Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Friends Don't Let Friends Go Unholstered

A good friend of mine asked me to make a few holsters for his wife's pistols recently.  She has a concealed carry license but no holster for her snubby Taurus revolver or her Walther P99.  A good holster will allow her to carry securely and safely and hopefully buy a little peace of mind for her husband who will shortly be deploying to Afghanistan.

She wanted IWB style holsters with a spring clip rather than belt loops.  I didn't have any clips but found some decent ones online and ordered 20 of them at about $2 each.  This style of holster is probably the quickest and easiest to make since it has minimal stitching and there's no belt loops or slots to mess with.  Each one took only a couple of hours to make after coming up with a pattern.  The snubby revolver holster was made with cowhide, pigskin lined, and airbrushed two-tone tan and dark brown.  The P99 holster was done in horsehide with lizard trim.  I'm pleased with the results of both.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Advent of Armadillo Leather Goods and A New Sidearm

I've been meaning to get a "maker's stamp" for my leather projects for some time now.  I had a name and a design in mind and I finally sat down and put it all together with Sarah's help.  I sent off the design to a place that does laser engraving and they cut the design into a hard plastic rod.  It was an early Christmas present.  Trademark pending, here it is:

I was never thrilled with my Smith & Wesson Sigma pistol.  It was cheap and reliable but it had the worst trigger I've ever felt this side of a double-action-only revolver with rusty innards.  Anyway, I sold it for what I paid along with a couple of holsters.  I've had my eye on a CZ 75 Compact in .40 SW for about 3 years but promised myself I wouldn't buy it until I sold my Sigma first.  When they first came out, the CZ 75 Compact was over $600 which is one of the reasons I waited a while to buy it.  I bought mine for $430 shipped and I love it.  Why?  It's one of the few well-made reliable compact pistols with a steel frame that doesn't cost $800+, the ergonomics are great, and it holds 10 rounds of .40 SW.  Plus I like the look of it.  It's not unlike a Browning Hi Power but with an Eastern European flair and a touch of the modern with its integral accessory rail.  Anyway, here it is:

It's actually not all that "compact" and it's definitely not light at about 2.2 lb.  I like the weight though.  If I run out of ammunition I can whip this at my attackers head and probably do some serious damage.  You can't say that about your plastic Glock!

Anyway, new pistol means new holsters!  Over the last 6 months I've been getting back into leathercraft and acquiring some of the tools I'd been meaning to buy for a long time so I decided to make my own holsters.  So far I've made three for this pistol and I have plans for two more.  I can hear you saying "Five holsters for one pistol?  Why, that's just silly!"  It might be if you had to pay retail prices of $50-90 a piece, but when it's a hobby and the materials only cost a few bucks each it seems a little less crazy.  Here they are:

The first holster I made was an "Avenger" style.  It turned out pretty well given the rush job I made of it.

The second holster I made was an OWB (outside waist band) with a pretty steep cant to vertically align the butt and muzzle of the gun.  This one is cowhide with pigskin lining.  I got an airbrush for Christmas so I used it to dye the edges dark brown, transitioning to a light brown in the middle.

The third holster is an IWB (inside waist band) made of horsehide with green lizard skin trim.  The horse hide doesn't stretch, tool or dye as well as the cowhide, but it has a smoother finish, is more dimensionally stable, and is more abrasion resistant.  I made the belt loops removeable via snaps so that I could change them out as needed for different sized belts or whatever.

I've already had a few friends ask me to make them a holster so it looks like I might even be able to make this hobby pay for itself in time.  Of course, if I ever move back to Canada I have no idea who I'd sell my wares to except for cops.  So if anyone up there knows a cop, ask them if they think other cops would be interested in custom gun leather.

Maybe there's a market for paintball gun holsters...?