TechSlingers shoulder holster review

TechSlinger Overview

TechSlinger Overview

Tablets and mobile phones are great tools, and I wouldn’t want to be without either of mine very long. I use both of mine constantly throughout the day, both for work and for personal information. Carrying them around, however, is a pain. Especially an iPad. Shirts and pants have pockets that can handle most smart phones, but iPads or other tablets (and most phablets), are really tough to manage on the road when they’re not in use.

This same issue exists for police officers, delivery drivers, phone repairmen and meter readers, who all have to carry something bulky that is only used occasionally. You’re not always getting a signature, reading a meter, testing a line or arresting/Tasing someone, and you need to stash those tools where they’re handy, but not in the way. Most of the above occupations have opted for the tool belt as a storage approach, but for most users of modern gadgetry, that tack is a little passé. A rather new company has looked at the new market (information professionals, physicians, and other data intensive jobs) and put forth a repositioning of an old solution – the shoulder holster.  TechSlinger has created an eponymous product that holds a tablet, a phone, and various other gear snugly and neatly beneath the arms, where it can be quickly brought to bear from under a lab coat, a sports jacket, or from being just out in the open. The TechSlinger is a set of two side pockets held together by a harness that clips easily onto those pockets.

TechSlinger Ready for Action

TechSlinger Ready for Action

TechSlinger clip detail

TechSlinger clip detail

You may attach the pockets to either side of the adjustable harness, so that the pockets are where you’d like them to be. The two pockets are well made from several different materials, and can be color coordinated with contrasting linings to make seeing into a storage pocket easier. One pocket is sized for a “tablet” and holds my new iPad perfectly. The other has an upper phone pocket, which can hold my iPhone 4s and my Lovely Bride’s 3GS (both in cases), but has room for a 5 or most any other brand of phone of similar size. It’s not, however, going to hold your phablet – sorry.

Right-side holster, showing iPhone 4s strapped in above lower pocket with Waterfield wallet being inserted.ld

Right-side holster, showing iPhone 4s strapped in above lower pocket with Waterfield wallet being inserted.

The lower two-thirds of the second pocket is a zippered, lined pocket with a few pen loops (a nice touch!) and not much else. It could hold spare batteries, cables, chargers, Moleskines or pistol magazines – it’s fairly large. The device pockets have one-inch webbing with snaps to hold your gadgets in place. The snaps were easy to connect and felt very secure. I never worried about my devices falling out, if I felt that secure “snap”. The back of the snap’s straps are covered by a folded piece of webbing on the tablet side, and a layer of the inner lining material on the phone side, that will cushion and prevent damage to your devices. Nice touch.

TechSlinger Tablet Pocket

TechSlinger Tablet Pocket showing details of restraining strap snaps.

As far as the design and workmanship are concerned, these things are first rate. Seams are bound with proper binding tape, and tucked into pockets, such that rough edges are never seen or felt. The liner material and the outer layer are stitched together with an intermediate layer of stiffener, which adds structure and a feeling of security. Seams are fully bar-tacked, or reinforced by double rows of stitching. You’re going to have to work to rip out these things!

So, while it’s a beautifully designed, well-made piece of kit that does what it promises, how is it in action? Weeeeeelllllllll, that’s hard to say. I wore it in our back area break room, modeling our iPads and my personal iPhone with the rest of the tech uniform of our company, and folks loved it – but they weren’t interested in using it themselves.

The TechSlinger tablet pocket holds a full-sized iPad easily.

The TechSlinger tablet pocket holds a full-sized iPad easily.

We’ve seen this solution before. Like fanny packs and belt holsters, shoulder holsters are somewhat considered too far off the mainstream to be accepted by most users. What we need is for some truly amazing cult hero to wear something like this, and make it acceptable for mere mortals. Indiana Jones and Jack Bauer have done this somewhat for the satchel, making them masculine and hero-worthy carriers of needed gadgets. (As long as it’s not too zippery or strappy, and appears large enough for a .45 or a bullwhip, I think most places don’t really look down on you if you’re carrying an over-the-shoulder bag.) While everyone from James Bond to Special Agent Seeley Booth wears a holster, it’s not quite as large as the TechSlinger. And holsters didn’t even catch on when they were smaller and designed for phones or even Newtons. I actually carried my Newton in one for a while, and it was very convenient, but I always got strange looks from folks whenever I left work wearing it.

Yes, you do look like you're "packing heat" from the back. If you're not as cool as Sealy Booth or James Bond, you may not be able to pull it off!

