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PHLster Floodlight: OWB & IWB Holsters [Hands-On]

Throw a stick at a gun show, gun store, or gun expo, and guess what’ll happen?

You’ll be asked to leave, obviously…but you’ll also likely hit an AR variant, Turkish shotgun, or holster.  

Holsters are absolutely everywhere, and as such, you’ll find tons of options for every carry style.

OWB Holsters
Holsters…everywhere.

A holster maker that’s long stood out in the space is PHLster — a small, American-made company out of Philadelphia.

Jon and Sarah Hauptman are the brains behind this company lending their expertise to holsters, weapon-mounted light switches, medical products, and more.

Let’s be real; small American companies like PHLster are often the most exciting. They are free to try new things, introducing revolutionary products.

PHLster Floodlight OWB
We really like PHLster!

And that’s where the Floodlight comes in.

The Floodlight is a quasi-universal holster system. And good news, it doesn’t suck. Universal holsters often have a not-so-stellar reputation.

So, when one comes highly endorsed by some of the most knowledgeable gunslingers out there…well, you know we gotta check it out.

PHLster Floodlight IWB CZ P09
PHLster Floodlight

Today, we’re going to do just that. We’ll run through the Floodlight series, lay out the pros/cons, and tell you why it’s become one of the go-to holsters for many CCW fans.

Keep reading to learn more…

Table of Contents

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Into the Floodlight

The PHLster Floodlight is a light-bearing holster design.

Specifically, the Floodlight series are made for the Streamlight TLR-1 or the Surefire X300U series weapon lights.

TLR-1 Toggle Switch
TLR-1

Again, as you’d imagine, PHLster holsters are only quasi-universal. Just because you can strap a light to it doesn’t mean it’ll fit.

You can’t squeeze a Desert Eagle or a Glock 26-sized firearm in one of these holsters.

Size-wise the Floodlight holsters accommodate Glock 19 to 1911 sized firearms — so compact to full-sized handguns.

PHLster Floodlight IWB CZ P09
PHLster Floodlight IWB CZ P09

You’re covered with the most popular models, including Glock, Smith & Wesson M&P, 2011, 1911, CZ polymer frame, Sig Sauer P series, Walther, HK, and more.

My personal journey with PHLster started when I wanted to carry a full-sized firearm in the appendix inside-the-waistband — also known as AIWB.

I’ve carried full-size OWB before, but Florida’s heat makes it tough to wear overshirts all the time.

Concealing a Big Gun
Concealing a big gun in Florida heat ain’t easy.

An AIWB rig offers superior concealment, an easy draw, and hopefully, a comfortable means of carrying a big, light-equipped gun.

I kept seeing PHLster used by shooters I respect. And I even met Jon Hauptman at SHOT SHOW, where he explained the Floodlight a little more to me.

I was sold. Literally, I jumped on the interwebs and ordered myself two models – the PHLster Floodlight IWB and OWB.

113
at Gunmag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Carry What You Want

As you’d imagine, the PHLster Floodlight OWB and AIWB have a lot in common.

Both allow you to carry a full-sized or compact firearm equipped with a TLR-1 or Surefire X300U.

PHLsters’ Floodlight series sports a two-piece polymer design. The light portion more or less centers the weapon, ensuring it doesn’t shift in the holster.

PHLster Floodlight IWB CZ P09
PHLster Floodlight IWB with a Glock

A weapon-mounted light provides your friction fit to keep the gun in place. Users can adjust the friction around the light to their degree of comfort.

Any design that accommodates a variety of guns has to be adjustable, and the Floodlight allows the users to customize the slide contact.

The difference between a Glock slide and a CZ P09’s slide is substantial…so it’s a must-have.

Glock G19 Gen 4
This is a little different than a CZ

Both holsters make it easy for lefties or righties to carry due to the ambidextrous nature of both holsters.

Also, even the most Gucci Glock or M&P can be carried in the PHLster Floodlight.

Did I mention these holsters are modern and accommodate modern features?

Besides your light, you can strap on a red dot sight, suppressor height sights, and a compensator without issue.

Mounted Pistol Red Dots
Mounted Pistol Red Dots

The open bottom makes it easy for your gun to be chock-full of modern features while remaining easy to carry.

Beyond that, both holsters provide a very safe option for holster and drawing.

The inside feels smooth, and nothing interacts with the trigger. Not to mention, the trigger is fully enveloped, so nothing outside the holster can interact with it.

