Monday, November 17, 2008


Did you ever notice on Star Trek that when the search team went to a planet to explore there was always one of the party in a Red Shirt? And he NEVER came back. Usually it was Ensign Ricky.

What you wear can have more impact than you think. Especially in a holster. And especially for women, as we tend to (1) wear clingier clothes and (2) be built different, both (1) and (2) I've yet to hear complaints about.

There's good holsters and bad holsters out there. My old friend The Captain had a recent post about a gun carrying device you probably don't want to add to your Christmas wish list. Most of us end up with the 'big box 'o holsters' that most shooters acquire over the years. Trying one, then another, searching for the perfect rig.

For my Sigs, I love my Blackhawk holster, thought it's not built for a particularly small frame (which I don't have at 5' 8"). Another paddle type that carries outside the pant and belt like my Blackhawk SERPA is the Fobus 1911 Style C-21 paddle holster. Fabricated from formed plastic with bits of metal here and there, this holster is to artistic design what plastic forks are to fine dining. But it is durable, and functional. It has no external snap, strap, or latch, relying on a molded plastic impression snapping into the trigger guard for retention of the weapon. It's going to work best with a wide stiff belt which may not be the first choice for some shooters. This might work to secure a DA automatic with hammer down or on this 1911 Colt with grip and frame safeties, but I'd pass on it for the S & W M + P which is striker fired. For certain weapons, despite its sort of batman utility belt design, I think some shooters would like this. Women too, as it holds the pistol outside the pants, but under the belt. A longer pistol may be uncomfortable for a woman who had pronounced hips, but with a shorter auto it will fit nicely. It's not bulky at all, which is a nice feature.

The one that I like for this weapon is the Galco JAK slide holster. The Galco JAK carries the pistol under the belt. Very minimal but retention is good and extremely comfortable. It pulls in tight, so it's very concealable as well. I could wear it all day and not really think it's there. For all day comfort in the field, I do NOT want the Victoria's Secret push up holster, that rides, chafes and gives me a rash. Sure I might wear that holster in the privacy of my own home for someone else, but it's NOT going to be part of the daily wardrobe.

For my female readers - there are a lot of holsters for women that are designed to appeal to the designer in you, NOT the shooter. I don't need embroidery, fancy lines or froo froo, I want a holster that allows for comfort in conceal AND quick draw. I want one with good looks AND functionality and one of those is the Delfatti holster - SLP/F - designed to be worn forward of the strong side hip with a muzzle forward rake. The holster has an extended and slimmed down wing to the rear of the weapon. The rear belt loop is formed by a tongue of leather that wraps around the belt and secures to the outside of the wing. Doing it this way reduces the leather bulk at the belt attachment so as to reduce the chance of discomfort at the top of the hip. There is a second tunnel loop behind the weapon. Most women find the holster comfortable, concealable, and fast. It works best with shorter barreled pistols.

Frankly, I think it's flat out pretty, with just a little detail but not so thick that it binds, and that's the most girly statement you will EVER get out of me.(

Some of the holsters I like cost more than $100. You don't have to pay that much but don’t cut corners on a holster. A good holster makes the carry much more comfortable and with comfort comes safety. A good holster will allow you to carry a heavier gun with less discomfort and greater concealment.

Face it, I'm never going to be some tiny, little delicate thing. I'm 3/4 Scot-Irish, 1/4 Norwegian. I'm tall and curvy with a defined waist. I'm not one of those gals you have to shake the sheets out in the morning to find and I usually carry a very large caliber, even concealed, so I admire any holster that cares more about a commitment to a product that will fit our form than trendy style.
One of the better Leathersmiths, located in Pennsylvania, C. Rusty Sherrick ( did the homework on the needs of female gun owners before introducing his line of women's goods and it's obvious that a great deal of time and care went into their making. They look nice, but more effort went into improving them to fit better and sit more comfortably on the hip then whether they're "stylish".

Designs I'm NOT fond of are are the “small of the back” and ankle holsters. The “small of the back” holster has some problems. The draw is difficult and therefore dicey. There is a danger of sweeping the muzzle of the gun in directions you don’t intend to cover. This is an easy holster to disarm. Someone can come up behind you and grab the pistol, and from where it is on your back, it's going to be hard if you aren't trained in tactical to stop them from taking it. Lastly, should you fall on your back, the small of the back holster is a steel bar across your spine that could accentuate the impact of hitting the ground. If you're small boned to begin with this is NOT a good place to be as the injury could make you an easier target. The leg holster is only really valid as a backup option and it’s not really great as a backup. The ankle holster is great concealment, but unless you are a professional or one of the Amazing Walendas the draw is so problematic that it is almost useless.

