I have been using one of Mark's holsters for a while now. He worked with me on some unique design issues (my body shape) and fitted it to me perfectly. It's held up to almost daily use for close to a year now and as people are often quick to point out, I am "hard on stuff." He has made holsters for several friends that are unique designs and they have all been extremely happy. I recommend you check him out. He was a Vermonter but wisely moved his business over the border to NH where free enterprise is encouraged.
- Bryce M. Towsley
Squared Away Customs products are top-quality. We have been very happy with the fit and form of their Kydex work. They have formed custom work not only for our firearms but for our exclusive knife line. Each sheath they make for us has been custom form fit for our particular products. The orders have been on time and at a great cost. I would recommend Squared Away Customs to anyone looking for custom Kydex work
- Rich Graham, Trident Fitness LLC, Navy SEAL Veteran
I've been in Law Enforcement over 14 years. I've used plenty of gear, including holsters. S.A.C. is the only gear I use for my off duty weapons. I have had Mark make me custom gear multiple times now and every time I am blown away by his attention to detail and willingness to work with me, to make sure the final product is what I want an able to meet my needs. His turn around time is great as well ( this cannot be said of all shops). Top notch gear from a great guy, with an eye for detail and knowledge to make the end user happy and trust in the product.
- S., Firearms Instructor, LEO Professional
When searching for a holster for concealed carry, committing to a purchase can be the most daunting part. When you settle on a more "high quality friendly" budget you start marking off products such as Uncle Mike's, Blackhawk, Alien Gear, and Crossbreed then generally come to custom Kydex options. I personally have 18 bookmarked Kydex holster companies in my web browser, and own 5 different company's Kydex products. During my search for a suitable option for my Shield, I followed a simple criteria that has not failed me yet. The criteria centers around 5 points: 1.) quality 2.) value 3.) options 4.) customer service 5.) innovation.
Quality is an obvious point that everyone seeks when purchasing a holster, but how does one establish this subjective point? Researching the company, product, and reviews is a good start when you cannot physically inspect the product. So, off to work I went reading and watching reviews of different holsters and landed upon the Alpha from Squared Away Customs. I contacted Mark, the owner, and told him my idea that I wanted. I wanted a double layer Kydex holster for AIWB carry. After going back and forth about carry options and colors, he helped me make the best option for me. Once the holster arrived I could immediately tell this was a quality product. Now I know what you're saying, that sounds very cliché. How relative this statement is relies on perspective. Having owned six Kydex holster's, all of them from very known and reputable companies, this one is hands-down better then all my others. It is built strong, well thought out, and much care was taken in its construction.
Next I considered value, which is important to everyone. When spending money you want to make an intentional decision that your money is well spent. At just under $60 the Alpha holster is a great value. How do I establish this? I have a very similar holster for my M&P9c that cost $20 more and lacks numerous options the Alpha brings to the table. Options such as retention adjustability, mounting options, and custom finishing set the Alpha above my other one. Comparatively, the Alpha simply gives me more "bang for the buck". I want the most out of the money I spend, and this holster has no potential of causing even the slightest buyers remorse.
Since were on the topic of options, that is another point of my criteria. Squared Away Customs offers multiple options to all of their various holsters. I still recall the days from a few years ago where all Kydex holster companies offered was plain black and maybe coyote color offerings. Today options such as custom window cuts, double layer, custom print, different textures, and colored eyelets keep the market competitive. SAQ keeps on top of all of this, and then some, so you can truly make your holster not just functional but unique to your style. I wanted my Alpha to be double layered, having gray on the inside and black on the outside. To me this color combo is subtle yet still unique. SAQ did an awesome job incorporating all of the standard options of the Alpha into this holster, even after working with the added dynamics of molding two layers of Kydex instead of a standard single layer.
To me, customer service needs to rank high if I am to do business with you. You see, whenever I make a purchase on something "custom" I need to form a sort of relationship with the company. The reason for this is because I want to know if something goes wrong that I have formed a means of making the wrong "right". Mark took the time to talk with me about all of the options and sincerely wanted me to be happy with my purchase. He is a man who knows that every product that comes out of his shop reflect so much unsaid about him and his business that are lasting impressions. Happy customers are repeat customers, and the customer service level I received has made me a repeat customer.