Yes, you do look like you’re “packing heat” from the back. If you’re not as cool as Sealy Booth or James Bond, you may not be able to pull it off!

If you have a job where you’re always wearing some sort of coat or jacket (lab coat, suit jacket, etc.) and need to carry an iPad with you to use regularly, I could see using this. If the company you’re working with has a bunch of folks using iPads for inventory, point of sale, or any other mobile data management, this could work, but I think it’d have to be a company mandate and everyone would need to be wearing them, in order to overcome the social stigma of wearing it. But, if you’re above that kind of thing, and want to manage your tools, it’s a great product.

 

Product Information

Price:$70
Manufacturer:TechSlinger
Retailer:TechSlinger
Requirements:
  • Tech to hold in pockets
Pros:
  • Well made.
  • Roomy and handy.
  • Works well under a jacket, sweater, safety vest or lab coat.
Cons:
  • High nerd factor.
  • May get you arrested by TSA.
  • You'll never date anyone while wearing one.
Posted in: Bags, Reviews

21 comments… add one

  • Tony C December 5, 2012, 11:07 am

    Santa! Is that YOU? =)

    1
  • Julie December 5, 2012, 12:45 pm

    @Tony Dang it Tony, you beat me to that question!

    2
  • JJ December 5, 2012, 2:07 pm

    *Note this device is only for married men/women. Because if you are single, you will never find a partner willing to marry you if you are wearing one of these.

    3
  • DStaal December 5, 2012, 6:24 pm

    I still have one of these around someplace: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2000/10/22/eholster_review/

    4
  • Smythe Richbourg December 5, 2012, 9:27 pm

    @Tony C @Julie – I’ll never tell!
    @JJ – Wearing it in public may be hazardous to existing marriages/relationships, too!

    5
  • anson December 5, 2012, 11:16 pm

    this is one of the geekiest things i’ve ever seen- Yet i want one for some reason…. what’s wrong with me?!?!

    6
  • Robert Grenader December 6, 2012, 12:02 am

    Oh for heaven’s sake! Put your mobile devices down for a while. You’d look like a total dork wearing one of these.

    7
  • Smythe Richbourg December 6, 2012, 1:07 am

    @Robert It may not be that easy for some folks. I work as a mobile tech, and am never at a desk, yet need to stay in touch with our company’s scheduling, inventory, and point-of-sale systems. I use an iPad for most of this, and therefore don’t have the luxury of “putting it down for a while.” It’s how I pay the rent. We used to have to walk back to a common area and wait for a terminal to be available, which made transactions longer and made the terminal area quite crowded. With the iPads, tech are spread throughout the store, and can assist a customer immediately, improving the speed of transactions (getting folks back on the road, which they appreciate, rather than waiting for someone else’s repair to be rung up), and also increases the number of folks I can assist in an hour, making better use of my time. While we don’t use the reviewed holsters, there are many occupations that may consider them, from inventory to car and airplane repair to construction to airline pilots to bankers who are moving to where the customer is, rather than sitting behind a desk and calling out “Next!” I have realtors, electrical contractors and physicians come in all the time who are using iPads as their sole point of information retrieval during client meetings. They cannot do business the way they now do it without their iPad. It’s not just about having toys close at hand! Mobile tech is becoming the new corporate info tool.

    8
  • Mark December 6, 2012, 8:23 am

    OK….maybe if you’re working in an “in house” sort of tech job or warehouse, but otherwise is a “kick me” sign optional?

    9
  • nickyp December 6, 2012, 8:24 pm

    i like the idea, design etc. i know that the co worker acceptance factor would be difficult. I am a RN and my only other concern is the job can get physical and i could crush the things i am wearing, ie going thru doorways in a emergency etc. i realize i could take it off if necessary but then whats the point?
    i would like to try it though.

    10
  • Michael December 7, 2012, 3:40 am

    Having just bought an iPad mini there is a real issue of how you carry it. It’s OK in the hand but a nuisance to be putting it down all the time and liable to be left behind.

    Not being an American I have to ask if these things aren’t a little dangerous? Are you really going to reach inside your jacket to get something out of an obvious holster in the presence of a security guard?

    Michael

    11
  • joel perlish December 7, 2012, 8:52 am

    i would wish for a strap that also extends around the belly area so that i could run with something like this and it would be secure. (i’m a big fan of running every day for errands and drop-offs and pick-ups for my photography business. once was written up in runners world for getting my dry cleaning that way. lol.) anyway, that body secure strap would be perfect. i don’t care what others think. i think most would be jealous anyway….. :-) this would be handy to have.

