, btw.

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Old 01-23-2013, 06:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtisLemansky View Post
Great review, darkwriter. I'm pretty much sold on them after this and talking to a guy at a local gun shop that had one. Just trying to decide if I want the reenforced top or not. Right now thinking ART with sweat shield.
Thanks! I've got one of the reinforced top Remoras. The only real downside to it is the fact that the Kydex inside it makes the overall package of gun and holster a bit thicker in the waistband. I found it helps to sort of "mold" the holster to your pistol by leaving the holster on the dash of my car in the sun for awhile to get it hot, then taking your gun of choice and cramming it in there and squishing it flat, then placing it in a freezer for awhile to "set" the molding. This cuts down a bit on the overall bulkiness, but it's still notably thicker than a non-reinforced model.

I generally prefer the Sweat Shield version of the Remoras, and I almost exclusively appendix-carry them (occasionally I will carry my SR9 at 3:00 with one, though). I do use a standard Remora for my Ruger LCR without the Sweat Shield option because I carry it IWB on my weak side (11:00) - the one minus of the Sweat Shield option is it takes away from the ambidextrous carry options. Only reason I'm not using one now and I'm instead using an OWB slide holster as I type this is because the cooler weather at this time of year allows me to wear cover garments.

FWIW, Remora now also offers a holster that can be used for OWB and IWB carry. I haven't bought one yet, but since I'm moving back to Missouri soon, I might look into it since I'll be able to wear a jacket or coat for a lot more months out of the year. (Here in AZ, even a moderate jacket is only useful for like two months.)
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