Thursday, June 18, 2009

The holster drama llama has followed me home!

So, Caleb has managed to stir some blog drama....

Now some guy in comments at Hell In A Handbasket is teeing off on belt snobbery. I had to respond:
"Screw leather belts too, I carry with a rigger belt, was sturdy..."
Well, "sturdy" is the operative word here, not "leather". Lots of people use rigger's belts for CCW. Me, sometimes, for instance. Just make sure it's a good one that's not going to roll into a tube under the holster.

Uncle Mike's makes one with a plastic stiffener that works great for around $30. I used it for a couple years, and still have it someplace.

Look, at the end of the day, I don't care how folks carry their guns, it's still (mostly) a free country. I'm just trying to offer some things I learned from accumulating my own boxes-o'-holsters.

Carrying a Glock 29 in an Uncle Mike's nylon pancake rig with 1.5" belt loops on a 1" leather JC Penny belt sucks. The belt rolls up under the holster. The holster slides and shifts on the belt. The gun flops in the holster. Ask me how I know this.

At the time I was doing so, I thought that the people who were always going on about stiff belts designed to carry a gun, with a snug holster that had loops properly sized to grip the belt, were all a bunch of effete know-it-all snobs. A belt was a belt and a holster was a holster, right? Only not.


pdb said...

If your holster needs to be pried open to fit your pistol back into it, you are carrying fail.

If you absolutely cannot stand an instructor's belt, Cabelas makes a $25 made-in-China double thickness leather belt that works great.

dave said...

I've actually been carrying on fairly nice-looking leather for a few years. Two layers of leather, plus a Kydex insert for stiffness.

Today they're $40 apiece (I paid $30 years ago). They've held up wonderfully, they're stiff enough to keep a steel 5" 1911 in place, and the price is certainly fair.

(No connection, just a satisfied user.)

Caleb said...

You know, holsters are an area where pdb and I oft find peace between our peoples. Maybe there is a future between gamerfags and WARRIORZ after all.

Jay G said...

Two quick notes:

1. I've got a cheap $15 belt from Wal-Mart by Dickie's (the folks that make commercial overalls) that's twice as thick as any other belt I've owned and very sturdy.

2. Cheap nylon holsters do fill one important niche - they're good for guns that you don't normally carry. Frex, I have a Colt Lawman with 2" barrel that I bought a $20 nylon Uncle Mike's holster for. I've carried it once, I think.

Joel said...

I wasn't aware there was a lot of controversy about this. I wear a 1.5" leather tool belt I bought cheap in a hardware store maybe five years ago, and it works fine with my 1911 in a Galco holster. My bud has a super-duper instructor's belt which cost (mumblemumble) times more, and his works fine too. We almost never argue about this, but now I'm wondering if maybe I'm obligated to go over and try to kick his ass. This would not work out well for me, so please say it ain't true.

Tam (posting remotely) said...

"I wear a 1.5" leather tool belt I bought cheap in a hardware store maybe five years ago..."

Ooh! Another good source I hadn't thought of!

Anonymous said...

"were all a bunch of effete know-it-all snobs"

Objection! Er, I mean, just because one is edjumakated on a subject does not make one a snob.

Whatever one goes with I tell people who ask me (O.K., that's like 2 or 3) that you should put on your gear and then stuff a blue gun in your holster and then do a front and back roll and then jump up and down (a burpee works good here). If your pistos(s) stay secure, then your system likely works.

600 hours of gun skul and I tell people to roll around on the living room floor. Oy, veh.

Shootin' Buddy

The Raving Prophet said...

I started out by reading the recommendation of others. My first carry holster and belt were both Milt Sparks. I've never regretted it; the belt was not cheap, but it has lasted far longer than any other belt I've ever owned- currently about 5 years and counting.

When you buy quality, you get quality. You might find "just as good as," but you'll end up going through a bunch of cheapies first and end up spending just as much.

Ken said...

600 hours of gun skul and I tell people to roll around on the living room floor. Oy, veh.

Sings (well, for given values of singing, considering the song):
20 years of schooling and they put you on the day shift....

Boat Guy said...

Quality is quality. After over thirty years of carrying I've found that some of people who made good stuff (Milt Sparks, Mike Merdith's Pocket Concealment) still do, while the quality of bigger makers (Bianchi especially) has deteriorated; their belts are now much thinner and pliabole . Same with "rigger's belts" my first (issue) one was thick and substantial enough I wore it at Orange Gunsite, the ones I see now would never pass muster. I'll be sending the hardware from my old Bianchi belts to Milt Sparks to have those folks make my belts from now on, and will continue to get my "dress" stuff (worn with suits) from Pocket Concealment.

atlharp said...

I use an IWB holster that's nylon, and it is an effective little holster.

Easy to conceal, comfortable, and easier to work the pistol in the holster.

The issue of holsters is two-fold: Functionality, and comfort. If the holster you are eying fails on those two points, it is not the right holster for you.

NotClauswitz said...

I'm still not clear on belt sizing, why do I need a longer belt than normal if the holster is worn on the outside?

randy said...

Lots of discussion on those other threads about "trying options in cheap first before spending money on more expensive rigs".

By that rule I would never have gone to a shoulder based on my experiences with cheap (under $50) shoulder rigs. Uncomfortable (as in "get this piece of sh** off me" in under 15 minutes), flimsy, and self adjusted at inopportune times.

Fortunately I tried (and now own) a Galco Miami Classic. It's not even in the same universe with the less expensive holsters.

