Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Giant J frame

I was talking about making holsters to an in-law.  He said he needed to get a smaller gun, because his "stuck out too much".  It turns out that he has a J-frame similar to mine which should be plenty small enough.  The problem was his holster, a cheap plastic thing with a single belt loop.  Fine for range or competition use, (although the J-frame isn't a competition gun) but lousy for concealed carry.  I wound up loaning him the holster in my last post, and if he likes it he's either going to buy it or commission a similar one.  (I had already made yet another holster for my own use with the gun at a different angle

If you are going to carry a gun, budget a lot more for your holster and belt than you might initially think.  An everyday concealed carry holster needs to be safe, hold the gun securely, with a reasonably fast draw, reasonably discrete, and comfortable worn every day.  The typical Foebus or Uncle Mike's plastic holster is fine for the range, but isn't going to conceal well for most people.  You can go too far the other way too--there are deep concealment holsters that are nearly invisible, but take quite a bit of time to draw.

When I carry my XD, I use a Comp-Tac/Minotaur M-Tac.    These are relatively cheap at around $80, work well and delivery time is very fast compared to a full-custom holster.  I have also carried in a Crossbreed Supertuck, another very similar holster, with similar performance at a similar price.  I learned a lot about holsters from the holster forum on Defensive Carry.com  There were several skilled holster makers who were very free with advice and information.  I haven't read there in a while, so I don't know the current situation but even if there aren't holstermakers currently posting, the archives have a ton of good information.

One of the reasons I began making holsters was my inability to find a simple basic pancake holster for my J frame at a reasonable price.  I bought one inexpensive holster at a local shop, and it had some oddity with the leather where my gun would get stuck after an hour or so, requiring either precise wiggling or wedgie-inducing levels of strength to get free.   Obviously this wasn't a good concealed carry holster...

A problem is that it isn't practical for a shop to carry a full line of holsters.  As an example--Crossbreed recognizes 90 different "shapes" of handgun--not counting caliber differences, guns of different brands similar enough to use the same holster, and unlike some holster designs, not counting differences in barrel length.  Multiply that by the most basic options--Inside or outside the waistband, color, height, angle--you wind up requiring a huge inventory to merely cover the basics.   What typically happens is that most shops will have a selection of Foebus or Uncle Mike's plastic for the top 30 or so,  one cheap and one expensive brand of leather,  and a handful of nylon "fits medium revolver".   There are also some aspects of making a good holster that can't be done in mass production.

All this is why it can make sense for a hobbyist to make their own holsters.  The rout from hobby to pro is often making a holster for an obscure or brand-new model and selling those on the internet.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reminding me about that forum - while I am nowhere near being ready to start crafting my own holsters, that place is an impressive clearing-house of information on how to do so, and how everyone else is doing so, and that list of fabricators is quite useful. Now I just have to get the gun that requires the holster... ;)