What I’m Carrying Now: A SIG P220 in a Custom El Paso Saddlery Rig

Old Guy in Montana writes . . .

I lived and worked in El Paso for decades. During that time I was a frequent customer of El Paso Saddlery. Finally, I asked Bobby McNellis, the owner, if Eugenio could make me a plainclothes rig with floral carved pigskin. What you see is the result. It’s pretty much my Sunday go to meeting outfit these days.

The SIG P220 (purchased in 1987 after my department approved .45 ACP as a duty cartridge) has been a workhorse. It is unquestionably the smoothest, most accurate .45 auto that I’ve ever owned.

The SIG’s current fodder is Remington’s Golden Saber 185 grain JHP (185’s always seemed to shoot easier through the SIG). Commemorating the SIG’s 25th year in service, I gave it a makeover courtesy of the SIG armorers…all new internals and really bright night sights.

After destroying a number of watches on duty, I started using the Timex Expeditions over 20 years ago. Small, light, durable as heck with a face that lights up in the dark instead of little, tiny luminous dots. They last about 4 to 5 years and then another $27. It’s the perfect, disposable cop watch.

My old Mini Maglite has been replaced with a Fenix PD35. My old Buck 110 has been replaced with a Benchmade 940 series. The cuff case is only used on meeting days (retired, ya know).

The Peerless hinged cuffs are my old backup cuffs. This ensemble is covered during cooler weather by an Ariat thermal vest.

I had already moved to Montana when Bobby passed away in 2003…I offer this photo in remembrance of a great guy who made great leather goods and who always had a moment to BS with a customer. RIP old friend.

 

[This post is part of our series, What I’m Carrying Now. If you’d like to submit a photo and description of the gun, holster and gear you’re carrying in the new world in which we live, send it to us at [email protected] with WICN in the subject field.]

comments

  1. avatar MLee says:

    Nice. Approved!

  2. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

    *Solid* carry!

  3. avatar Ferg in Tahoe says:

    Beautiful leather. Really thinking about a Sig in .45. I love Montana.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      A holster that beautiful seems like it deserves to carry a nice revolver. Great rig👍

  4. avatar Montana Actual says:

    so… you are you still a stepper?

    1. avatar Feeg in Tahoe says:

      What’s a stepper?

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Short for “Goosestepper”. Derogatory slang for cops.

        1. avatar Ferg in Tahoe says:

          Thanks Strych.

    2. avatar Mitch says:

      Funny attitude considering many of you ultra libertarians now hold revisionist history beliefs about WW2, and think “it wasn’t our war”, and never should’ve gotten involved. To include those of you who believe the holocaust either isn’t real or outright support genocide. Yet, you then criticize others by calling them Nazis. Sort of like Antifa.

  5. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    Leather is very nice. Bet it looks even better in person than pic’s on devices probably.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Well, the handcuff holster is almost an exact match for the one I carry, but mine’s plain black leather while his is tanned and decorated. Much nicer than mine. I might see if El Paso Saddlery has one for sale for me.

  6. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Wow! Now that’s a rig. I have a half dozen+ pieces of El Paso Saddlery leather. Great stuff. My Sig P220 is at arms length now. Old Guy, you sir are a gentleman.

  7. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    El Paso gear is of the old school and will with minor care last two lifetimes.

    That is very nice carving on your rig, if your Sig wore ivory grips one might call it a barbecue rig, not that it couldn’t be as is.

    1. avatar MLee says:

      I was thinking it would look excellent with some Rosewood grips that are available for it. In that leather, it would look HOT!

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I was thinking all it needs is BBQ and it’d be perfect. Really nice.

  8. avatar Darkman says:

    Class at it’s finest.

  9. avatar Sharpshooter says:

    Second mag is backward.

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Sharpshooter, I noticed that too, but with that long baseplate on Sig mags I don’t know if proper carry will work. When carrying off duty/plain clothes I always carried two single mag pouches. Not only does it eliminate the above issue, but it allows you to position the mag pouches around belt loops.

    2. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      @Sharpshooter

      The second mag is correct for me (I have carried with bullets facing to the rear since transition from a revolver to an automatic pistol back in 1987 – it is a more natural draw for me with less wasted motion). My left hand pinky hooks the bottom plate lip drawing the mag from the carrier, my thumb indexes the flat back of the mag, left hand rotates forward bringing mag into vertical all nicely lined up with the mag well. Before I retired the younger officers were all going to a horizontal mag carrier…tried it…yuck, didn’t work for me. It was an unnatural wrist angle and motion fighting too many years of muscle memory.

      This particular mag pouch has always been tight for carrying both magazines in the same orientation, so on meeting days I carry with the magazines opposed. If I ever need that third mag at Services then the fit has truly hit the shan and the extra second taken in extracting it will probably not be noticed.

      1. avatar Lucile Magallicutty says:

        Cool story bro . Where’s your star ? Nice Chicom flashlight you got there . Maybe we can play dress up together sometime and drive around in our crown vics . “Plainclothes rig “ lmao is your plainclothes mission chasing after Smokey and the bandit ?

      2. avatar d says:

        It is not about taking an extra second to extract the third mag, its about the fact that you will most likely insert is wrong as you won’t remember to rotate it under stress.

        By the way, if you need a third mag, you may not have that extra second.

        If your equipment does not work, replace it. If the double mag pouch does not work, get two singles.

