Chances are good that if you carry a concealed firearm or have been involved in the shooting sports for any length of time, you have at least one box of holsters you have used and then changed to something else.
As firearms instructors, my Dad and I are often asked by students what the “perfect” holster is. The answer is always the same—there’s no such thing. Everyday attire, build, type of firearm and a host of other factors dictate what type of holster is best for an individual.
In order for a holster to be functional, it needs to do several things well. First, it needs to hold the gun securely—all the time. Second, it needs to make the handgun accessible to the user so it can be obtained quickly when needed. Third, the weapon needs to be reholstered easily after an incident de-escalates or is over. Fourth, at least to some people, it needs to be comfortable.
Of the four items, the last is the least important to me. To my way of thinking, being armed should be comforting, but not necessarily comfortable—they are not the same thing. There have been occasions when I wore a firearm in excess of 20 hours straight. Was it fun? No, but it comes down to having a firearm and not needing it, vice needing a firearm and not having it.
Recently S.W.A.T. received a holster from Springtac Holsters for test and evaluation.
The first thing I noticed is the thickness of the leather. It is actually two pieces of leather glued and stitched together—quality cowhide on the outside with a suede liner. Sandwiched between the leather is lightweight spring steel that wraps around the firearm, allowing you to decide how loose or tight you want the retention on your holster—compress the holster for more retention, pull it apart for less. The rear of the holster is split, forming a clamshell design.
This holster is made to be worn with the light mounted on the pistol. Although I am a big believer in weapon-mounted lights, I believe you should have a second handheld light to search with.
One nice option with this holster is that it can be worn inside the waistband, on the belt, and is reversible for both right-handed and southpaw shooters.
On each side of the holster, there are two horizontal cuts in the leather about 1 ½ inches apart, halfway up. There is a spring steel clip that can be removed and reinserted on either side of the holster depending on how you choose to carry. If you are going to carry outside the waistband, clip the clip on the belt or waistband and go. If you are going to wear the holster on the inside of the waistband, reverse it to the other side.
The holster is open top and open bottom. All edges are dehorned and smooth to the touch. The quality of leather and workmanship is evident.
S.W.A.T. has a reputation for calling a spade a spade, and I have a few concerns about this holster. The fact that it is split all the way down the back makes me very leery of how well it would retain a weapon if you were to run, jump or possibly go to the ground in a scuffle before you needed your weapon.
The only way I would personally consider wearing this holster is inside the waistband with a cover garment. If the weapon works its way out, it is still inside your pants and you at least have a chance to get it.