The Enigma by Phlster has been an almost everyday part of my life for over eleven months now. I will be honest with you, this can be an incredibly frustrating conceal carry tool. BUT! Once you have it dialed into your body, it gives you options that you didn’t have before.
You want to wear gym shorts or leggings without the sweatiness of a corset type holster or belly band?! Or would you like to wear a skirt or dress pants with a tucked in shirt? And no belt?! The Enigma is the tool for you!
But like most good things, it takes time and patience. Below is a list of things I have learned in the months I have been using the Enigma.
• First and the most important thing to know is THIS DOES NOT HAVE A HOLSTER WITH IT! The Enigma is a faceplate system that a kydex holster screws onto. You do have to buy a specific holster so that it will work with the holes on the Enigma faceplate. I personally got my holster from Alpha Omega Kydex but Phlster and JM Custom Kydex both make holsters specifically set up for the Enigma. If you choose not to buy a holster specifically for the Enigma, on the Phlster website, it does tell you what set up your holster needs to have in order to work with the Enigma.
• The Enigma is only for carrying in the appendix position. You cannot wear it at your 3 o’clock or at your back.
• The Phlster Concealment Workshop Facebook page is going to become your best friend. If you have an issue and aren’t sure how to resolve it, someone else has had that same issue and it has probably been solved. Do a search and see if others have posted about it. If not, be brave and do a post. People who have been wearing the Enigma for months can probably help you!
• You will get frustrated when trying to set this up. The set up video is incredibly helpful but be prepared to stop and start it no less than 20 times. (I had to walk away from this a couple of times before I just threw it down and said screw it. ha)
• Once you do have it together, be prepared to take it apart a couple of times. The nice thing about the Enigma is it is completely customizable to you. There are six different holes on each side of the faceplate; each hole changes the way your gun sits on your body in very slight ways. During the set-up video it goes through why you would use each hole so there isn’t a guessing game. This can definitely be frustrating because, again, putting it together and taking it apart isn’t the easiest task. But if you put the time into customizing it to you, it will be worth it.
• The Fidlock buckle can cause some chaffing issues. I personally don’t have any problem with it rubbing me the wrong way but others have. Phlster has come out with a “Reduced Sized Buckle Kit” to help combat this issue. It is a smaller buckle and also doesn’t have the extra fabric behind it that the Fidlock does. I personally like the Fidlock because it keeps the belt size in the same place where as the Reduced Buckle has to be threaded through every time.
• There is a leg leash that can be kind of awkward. The leg leash is there so that when you draw your weapon, it keeps your holster in place and allows you to draw without having any slack. Now, this was my biggest issue. Whenever I would wear looser fitting clothes, the place where the leg leash splits to go around your leg would rub me completely raw. Not everyone has this issue! But I did. So I turned to the Phlster Concealment Workshop FB page and asked “how do I fix this?!” Turns out there is a company called Levo Designs that makes a “Papoose” It is a custom made fabric wrap (for a lack of a better description) that not only goes around the leg leash and faceplate, but also around the whole belt. This solved my problem instantly. Others have had issues with the belt digging into them and the Papoose also helped with this.
• My other issue with the leg leash came a little later when the weather got warmer. I noticed that when I wore running shorts to work out in, anytime I would bend over (squats, lunges, or just bending down to get something off the ground) the leg leash would show! I am not one to just hope people don’t notice. So again, I took to the FB page. John with Levo Designs and I came up with what is now called “the bumster”. This is a little hard to describe and if you want a graphic, you can look on his website or find my post on IG @MrsSmithConcealed. Essentially, we designed a strap that goes from the front of the faceplate (where the normal leg leash attaches) to the back of the belt. I wear mine in more of a thong set up while most of the guys wear it where it hugs the butt crease and goes to the side. This sounds crazy, I know. But it is worth it! I never put my original leg leash back on because this was so comfortable and I never have to adjust it. (Sorry, I’m a little too bashful to post pictures of this set-up for all the world to see.)
• I think the most asked question I get is “Is it comfortable?” I think one of the best quotes I have heard about conceal carry is “What level of uncomfortable is your comfortable?” Is adding a strap around your waist and carrying a couple of pounds worth of gun comfortable? To most people, probably not. Is it MORE comfortable than wearing a belt and kydex holster set up? For me, yes. For you, maybe not. Is wearing a bra comfortable? Not really. Are some bras more comfortable than others? Definitely. Same idea.
The Enigma is worn under your clothes but I wanted to give a visual of what it looks like assembled.
The last thing I want to stress is the Engima is not for everyone! There are some people that this set up just won’t work for and that is completely ok!
If you find that the Engima isn’t for you, you will have no trouble finding someone to take it off your hands. But give it a try! Get past the look of it and the set-up scare and see if it can be part of your conceal carry tool kit!
I could go on and on for pages about things that people have done to modify and help them conceal better with the Enigma, but almost all of it can be found on the Phlster Concealment Workshop Facebook page. If you are on the fence, go search the page and see what others have done with theirs. Or on Instagram, search #phlsterenigma. You will find hundreds of posts from people of all body types.
Stephanie Smith is a member of the AG & AG Austin TX Chapter and instructor at Mrs. Smith Concealed LLC.