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Standard PHLster Enigma - Instructions

Learn how to assemble, adjust, and wear your Standard PHLster Enigma. You’ll find an overview of all the possible adjustments, plus tips and tricks for concealment and comfort. Take some time to experiment with the different adjustments and techniques until you find the best combination of factors for your unique body shape.

Enigma Safety – MUST READ

To begin, choose what type of holster you have:

Fixed retention holsters do not have rubber washers. The retention is set by the manufacturer, and is not adjustable.
Adjustable retention holsters have squishy rubber washers between the two halves of the holster.​

Please note:  There are DIFFERENT assembly instructions for the Standard Enigma depending on what type of holster you have. Make sure to choose the correct instructions before you begin, or it won’t work. To double check that your holster is Enigma compatible, check the requirements in the fit guide.

How To Assemble Your PHLster Enigma with a Fixed Retention Holster

Video Instructions:

For right or left handed users.

Description

A relaxed paced, beginner-friendly walk through of the entire Standard PHLster Enigma assembly process. The techniques in this video can be adapted for right or left hand use. Left handed users may want to use the written instructions for help with orienting the Enigma faceplate and holster shell.

Note that this video is for fixed retention holsters only. If you have an adjustable retention holster, this method will not work. See the adjustable retention assembly video instead.

How To Assemble Your PHLster Enigma with an Adjustable Retention Holster

If you have an adjustable retention holster, we highly recommend using the fixed retention kit when assembling your Enigma. Learn how it works and why we recommend it.

Adjustable Retention Video Instructions:

For right or left handed users.

Description

Here’s how to install an adjustable retention holster on the PHLster Enigma. If this is your first Enigma assembly, we recommend watching the whole thing. Advanced users can use the chapter headings to navigate through the video.

How To Use the Leg Leash

The Enigma leg leash holds the holster down when you draw. Proper adjustment is critical to getting a comfortable and secure fit. Watch the first video below to learn how to adjust your leg leash correctly — be sure to try both leg leash routing methods to see which one is better for you. The other videos cover how to shorten the leg leash (for smaller users), how to change your leg leash to a different material, and how to troubleshoot if your leg leash loosens throughout the day.

For more tips and troubleshooting, check out the blog post for adjustment help and alternative solutions.

Description

How to properly wear and adjust the PHLster Enigma leg leash. Learn the two different routing methods, and how to adjust the leg leash for best results on your body. Whether you’re just starting out with the Enigma, or whether you’re having issues that need troubleshooting, reviewing this video is the best place to start.

How To Install Enigma Accessories

The Standard PHLster Enigma can be upgraded with a number of optional accessories. Learn what they are and how to install them here.

The optional Sport Belt accessory installs in place of the regular nylon belt that comes with the Enigma. The Sport Belt improves comfort and provides additional support with an elastic back panel.

The sport belt installs on the Enigma faceplate using the same hardware as the original belt. See the video below for more detailed instructions.

The Reduced Size Buckle is an optional replacement for the magnetic buckle that comes with the Enigma. It’s recommended for smaller users, or people who want extra space on their belt to carry other gear. If the regular buckle sits on your hip bone and causes a pressure point, try this.

  • Reduces buckle span by 3″
  • Recommended for smaller users (30″ waist or below)
  • Takes up less space, allowing you to accommodate additional gear items
  • Attaches with the original hardware included in the Enigma hardware kit

To install, simply remove the original buckle capture and  magnetic buckle from your Enigma faceplate, and install the Reduced Size Buckle in its place using the same hardware. It installs directly to the Enigma faceplate.

To review the full Enigma assembly video, scroll up this page to the assembly instructions at the top.

Watch the instruction video to learn how to use the PHLster Modular Wedge Kit. 

We also recommend watching the Poke and Check video and the Concealed Carry Comfort video, both of which can be found here.

If you’d like to change the amount of grip rotation you get, changing your Modwing inserts can help.

eMod inserts are optional inserts that you can add to your Modwing to replace the standard Modwing inserts.  The eMod inserts help the Enigma faceplate lay flatter, and improve grip rotation and grip tuck.

See the video below for full assembly instructions.

This hard spacer kit replaces the soft rubber washers found in adjustable retention holsters.