Last but not least, is innovation. To me, Innovation creates a competitive market. A competitive market benefits the customer more than anything else. If you are a Kydex holster company, the only way you're going to be successful is if you remain competitive in a market of abundance. Innovation does another thing as well, it lets the customer see just how committed you are to your craft by the uniqueness of your offerings. If you simply turn out the same standard and basic product day after day, all it shows is that you simply want to make money. If your motive is to simply make money, then you may not invest in quality of product and opt for quantity of product. Squared Away Customs offers many products, and even offers to custom make projects if you have an idea. The innovation level they bring to the table is sound and conservative, yet still unique and functional. I would bet money Mark is one of those guys who enjoys going to work and improving his skill to create the best product for the end-user.
With my criteria satisfactorily filled, the Alpha is a holster that I am more than happy to own and use. The quality and value are the best I own so far, the options and customer service are second to none, and as far as being innovative SAQ is one of the companies that are spearheading the Kydex holster market all together. To complement my holster I also purchased a double mag pouch to hold extra magazines and it too is of superior quality that Squared Away Customs is known for. If you're in the market for a Kydex holster, mag pouch, or even something custom that you are thinking up I highly recommend contacting Mark at Squared Away Customs. Be safe.
My first experience with Squared Away Customs was before there was a Squared Away Customs. Mark Lancaster was managing a gun store that was owned by a Police Officer that I had trained at the Academy. In a phone conversation with the officer, I mentioned that I was heading out of country to train a SWAT unit and that I needed a very durable holster for the Glock 19 that they were going to issue me upon my arrival. He told me that Mark, his store manager could make a kydex holster for me. He then put me on the phone with Mark and I gave him the particulars that I was looking for. He said that it would be no problem and several days later the holster arrived and served me well during that training cycle overseas. Mark and I stayed in touch and he eventually gave up managing the gun store and went out on his own, launching Squared Away Customs. I've used his holsters and gear exclusively ever since for my EDC pistols and also for my teaching pistols, and I’ve never looked back. Marks attention to detail in building his gear is second to none and he's always willing to make subtle changes to the gear I order to suit my needs, which I appreciate very much. Many of my students have been impressed by the Squared Away Customs gear and have inquired as to they can purchase it. The fit, finish and quality of Squared Away Customs products is outstanding and is a great value for the money.
- M.J. Sisino, Firearms and Tactics Instructor
I have been around the industry for a while and I have used a lot of gear on the market. I’ve been very disappointed in a lot of the up and coming Kydex and holster manufacturers and their thoughts on their products. Its more than just a holster to me, wearing a quality holster is as important as the gun being put in it. If it doesn’t fit right, retain well and hold up to daily wear and tear, I will not use or back a product. After months of use (more than most will ever put their holster through) and endless hours of talking to Squared Away Customs about quality, reliably and innovation I have found what I've been looking for. I have recommended SAC to hundreds of my Hard Target Firearms Training students, I recommend it to people who ask me daily questions about gear. SAC has a great product and amazing customer service. My students love their gear and I stand by my word when I say SAC is one of the best I have ever used and I'll continue to use it. Keep up the great work.
- Matthew Tenbarge, Director of Training at Hard Target Firearms Training
I was unsure about the whole Kydex holster thing but was still curious about getting one well... The ole lady went and messaged mark and he worked with her to figure out what I wanted without me knowing for Christmas! That is great customer service!!! Lol I received a black IWB holster for my Glock 26 finish is amazing the holster hold the gun tight enough that I can shake it upside down and the gun won't fall out! As far as carrying its awesome you can't get a thinner holster it's almost like your just wearing the gun! Love the fact I can re-holster without fumbling around too! Over all great product great price and great service!! Will be order from him again!
About a month or so ago I ordered the “Oscar” holster for my M&P 9compact. Best damn thing I ever did. Mark does awesome work holsters carry great and look great.
The best holster I've ever owned. The quality is outstanding and even more then that the honest business practices is what will keep me coming back. Not many places I would ship a $300 laser too without meeting them in person but I was reassured with an invoice clearly stating I was shipping the light for molding and it was to be returned. Simple things that ease the mind.