March 22, 2021
By Eric R. Poole
Nate Beard and Nate Johnson of Lexington, North Carolina, had been in the holster business since 2009. Together, they became N82 Tactical (spoken “Nate-squared”). Like many entrepreneurs, they started a business when they couldn’t find the product they wanted. Most cheap holsters are not American made and use hard plastics and thick cowhide, making them bulky and uncomfortable to wear. Their first prototype was created using neoprene and material from Under Armour clothing, and further experimenting continued for months. The Original inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster combined an elastic pocket, suede, smooth leather and the same neoprene used in manufacturing diving suits. These materials made the holsters waterproof, which prevented sweat and salt from corrupting the handgun in a humid environment.
N82 Tactical’s early days saw holsters made on Johnson’s kitchen table, and the company’s first two employees were Beard’s and Johnson’s supportive wives. However, news of the unique holster quickly spread by word of mouth. Within a year, the families were sewing holsters on six machines in a small facility to ship some 200 holsters a week to 38 dealers and online customers. Their success drew the attention of MTC Holsters, the parent company of Crossbreed Holsters, who purchased N82 Tactical in January 2020 and moved its headquarters to Missouri.
Unlike holsters that expose the grip, N82 Tactical holster designs typically feature a backer that extends up and behind the grip, but the lineup later added Combat Cut-style holsters, where the backer is trimmed to afford easier grip access. Many clients asked for a non-collapsible holster pocket, too, so N82 Tactical responded with The Professional and The Revenant. The Professional features the full backer, while The Revenant sports a Combat Cut.
Both IWB holsters feature a dark, see-through polycarbonate half-shell molded for a specific model firearm. The polycarbonate pocket hooks the front of the triggerguard, which requires a twist of the pistol when gripping to release it and complete the draw. N82 Tactical trademarked the “Twist Release” name for this retention system, though it seems inspired by a similar concept found in some duty holsters developed by former FBI Agent (and holster maker) Bill Rogers during the 1970s.
The Twist Release retention system was designed to disrupt an attacker’s ability to draw your gun and use it against you. Most conceal carry holsters do not require multiple layers of retention to be defeated in order to draw a handgun, and those who carry in civilian clothes often sacrifice security to speed their draw. N82 Tactical’s Twist Release retention system merges speed and security by only requiring a small effort to twist the grip into the body before pulling up to complete the draw. An attacker would struggle to figure this out if you were caught by surprise.
N8 Tactical’s OT2 series, The Professional and The Revenant all use a polymer belt clip named “Lockdown.” Unlike a lot of plastic belt clips, the Lockdown has a hook that grabs the bottom of a 13/4-inch-wide belt at an angle. The hook means there is little risk of drawing a still-holstered pistol in a critical situation. Pivoting on a single hex-head screw, the clip is adjustable to set the holster’s cant.
I ordered The Revenant for a SIG Sauer P365 XL and carried it for a little more than 60 days. I say “a little more” because while wearing it at home the first few days, I wasn’t aware of the Twist Release retention system. I went to the range to validate it for further carry and struggled to draw the pistol. In fact, I floundered so bad that I left the range impressed by the belt clip! I wasn’t able to draw the gun (or holster) from my belted waistline. I immediately contacted N8 Tactical Brand Manager Trent Cooper who patiently listened to my frustration and then politely instructed me on the Twist Release system. Feeling like an imbecile, I thanked him and returned to the range.
The Revenant worked flawlessly and comfortably. Despite needing to learn the Twist Release retention before unholstering the gun, my fastest draw times that produced A-zone hits on target measured near 11/2 seconds according to a PACT shot timer. Admittedly, I am faster with many open-top holster designs when shooting the same drill. (I typically average between 1.2 and 1.4 seconds.) That said, it was comforting to know that the pistol wouldn’t fall out while doing backflips or be easily pulled and used against me in a ground fight.
The Revenant sits low on the waistline, which is great for concealment as long as you can quickly get a full firing grip. For your own safety and understanding, I recommend spending time at the range and dryfiring at home to get used to the Twist Release retention system. Do this until it becomes second nature. Switching holster styles may confuse your ability to overcome it in self-defense, so please practice monogamy if you choose to carry these holsters.
The Revenant was comfortable for appendix and strongside carry locations. The suede backer felt soft against my skin, and the holster’s shape didn’t wear or change significantly. I have no reservations in recommending The Revenant for everyday carry.
N8 Tactical The Revenant IWB Holster Specs
Materials: Polycarbonate, neoprene, suede, leather
Carry Type: Inside the waistband (IWB)
Retention Type: Level 1; Twist Release retention system
Adjustability: Yes (cant)
Handgun Fit: Various semiautomatics; SIG Sauer P365 XL (tested)
Accessory Rail Accommodations: No
Positions to Carry: Appendix (AIWB) or 3 o’clock to 5 o’clock; right hand
Average Time to Attach: 20 sec.
Comfort Rating: 4.5/5
Concealment Clothing: Untucked shirt
Average Draw-to-Fire Time: 1.47 seconds*
Manufacturer: N8 Tactical, n8tactical.com
*Note: Draw-to-fire time is the average of five clean draws producing an A-zone hit on a stationary target positioned at 21 feet.
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