  • Prevents rotation – How it works.
  • Allows for tight, secure lockup between holster shell and Enigma faceplate
  • Use with adjustable retention holsters only – not needed with PHLster holsters.

For full assembly instructions, please see the Adjustable Retention section.

Description

This video shows how to install and adjust the Sport Belt. Note that the Sport Belt adjusts from both sides, so you can easily change the centering of the back pad.

The Sport Belt is an optional Enigma accessory that improves comfort, and helps keep the Enigma belt tension more consistent.

How To Get Good Concealment - A Step-By-Step Guide

Our Concealment Mechanics graphics and videos will walk you through the steps to getting good concealment with your Enigma. Most people don’t get perfect concealment right away – it takes some work to dial things in for your unique body shape. You’ll need to experiment with your gun placement, belt tightness, Enigma adjustments, and wedge placement to get your best possible concealment.  

This video series will walk you through how to find your concealment sweet spot, how to use the Poke and Check method to determine if you need to make adjustments to your concealment, and how to decide whether you need to add a wedge.  You can also check the Standard Engima adjustments section above for help with configuring your Enigma for your body.

Once you get past the basics, you can also learn more about the deeper technical and psychological factors that make for good concealment. There’s a lot of information, but you can go at your own pace.

Concealed Carry Comfort

Comfortable concealed carry starts with knowledge rather than gear. Watch this video to identify any comfort issues you might be having, and learn the basic skills for getting comfortable. After watching, you’ll be much better equipped to find solutions that work for your chosen holster, carry position, and body type.

Adjustments and Configurations

The Standard Enigma can be adjusted several different ways. You can learn more about the possible adjustments below. 

The Enigma has six belt attachment holes on either side of the faceplate. These control grip tuck, grip rotation, and optic printing. Please watch the Standard Enigma Poke and Check video below for more information.

To make gross adjustments to the amount of grip rotation you get, you can change your Modwing inserts (15, 16). A standard Modwing will come with a short (15) and tall (16) insert.

The tall insert will give you the most grip rotation (more than is necessary for most guns). The short insert will give you moderate grip rotation. Using the wing alone, with no insert, will give you the least amount of grip rotation.

If in doubt, start with the short Modwing insert.

 

eMod inserts are optional accessory inserts that you can add to your Modwing to replace the standard Modwing inserts.  The eMod inserts help the Enigma faceplate lay flatter, and improve grip rotation and grip tuck.

Improper spacer height
Improper spacer height.

 

To get the best concealment, your holster shell should be flush with the Enigma faceplate. If your spacers are too tall, the faceplate will stand away from the holster, and you won’t get the best possible concealment.

To check your spacer height, go to chapter 10 here.

Smaller users may need to shorten the leg leash drop. You can do this by fastening the leg leash through one of the larger faceplate holes rather than through the leg leash slot. See the video below for more detailed information.

Fixed retention holsters:

If you’re having problems with your gun being too tight or too loose in the holster, first double check that you have the correct holster shell for your gun model. Aftermarket modifications to the gun may cause problems with retention.

Next, read this article on how holster retention works, and test your retention as shown. Do not test holster retention by shaking the holster upside down – that is not the correct way to test. 

If these steps don’t resolve your issue, you can contact the manufacturer of your holster shell for help. Before you do so, please make sure you’re testing your holster retention correctly

Adjustable retention holsters

First, make sure you are testing your retention correctly. Do not test holster retention by shaking the holster upside down – that is not the correct way to test. 

If you are testing your holster retention correctly and your retention is still too tight or too loose, follow the adjustable retention assembly instructions to add or remove shims from your fixed retention kit.

The Enigma is a skeleton. You start with the basic bone structure, and then you flesh it out to suit your body shape and your individual comfort needs. Since everyone is different, it takes some experimentation and customization to get the level of comfort and concealment you want.

The Enigma is designed to be a hardcore piece of fighting equipment that can survive extreme scenarios. In order to make it hold up to those demands, we chose materials for strength and rugged durability. The Enigma is designed to be ergonomic and adjustable – but it’s NOT soft.  

