PHLster Skeleton Holster for the S&W Shield Review

| August 19, 2014 | 4 Comments

I am grateful to have so many friends in the fight-focused training community. I wanted to shoot my S&W M&P Shield left handed at the basic handgun class offered by AIM Precision. However, I didn’t have any lefty holsters for the Shield, and I was reluctant to buy one just for a single class.

Luckily one of my friends is left handed and he had an appendix carry-capable holster made by PHLster, called The Skeleton.

The Skeleton is a quality, hand-crafted Kydex holster, but there is a significant design flaw that keeps me from recommending it to left handed shooters. However, if need a right side holster this may be a good value.


  • The Skeleton has a single attachment point, and my friend’s model had a pull-the-dot style rubber strap. I really like this method of attachment vs a clip, so I was happy.
  • The 0.6 Kydex used in the Skeleton is a little thinner than average in today’s market. I have no doubts about the holster’s durability, and it was comfortable to wear all day.
  • The Skeleton has a special body for the Shield, but all Glock pistols will fit in the same body, and all other S&W M&P pistols will fit in the same body. That’s a good value.
  • The Skeleton is supposed to be reversible for right or left handed carry, but that does not seem to be possible on the Shield version.
  • The Skeleton is priced at about $50 and there is currently a 6-week production lead time on the PHLster holsters according to their Web site.

A Major Problem

As good as the holster felt in the hand and as nice as it mounted on the left half of my torso, the holster has a major flaw for left handed use.

The attachment point is mounted in such a way that the strap makes it difficult to obtain a master grip on the pistol before drawing. It is possible, but requires more effort than necessary.

I feel like any time you train a specific technique for a holster you should find a different piece of gear. I know that some of you are law enforcement or military and have special retention holsters, but for the rest of us we should keep things simple.

The basic handgun course was fairly light with the holster work, but practicing before the class + the exercises in the class were enough to convince me to keep looking for a left handed Shield holster.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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4 Comments on "PHLster Skeleton Holster for the S&W Shield Review"

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  1. Kyliewyotie says:

    My go to carry holster is my Vanguard 2 (for my glock.) I also have a skeleholster (which I find less comfortable, but allows for re holstering without removal.) So i use that at one local range that wont allow for my vanguard. I find it to be a perfectly adequate holster, fairly inexpensive, and the customer service i got from him was great. Also he has a tremendous amount of videos online teaching how to make your own kydex gear. Very great for him to give all the info away free, After learning so much from him I really wanted to support him. So I got his skeleholster, and I got a sheath for my kabar TDI. top notch craftsmanship on both.

    I recently bought a shield and have been trying to find an appendix holster i am happy with. Raven dose not make a vanguard 2 for the sheild, so i bought their vanguard 1 (kydex minimalist holster.) I find that it pokes my leg, so i tried my hand at making my own. It is the best I have found so far, but would buy a VG2 for it in a heart beat.

    What do you use for your shield right handed appendix normally?

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      We have the Klipt holsters from Blade Tech and I am not 100% happy with them either. But at least the draw and grip are unobstructed.

      • Kyliewyotie says:

        My father uses that holster, and I tried it. I didn’t like the clip over the soft loop. Still bummed i can’t get a VG2 for it.

        Thanks again for the reviews, we have much the same thoughts on what we want and why.

  2. nDjinn says:

    I got a Klipt Revolution IWB Holster for my 9mm Shield. I avoided the Skeleton just because of the loops, which I really don’t like the looks of. Klipt Revolution work inside the waistband and in the clasp in my Crye pants cargo packet. They even work as a cross draw or in the pocket. with a jacket or longer shirt. Since you are still looking; check it out, $30 on Amazon

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