If you've ever worn a uniform, you might already know of the folks behind FirstSpear. That's because so many people that work at its design and production facility near St. Louis used to work at Eagle Industries. Started in March 1982 by John Carver, Eagle Ind. is now a subsidiary of Vista Outdoors, Inc. In 2010, Carver's son, Scott, created FirstSpear and built a team that includes many former Eagle employees, military veterans and a forward-thinking braintrust of rapid-development engineers hired to solve gear problems for the Special Operations community and law enforcement. In addition to offering its own products, the production facility and design team allows FirstSpear to offer private-label manufacturing for respected names such as Hill People Gear.
FirstSpear focuses on developing lightweight, durable products that can function as standalone kit or integrate with platforms like its StrandhÃ¶gg armor carrier. The SSV carry rig tested here is a component
system that functions just as well with other FirstSpear systems. Given the nature of its duty bound end users, the SSV belt holster is only offered for a few handgun models popular with military, police and armed contractors. Recently, FirstSpear expanded its SSV holster's capability to include pistols with lights attached. However, light combinations are also limited to the most widely used including Streamlight's TLR-1 and TLR-2 and SureFire's X300 and X400 series. FirstSpear has recently added the low-profile XC1 to its list of light-mounted holster offerings, which addresses the most trending method of concealed carry: a compact, double-stack 9mm with a light attached. The SSV offers modular security retention, an exterior face that masks visual and near infrared (IR) signatures, and includes a lanyard to tether around a pant's belt loop in the off chance that an improperly clipped holster is unintentionally withdrawn with the pistol. (The holster separates from the pistol during the draw stroke.) The holster is a Level 1 friction-fit design featuring a single tension-adjustable screw.
The SSV worked excellently with the FirstSpear Line One belt made of BioThane, an almost indestructible and wear-resistant combination of no-slip urethane-covered nylon. Developed for the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community, this comfortable and high-strength belt is 11/2-inches wide, weighs less than a half pound, and won't ever crack, peel or stiffen in frigid temperatures as leather does. BioThane is also impervious to sweat and water, and it will not stretch or lose its original shape. Buckles are given a Cerakote treatment, and belts are sold in either black, coyote (tan) or mahogany colors.
60-Day Carry To evaluate FirstSpear's carry rig as it relates to the concealed carry user, the SSV holster was ordered for use with a Glock 19 Gen3 equipped with the new SureFire XC1 pistol light. A spare magazine was also carried inside the belt with the SSV single pistol-mag pocket. These components were worn with the Line One belt.
The SSV can be used as an inside the waistband (IWB) holster or worn appendix carry. For most, a mid-size pistol such as a G19 with XC1 attached will be as large of a package as is comfortable to carry in the appendix position. This position can't be beat for speed in drawing from concealment. If you live by the second NRA rule for gun safety, "ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot," it is a safe method to carry. Draw times averaged between .9 seconds and 1.2 seconds measured using a PACT shot timer during G&A's tests.
The SSV, belt and spare magazine's holster look and wear as they did on Day 1. No break-in of the SSV was required. The lanyard was effective in snagging the holster and separating it from the pistol on the rare occasion it came out with the pistol, and it barely slowed our times. The pistol light added width at the muzzle, which did cause soreness against the inner hip bone after sitting for long hours. This is a highly functional carry rig. I recommended it. For the money, the Line One belt is a must-have. For more information, visit www.first-spear.com.