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As with many other things in my trip to Gunsite, I saw the light on holsters and holster replacement. What are the tell tales signs that it’s time to replace that leather? Are you putting yourself at risk? Is a few extra bones really that much to spend on something you carry ’round everyday? Answers after the jump . . ,

A holster serves a multitude of purposes – for most of us, it’s where our firearms spend the majority of their lives. They secure them to our person, protect them from our sweaty nastiness, and for the Starbucks generation, order our Vente Carmel Double-Latte’s (err.. well, they do come in that color in some instances).

Take note of the holster above. It’s a classic – A High-Noon Split Decision. And boy, has it seen better days. Notice how even with an extra piece of leather reinforcement around the mouth it no longer remains open when there’s nothing inside of it? No big deal? Wrong – very big deal. Why?

Simple. To holster your weapon you are almost forced to do one of two big no-no’s. Either a) you dig the muzzle into your side to separate the leather folds and insert the pistol or b) you place a finger in between the leather folds and hold open the holster while pushing the barrel in. Option a = gun pointed at your hip bone – bad. Option b = gun pointed at your finger and hand – bad.

This holster once held it’s shape nicely. Since that time it’s seen several season changes, been soaked in seawater (yeah.. don’t ask), and seen so many heat cycles from being next to my body or hanging on my pants on the bedpost that it might as well be going through menopause. In short, it’s time to replace this holster. Yes, it serves it’s purpose of holding on to a weapon, but does so in a now-unsafe manner.  There’s no bowing of the leather into the trigger-guard area like in this poor-schmuck’s case, but it’s still a less than ideal situation.

What you’re seeing now is another of the myriad of holster available on today’s market. This is a Galco Summer Comfort, and like Henry Ford’s Model-T it’s available in every color you could want – so long as it’s black. Of particular note, this one stays open when nothing is in it! Let the trumpets sound and bell-towers ring! You mean, I don’t have to paint myself with a hot barrel anymore? Spec-wonder-tastic!

This holster does not require any self-endangerment during the holstering process (disclaimer: we’re working under the assumption that you’re not safety-challenged, and do indeed have an idea of how to handle a firearm. If the previous is untrue, you’re on your own in the self-endangerment department.)

Seen side by side; it’s pretty clear, just like the packing tape so graciously used to hold up the Split-Decision in the above glamor-shot. The pyre has been lit, and the pennies for the boatman are in hand. Goodbye Split-Decision, you’ve been a great friend and served your purpose well. But, after too many years of service, you – like those grizzled soldiers who came before, are being consigned to my junk drawer (if only because I’m too much of a pack-rat to actually throw you away).

Check on your gunleather. Is it worn out? Deforming? Not holding your firearm as securely as you seem to remember? Are you placing yourself in an IGOTD situation every time you holster your weapon? If you’ve answered yes to the above, it may be time to consider a shopping trip. Ohh, an excuse for gun-goodies!

How often you should replace your holster is up to you. If it retains shape and function, it may outlast your pistol (for those of us with “must-have-new-things-constantly-itis”). A good holster can last a good long time. If it starts to deteriorate, replace it – as always, safety first.

Out with it – when was the last time you splurged on a holster upgrade? Remember class; “knowing is half the battle” [The other half is gratuitous laser usage.]

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  1. It has always amused me seeing what people wear to class. They will spend >$400-$1000 on a pistol yet they won’t spend more than $19.95 on a holster for it. That and they won’t buy any spare mags beyond what came with the gun and do not have mag pouches either.

  2. Why do people stay with all-leather? That’s not a slam, I’m honestly curious. Is it a throwback thing? Force of habit? Style? It just seems to me that, so long as you’re not looking for a one-size-fits-most deal, that kydex or leather/kydex hybrids are superior from an operational standpoint.

    I have a Galco summer comfort knockoff I bought for my CCW class. I also have a Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe which I ordered on the recommendation of my CCW instructor. Since I got the latter I have used the former exactly zero times.

    The CB is just better in every way that matters to me. It doesn’t collapse. It’s more adjustable and, partially because of its adjustability, it’s more comfortable. It’s also thinner. For those of us whose, uh, winter weight makes IWB just borderline-possible that’s important.

    I can’t carry at work, so I lock my gun up in the car and wear the empty holster inside. If it weren’t for freaking out my coworkers I might leave the holster on all day, it’s that comfortable.

  3. Aaaarrrrggg! Great photo! I love a well made, fitting holster about as much as Arnold Swarzenegger loves giving his vienna sausage to the hired help.

  4. I have a HighNoon Split Decision that I use frequently for both my Ruger LC9 and my Taurus 709. Both pistols are almost identical in size, so they both fit very well in the SplitDecision. Right now (as I type this) I have my Taurus 709 on me in a Desantis TuckThis II, along with a spare mag; this holster also fits the Ruger LC9 perfectly. Both holsters are thin, and almost totally invisible when worn IWB with my shirt tucked in (they are both tuckable holsters).

    I also have a Desantis Soft Tuck that fits both pistols perfectly, but I rarely use it. It has a stiff leather collar to keep it open when the pistol is drawn which may be a plus, but it makes the holster much thicker, thus not as concealable. The leather collar shows a noticeable lump under my tucked shirt, making it less concealable.

    To me in my personal circumstances, the better concealability of the thinner holsters without the collar gives them the edge. I have practiced re-holstering with both the Split Decision and TuckThis II with both pistols (empty!), and have developed the muscle memory to do it efficiently. The Soft Tuck with the thick leather collar is much easier to re-holster, but is also much more visible under my shirt, which is not desirable for me.

    For a while I used a tuckable Kholster with my Taurus 709 which worked fine, except the two belt clips were a give-away, even when wearing a 1 3/4″ black belt. The single clip of the Split Decision is less noticeable, and the belt clips on the Desantis tuckable IWB holsters are almost invisible.

    With small pistols like my LC9 and 709 a single belt clip has proven to be adequate, but for a larger pistol such as an SR1911, the double belt clips may be necessary to stabilize the holster. I have considered getting a tuckable IWB for my SR1911, but after trying several holsters, they were not as concealable as I need.

  5. I agree with RonH, and as I’ve written here before, the Crossbreed STD (and no that’s not a VD), is probably the best holster I have ever had. I have two, one for my Taurus609, and one for my Sig Pro 2022 and I don’t even realize I’m carrying. And the Sig is a full size with 15 +1, so it’s not like I’m carrying small firearms all the time. And because I’m retired, I do carry all the time, everywhere.


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