Parking The Smoke-Wagon

Here’s the first of my impressions of 2018’s SHOT Show.

I was heartened to see that amidst all the new plastic (Kydex etc.) holster manufacturers at the show (Tami Keel did a good write-up here), there were still a goodly number of old-fashioned leather wranglers in evidence (Galco, Old El Paso and the like).

I was heartened because (and this may came as a huge shock to many) I am completely old-fashioned about this topic in that my preferences for gun materials are steel (the gun) and leather (holsters). For my carry pieces, therefore, I use the following:

That’s a Don Hume H715-M Clip model, which I wear inside the waistband in the small of my back (for extra concealment — even though I’m right-handed, I need a LH model because of where I carry it).

When I’m wearing a long coat or driving long distances, I carry the Springfield inside a Simply Rugged 1911 pancake style on my hip:

Then there’s the S&W 637, which rides in a Mitch Rosen Express Line pancake:

Please note that none of my holsters has a retaining strap, because straps slow down the draw. I’m unlikely ever to run after someone (or, for that matter, run away from someone), and I’m certainly not going to get into a scuffle with a goblin wherein he may take my gun off me. The whole purpose of my carrying a gun is that I can do my scuffling at arm’s length, so to speak, so I don’t need to restrain my gun in the holster. Your opinion and needs may vary, and that’s fine, but this is what suits me.

Going back to the plastic holsters: I have no problem with them at all. They work, cops and tactical operators use them, and they are pretty much indestructible. Unlike leather, they don’t wear out or loosen — but I should also point out that I’ve been using the above holsters for well over a decade, and they’re almost as tight as the day I first got them. I’ll also grant that it’s easier to re-holster a gun in a plastic holster, but I don’t care about that either — I’m not going to have to put my gun away quickly while I slap cuffs on a goblin because, quite frankly, cuffs are somewhat redundant on a dead person and under those circumstances re-holstering can take a little extra time. Anyway, with quality leather such as what I have, the re-holstering time differential is pretty small anyway — and when it comes to holsters, whether plastic or leather, this is not an area for pinching pennies: get the very best you can afford because long after you’ve forgotten (as I have) what you paid for your holsters, you’ll still be using them with confidence.

One’s choice of holster is a “horses for courses” matter.  I find leather to be perfectly adequate for my needs, and I prefer the feel of leather to plastic anyway (which is also why I wear veldskoens on my feet and not Crocs ugh).

Clearly, quite a few people think as I do, which is why leatherware was proudly on display at SHOT.


  1. I just received my crossdraw 1911 pancake from Craft Holsters in Slovakia. I like the crossdraw style when I’m driving and yes, restraining straps are surplus to requirement.

  2. Agreed, with no retaining straps. Pretty much unneeded with a concealed IWB holster as long as it is snug enough for decent retention.
    I have quite a selection of unused holsters that I have read about, bought and found
    to be wanting. Some kydex, some leather. The best I have found for durability, comfort and usability
    are the leather ones from Dragon leatherworks. His Fugly is my favorite IWB.
    Your handgun choices are close to mine (so obviously you show good sense) No plastic to be found. 1911 (compact 9mm) S&W .38 snubby, Hi Power, & a Sig 229 – – OK the Sig isn’t in your arsenal, but it shoots well. Most of them have Crimson Trace laser sights fitted and / or Tritium night sights. God bless the Gunshine state.

  3. I am going to go a bit contrarian here (shocker – no doubt), most of the time I use a pouch type holster (Blackhawk) and keep my phone in it too, because everyone has a phone so having a pouch with a phone in is more or less like being invisible these days.

    My other holster is a pancake style holster that I had made in A-stan that I wear cross draw. If I am wearing that it is very likely that I am literally running (or hiking, fishing, sometimes even hunting -cause WTF backup) and being active like that I want something holding the piece in place.

    Having it strapped in does not bother me because I consider the first line of defense to be keeping enough situational awareness that I have time to act if required. If I suddenly have to draw/fire in a hurry, then I already F-ed up quite a bit.

  4. Kim,
    I use Crocs as house shoes.
    After feeding the horses, dogs & cats each afternoon, I can leave my mud/shite covered boots/shoes (depending on the amount of rain) in the garage and can slip into my Crocs; thus keeping the house clean and since I had nerve damage to my feet during knee replacements, comfort to walk around our all tile house.

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