View Full Version : Smartcarry/Thunderbelt/Thunderwear
April 25, 2008, 05:35 PM
I've been doing some holster research and have seen these names a variety of places. When going to Smartcarry's website (www.smartcarry.com) it says they used to be Thunder Belt. Then there is www.thunderwear.com . This looks to be the exact same product. Does anyone have any info on these? Differences? Anyone currently own/use any of these? Opinions and reviews would be greatly appreciated. Pics would just make my day :)
May 9, 2008, 03:14 PM
Apparently nobody has used any of these or has any opinions on them?!
May 9, 2008, 03:31 PM
I have been curious about them myself but came to the conclusion that they do not offer enough retention. I do not see a big difference between them and mexican carry except that the keep the firearm from slipping down too far.
I think I am more interested in a bellyband with a more gun specific holster compartment.
May 9, 2008, 03:32 PM
I just see them at the gunshows, looks a little hot for around here.
May 9, 2008, 04:01 PM
All those brands equal the same product. I have one and i'm happy with my purchase. Playboy is correct, your only retention is from your waistband or belt. The only time my steel came out was once when I was on my belly, but I don't wear my belt too tight. I thought about sewing on a small velcro or snap button strap to keep it in yet release it when pulled out, but haven't really gotten to it yet. It's nothing to worry about. They are great for the heavier guns, keeps em' from sliding right down your pants. You can also keep a couple spare mags in the other pouch. Make sure you get the sweat model that gives more sweat protection. Oh yeah, they say it's for wearing under the pants, but it can be worn below or above the beltline. If worn below it would be totally secure, but that method is slower to draw and would probably require two hands.
If big bulky holsters aren't your thing, give it a try. To me it's well worth it.
For me it's the most concealable method ever!
May 9, 2008, 04:11 PM
I have worn my Smartcarry for about a year now. I am 6'3" and weigh 260 and am 71 years old. I don't form opinions quickly so what I write here comes from some decent (if not exhaustive) experience with the device. I carry a Ruger SP-101 (2-1/4" barrel) and a Cold Steel Vaquero Grande along with two speed strips (only one shows in the pic) http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v736/dairycreek/SMARTCARRYOPEN.jpg
I have worn the Smartcarry with a variety of clothes including jeans, Dockers, sweat pants, a variety of shorts and, once, tuxedo pants at a wedding. I have found the Smartcarry to be stable, secure, and exceedingly concealable. Like any carry combo it took some experimentation to find just the right way for me. For me I find that a couple of inches right of center (I am right handed) works best for me. Makes for easy use of the bathroom and makes drawing it easy. The Smartcarry will never be a quick draw rig! But, with some reasonable practice retrieval is surprisingly easy and quick.
The Ruger is held in place quite securely and comfortably with never a problem in retention or movement. No problems there. It is a safe and secure (and comfortable) mode of carrying a handgun concealed.
Having said all those positive things about it I feel that it fills a concealed carry niche and, for that, works quite well. It is not my only mode of carrying concealed nor my favorite mode of carrying concealed. But when it does fill its niche it performs quite well. I recommend it for what it is.
May 9, 2008, 04:26 PM
thanks for the reports on it. I am considering it for a niche carry as well. I have more than a few times had to change clothes to accomodate a belt holster in order to carry and i need/want something to use during the summer when i usually wear nothing but basketball shorts (when im not working of course) and tshirts.
May 9, 2008, 06:40 PM
I've used a Smart Carry daily for a couple of years now, mostly with my Seecamp, but occasionally with my P230.
The holster works very well for its intended purpose, but for me, I find it works better with smaller guns. This is mainly due to the type/cut of the pants I normally wear (Carharts). If you wear looser fitting pants, you could easily carry a larger pistol.
Retention has never been an issue. I work very actively outdoors every day and have never had a gun even feel remotely like it was coming out of the pocket. I jump in and out of ditches, climb in and out of equipment, and over all sorts of stuff, so its not like I just sit in an office at a desk and dont move. The top of the pants retain things very well and comfortably. The only thing you may need to address is, the gun itself will wear holes at rub points if your pants "fit". A small piece of iron on patch on the inside at that point usually stops the problem, or at least slows it down considerably.