Diving Into the Floodlight IWB

I describe this as an AIWB holster, and I’m betting 99% of users carry AIWB with a PHLster Floodlight.

That said, you can certainly carry strong side IWB without issue. Since I purchased it to carry AIWB, that’s my primary focus.

Adjustments

When you first pop the Floodlight out of that black plastic bag, you are challenged to set the holster up.

Challenge doesn’t mean hard; it means you need to experiment a little here and there to find what works.

A shock cord at the top adjusts your slide contact. You can pull the cord tighter and adjust as necessary to ensure proper fit.

It’s simple but very effective. I adjusted it to accommodate my CZ P-09, and it works extremely well.

PHLster Floodlight IWB CZ P09
That shock cord allows you to make adjustments.

Retention screws hold the MOD wing in place, and you’ll need to adjust each screw evenly to get proper retention.

I used a half-turn per to keep track of my adjustments and ensure they were even. And I went a little tighter because I desired a good, purposeful tug to draw my weapon.

113
at Gunmag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Making It Fit Me

Once my gun fit the holster, it was time for the holster to fit me.

The PHLster Floodlight’s success for concealed carry comes from the number of adjustments and its modular nature. Its belt clips can be swapped to nearly any setup.

You can run metal or polymer clips or soft loops of all types.

PHLster Floodlight IWB CZ P09
I went with clips.

I use the included polymer clips and find them to be a fantastic choice.

But users have plenty of slots to accommodate different belt attachment methods to the holster at a variety of different heights.

I experimented quite a bit to get the most comfortable fit for my holster.

This involved adjusting the Floodlight’s ride height — very simple to do. You have plenty of options for different ride heights.

PHLster Floodlight AIWB
PHLster Floodlight AIWB

Moving mine higher increased comfort without decreasing access, retention, or concealment.

My second adjustment was to add some reverse cant to the holster.

This pushed the bottom of the holster towards the center and kept the holster from digging into my thing when I sat down. Overall, it made it easier to draw when seated.

Now I was packing a big gun with a big light and doing it in relative comfort.

Comfortable Ariel

I moved my belt buckle to the left to provide a little more comfort and quickly found myself riding high on the hog.

Lead Downrange

Obviously, once you have a new toy, you gotta play with it.

Playing with it in this context was a combination of dry fire and live-fire training in various positions.

As always, I started dry, popped on some Netflix, and practiced drawing in various positions.

netflix mug
Netflix and chill? Naw, we Netflix and dryfire around here.

This helps me build a little muscle memory, making sure I can draw in different positions.

I practiced standing, sitting, kneeling, and even lying on my back, making a few minor adjustments but overall feeling quite confident.

Then, I took it to the range.

I started slowly at first, adding speed as I got more comfortable with draws and positions.

PHLster Floodlight AIWB Seated

An outdoor chair and a small table let me practice sitting, but everything else was in the dirt.

The PHLster Floodlight AIWB provides a secure platform for drawing the pistol.

My little extra retention makes for a purposeful tug before the gun comes free. Deploying the firearm doesn’t disturb the holster or cause it to shift or move in my pants.

PHLster Floodlight AIWB Drills

PHLster also cuts the Floodlight perfectly for an easy grip. It’s pushed out for an easy grip without compromising concealment.

My draw was consistently smooth throughout several hundred reps. Consistency means I knew what to expect every time I clear Kydex.

113
at Gunmag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The Floodlight OWB

After falling in love with the AIWB Floodlight, I instantly wanted the OWB model.

As you’d expect, the OWB Floodlight doesn’t offer the same degree of concealment as the AIWB variant — but it’s not designed to.

PHLster advertises the Floodlight OWB for range-use and similar applications. Again, it offers models for either Streamlight TLR-1 or Surefire X300U equipped pistols.

PHLster Floodlight OWB
PHLster Floodlight OWB

It’s a little big for concealment and doesn’t offer the retention most duty holsters require.

So, packing the Floodlight OWB as a concealment rig will require some truly dedicated practice and a good cover garment.

Beyond that, the Floodlight OWB provides a good holster for recreational activities where you might want a gun.

Good thing

Working outdoors, taking an easy hike, or working large stretches of property serve up tasks the Floodlight OWB to conquer.

Setting it Up

Gone is the shock cord for slide contact adjustment. In its place sits three slide adjustment hardware kits.

