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Goldilocks and the Three Makers

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

"What're you, high?". This holster from Galco is TOO HIGH and so topheavy that you'll also need/want a 'good gunbelt' for which the working definition is "very wide, very thick, very lined, very stiff, and very stitched":

Above and below, the revolver's cylinder is above the belt line and has a short barrel. BADLY topheavy without a stiff and uncomfortable belt to complete the package.

A recent post on features a chap who has realized that Galco has sold him down the river with one of these for his 2-1/2" Colt Python; and he can't/won't wear it because it's so topheavy with a big, loaded, short-barrelled .357 Magnum Python in it (this is not his holster nor his image, which is better). DON'T BUY THIS HOLSTER even with a 'good gunbelt'. The designer's got it wrong and you'll blame yourself and not him (there are no women gunleather designers). THIS HOLSTER IS 'NO GOOD' SAYS GOLDILOCKS.

Below, a gunbelt from the likes of Alfonso in the '60s filled the bill then, and consumers never looked back. Of course not, same bad advice is being given still today. 1-3/4" wide, two thicknesses of stiff cowhide, glued and stitched full length to make the belt even stiffer, ditto the boot stitching down the centre. Now add a strip of steel down the centre? Idiots! And straight as an arrow although your hips are not!

Now look at how high the holster carries the pistol above the belt -- and it was just sold on eBay to an unwitting 21st century user who will try it but then toss it in his box'o'holsters.

Speaking of the box'o'holsters that you all have -- IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT. The holster catalogues of the 20th century simply didn't have room in them to display both the outside of the holster and the backside, too. Much less a concealment holster on a belt when they weren't sold as a set (unlike a fast-draw buscadero rig). 1972 and the carry angle might/might not be accurate but one can't tell how high the holsters carry, or how substantial/not the belt loop is, nor what belt width (2-1/4" in all these cases):

DO BUY THIS HOLSTER even to use with an ordinary belt. Hume's designer got this pancake holster very, very right. THIS HOLSTER IS 'JUST RIGHT' SAYS GOLDILOCKS.

Above and below notice that the revolver's cylinder is coplanar with the belt's width. Use any belt you like, even a rope! Ideally though, the belt will be the matching width to the slots in the holster.

AND OMG WHAT WAS THIS DESIGNER BELOW THINKING?! If at all. Compared with the topheavy Colt Python, how about then adding 18 rounds of 9mm in that double-stack magazine, to wobble wildly above your belt line! Bet the maker offers gunbelts, too, and will be glad to 'solve' your problem with another sale to you.

Made for a very wide, uncomfortable belt (marked 1-3/4") in admission of the topheavy flaw.

If I were you all I'd insist on images of the backside, too, and with it on a belt at a minimum and on a person, ideally, before giving a gunleather maker your hard-earned. Today's websites have plenty of room for multiple images; for an example look at eBay itself.

As you'll know from another of my blog posts, I only recommend unreservedly FOUR of today's gunleather makers (see the nearby post 'Edited to be Nicer'). Here are examples from each of them showing the outside of the holster and the backside -- then understand that no maker gets all their individual models 'right' (I'm thinking esp. of Galco). Here Galco provides an outside with a clear view of the outboard belt slot, accurately shows that the holster carries the 1911 vertically (0 degs caster), shows the backside to confirm, shows it on a belt, advises its ideal 'clocking' around the waist.

You'll then have to be an expert to realize that in reality you can only carry this holster without printing at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00, or as a crossdraw at 9:00, 10:00, and 11:00. But you are, aren't you? And know that several of those positions are downright dangerous, right?

Then DeSantis, below. I'm honoured to count Gene as an erstwhile customer of my Nichols Innovation design company but less so Rick at Galco. Ditto his vs. the Galco images but lacking a backside view (which is not the 'rear' of the holster; the 'rear' edge is that portion to your left in the images). Nor does the 'view full product info' then show you the backside.

So how about a company that you don't necessarily think of for concealment holsters: El Paso Saddlery? They provide only an outside view on the belt, which is a good start but leaves one wondering about what is called 'twist': is the grip biased in or out from the body? S/b parallel. Odd that they are still blaming Covid for material shortages. Sick cows?

Then Sparks, below. Let's face it, they don't even try to provide you with full disclosure. Instead the thinking is that 'here's a picture, send us money'. IMHO it works for them because they are a 'lodge pin' brand -- but it really doesn't work for you. I mean, what does it matter whose initials are in the model number, does that somehow make it a better holster for you? They're just a little too impressed with themselves and their circle of friends (and Kanaley isn't even part of the company any longer, nor is Uncle Milt), and Nelson never was).

That ever-filling box'o'holsters has now become solely your responsibility :-).

And while you're at it, you'll want to learn more about the leathers and processes these otherwise excellent companies use. I mean, 'we use only Grade A cowhide' (Galco) doesn't mean a single thing to you: that's a tannery grading system for SURFACE FLAWS that all makers must die-cut around to omit anyway. Grade A is for them not you, it simply improves their cutting economy. Horsehide is FAR better, regardless, than today's cowhide supply. Hand 'boning' (incorrect term): all of them mold their holsters in a rubber-faced air or hydraulic press regardless, doing it entirely by hand is slow and hard on aging fingers. Dyes? Make sure they're not using water-based dyes, but instead alcohol-based dyes (they won't tell you anyway). Are they tested with real pistols during design then QC, or merely with dummies? Not good enough (ditto, won't tell you). I know that DeSantis uses hot air dryers to temper their moulded holsters (online article about them) and that Sparks does not (also an online article). Galco might but such is not revealed in their online articles. I've been inside most gunleather companies that existed in the 1990s but I don't disclose what I've seen there.

Be aware that gunleather companies will tell you very little that you need to know; not because they're afraid their competitors will take their 'trade secrets' (they all use the same methods) but because they are afraid their competitors will recognize what they DON'T know -- about drying, about dying, about leather selection, about moulding, etc.

Read more in my book titled "Holstory -- Gunleather of the Twentieth Century -- the Second Edition" that is available at and printed for you/shipped to you in USA.

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