Paddle holsters have long been popular for the combination of stability and quick on/off capability. They are also slightly less dependent on gun belt thickness than belt-slide holsters. JM Tactical offered their new RELIC model for a test, I jumped on the opportunity due to a handgun training class coming up. A holster for CZ75 arrive just in time, and off we went. Training courses are good for figuring out gear strengths and deficiencies. In that class, for example, I found that extended safety is the way to go for CZ pistols…
On the outside, the RELIC is a well-boned, with a smooth interior to reduce finish wear. The boning of the holster provides ample retention. The leather appears to be a good size and stood up well to a week of Florida humidity and an occasional rain shower.
On the back, a detachable polymer paddle with retention wings provides a large curved mounting base. With this paddle, the holster proved easy to attach, almost as quick to remove, and very stable while worn.
My pants did not sag even with the weight of the all-steel CZ75 Shadow, but that was helped by two magazines and the cell phone on the left balancing the weight. When my 5-foot-nothing friend wore it with a smaller belt and thinner pant, the waistband listed slightly.
The slightly scalloped front of the holster proved to be the key to its versatility. With the relatively high ride, I was concerned that the full-size slide would pose a drawing challenge to my tiny friend with long legs and correspondingly shorter tose, but the leather form allowed tilting the muzzle forward with it still even with the middle of the beltline. So shooters ranging in height from 6’1″ to 5′ even found the design comfortable. The holster basically functions as it should – transparently to the user. Unlike cheap, low-end paddle designs, there was no flop as I ran or jumped with it. As paddle holsters go, RELIC is one of the best designs I’ve encountered, with craftsmanship to match.
I did discover that even perfection of design does not cancel physics – a full-size steel frame pistol had considerable inertia. On a full-speed run, the 1.3kg of fully loaded CZ75 developed a life of its own, swaying sideways as I completed each step or leap. Having run into this previously with the more disposable paddle holsters, I was a little disappointed. The good news is that this holster works great for the more conventional lifestyle – if you sit, walk or jog, it remains comfortable. Running sprints is better done with IWB or belt slide designs, also available from JM4 Tactical. The tradeoff between the speed of putting the holster on and off on one side and the comfort during athletic exertions is something the end user had to consider. In general, bringing the weight closer to the body helps, as would going to something like CZ P09 – the plastic frame drops the weight by nearly half-pound. On the flip side, the paddle mount clears body armor better, so there’s no clear advantage to one over the other. And, whichever style you like, JM4 Tactical probably makes it.