Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Review: MazoFactory Sweet Revenge Holsters

Melbourne based MazoFactory recently officially launched some of their tactical gear, beginning with just some mag pouches. Holsters are soon to come, and I purchased a pair of red drop leg Sweet Revenge holsters for myself.

The MazoFactory holster is a tight-fitting full shell holster, designed and made for a particular blaster (in this case the Sweet Revenge). It's tough and somewhat rigid, retaining its shape well.
The holster can be squished flat, but does not really like doing so and typically retains its partly open shape.
The holster is quite heavily padded and the inside is lined with a smoother material to reduce wear on paintjobs.

Being that the holsters are designed for drop leg use, they have two adjustable leg straps (with clips) and a velcro belt strap.
The main velcro flap down the back of the holster is meant to allow for adjusting the height of where the holster lies. Not enough attached velcro area will potentially result in the holster falling off when running/jumping/etc. The recommended position is as high as possible without the draw interfering with any gear you're wearing, restricting movement or being uncomfortable, so as to minimise movement.
The Sweet Revenges fit reasonably tightly into the holster. Upon first receiving the holsters it took quite a lot of effort to insert and draw the blasters as the holsters had not yet fully formed the right shape, but over time the holsters began to form better aroud the Sweet Revenges, allowing for smoother draws/insertions.
It is recommended to leave the blasters in the holsters for a while (or just store them in the holsters permanently) so as to maintain proper holster shape.
The holster uses a thumb-break strap with a snap button to retain the blaster but still allow for quick draws. Naturally the thumb-break strap is lined up with where your thumb would rest while holding the handle.
Note that the trigger is completely obscured by the handle.
The default position of the strap for the Sweet Revenge is for unprimed position, that is, the hammer is not back in the way of the strap.

Releasing the thumb-break strap simply requires pushing outwards with your thumb. At first it will be quite stiff but over time the snap button will loosen up a little allowing for easier draws.
The thumb break strap is actually just secured by velcro and friction, and is easily adjusted depending on your preference for strap position.
Moving the strap simply requires sliding a ruler or similar flat object underneath the strap (a metal ruler is recommended, but a standard wooden ruler will do).
Once the ruler is fully underneath the strap and has broken all the velcro, the strap is free to move. Pulling out the ruler and patting down the strap will resecure the velcro.
Adjusting the strap allows the Sweet Revenge to be holstered in primed position, that is, the strap goes around the hammer with the hammer down. This position requires the strap to be in a slightly higher position than default.
To get a good strap fit, it is recommended to attach the snap button first, then move the strap into position and then remove the ruler.
A good thumb-break strap fit is important for easy strap breaking - if it is too loose then the strap will flex too much and will not break as easily.
Note these elastic cords on the leg straps. These allow some stretching of the straps without the straps themselves changing length or moving about.
Here's the holster attached to my Vortex belt.
A closer look at the velcro strap looping around the belt. It is recommended to have a stiff belt so as to not bunch the belt up. The velcro loop is designed to prevent the holster from shifting about vertically, and should always be secured in the position pictured above. Adjusting the height of the holster should only be done through the velcro strap down the back of the holster, otherwise belt retention strength is compromised. I had too little of the loop above secured in one round, which resulted in the holster coming off my belt.

Here's me wearing my right hand holster. The leg straps are made very long so for a relatively smaller person like me so fully tightened there's a fair length of unsecured leg strap, especially on the bottom one. I just tuck it back underneath the holster.
I can reach for the Sweet Revenge very comfortably with the holster this high up, with a slight elbow bend.
This angle better shows breaking the thumb-break strap, which simply involves pushing the flap downwards and towards the body. As mentioned before, the snap button early on will be quite stiff and will take some coaxing to break, but over time will loosen up and become easier.
And then pull the blaster straight up and out. Again early on the holster will be fairly tight, but over time and use will loosen up.
Re-inserting the blaster by just shoving it straight back down into the holster is not particularly smooth (for the Sweet Revenge at least), as the top of the holster is not as wide as the middle, where the cylinder bulge is.
There are a couple of ways to slip the Sweet Revenge in, but this is the one I was shown, angling the blaster and pushing it down to slide the thinner lower front part in.
The chamfer of the Sweet Revenge's body then allows it to be easily slipped in, then straightened out. Once the holster has been loosened up a little, for the most part sliding the blaster into position is pretty smooth and easy.
The last few centimetres of travel inserting in the Sweet Revenge are much tighter, which helps to keep the blaster in place even if the thumb-break strap isn't in place.
I find that the thumb-break is not easy to reattach single-handedly, but for the most part the friction of the holster is enough to keep the blaster in for a short time. It's not hard to reattach the snap button with two hands.
EDIT: With a little more experience and time, I've become more used to reattaching the thumb break single handedly, it's easy provided the thumb break strap is properly set up.
And here's me wearing my pair of holsters.

Having received them part way through the MHvZ event, I was able to get a little combat experience with them.
Like all other tac gear it feels a little weird wearing them for the first time, although as I used to run Nerf-made Sweet Revenge holsters a lot the only part that felt new and unusual was the leg straps.
Running around with them is very comfortable and feels very natural, besides obviously the leg straps which I'm not quite used to yet. Properly worn the holsters don't shift about much, and drawing is quite natural once the thumb-break motion is mastered and the snap button is loosened a little.
I did have an issue where my right holster came off my belt, which was caused by not properly attaching the velcro belt loop. It was purely my error, nothing wrong with the product. My left holster stayed on just fine and I was able to draw and use my left Sweet Revenge with no issue.
The one slight issue I've had is that because fully reholstering takes a reasonable effort, the holster tends to shift down very slightly, loosening the leg straps slightly which is a little annoying. The holster remains in place properly with the leg straps slightly loosened, but shifts around slightly more when running.
The several quick release clips allow for easy removal and wearing of the holster without changing the leg strap lengths or belt loop position.
I'm personally quite happy with them, they colour-coordinate with my other tac gear, and are far more secure than the Nerf-made plastic holsters I used to use. They're more comfortable to use, sit in a better position and move far less as I run around.

The MazoFactory holsters are not quite ready for release, but should be in the near future. Preliminary pricing for a Hammershot holster (the most likely first release) is looking at about 60AUD for a single drop leg holster in black, which certainly isn't cheap. Cheap drop leg holsters intended for airsoft and firearms can be had on eBay or otherwise for $15 and less, and there are a number of other aftermarket holsters available.
If you use multiple different sidearms frequently and don't favour any particular one, then the MazoFactory holster is not for you. MazoFactory holsters are designed and set up specifically for one blaster and are not adjustable for others. For instance a Hammershot holster cannot be changed to hold a Sweet Revenge properly. Unless you go and buy holsters for every one of your sidearms, you'll have one blaster that holsters well and the rest that holster badly or not at all.
If you're on a low budget, then again, these holsters are probably not for you. As mentioned earlier there are a lot of cheap non-Nerf intended holsters, and a number of less cheap Nerf intended holsters that still cost significantly less than a MazoFactory holster.
What the MazoFactory holster offers over other holsters is that it is a complete rigid shell rather than some plates of fabric secured with straps. As such while does not squish flat as easily, can't easily cater to multiple blasters and can't be opened up, it fits its intended blaster extremely well, is very tough and resilient, and also protects the holstered blaster very well. I certainly recommend them if that's your preferred style of holster, but again like with all tactical gear it may not be quite your style so it's always worth checking out all your options.

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