    12
  • Paul December 8, 2012, 8:20 am

    Been thinking about something like this for a while as part of my EDC/hiking kit to keep my electronics in the best protected place but with easy access.

    My thinking is if you think modular this would be second step, then belt kit and finally pack.

    Do think you would need to cover it though, big time!

    Ref running in it, I was thinking of doing what shoulder holsters do and attaching it to your belt.

    13
  • Nathan Crawford December 9, 2012, 11:23 pm

    Hi,
    Nathan Crawford, inventor of the Techsling. I hear the geek factor comment a lot from across the spectrum of consumers. I can’t stress enough that this not meant to be a fashion statement, a declaration of your techie ness or confirmation of your secret agent status!
    It is meant to be………..just the opposite. It is meant to make your tech disappear, it is meant not draw any notice to your very expensive kit. In Chicago theft of these devices is so bad it is know as ” apple picking” and is on the rise.

    One of the great surprises I have found when wearing a Techsling is how incredibly unobservant we all are of our surroundings. I was very self concious when I first started wearing the Techsling over a year and a half ago. I always wore cover of some sort and never showed it and tah dah! No one ever commented on it or even noticed it.

    Then came what I really wanted this for…..travel! As I stepped up for my weekly strip search from airport security. I was very nervous how it would go, I must have looked it as well. Instead all I got was “cool”, “that’s new”, “what’s it called”, ” this is great, I can see everything” and ” what a dork!”….just kidding.
    Seriously the TSA could careless, low and behold terrorists don’t ware holsters. Who knew!

    I could go on for hours on what has become for me a great social experiment about human identity.

    I invented the Techsling for me. Who am I?

    A forty something small business owner (90ish employees)that does research for the DOD, DOE and NASA in airborne sensor development. I wear suits and field jackets, depending on if I am in DC or in the field at a remote location.

    I got tired of wearing a backpack over my suite, lugging around a heavy notebook that I only used rarely and definitely not on the move.

    I live in Michigan were we wear a variety of outer garments for three quarters of the year. I now wear in the summer a t-shirt, the Techsling and a unbuttoned over shirt. Still no one notices.

    Bottom line:
    If you use a tablet and fill it full of proprietary information, travel allot and have left your tablet behind any where, ever! The Techsling is for you.

    Thanks for your time.

    Nathan

    14
  • Nathan Crawford December 9, 2012, 11:40 pm

    Oh!
    Almost forgot, if you want the full understanding of what went into the design and how to use it. Check out my videos on YouTube by searching “Techslinger”
    Thanks
    Nathan

    15
  • Tresha Davis December 10, 2012, 2:36 pm

    We have had several people ask for a back strap and a few for the front strap.
    And, the TechSling Mini will be coming soon!

    16
  • Yanick January 9, 2013, 10:26 am

    @Mr Crawford

    I’ve got an iPad for christmas. Being a PE tech and geeky stuff is just my thing and i learnt to control myself over time. I became a “Late adopter”. I have been amazed at the iPad but also the pain of acrrying around.

    Working usually with a suit and travelling a lot, I carry around my laptop with several accessories so much that i got backpain from this now. Given the size of an iPad, I thought, just like you, that a holster under the jacket was just the thing so I can let go of the bag at last. But I couldn’t find this anywhere…

    Thank you, I’ll be waiting for the “mini” version thought, my going around will be even less painful.

    17
  • leo February 1, 2013, 2:30 am

    I am looking forward to obtaining one of your shoulder holsters, I carry lots of gadgets, and this will be perfect.

    18
  • Julie February 1, 2013, 9:39 am

    @leo we do not sell this product. We’re a news and review site. You’ll need to contact the company directly to purchase from them.

    19
  • Tom Painter December 14, 2013, 11:56 am

    It seems like a great idea. I’m in construction and now have drawings on a tablet that I need to carry but don’t like the thought of forgetting where I put it down. The techslinger comes with a pouch on each side, I only need the holster for the tablet only. Can you remove the other pouch that holds accessories and still wear the harness comfortably with just the tablet pouch?

    20
  • Smythe Richbourg December 14, 2013, 3:09 pm

    @Tom Painter
    Yes, either side can be unclipped and the harness adjusted for it. I’ve not tried it with it fully loaded, but I think it would work out okay.

    21

Leave a Comment