Male or female - shop around, and ask other shooters. A holster is as important a purchase as what it carries. I'm not an expert but I've learned enough to know what I like. And I'm also smart enough NOT to wear the red shirt.

I have no intention of ever ending up as Ensign Ricky. Expendible I'm not.


  1. You might check out Milt Sparks in Idaho. Perhaps the best holsters for the 1911 ever made. I've carried in one for many, many years. Haven't worn one out yet. I've one on now. I have 3, one for every occasion. Every stitch is perfect. Every. single. stitch. They're a very small operation, only 4 or 5 guys. There can be a wait. But worth it.

  2. I love the Del Fatti leather, but he stopped taking orders 8 months ago so he could cut his 2+ year wait.

  3. I really like my Blackhawk Serpa, but it's damn hard to conceal a P6/P228/P229 in an OWB holster when you're a lankey bastard.

    Hell, I have trouble concealing anything much bigger than the Bersa you just bought. Guess I need to try out a few more holsters.

  4. Good call on the pistol behind the back, like telling yourself you can't be seen behind a twelve inch tree, because you can't see through it while your head is behind it.


  5. I have had good luck with the Fobus on my little Kimber Ultra. It's especially nice because I have to take the thing off at the office, and the paddle design is great for that.

    Don Hume's stuff is pretty good quality at a pretty good price. I'm a sucker for a nice leather holster, but they get so darn expensive.

    I do have to rely on an ankle hoslter quite a bit, especially in hot weather. The best I've found is the Galco Cop Ankle Band. It willhold and conceal a Glock 27 as well as anything else that I've ever messed with. Not a quick draw rig, though.

  6. I've got a box of various Comp-Tac holsters for my SIGs. Most of the time, I use a C-TAC with my P229 and an Undercover (unfortunately, no longer available) with my P220. I never really thought I'd get away from leather, but these are very functional and surprisingly comfortable, and I'm not a large person by any means.

    When I bought my Very First HiPower many, many years ago, I got a Roy's Original Pancake holster to go with it. It carries a little high, and I have long arms, which makes it a little slow, but it sure is comfortable.

    I've looked at Eric Hibben's work , and Rafter J makes a line of durable, utilitarian products, too. Milt Sparks products are very good, but that independent, contrarian streak in me favors the lesser-known guys.


  7. I recently switched to one of the new Safariland paddles for my off-duty carry from the Blackhawk brand. I like the CQC for my G22/27 and my SIG, but they don't feel as sturdy as I wish. The Safariland also sits a bit closer to the side for actual concealment... Like everything else though, it's all a compromise as you said.

    Barney - I love my Milt Sparks for my 1911 - unfortunately, I'm not allowed to carry either one per my agency rules...

    And heck, I'm sure in six months I'll add another couple of samples to the box - I definitely agree that we shooters collect stuff like this!

  8. [...] Ladies, don't be Ensign Ricky [...]
    Excellent, B. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Since I don't have and can't get a CCW around here, my holster for the '43 1911A1 is the GI issue flap holster (with canvas dual-magazine pouch), and a cowboy type one for the .38 Special... :-) Everybody's gonna see.

  10. Oh how timely! Last Friday's gun pr0n showcased (some of) my carry pieces and the holsters I carry them in...

  11. Any chance of seeing a full picture of the J-frame? I carry one in a pocket holster, and yours looks most interesting.

  12. I rather enjoy my holster from Horseshoe Leather. Then again, I'm a relative newbie to CC so I might not have any idea what I'm talking about.

  13. Geoff, you started out right near the top. Andy Arratoonian's holsters are some of the best I've owned. He picks out the hides carefully. He started out making tack and sews and blocks extremely well.

  14. "Face it, I'm never going to be some tiny, little delicate thing. I'm 3/4 Scot-Irish, 1/4 Norwegian. I'm tall and curvy with a defined waist."

    Sounds like a match for Rob Roy ;)

    WV = tristier

    too easy :)

  15. Got my CCL on Election Day. I'm getting used to carrying and I've got a couple of holsters that I like.

    I loathe shopping for clothing but I've been shopping for items to make it easier to CC. One thing I found (and bought several) was the Jockey ribbed tank
    It's thin enough that it doesn't bulk up when I tuck it in and it keeps the cold steel from my skin.


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