Just cause I know how much everyone loves Kifaru This review was originally posted on Tactical Network International and is reprinted here with permission. See the original review here.
f you know Kifaru, then you know they’re not cheap. You also know that they’re hard to beat when it comes to high quality, American made gear. The Koala Lite is one of Kifaru’s latest ventures into this world and it performs admirably. When we originally looked at it, we thought it might have a decent place as an off-the-job or low profile weapon carrier. It doesn’t. The tactical looks of it scream “I’m carrying a firearm”, but once you get past that, it’s a fantastic weapon carrier, though its weapon retention features are a bit lacking for our tastes. All-in-all, though, it performed well and as expected. Like some of the other brands we’ve looked at, it’s hard to go wrong with Kifaru, even if nobody around here can figure out how to pronounce it.First Impressions
When it comes to cornering the market on customer suspense, Kifaru wins hands down. Back in March we decided that we would do a review on the new Kifaru Koala Lite. We looked at the website and got all the details, went through their ordering process (which is a bit quaint, but in a nice way) and placed our order. Knowing we was going to be getting a piece of fine, hand assembled, made-in-America nylon, our collective breath was baited, to say the least. Imagine how we felt when we got an email telling us it was going to be up to 12 weeks (!) before we would receive our little foliage green bundle of 500d Cordura joy! But wait we did, and 8 weeks later we were rewarded. When Koala Lite comes out of the box, you suddenly feel like the $180 price tag and the long wait might just have been worth it.
Incredibly sturdy for its light weight, the Koala Lite is aptly named. Pared down from the original Koala, this version shaves off well over a pound of weight, and while losing it’s external pouch, retains the core function of storing a handgun. Designed to be a semi-concealed carry device, the Koala provides great protection for your sidearm, but with a quick access pull that makes draws fast and easy, once practiced. We say it’s only semi-concealed, because anybody who’s familiar with the little rhino on the tag is going to know right away what’s inside, and because none of their color options really blend with day-to-day wear.
There really isn’t anything negative to say about construction on the Koala Lite. All wear seems are at least double stitched, zippers are heavy duty and smooth, padding is adequate around your firearm, and fit and finish is outstanding.
One of the nicest features is the hook and loop interior panel which allows the end-user to add whatever accessories you like. We immediately saw an opportunity to place a couple back-up mag stacks for the carbine and turn this into an ultra-light active shooter bag. The Kifaru “Lock N Load” system on the front also allows for the attachment of multiple pockets, sold on their site. We tested ours with the flat pocket, a chest harness, a padded shoulder strap, and the compact pistol holster with a double mag stack.Field Review
The Koala Lite performed very well in field-testing for us. It rides comfortably with either of the two harnesses we purchased and its low profile is pleasant to carry, though doesn’t allow much room for accessories or extras. Draws were easy once we got familiar with the system, although we did find that the opening is much easier if zipper pulls are set right at the pull tab. We really only had two issues with the Koala during our trial run. The first is that it’s appearance is not subtle in any way. It looks like a piece of tactical equipment, and if you want to blend, this probably isn’t the bag for you. The second is with weapon retention. Ours came ordered for the Glock 19, which we tested it with. Unfortunately, the “holster” is a simple set of nylon straps with hook to secure around the frame of the pistol. After any moving around with the pack, we consistently found that the pistol had slipped partially out of the holster and was held a bit precariously. We’re a bit concerned that if you were to rip the bag open as designed to draw, you may very well end up with your firearm on the ground and that’s a bad way to start a gunfight. We’re sure that we could adjust the positioning of the holster or tighten it more around the frame, but if Kifaru is looking for suggestions, an integrated thumb break might be a nice option in the future.