Alston's voice wafted out of his office: "Hey, I'm putting in an order with Milt Sparks. You want anything?"
Do I want anything?! "Hell, yes! Get me a Summer Special in rough-out horse hide with sharkskin trim and 1 3/4" belt loops for a SIG GSR with a light rail!" SIG's freshman effort in the 1911 market is a tough gun to find good leather for, combining a non-standard slide contour with the light rail frame, and I've been meaning to get a good skin for mine for purt' near a year now, since a pistol that good deserves to be toted.
"Okay, the order's placed," he told me, "Delivery time is supposed to be something like 16 weeks."
"What's the tariff?" I asked.
"I forgot to ask," he admitted, "Probably somewhere around $100."
It's at this point that some folks ask "Isn't that a lot for a holster?" to which I must respond: No, it really isn't. The mass-produced Galco Royal Guard I'm wearing now cost almost $98, and it's devoid of the sharkskin trim and handmade cachet of the holster I just ordered. Combine that with the fact that the GSR is an almost-$1,000 pistol that isn't easy to find leather for, and the Milt Sparks rig is a steal. The main advantage of the Galco product for any gun is that it doesn't require a 16 week wait.
Yet I see this selective stinginess all the time, as witnessed by a couple of recent examples:
1) Example the First: Mr. Customer comes in, looking for an Inside-The-Waistband holster ("Just like the one you're wearing") for his new SIG P-226. I start showing him stuff from Galco and Bianchi; both companies offering quality leather IWB holsters starting just under $70. He nearly gets the vapors at the price tag. Here's a guy who has just shelled out north of eight bills for a CCW gun, but is balking at spending 10% of that price for a quality, comfortable means of carrying it. Further, he was surprised that the good leather offerings didn't offer a spring clip, rather than belt loops, for means of attachment (spring clips tend to allow the holster to get drawn with the gun; an embarassing faux pas at the ATM at 2 AM) or a "spare clip pouch" attached to the holster (rather than a separate magazine pouch worn on the off side to counterbalance the gun.) As he left with his sub-$20 nylon sausage-sack of a holster, I noticed he was driving a $50k+ European import. Five gets you ten his brake pads and tires came from the "Wear Rite" line at Sears, and he wonders why his Nazi Rocket Sled "just don't handle like it did when it was new."
2) Example the Second: A customer came off the line and asked for my help in looking at his jammed gun. I donned eye and ear protection and wandered out to the range to be greeted by a horrible sight: His Springfield Armory Professional Model, a $2k+ hand-built firearm, was locked up tighter than a drum. Next to it on the lane tray was a box of A-Merc ammunition. I had to take his gun back to the gunsmithing shop where our 'smith needed to knock it open with a rubber mallet to get the deformed case out. To our customer's credit, it wasn't entirely his fault; he had been sold the ammo in good faith by another shop, and he just hadn't noticed that we'd recently banned the use of that brand from our range, due to the high incidences of case failures and squib loads. Still, though, in an attempt to save a couple of bucks a box on range ammo, he'd very nearly trashed a two kilobuck pistol. Sometimes it can cost an awful lot to save a dollar or two.
The point of all this? Your gun is part of a system; there's no point in spending a ton of money on one part, and then not spending a dime on ammo, training, holsters & belts, or other assorted support systems. As Southpark Pundit has proven, the gun is absolutely useless by itself; don't skimp on the stuff that makes your shiny new toy actually function.