Disclaimer: This item was provided free of charge by Tactical Kit for testing and evaluation purposes. There has been no exchange of money, and the terms of the item being provided are that if I like a product, I review it, if I don’t like a product, it gets sent back. With this is mind I always remain as unbiased as possible, my thoughts are my own, and the sole purpose of this blog is to provide helpful information to someone who might actually need it to find the right solution for their problem.
It’s been a while since I’ve owned a lv1 retention holster, having been so enamoured with Safariland over the last few years that I’ve basically turned my nose up at any other offering since, and have based which platforms I invest in around whether or not I could get a Safariland to fit it. This was the state of play until I received an offer from Tac Kit to have hands on something different, and not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, naturally I accepted.
I will admit that while waiting for the holster, I did have reservations as to how much I would like it. Since a fateful cockup that involved a magazine breaking for freedom out of an HSGI taco I’ve been very sceptical about having any open top system that doesn’t have a seriously good locking mechanism hidden within. For this reason I was expecting the Ragnarok to arrive and for my gun to immediately fall out, smash into the floor and cause me to start swearing.
I’m very glad to report that in fact, this didn’t happen.
Materials and construction
Simply put, the T.Rex Arms Ragnarok is a one piece, folded sheet of kydex that has been vacuum formed into shape, before being drilled and finished for use. The kydex itself is 3mm thick and has the familiar texturing to its outer face that gives a less reflective “matte” finish. Holding it together are two of the familiar screws and caps that are seen on most kydex holsters. Interestingly these seem to be aluminium instead of steel, being non-magnetic.
All of this seems to be pretty standard for a kydex holster, so what sets the Ragnarok apart from an equivalent made by your mate in his shed with a vac former?
Looking inside the holster the level of precision is immediately obvious. The use of a metal jig as a mould and what I can only assume is a very strong vacuum has resulted in incredibly clean lines within the holster. There is a smooth internal finish that is even and balanced throughout, with no imperfections other than the milling lines that have been carried over from the mould in low contact areas.
Also inlaid is the recess for the mounting hardware needed to attach the Ragnarok to the platform of your choice, and a smart T.Rex logo on the sweat guard which is aesthetically pleasing if functionally irrelevant.
Finally the edges of the holster have been buffed smooth, and then by the look of it buffed again just to make sure. There is not a sharp edge to be found, despite the angular nature of the holster’s aesthetics.
Before discussing how the holster is to use, let’s quickly take a look at the physical features that have been added to improve the user experience. Firstly, and perhaps most notably, the rear of the holster has been scalloped away to allow the user’s middle finger to sit comfortably on the grip of the pistol.
And finally as previously mentioned there is a substantial sweat guard on the back face of the holster that is an essential for using this holster mounted directly to a belt. The standoff between the pistol slide and the sweat guard serves to make sure that no shirt or skin can find its way into the path of a pistol being re-holstered, preventing errors in drill, and the gut wrenching moment that any overhanging love handle might find itself being summarily chewed by slide serrations.
Whilst not strictly an ergonomic point, the vast array of mounting options does improve the user experience by allowing the Ragnarok to be attached to your body in just about any way you can think of. Personally my unit is mounted to a Safariland QLS fork, and this combined with a UBL and T.Rex Thigh Strap is what I believe to be the best solution. Similarly the Ragnarok features a tall sight channel and optics cut, allowing the user to rock whatever sights suits them.
Beyond this the Ragnarok is a no frills piece of kit that isn’t causing problems by providing solutions for issues that aren’t really there.
how is the ragnarok in practice
This is where I must make my second disclaimer of the night, in that I have not been able to put the holster to sufficient use to definitively say “it’s definitely not going to fail on you”. Being limited to toy guns only, and even further so by the fucking shithouse beer virus stopping me even using those in anger, I have only been able to LARP about the house with the Ragnarok endlessly drawing and reholstering to get an idea of how it feels.
With this in mind there are a lot of real-world, very high speed guys using these holsters and so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they can probably take more than I can throw at them.
Within the confines of my use, I can say that the Ragnarok is a dream to draw from and reholster. Having been on a strict ALS diet for the last couple of years I’d forgotten the satisfaction that comes from just bringing the gun up, at speeds that would make John Wayne’s eyes water. That’s not to say that Safarilands are slow, more that a lv1 holster is blindingly fast.
In the case of the Ragnarok, I’ve been really impressed/pleased at the difference that having a low cut for optics makes when clearing the holster, something that you simply cannot achieve with an ALS system. Having a huge chunk of the front of the holster cut away means that I can start punching the gun forward much sooner, and similarly reholstering also requires much less downward movement.
Compared to a 6354DO/6378, the arm and shoulder movement with the Ragnarok is far more comfortable, and with long slide pistols like a G34/Roland you would no longer have to dislocate your shoulder to clear the front of the holster when carrying belt mounted.
