Over the years, I have said that you should carry the same thing on duty as off duty—or at least very similar gear when off duty.
I see guys carry a 1911, .45 Glock or .357 Magnum revolver on duty then carry a .25 auto around town off duty. Their thinking is, it is lighter, smaller and better than nothing. However, they also don’t have things like body armor, radios and back-up coming quickly. If they are carrying the same thing all the time, their brain does not have to switch gears between what is carried on or off duty. The same applies to an armed citizen who packs to work and then changes to a different firearm when he’s off.
What I’ve advocated is often easier said than done, and I’m as guilty as anyone else of carrying one thing on duty and another when I’m off.
Long-time readers know my usual preference is for a 1911 carried in an inside- the-waistband holster, and I find it is hard to beat. However, when I’m on a ranch or hunting, I prefer one of my revolvers—most generally my Smith & Wesson 686 Plus.
When I began working for the courts, they felt that a cocked-and-locked 1911 sent the wrong message to the public, so I carried my 686 Plus, and never felt less than adequately armed. To this very day, I still enjoy carrying and shooting my wheel gun. Being somewhat of a traditionalist, I like carrying it in leather, which brings me to the focus of this month’s column.
Recently I requested a holster for my 686 Plus for evaluation from Don Hume Leathergoods—the Model H721 O.T. in saddle brown color. O.T. stands for “Open Top,” and its counterpart, the H721, has a thumb break. Both are made for most popular revolvers and auto pistols and are available in black as well as saddle brown. The holster will fit a belt with a width up to 1¾ inches. Molded for specific makes and models of handgunsthe H721 O.T. fit my 686 Plus perfectly right out of the bag.
The holster is made from two mirrorimage pieces of top quality leather and stitched together with heavy nylon thread to form a pancake design. I have found that this design holds the weapon tightly against the waist and is very concealable for an outside-the-pants holster. Additionally, this type of holster is comfortable when sitting and offers good retention from a possible gun snatch attempt.
The backside of the holster is cut higher than the front, forming a body shield which, besides being comfortable, helps keep a shirt from being holstered along with the handgun. The belt loops are cut so that the holster rides at a slight forward cant. All edges are rounded and burnished very well, so there is nothing on the H721 O.T. to dig into the body.
The suggested retail price of the H721 O.T. is $49.45, and $57.30 for the H721 with thumb break.
Don Hume Leathergoods has been in business for almost 50 years. My Grandpa used Don Hume products when he was a deputy sheriff, as did my Dad, and I do now. I guess you could say that using quality leather products is a family tradition.