While it may not seem so, access to your gun is actually very easy and fairly quick, even when seated. With the smaller guns, you can also access them through the zipper.
May 12, 2008, 01:54 PM
Here is a link to a supporting viewpoint:
Early this year, upon purchasing my new SP101 2" barrel .357 Magnum, I elected to go with this principal of carry for one primary reason: concealment. Here in MA, open carry is frowned upon. Although not illegal per se, showing your weapon, in public, can result in arrest and eventual revocation of your LTC. Fine.
I looked at two readily available center carry rigs; the Smart Carry and the Thunderwear. Both seemed to me to be nearly identical in fit and function. I selected the Thunderwear, simply because it was available at a local gun show I attended.
After wearing for almost 4 months now, here is my critique of this product and technique.
First, this rig cost almost as much as a quality leather hip holster, OWB or IWB. $50. is not chump change in my book. However, after this short time of 24/7 carry, my rig is showing sighs of wear; fraying and stretching of the waist band.
Second, regardless of what this article says about your hands and arms being in FRONT of us and being natural, I find it slower to access the gun. Now I'm following the online displayed technique; left hand thumb in waistband pulling out, right/strong hand reaching in and drawing, both hands meeting on the way to the target for support, and finally firing, once the sight picture is achieved.
In order to keep my jeans on, my belt has to be reasonably snug, so the first step in pulling out on the belt causes delay, although this could be equated to the strong hand going to the hip in a typical OWB draw. Next - and most crucial - is that the hammer of my SP101 sometimes gets hung up on the pull out. Not often, as I do practice a lot. But maybe 1/10 times. That's enough to be of a concern to me, although I'm learning to "live with it". (That may be an oxymoron!) This is where a lot of the fraying I'm experiencing is coming from; the hammer pulling on the material of the rig at the sewn point.
Finally, when in the sitting position - chair or car. Very tough to get quick access to your weapon. I don't care what the claims are. It's a fact. I've tried and tried and like I said, I practice A LOT. Not easy to do...trust me.
Although I'm sounding very negative in all this, all in all, I find the rig extremely comfortable to wear. And with practice, you can become fairly proficient with it. Not sure if the material it's made out of will last the year though; which is a valid disappointment.
So, as with everything, it's all about compromise, in one form or another. I do agree with a lot being said in this article. But I'm here to tell you - take it with a grain of salt. JMO!
May 12, 2008, 02:33 PM
I have the thunderwear also and think it works great. It does take some getting used to on the draw though. But with summer fast approaching it os perfect, especially with shorts or sweats. I wear it off to one side over my left thigh.
May 12, 2008, 06:51 PM
I've owned a Smartcarry for about a month now. I'm still practicing with it around the house while waiting on my permit. The concept, design, and material are spot on. However...I have yet to find THE right position for me. There are photos on the web site and some came with the product as to how and where to position it for its intended use. The gun in the photos ia a full size 1911-A1. I have a Kimber 3" UC II.
If I wear it according to the instructions the heel of the grip rubbs and slightly protrudes about 2" below the beltline on my work pants (Dickies). If I wear the holster so the grip rests just beneath my belt, the muzzle now sits two inches higher and Mister Johnson and the Boys are in harm's way...YIKES!!
I purchased a pair of work pants slightly larger to see if that would fix the problem; not really. I've read elsewhere about the patch on the inside of the pants in the "rub zone" but have yet to give that a try.
I must say that this holster is indeed extremely comfortable, and agree that it has it's niche. I have no problems with it when I wear casual attire.
May 13, 2008, 09:42 AM
Thunderwear and Smartcarry are NOT the same thing. Two different companies with similar products. Smartcarry had to change its name because it was too close to Thunderwear. I use a Smartcarry sometimes. I chose it over Thunderwear because it has a special fabric on the underside that wicks away sweat without letting it get onto your gun. Thunderwear (at least to my knowledge) doesn't have that breathable fabric layer.
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