Skin comfort is an important factor in overall concealed carry comfort, and that’s why we made the Enigma as open to customization as possible. The easiest way to achieve skin comfort is just to wear an undershirt, camisole, underwear, or a bandeau under your Enigma. However, if you prefer to wear your Enigma directly against the skin with no undergarments, there are a variety of comfort solutions available, from aftermarket covers to sport belts to creative DIY solutions. You can choose whatever mods you need to get to your desired level of skin comfort. Like everything Enigma, expect it to take some experimentation.

You can add a wedge to your holster to improve both comfort and concealment. Learn more about wedges.

DIY tutorial on how to make your own wedge.

We welcome you to join the PHLster Concealment Workshop group on Facebook. It’s a large and active community with people from all walks of life. See how other people are wearing their Enigmas, and get inspiration for mods and adjustments. You can see the Enigma in action on people with different body shapes, with different wardrobes.

Description

Here’s how to use the Poke and Check method to adjust your Standard Enigma. This will help you figure out which belt attachment holes are right for your body.

Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting

•  Are there alternatives to the leg leash?

Can I take the leg leash off?

I don’t like the leg leash material. Can I change it?

•  What if the leg leash is too long. Can I trim it?

•  What if the leg leash prints in leggings?

As a general rule, if your leggings are tight enough to see panty lines, they’re tight enough that your leg leash may show. Adjusting it so it’s in the crease of your buttock will help minimize the visual impact. You can also try the alternative leg leash routing method from the instruction video in the leg leash section above. If you prefer an aftermarket solution, check out the Bumster from Levo Designs.

Fixed retention holsters:

If you’re having problems with your gun being too tight or too loose in the holster, first double check that you have the correct holster shell for your gun model. Aftermarket modifications to the gun may cause problems with retention.

Next, read this article on how holster retention works, and test your retention as shown. Do not test holster retention by shaking the holster upside down – that is not the correct way to test. 

If these steps don’t resolve your issue, you can contact the manufacturer of your holster shell for help. Before you do so, please make sure you’re testing your holster retention correctly

Adjustable retention holsters

First, make sure you are testing your retention correctly. Do not test holster retention by shaking the holster upside down – that is not the correct way to test. 

If you are testing your holster retention correctly and your retention is still too tight or too loose, follow the adjustable retention assembly instructions to add or remove shims from your fixed retention kit.

•  3 Key principles of concealment

•  Finding your concealment sweet spot – Remember that the concealment principles are universal, and all bodies are unique. If your exact body type isn’t shown in the video, you can still use the concealment principles to find your own sweet spot.

•  The “Keel Principle,” and how longer holsters can often be more comfortable and concealable

•  Basic Concealment Mechanics

•  Appendix carry tips for larger folks – abdominal fat distribution and appendix carry

•  Wedges – what is a wedge, and do I need one?

•  Comfortable Concealed Carry Explained – Comfortable concealed carry starts with knowledge rather than gear. Watch this video to identify any comfort issues you might be having, and learn the basic skills for getting comfortable. After watching, you’ll be much better equipped to find solutions that work for your chosen holster, carry position, and body type.

Enigma design and materials:

•  If the Enigma’s magnetic buckle sits over your hip bone and causes a pressure point, try switching to the reduced size buckle instead.

General comfort tips:

The Enigma is a skeleton. You start with the basic bone structure, and then you flesh it out to suit your body shape and your individual comfort needs. Since everyone is different, it takes some experimentation and customization to get the level of comfort and concealment you want.

The Enigma is designed to be a hardcore piece of fighting equipment that can survive extreme scenarios. In order to make it hold up to those demands, we chose materials for strength and rugged durability. The Enigma is designed to be ergonomic and adjustable – but it’s NOT soft.  

Skin comfort is an important factor in overall concealed carry comfort, and that’s why we made the Enigma as open to customization as possible. The easiest way to achieve skin comfort is just to wear an undershirt, camisole, underwear, or a bandeau under your Enigma. However, if you prefer to wear your Enigma directly against the skin with no undergarments, there are a variety of comfort solutions available, from aftermarket covers to sport belts to creative DIY solutions. You can choose whatever mods you need to get to your desired level of skin comfort. Like everything Enigma, expect it to take some experimentation.

We welcome you to join the PHLster Concealment Workshop group on Facebook. It’s a large and active community with people from all walks of life. See how other people are wearing their Enigmas, and get inspiration for mods and adjustments. You can see the Enigma in action on people with different body shapes, with different wardrobes.