CAVEAT: THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT. DISCLAIMER: Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be long country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. Any products, places, and / or whatnots that I review for this blog are purchased at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, demon alcohol, drugs, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review. TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al sticks tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online footprints by using Tor and Duck Duck Go. Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all! Ante omnia armari. To each of you, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Review of the Ken Null Model VAM (Vampire) Appendix Outside the Waistband (AOWB) Holster

Cross-body withdrawal for
2" revolvers and semi-automatics

A highly specialized scabbard intended for use in a seated position. Originally designed for the R.C.M.P., plain-clothes car patrols, and Secret Service protection details. Worn comfortably on the belly or off-side hip. Extremely fast, since the pull-through snap release means no fumbling with any retaining devices. The handgun rides butt down for very natural withdraw.Excell
ent for body guard/chauffer/taxi driver.
(ABOVE: photo and text taken from the K. L. Null Holsters website)

ABOVE: Photo shows the body-side of my VAM holster and its 1.5'' tunnel belt-loop. This righthand version of the VAM was ordered to fit my .357 Magnum S&W Model 640-1 revolver (shown above with the original grips).  On rare occasions I use it with my .38 special J-Frame revolvers, but when I do so there is, understandably, a bit of noticeable loose fit due to the shorter cylinder;  my 442 Airweight has the loosest fit of all.  Aside from the shorter .38 Special cylinder, the 442 has a frame that is much thinner in certain areas than on the beefy J-Magnum-Frame revolvers.  

This holster has been with me over a year.  It was not worn every day during the year but it did see substantial use and abuse; once I was unavoidably drenched during an unpredicted, blinding, sustained downpour and I mean to tell you that I was soaked to the bone and beyond; every piece of paper in my wallet was pulped and the holster looked like a flaccid shell-noodle.  It was a couple of hours before I could get to a shelter and begin the long process of drying off; I thought the holster was unsalvageable; via good fortune and the holster's superior design, build, and materials, I was able to dry it out and coax it back to its original shape and firmness.  

Even though it is designed to be a "desk and driving" holster, I wore the VAM while performing all kinds of chores; it is a versatile little gem.  NOTE: No revolver ever accidentally came out of this holster even though my gymnastics and gyrations did pop the pull-through retention-snap open on many occasions; the rubber Craig Spegel style boot grip clones make such accidental pops less frequent.  What would help the most is me losing about thirty pounds of body fat; short chubby guys are a real challenge for concealed carry holster makers.  

In case you are wondering, being as I am only 5' 8'' in height and  currently sport 215 lbs. of corpulence,  AIWB (appendix inside the waistband) carry just does not work for me at all; it is uncomfortable when I am standing and painfully impossible for me to manage when sitting / driving.

ABOVE:  Photo shows the VAM with my Model 640 no-dash .38 special in a crossdraw position midway between my zipper and the point of my left hip.  The holster easily belt-slides from this position to the point of the hip, making "comfort adjustments" quick and easy while standing / sitting / driving.  This is one of Ken Null's intended positions for this holster design.  It conceals well here, is quick and easy to access, and it is comfortable enough here for me to do some long distance driving.

ABOVE: Drawing the revolver from the VAM is a simple pull to the rear; the trigger guard rides up out of its cradle and the top rear of the frame pops the pull-through snap; as the butt of the revolver goes up the muzzle pivots down.  

ABOVE:  Photo shows the VAM worn in a position where it was not intended, on the strong side point of the hip.  Notice how the front of the holster is a good distance from my body;  the revolver is quick and easy to access here but it is difficult to conceal.  

ABOVE: Here the VAM is again on the strong side (again, this is not where it was designed to be) but I slid it to more of an appendix position between the hip and the zipper.  Again, it is very quick and easy to access the revolver at this position but it still is not readily concealable without wearing oversized shirts, vests, or jackets (yeah, I do kinda like it here and I do dress around it accordingly).

ABOVE:  One of Ken Null's intended locations for this holster design is flat on the belly; this location is probably the best location for concealment.  Sitting is comfortable enough, but I would not wear it here while attempting to drive from Chicago to Resaca, Georgia in one stretch.  A third-party rubber version of the Craig Spegel style boot grips would be more comfortable here than are the  full size banana combat grips that I favor for this magnum.

ABOVE:  *POOF*, the belly holster and gun have vanished.  Hiding a handgun where I can wear it comfortably AND get to it in an instant is where things get challenging.  The VAM as a belly holster is easy to hide with nothing more than an untucked t-shirt.

While you are here, see if you can (at a glance) discern the outline of the Glock-43 in my right-side pants pocket and the outline of the L.W. Seecamp in my left-side pants pocket (each are in a quality pocket holster).  Hiding a handgun is easy enough; most unsightly bulges just look like ... unsightly bulges; at a glance, most bulges don't scream "OMG, GUN!" 

As always, thanks for stopping by (Hey JonT!  You still out there?)

DISCLAIMER: As always at this blog site, this product review is simply a good old-fashioned campfire chat; this is not an opinion on what I feel you should or should not purchase or what you should be using.  What does or does not work for me could be many country miles away from your tastes and needs.  All products that I review for this blog are purchased at retail price by me.  I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, "freebies," products on loan, demon alcohol, drugs, probation, parole, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review.  


Pumice said...

This one looks really interesting. $130 seems a bit steep for my cheap hide and it is non-returnable, but if it works it could well be worth it.

Grace and peace.

James Zachary said...

Yeah, I understand what you are saying; I have a large box of holsters that I thought were good ideas when I bought them ;) My daughter will sell them at a yard sale for a penny on the dollar when I am gone.

Ken is a good man; give him a call if you have any questions.

Old 1811 said...

About 20 or 30 years ago (I'm old; it all runs together), an English holster maker made similar holsters for bodyguards. Instead of the tunnel belt loop, they used snaps; the idea was that the bodyguard would have his J-frame handy in the car, and then when he exited the vehicle, he would remove the holster and put the revolver in a standard OWB belt holster. I kinda liked the concept, since I spent about two-thirds of my life in cars at the time. These would be much less versatile without the quick-release feature. Still, they have some potential.

James Zachary said...

Man, it sure is good to hear from you again Old 1811; it's been a while.

I'm not sure if the VAM is one of Ken's designs or if it is from the Seventrees Era. The snaps would be a great idea for it; Ken does custom work and could probably figure a way to work them in. I often wondered why Ken didn't offer a version of this holster made from the same Nylon he uses to make his SKR shoulder holster; the VAM and the SKR actually have some similarities (e.g., the design of the trigger guard cradle and the location of the pull through snap). A Nylon VAM would be waterproof and super light (albeit noisy as a snare drum when drawing the revolver).

I love holsters ... and stories about holsters ... especially the old designs. Some crusty old holsters could tell some great tales. Holding an old holster is like holding a handful of history.

Thanks again!


Anonymous said...

Hi Zack

Of course I am still here! I stop by your blog every week. I think I have read the whole blog by now. The kind of pistols you own are the kind that I am interested in but can't own and I enjoy the wealth of stuff on your site.

Good luck with the election - the British media are hating on Donald Trump almost as much as yours. They don't seem to understand why Hillary is hated so much and they report very little of her dubious past. So carry on being deplorable!!!


James Zachary said...

Thanks JonT,

My wish is that someday you will cross back over the water for at least time enough to join me in taking a box of guns and a bucket of bullets to the range so we can have a real blast.

Take good care,


Anonymous said...


Can't think of anything I would rather do. Could finish the day with coffee, cigars and Talking Heads on the stereo.