Fundamental in the carry and use of a modern handgun is an effective holster and we are here to cut through the gimmicks to bring you a few tips on what will work best.
Why a holster?
In the days of the first effective pistols, the single-shot handguns were still too large for practical carry, being relegated to saddle-mounted leather holders on the horses of the cavilers of the day. Bulky and slow to reload, the gunfighter of yesteryear would carry a brace of such guns to ensure a rapid follow-up shot against multiple adversaries. By the 19th Century and the introduction of the revolver, the first recognizable holsters became widespread and the leather-sheathed wheel gun replaced the sword of yesteryear on the belts of gentlemen.
Today, the holster remains a solid standby for the armed citizen and the use of one separates the professional and responsible gun owner from the Hollywood thug. One of the most unsafe things a handgun user can do is carry their pistol or revolver sans holster. Simple carry methods such as stuffing a smaller gun– such as a Glock 43– in a pants pocket, or a larger framed pistol such as a Glock 17 in a waistband, allows the handgun to rotate as the carrier walks and moves.
This “floating” firearm can twist and move away from its original position, making quick deployment harder. Worse, with the trigger exposed, a potentially deadly negligent discharge can result if a foreign object as simple as a shirt tail or jacket pull string works its way into the trigger well. Finally, an unsecured handgun is prone to skitter away at the worst of times, causing embarrassment at the least, and potential criminal charges in some jurisdictions.
The Colt Commander was introduced in 9mm for an Army pistol contract in 1949 aimed at providing a more effective replacement to the .32 ACP Model 1903 “General Officer’s Pistol.” It soon became popular on the civilian market and in 1971 a steel-framed (to differentiate it from the Lightweight Commander) Combat Commander went into production. That 70 Series Colt remained in the stable until 1980 and, after a brief hiatus, was replaced by the 80 Series variant that remained in production in one form or another until 1998 but has sadly been missing from the lineup since then.
Now, to borrow a phrase from John Wick, it looks like the Combat Commander is back, at an MSRP of $949.
2017 seems to be a year of “everything old is new again” at Colt as the company brushes off legacy tried and true designs and revamps them in an attempt to give the people what they want. Already leaked for this is the upcoming M16A1 reissue, a retro Vietnam era SP1-style AR-15 that is expected to begin shipping this year.
Another new offering is a rail gun version of Colt’s Delta Elite. The big 10mm longslide has been a favorite of “centimeter” aficionados for years and is in current production, but lacked the accessory rail.
Then, after vacating the double-action revolver market, now have a stainless steel-framed Cobra reboot.
Ruger announced Wednesday they will produce their well-loved double-action wheelguns in some new offerings including a 5-shot GP100 in .44 Special and an 8-shot .357 Mag Redhawk.
The GP 100, as detailed in the above video, has been around in a bunch of .357/.38 and .327 loadings, but that was about as beefy as it got. Now, some 30 years after its introduction, is being offered in a 5-shot .44 Special with a three-inch barrel.
I’ve always been a fan of the .44Spl and for about half a decade carried a Charter Arms Pug as my CCW piece.
The once-vaunted .44 Special dates back to before World War I but fell out of favor after Elmer Keith campaigned successfully for his hard-hitting .44 Magnum in the 1950s. With just a few manufacturers marketing new revolvers chambered in the easier handling but still effective .44 Special by the 1990s, the round seemed to be staring into the abyss. Now, with modern self-defense loads (Hornady Critical Defense, Speer Gold Dot, et. al) upping the ante on what the near cult-status round brings to the table, the new Ruger offering will no doubt be popular with .44 Specialists.
MSRP is $829 but you can expect prices at your dealer or online to be closer to $700, and if I like how it handles at SHOT Show, I may be a huckleberry.
Another new entry from Ruger is a .357 Magnum variant of the Redhawk, which hasn’t been offered since 1991. Best yet, the cylinder has been reworked to accommodate 8 cartridges, which brings a whole new element to the famous “Feel Lucky Punk?” scene.
The new 8-shooter, which still fits in standard Redhawk holsters, comes with 3 full moon clips for its relieved cylinder and a 2.75-inch barrel. MSRP is a respectable $1079.
More info (including vids) are in my column at Guns.com.
With a dozen states now codifying the right to possess a concealed handgun without a permit and over 15 million license holders from coast to coast, there has never been a better time to practice every day carry.
A true EDC is one you are 110 percent comfortable with keeping 366 days per year. It is your “get out of trouble” escape plan translated into mechanical format. By pairing that one sidearm with its dedicated holster and accessories, you are making a statement in reliability. You trust that device in any situation, without reserve.
However, if you have a Glock, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Serious former operator turned performance shooter Kyle Defoor once cut down the frame of a full-size Glock 17 to accommodate the shorter 15 round G19 mags. This essentially gave him a G19 with a longer barrel and sight radius.
Now he did the same thing with a G19– chopping the frame down to accept the 10-shot squat G26 mag. He dubs the custom Glock 1926 hybrid the “rattail one nine”
If you remember your Glocks, the 26 “Baby Glock” subcompact does not have a rail, has a 3.42-inch barrel and a 5.39-inch sight radius, whereas the G19 does have a rail and adds a bit more than a half-inch to both the barrel and SR.
Kind of interesting, especially with the hi-profile night sights, KKM barrel and Surefire XC1 LED attached. In short (see what I did there), you have a G26 that accommodates.
After a rocky start, the niche German firearms company specializing in personalized handguns (i.e. “smart guns”) is bringing a 9mm version and a vow they are not aiming “to replace conventional guns.”
The company’s first offering burst on to the scene in early 2014 with the iP1, a $1,300 .22LR that needed to pair to an RFID-equipped wrist watch to be able to fire. Armatix convinced firearms dealers in California and Maryland to offer the gun on a limited basis but both stores quickly recoiled after backlash from the Second Amendment community without selling any.
Although officials in states with sticky smart gun mandates held the iP1 would not trigger their dormant law, the company was left with 5,000 unsold high-dollar pistols and began to shift course towards a potentially more acceptable 9mm version marketed to police.
Then in 2015, news came that the small 30-employee company parted ways with Ernst Mauch, the engineer who helped found the thus-far unsuccessful venture and entered into Chapter 11-style corporate restructuring even as their chief executive in the U.S. publicly gaffed on firearms safety and the National Rifle Association tested the gun and found it lacking. (No agenda there, right?)
Now, Armatix’s current CEO and President Wolfgang Tweraser is ready to move forward with their iP9 9mm gun which will be available in mid-2017 along with the legacy iP1.