As for the retention, I was mightily surprised to find that I’m actually okay with it. By tightening the two screws at the rear of the holster, more importantly the lower one, you can adjust how tightly the shoulder of your torch is held and in turn your pistol. I have chosen to have a slight bias to the lower screw, creating a slightly bevelled effect to the holster.
While not visually discernible, you can feel that as you push your piece further in (nice) the grip around it also increases (nice 2.0), until eventually it slots into place with a satisfying click. Compared to the kydex holsters I’ve owned in the past, this is the first that sounds like a retention system is actually actuating itself, as opposed to the shit scraping plastic noise I’ve experienced before.
The retention itself is solid. No, it’s not as idiotproof as an ALS, and yes if you go inverted and are violently shaken up and down your pistol will jump out and smash your grid in, but if you find yourself suspended from the ankle being shaken about like a ragdoll I suspect whether or not your pistol is at your side is the least of your worries. Should this be a priority for you then there is nothing stopping you bastardising some form of bungee loop in place to secure the sidearm, using the very conveniently drilled belt loop holes inside the sights channel.
In testing the retention to see what would cause the pistol to go AWOL, I found that shaking the holster as hard as I could in every position except straight down, and 45° to either side of it, resulted in the pistol staying firmly in place, and me looking like a complete tit. My conclusion from this is that the Ragnarok is an okay option for anyone except Maverick or Goose.
As I’ve said further up, I’m a huge fan of the QLS system, as this allows me to actually cant the holster backwards a touch, and make full use of the faster muzzle clearance over the optics cut front edge. While it seems odd to look at, adding a few degrees of rearward cant actually makes the draw far more comfortable, at the risk of adding a slightly larger chance of the grip getting snagged and pulling the pistol free. A rearward cant also creates something of a “baseball glove” effect, wherein the back of the holster acts to catch and properly postition the pistol during reholstering, meaning instead of having to line up the pistol perfectly you can instead just smash it into the holster and press down.
Finally, the fact that all of the retention is done via the torch means that there is actually very little contact on the slide of the firearm. This means that the user does not necessarily have to place their thumb over the back of the slide to prevent the gun coming out of battery while holstering. For those running beavertails on their guns this is a huge win, as repositioning your hand to do this could cost you the time gained in using a lv1 setup.
Nothing is perfect though
And now we reach the section of the article where I poke holes in the product, and with the Ragnarok there is only one “major” concern that I have. Something I have noticed during my “reps” is that one of the internal mounting screws in the holster makes contact with my weaponlight, and is digging itself a nice gouge in the body of it. I was surprised by this as the screws did not seem to be made of a particularly hard metal, but this might just be testament to how shit my X300 clone is.
In either case my worry with this is that if the two are making contact, one will always lose, and may cause jagged edges that lead to swarfage and eventually fouling of either the metal or plastic variety. While I seriously doubt this will cause a malfunction in a firearm, the point still has to be made that it could in 1 in 100 cases, and you can guarantee that that 1 case is the one where you need the gun to perform flawlessly.
This issue also segways nicely into my other concern with lv1 holsters of all kinds. Friction wears off. Plastic gripping around metal will lose every time, and over thousands of reps I would be very surprised if you didn’t find yourself having to retighten the holster to account for the channel being dug in it by the body of the weaponlight.
It is also conceivable that in particularly hot environments the holster could potentially lose its form. While I’m sure the temperature needed to completely deform it is massive, if I can soften it with a hairdryer then a few hours in the African sun definitely can too.
It should be said that all of the above points are hypothetical, and people much cooler than myself have pushed these holsters much harder and for much longer. The only definite issue that I have literally recorded with my own eyes is the fact that my QLS screws are slowly making their way into my X300 battery housing.
With all of the above said and done, I’ve come away with a really strong positive feeling for the Ragnarok. While the mag losing retard in me still winces at the thought of running about with something unsecured, in practice these worries are quickly waylaid.
I would say that there are two caveats to buying one though. This is the right holster for those who are not repeatedly operating in rural environments, as the snag hazard is vastly increased and with it your chances of losing a holepunch, and it is right for those happy to replace it every few years, or who can have it replaced by their unit or department.
I do truly believe that all friction based holsters will degrade over time when constantly inserting and removing a hot firearm, as I have already seen the signs of this when using an airsoft gun, but the time it would take to have a truly noticeable effect will be massive, and will require thousands of reps.
For recreational users, you will not be disappointed, and should feel comfortable trusting your gun either real or fake to the Ragnarok.
A massive thanks to Tactical Kit for providing the T.Rex Arms Ragnarok for review, it’s a huge help to the blog and so to return the favour, I’ll leave a link to buy one here.
If you’ve got any questions about this item, or any others then head over and leave them on my Instagram account @thegeardocrow. Cheers.