Each comes color-coded with a different size to accommodate various firearms. It might take some experimenting to figure out which kits work right, but that’s okay. It’s not much work.

I used the smallest kit to fit my CZ P-09.

PHLster Floodlight OWB CZ P09
PHLster Floodlight OWB CZ P09

Retention around the light was still present and required each screw to be adjusted properly. I did just that, keeping my slightly tighter retention for a good tug.

Even though the holster lacks an active retention device, you can adjust the retention to be quite tight.

113
at Gunmag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Seriously tight…enough that it won’t come loose or fall out. With the right retention, it will take some real dynamic movement to free the gun.

Modularity matters and PHLster designed the Floodlight OWB to function with a variety of holster attachments.

PHLster Floodlight OWB CZ P09

It comes with a Blade-Tech Tek Lok belt attachment kit, but you can toss on G-Code, Safariland, and other Blade-Tech attachments.

I’m still running the Blade-Tech Tek Lok Kit but am seriously considering a Safariland Low Attachment for a low-riding quasi-thigh rig.

For now, the Tek Lok makes plenty of sense.

12
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Running and Gunning

I strapped the Floodlight OWB onto a Sentry Gunnar Belt. It fits perfectly.

The Gunnar Belt features a minimalist battle belt design for tactical use. My Tek Lok squeezes over the Gunnar Belt and locks in place.

PHLster Floodlight OWB CZ P09
Pretty secure.

On the Gunnar Belt, I can larp my heart out, pretending to be all kinds of special.

With the belt properly tightened, I get a clean draw and a rapid engagement. I grip, rip, and shoot with ease.

27
at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

As you’d imagine drawing from a duty-style setup is quite intuitive and simplistic.

Doing so in multiple positions takes no effort.

PHLster Floodlight OWB
PHLster Floodlight OWB Draw

The pistol flies out of the holster, and it’s held far enough from the body for a clear and consistent grip.

Sliding the gun back home also feels smooth. The big open holster eats it up without much of a fight.

PHLster Floodlight OWB

All in all, the Floodlight OWB offers a high-quality OWB holster for those needing a range style rig.

113
at Gunmag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Conclusion

The PHLster Floodlight OWB and AIWB provide two extremely well-made holsters for very different user profiles.

PHLster Floodlight OWB CZ P09
PHLster Floodlight OWB

To be honest, I love these. They provide a safe, accessible holster with all the modularity and adjustments I could ever need.

Beyond that, I can load up all my favorite accessories and Gucci-ness. Also, I can use these two holsters with most of my handguns.

PHLster Floodlight AIWB Concealed

In other words, I recommend you give PHLster and their wide variety of holsters a peek.

Got experience with PHLster? Let us know what you think below! Need more concealed carry options? Check out our list of the Best OWB Holsters and Best Concealed Carry Holsters.

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3 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    John

    Its nice that companies make holsters for guns with lights. No complaint there. But the thing is guns can have a laser mounted on them underneath too and almost no one bothers to make holsters for those. A couple of manufactures do make a gun specific holster to accommodate a laser, Fobus makes one for OWB and I can't remember the other one right now, neither are suitable for concealed carry but if you are going to open carry then they are fine.

    If your going to call a holster "universal" then it should be "universal" and not just "universal" for a gun with a light. Out of all of the people I personally directly know who carry, actually around 100, only one has a light mounted but more than 30 have lasers mounted and had to get holsters custom made to accommodate the laser for concealed carry. I have a custom made conceal carry holster I use when I carry my Glock with mounted laser.

    Its a PITA and expensive to get a holster custom made by a good holster manufacturer. It cost a group of us a bunch of $$$ to get a holster manufacturer to make custom concealed carry gun specific holsters for us to accommodate the lasers.

    I also wish Bravo Concealment would apply some of their torsion conceal carry stuff to a commercial gun specific conceal carry holster for a gun with laser - yeah, talking to you Aguirre. I already know you can do it. :)

    So you manufacturers making holsters... yeah you too PHLster since you are in the holster making mood... how about showing a little love for the laser carrying folks.

    September 22, 2021 8:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    24and7

    I will never carry a gun point at my weenie...

    September 22, 2021 6:42 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Aden Tate

    When i first glanced at the title here I thought it said 'pants on'. I couldn't figure out how anybody would test a holster without pants.

    Second glance showed me I need more coffee.

    September 22, 2021 2:59 am