View Full Version : Thoughts on holsters I've used over the years

August 27, 2009, 01:09 PM
Obviously the comments provided here are my opinions. They are subjective and may not reflect what you might experience with any of these models.

Belt Slides

I've used a variety of this style for decades ranging from both Galco leather and reinforced cordura Yaqui models, to ones supplied by Dillon and Don Hume (JIT). The Galco Yaquis have a large rear belt loop with a slot allowing positioning over a belt loop. The long discontinued Dillon model has both a leather slot and a snap belt strap. The Don Hume JIT has both wide and narrow sewn in belt loops. The two variants are those employing tensioning screws with rubber thread surrounds and those with traditional form fitted openings. (Note in the picture there are two Galco cordura models, now discontinued. One fits 1911s, the other Beretta/Taurus 92F style models).


As a group these are very lightweight secure OWB holsters. I have used them for CCW carry although I no longer do simply because of the barrel exposure which can make noise. Others have lamented that when sitting the barrel can be pressed up risking a loss of weapon security although I've never experienced that. They work great at the range, which is my primary use for belt slides these days. Be advised that extended shooting sessions will result in dirty barrels soiling your pants.


My longest IWB holster experience has been with the Andrews Leather MacDaniel II. Extremely well built, it comes with rough side out leather save the trim as well as your choice of two belt loop sizes. The mouth opening is steel reinforced for those who place a premium on that feature. What I love about the holster is the ability to change and lock down the cant with the lockable belt loop fastener. The pressure from a pants belt and this one single loop is extremely effective for those who might dismiss a style without dual loops. I have been extremely happy with this model and maker. It is my "go to" IWB holster!


I've just acquired this Montana XLT model from C5 Leather. I wanted an IWB holster for a full length government model 1911. And this holster also gave me an opportunity to get a general feel for a very similarly styled iconic model from Milt Sparks. As this rig really isn't broken in yet, let alone been used for hundreds of carry hours, my initial impressions are just that. Despite the lack of a mouth reinforcement metal band, the thickness and stiffness of the leather coupled with the natural opening the way the layers of leather have been molded and then stitched together, provide easy one handed reholstering. The forward "wing" and belt loop do indeed provide a great deal of body conforming comfort which is a hallmark of this general design. The provided cant is quite doable with a 5" 1911 although again I'm spoiled by the flexibility afforded by the Andrews rig. At the price offered this can only be considered a great bang for the buck.


While my model isn't for a 1911 but a BHP, it still reflects another basic design a great deal of makers offer. Mine is a Kramer #3 IWB. It utilizes a twin strap unitary belt loop mounted on top of the mouth opening. The opening is reinforced with an additional layer of leather rather than any steel. It, like the C5 above, is sufficiently stiff to allow easy one handed reholstering. But this design is one that is not anywhere as flexible as the Andrews one above. I also find the added bulk of the snaps on the holster mouth to be suboptimal compared to the MacDaniel II or Montana XLT. Simply put it is not a design I'd buy again from any maker given the other design options available.


Full size OWB

Actually this selection grew out of a desire for a seated in-the-car crossdraw holster. Frankly although there are some great designs out there, I was reticent to invest big bucks in something I wasn't sure would work out to my liking and wouldn't really see all that much use. That's when I discovered the Roy Baker 3 slot pancake design. The late Mr. Baker broke new ground with this two layer pancake OWB which not only pulls the weapon in very close to the body but provides the option for a strong side forward cant carry as well as crossdraw mode. It also would address the prime shortcoming of belt slides by providing full weapon coverage. Among the makers offering this design SimplyRugged stood out. They're known for products that reflect their business name and the 'Cuda model I acquired certainly lives up to that. It is a basic pancake molded but not boned, which does its job of providing secure carry and ready extraction with aplomb. Only one color is offered but it looks great and can be worn with anything for those such things matter to. It also can be adorned with fancy tooling or equipped with a variety of accessories including a Chesty Puller chest strap rig. As with C5 Leather, for the price of admission and what you get you can't go wrong. Another strongly queued up in the great bang for the buck column.


So there you have my observations. Hopefully something here is of help to those looking at buying a holster.

August 30, 2009, 05:51 PM
I use the Cuda for all my types of carry. Inside out straps let me IWB, and the OWB is comfy as well. Good reviews!
+1 simply rugged

August 30, 2009, 06:07 PM
The majority of my holsters are Sam Andrews' MacDaniel II IWB, or SimplyRugged Pancake or Cuda.

I know Sam, from when I lived in north Florida. Great guy, very much the gentleman. Tells some stories that are both funny and educational. I've gone to his shop to pick up a holster, and left an hour later, laughing most of the time. Based on the material quality of Sam's work, it will probably last at least as long as I will.

Next week, I'm expecting a shoulder rig from Sam, as well as a hybrid OWB for my CZ PCR. I spoke with him on the phone last week, and asked him what he had for a Commander length 1911. He told me he had a paddle in Crocodile leather... I've never seen one of his paddles, and he has no pics online, so he said he'd just toss it in with the other holsters and let me look at it ON SPEC.

If I don't like it enough to cough up the admittedly high price ($400, but when will I ever see a CROCODILE leather holster again?), I can just return it to him at the North Georgia gun show the weekend after Labor Day.

Now that's customer service. And since I haven't seen Sam in a while, I'd have gone to the gun show anyway just to stop by his booth.

Oh, on another "same wavelength" note, the Croc paddle is for my DW CBOB, due next week, which will have buckeye burl grips from thefinergrain.com.

I wonder if you and I are related somehow, Bald1... Anyway, on to Simply Rugged.

I've never met Rob Leahy, and have only spoken to him once over the phone. I think I caught him at an inopportune time; he was courteous, but I could tell he had things to do. That said, turnaround times on his holsters have been less than two weeks; in one case, I ordered a holster as a gift for a police officer friend of mine, and noted that on the order. It came back in under 5 days.

So, while I don't know Rob, I have to give him major points on customer service, as well. He also seems to be very military and LEO friendly.



August 30, 2009, 07:24 PM

I certainly got a chuckle out of your post.... talk about kindred spirits :)

My MacDaniel dates from early '97. I ordered it by phone talking to Sam. One of the topics of interest we discussed was why he no longer offered a small of the back rig.

Never talked to Rob or his wife Jan but we did exchange a good number of emails. Great folks. Same with Big Jim Clay of C5Leather. Great guy to deal with. Then there's Ryan Payne aka Sarge of The Finer Grain....they don't get any better:)

Lastly Keith and the gang in Norwich, NY and the fine guns they're turning out. Arguable the best bang for the buck and highest quality among current production 1911 semi-autos.

All the best!

August 30, 2009, 07:35 PM
i talked to rob on the 2 occasions I ordered from him. bought the holster, and the belt. busy guy, but still very respectful. he's on this forum somewhere.