At a time when there were very few other resources on the topic. Working out of the spare room of his South Philadelphia row home, Hauptman would broadcast his experiments, failures, and successes, sharing what to do and what not to do, as he explored the material. Over time, that YouTube channel became a durable resource for aspiring Kydex holster makers, with millions of total views over the years. And as the process got better, so did the results. And with those better results came demand for custom holsters.
To meet that demand, Hauptman formed PHLster and moved the operation out of his spare room and into a basement workshop in post-industrial Kensington, Philadelphia. Continuing to make bespoke, tailored, custom holsters on site for walk-in customers, PHLster also developed a popular production line of trend-setting, slim, functional, IWB holsters, made with in-house vacuum forming and CNC processes
But the process and the operation couldn’t keep up with the concepts or the demand. Doing everything under one roof was not the answer. PHLster needed to get out from under the weight of constant backlog and of constantly making yesterday’s products, and make way for new ideas, multi-material approaches, diversification, and faster delivery.
In 2018, PHLster underwent a complete restructuring. To streamline inventory management and fulfillment, PHLster partnered with The Activity Group to take over warehouse and purchasing operations, as well as help supply PHLster’s line of low-profile medical kits and accessories. PHLster also teamed up with Henry Holsters, our long time friend and colleague, whose fastidious, efficient, and high-tech manufacturing could execute our advanced holster designs and concepts at scale.
Since 2018 PHLster has
Due to the new-found freedom from the workbench, resulting in the ability to aggressively explore and develop new ideas and executions. The most recent of which is the advanced and groundbreaking Enigma concealed carry chassis. After 10 years of custom-fitting holster to different body types, and helping thousands of customers tune and adjust their concealment equipment for maximum performance, PHLster brought that experience to a strategic partnership with RuncibleWorks, elite concealment gurus with a decade of experience in making advanced, bespoke, and high-tech concealment wear. Together, using cutting-edge materials and lessons learned from years of firearms, grappling, and combatives training, they developed the slimmest, most concealable, most personally customizable, and strongest belt-less concealed carry system ever, which allows users to carry in any attire, from swim trunks, to yoga pants, to formal-wear, with total security and reliability, and engage in the most strenuous or violent physical activity, without compromise.
You can find PHLster continuing their original mission of education at events like the Active Self Protection National Conference, A Girl and a Gun National Conference, and (coming 2022) Rangemaster Tactical Conference, where they teach professional and civilian gun carriers how to optimize the concealment and performance of their holsters, reducing the signature of their firearms and increasing survivability. You can learn more about these lessons and practices in the PHLster Concealment Workshop Facebook group where Jon and his wife (and Enigma co-inventor) Sarah, engage daily with the concealed carry community, maintaining an open-source commitment to knowledge and best practices.