  10. avatar d says:

    Both mags should ALWAYS face the same direction.

    I used to tell students that mags must have bullets facing forward, but after meeting a student who could load quite well with the bullets facing backwards, I change my stance to “I don’t care which way the bullets face, but both mags must face the same direction”

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Lulz.

      Hard, fast rules because physiology isn’t personal.

      1. avatar D says:

        Correct. It’s not

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          “EvRey PerSoN iZ iDenTiCaL!”.

          Which is exactly why socialism works, we all can do the splits, rock the iron cross out at the olympics and all have identical body types, right?

        2. avatar D says:

          Stop being stupid, just stop

          When you get done training, you will realize why you are wrong.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Yo, D. Look again, both mags will not fit if oriented in the same direction. So, go forth with only one spare mag, or carry another non-optimally?

      1. avatar D says:

        Replace the mag carrier that does not work with one that does

  11. avatar strych9 says:

    Nice. Not really a fan of carved leather but it’s damn fine workmanship.

  12. avatar Skeptical says:

    Nice setup and well used! Kudos to you sir!

  13. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    Nice old school western style rig – from another fan of El Paso leather. Not a bit of nylon, kydex or plastic to be seen (except for the watch, knife and light – all of which can be forgiven).

  14. avatar jwm says:

    Times Indiglo for me. Never was a cop but I have busted watches on the job. Whenever the battery on the Times dies I just get a new watch. They’re usually pretty battered at that point.

    That leather is something else. Art and utility together. I’m less concerned about a persons choice of handgun or caliber. Any reasonable quality piece that goes boom when needed fills the bill. Sig makes a good weapon. Never shot their .45.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Timex. Twice. D’oh.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Times Indiglo sounds like a regional Indian newspaper or a rave newsletter.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Or a brain fart on my part.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Definitely two ways to go about it

      Personally, I look for gear that is quality enough to work but not so expensive that I worry if it breaks. But that’s because I have a habit of misplacing things, too.

  15. avatar Prndll says:

    Nice rig. Good taste in leather. If your going to do something in this life, do it with class. 🙂

    I have two minimag flashlights. One I carry and one that stays in my office. Both with rechargeable batteries. I’m hard on watches too. I just use my phone these days for the time.

  16. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

    If you’re retired why do you carry handcuffs? Not saying you’re asking for trouble but it sounds like you’re asking for trouble.

    If you are retired, and you don’t have to shoot him (or her) in self defense, why not let the actual not-retired cops handle an arrest or detention?

    1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      PS – Great gun and leather. Not a knife guy so really can’t comment on that choice.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Most guys I know that are active don’t carry handcuffs off duty unless mandated by policy that they do so whenever carrying a firearm.

      The only time I would imagine using them is if coming to the aid of other officers on the side of the road or something… and hope they recognize you.

    3. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      @KVS

      That’s a fair question regarding the cuffs.

      I only carry them when I’m working security during my church services. We are rural enough where I live and worship that the Deputies may be 45 minutes to an hour and a half away. I learned during my active duty years that unrestrained bad actors have a way of getting skittish and usually try to jackrabbit on you…the cuffs solve that problem. I pray that I never need them…but, Life has a way of throwing curve balls when least expected.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Yessir. In years gone by I lived rural. Our county sheriff, a democrat of all things, always advised folks to have a gun. He said he could not promise a deputy in under an hour even in a life and death.

        Back then churches were not a target. Unfortunately…..

      2. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

        That makes total sense and I never thought of that.

  17. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Solid carry. I think I bought my 220 about the same year after my dept. approved them.
    It’s what got me to C class in IPSC. Shooting out of my duty gear. Good times.

  18. avatar Specialist38 says:

    This is the best argument for open carry.

    Very nice rig….and the Sig is ok, too.

  19. avatar enuf says:

    That is a fine looking leather rig alright. I’m saying that though I’ve never cared for carved leather, just seems too busy to me. But quality leather is always worthwhile and looks great, and El Paso is on the “Good Stuff” list!

  20. avatar Billb says:

    Older P220. I’d picked up one in the box w/all stuff plus 3 extra mags at an estate sale years ago and it ended up in the back of the safe for years. I decided to sell it a while back and since it was used I wanted to shoot it before selling. After shooting I changed my mind. My brother wanted it too but I couldn’t let it go after seeing how nice a shooter it was.

  21. avatar guy says:

    Now that’s classy.

  22. avatar Don Nelson says:

    Yep, a class act. P220’s good. EPSaddlery carving is pretty nice – I have three or four of their carved holsters. Not exactly what I carry – no reason it should be – but with the same thoughtful old school vibe.

    Bravo!

  23. avatar Bemused Berserker says:

    Gun, Spare Magazines, Knife and Flashlight, that’s all boxes checked on my list. Since you’re a LEO, I can understand the holster, belt and mag rig. It’s high grade work from El Paso. Would I choose something similar? No, but I’m not a LEO, only related to a number of LEO’s.

  24. avatar Sgt Loren Huckstadt says:

    Damn fine choice! That leather maker has served so many generations of cops and any SIG in .45ACP will carry you through SAFELY. Until the Montana comment thought you were my old BUDDY DAVE. Same SIG and Leather. Watch good idea and Benchmade is my forever pick TOO!

  25. avatar cj says:

    Goodness, that is a sweet set-up! Well done, my friend!

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