The sun was almost directly overhead, leaving no shadows in the dusty Arizona landscape. “Make ready!” boomed the harsh voice of the kind-looking rangemaster with the white mustache, khakis, and stainless steel 1911 underneath his black baseball hat.Round chambered, check. Half-empty magazine removed, replaced with its sibling, topped off with 17 rounds. I returned to low ready. “Up! Look! Press!” . . .
Almost by reflex – we’d been at this for two solid days now – the black plastic sights on my olive drab GLOCK 17 came up in line with my right eye. The front sight fit perfectly in the notch of the rear one, now completely blacked out thanks to a marker carried by one of the instructors who also preferred carrying a GLOCK.
A few more rounds were sent downrange from the firing line. At the command, I reholstered, pushing the green-and-black firearm forcefully back into its holster.
When you live in Pennsylvania, a trip to Gunsite Academy isn’t something done on the spur of the moment — I had been planning it for almost six months — but somehow I had ended up with equipment that was almost completely new. The GLOCK was purchased when my previous EDC piece, a Springfield EMP, began jamming for the second time, resulting in it being put out to pasture (never give a weapon a second chance – any more than a man, as Ian Fleming wrote…or as it would have been in this case, a third chance).
I dallied for a few months with another 1911, quickly judging that it didn’t work for me, and started casting my net for a new sidearm. It turns out that when you sell a 1911, you’re left with enough cash to get two used GLOCKs, so that’s exactly what I got: a well-cared-for olive drab GLOCK 17, and a well-used, but still quite reliable early Gen 3 GLOCK 19.
New GLOCKs in hand, I now had to get a solid holster that would stand up to the burdens of training and everyday carry. The package with my TT Gunleather holster arrived on a Saturday at the end of August in 2012.
At first glance the holster looked great, but it was very tight — both over my sidearm, and on the belt. I fired off an e-mail to the holster maker, Tim Thurner, and explained that the holster didn’t seem to fit my 1.5″ belt. Tim assured me that it would with a bit of effort. “I make them tight so the holster only breaks in to a certain point and continues to hold the gun tight to the body, if I made them easy to attach new the holster would not function as well down the road,” he said. Tim was right, of course.
A month later, I was in Arizona, and the holster worked quite well indeed. Two years later, it’s my go-to OWB holster. Even though I have quite a few rigs lying around, it’s the one that always gets used for ‘social’ purposes with my everyday carry GLOCKs.
My use case for the product
(a) A secure and stable OWB holster that can be easily put on/taken off. The other holsters I had were secure and stable, but could only be put on by sliding the belt through the loops. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I found it a bit annoying to have to unbuckle my belt to remove the holster.
(b) A holster that could accommodate both my G17 and G19.
(c) A durable holster that could withstand a lot of holstering and re-holstering. In addition to my upcoming Gunsite 250 course, the holster would be used for other training when I got home, and generally would be used whenever I felt like using an OWB holster.
(d) Since this was expected to be a long-term purchase, a price over $100 was acceptable. That meant, however, that quality and even appearance might enter into the assessment. It better be good and it had better look good too, because hey … more than a C-note.
I ordered what TT Gunleather calls the Snap Removable Slide Holster (code: DDOX), in brown. I ordered the black sharkskin trim, too, in part because it would keep the mouth of the holster stiff over a longer period of time, but mostly because I just liked how it looked.
•Black Sharkskin Trim: $45.00
•Total purchase price: $155.00
Ratings (out of five stars):
Fit and Finish: * * * * *
The holster is beautiful. Even though it’s on the small side, it’s very solid. It was broken in while taking a week-long course at Gunsite, and despite over two years of use since then (including other training courses, my own practice use at the range, and the bumps and scrapes that come with serving as a concealed carry holster,) it hasn’t shown any signs of giving up yet. I had a holster from a major manufacturer that didn’t stand up to anywhere near as much use as the DDOX pretty much give up the ghost after two years.
Concealability: * * * *
It’s an OWB holster intended for a compact or full-sized GLOCK; it’s as concealable as such a thing can be. The gun is kept pretty tightly to the torso, and is at a 10° angle, which helps matters. It’s very easy to put on and take off, so if you wanted to remove your firearm and holster together, as a unit, you can do so. Of course, if anyone catches a glimpse of it, the exposed portion of the slide makes it very clear that this isn’t just a big phablet case or something, and even though this is obvious from the nature of the product, I don’t grade on a curve, hence the four stars.
Retention: * * * *
When I ordered the holster, I spoke with Tim Thurner and asked whether he thought a retention strap would be a good idea. He dismissed the idea, stating that he only offered the option because his clientele included law enforcement officers that were required to have such things by department policy. He assured me that the holster would be sufficiently tight and it is. It took several days to break it in enough to use it on the range, and although it’s clearly loosened up since then, it holds my G19 even when upside down. The only reason it gets four stars is that there’s no locking mechanism (as with some polymer holsters). For my purposes, that isn’t an issue since I rarely open carry except at the range, but see above about not grading on a curve.
Daily Usage: * * * * *
There isn’t much I’d change about my TT Gunleather holster. It’s comfortable, secure, relatively concealable, can fit multiple GLOCK versions, and looks good while it does it. The only ‘negatives’ that I can think of is that the sweat guard is rather abbreviated, so if you aren’t wearing a shirt between the gun and you, the grip can rub against your skin. It hasn’t bothered me, but it may be a little annoying if you have an aggressively textured grip. Also, the black paint on one of the snaps got scratched somehow. Probably my fault, but it must have scratched easily since I now don’t remember a time when it wasn’t scratched.
Overall: * * * * *
It’s a secure holster, easy to put on and take off, and has weathered the bumps and scrapes of regular everyday carry for over two years without a hiccup. If you’re in the market for a leather OWB holster that looks nice, check out the gallery on Tim’s website or give him a call.