Same goes for IWB. My Ted Blocker is a quantum leap over any of the cheap-os I tried.

If I had bought only based on my experience with cheap holsters, I would still be carrying only in OWB duty holsters, which kind of makes concealment an issue.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

My holster belt is made by Carhartt, is 1.5" wide and about 1/8" thick. My holster is a Galco, for my 5" 1911, with a thumb break, made for wearing OWB, but I wear it on the Carhartt belt separately under my pants. This does several things for me:
1) it conceals very well and I can wear shorter shirts than normal;
2) my pants prevents the holster from flopping around or shifting;
3) I can go to the restroom, drop trou and my gun will still be on my waist and not flopping around near the floor, where other people might see it from under the toilet partition;
4) I can wear other stuff on my pants belts right over my gun so if anyone inadvertantly bumps into me on that side, I can show them the accessories on my belt and not have to pull my shirt up all the way and reveal my gun.

Now...what to do with the 2 IWB 1911 holsters I have (one by DeSantis and the other by Concealco (both with thumb-breaks)?

Alchemyst said...

It's not unusual for me to be greeted by a black bear when I go outside so I need something to slide into my right front pocket. As soon as Taurus introduced their Model 450 Ti 5 shot 45 colt I bought one and a Uncle Mike's cloth type holster that hides the shape of my revolver. Now it might not be the fastest or slickest or most hi-tech rig around BUT if I'm dressed enough to have a pocket (even a bath robe) then I'm carrying. Which of y'all can say the same?

Tam (posting remotely) said...

Uncle Mike's pocket holsters work just fine; I used to use one with my Jetfire.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I don't see what the drama is about. Why would people economize on this? It just seems like good sense. Decent leather can be had for the cost of 3 or 4 boxes of ammo. That's less that a range trip. But I'm with you and the commenters on the Mike's cheapo pocket holster.

Caleb said...

Yeah, I forgot to mention that I make a general exception to the whole "no nylon" thing for pocket holsters. My jetfire is in an Uncle Mike's nylon pocket holster right now.

John B said...

I wanna talk to Uncle Mike about his faux suede holsters. Need a little more material on the side 'tween the gun and the skin. The "beaver tail" on my S&W 457 gouges me something awful.

I tried a cheap nylon holster, it prints like crazy under my shirt. I really bought it for the Made in Vietnam label. I may just hang it on my wall.

John B said...

I'm holding out hope for the 035 IWB holster...

og said...

Tool belts are nice, and you can often find one not only made in the US but the leather is raw, and you can dye/stain/wax it to suit you.

Plus they make them for -Ahem- Plus sized guys.

Joel said...

Since tool belts aren't really designed to hold up the average pair of pants, technically they don't make them for anybody else. :-)

Back when I bought this belt I'm wearing now I had it cranked to the second or third smallest hole. Since then, living in the boonies, I've lost six or eight inches around my belly and have punched quite a number of holes in mine, plus trimmed the length more than once. But it doesn't curl under any load, and you can do a quick one-hand slide rack on it with no difficulty, and I don't know a purpose-built belt that will do more than that.

Larry said...

The last leather belt I got from 5.11 Tactical had a plastic liner. It lasted about 2 months, because the plastic stiffener broke inside the leather, leaving a floppy end of really worn leather and a thick spot where the plastic was doubled up, which would barely fit through a belt loop.

So much for tacticool. In my defense, there weren't a lot of options for trying before buying in Iraq- and there's only a few websites that actually have quaity gear, are user friendly, and will ship to APO.

Jim said...

The real question is what sort of hides make the best leather.

Rules out liberals, they're mostly all way too thin skinned.

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Revolver Rob said...

I don't even own a leather belt. I've got a Wilderness Instructor's 5-stitch Combat Shooters Model, that I use every day. The reason I bought this belt, was because I had owned (and still own, actually) a 1.25" double ring Wilderness belt, that I just used to keep my pants up. Yea, it ain't a "cheap" belt, meaning it cost me $50, but I've had the same belt for 3 years now and it shows no signs of stopping.

As for holsters and the friends don't let friends use nylon argument...Well, I don't own a nylon holster, I don't know if I'd argue it's irresponsible to let someone use one, though.

For carry, I do recommend people buy kydex or leather. People complain about the price of leather or kydex, two companies for you che...err budget minded folks (like myself). Don Hume for "cheap", but quality leather, and Comp-Tac for not so cheap, but high quality kydex. Spend the money on the holster, particularly the Hume stuff. Is it Del Fatti, Ralston, or Sparks? No, but it gets the job done. I've got a box of holsters too, including a couple of high priced jobs. Every day when I strap on a belt holster? It's a $25 Don Hume JIT. I've got 6 of them now, because they work and they're cheap, $25 is the same cost as a box of quality carry ammo, just do it.

Boat Guy said...

I've found horsehide (as Mike Meredith at PCS uses) to be VERY good. I'm gonna try buffalo (we raise them) next after talking to some makers.

ExurbanKevin said...

The issue of holsters is two-fold: Functionality, and comfort.

I'd add a 3rd requirement: Safety, and that's where I have an issue with nylon holsters.

If you are going to practice drawing and shooting with live ammo in your carry gun of choice, you are going to have to re-holster your gun at some point, and doing that safely with a IWB or SoB nylon holster can be tricky (or impossible).

I have an nylon pocket holster and it's just dandy, and thanks to the labyrinthine nature of current Arizona gun laws, I have a nylon holster for my car gun as well (don't ask). But my belt holsters are all kydex or leather.