One observation that I keep getting on my CCW holsters is, “It’s a shame you’ve got to cover that thing up.” My thought on that is that a CCW holster is like underwear. Because nobody in public sees it, you have a lot of leeway to make it really amazing. We have a child at home, so that kind of rules out wandering around the house in underwear and gun leather for the time being. 😀 But in all seriousness, I really do get a kick out of pushing the envelope on the looks of holsters. I’ve got a few experiments lined up that I haven’t started on, and I’ve got three in process at the moment. The current projects are for a couple of the ladies in my life. I’ve got pieces cut out and partially shaped for an insane, IWB, N-frame holster for my lovely, petite wife. I’ve kind of stalled on that one, as I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I’m going to stitch it together. The second holster is a variation on the zero-cant J-frame that I’ve made a couple of examples of so far. The third holster that I’m working on is for my sister-in-law, and it’s the wild one at the moment.
I’ve got a little pricing code with family members. For the most part, family doesn’t pay for a holster. The catch is that I’m going to make whatever for them that I see fit. Granted, my wife has a little more pull on getting what she wants, but the others get free holsters at the mercy of my wild, whims of artistic expression. My sister-in-law recently started working at the local gun range, and open carries at work. She asked for a holster for her S&W 686SSR. If you are getting deja vu, it’s because I touched on this a little earlier. Anyway, I started sketching and fleshing out the whisps of ideas on paper about a month ago, and started cutting and stitching leather over the weekend. And, it is turning out wonderfully so far. I have had a couple of ideas that I’ve been wanting to try, and I didn’t really expect to be trying both of them on this holster, but I am.
This thing is going to be one crazy beautiful sculpture of wearable leather that also happens to hold a gun. I’ve got selectively exposed stitching laid out on it. Most of my holsters have hand stitching that is visible from one side but not the other. This holster is going to have some five points of stitching, in single and double rows, some will be visible from one side and not from the other. Some people will wonder how in the world it could have adequate retention, but it will. To accentuate the profile of the slab-sided barrel, I’ve used several straight, angular lines. There will be ornamental calf skin on the muzzle like nothing either of you have ever seen on a holster before. Because it is for the SIL, it will be two-tone pink on the outside and lightly frosted silver throughout.
It’s been fairly slow-going because of the intricacies of the construction and the heft of the leather. The final stitch line will be double-stitched through over 5/8″ of leather. I know that sounds cumbersome, but I have a plan here. I may have to employ a drill press for some of that…
I did get some fun new tools over the weekend. I took some of my holster profits and dumped them straight back into the endeavor. Until Saturday, I lacked a good cutting tool, and made due with a box knife and a pair of kitchen shears. So, I picked up a pair of Gingher shears that slice through my toughest leather like butter! I found that I have to be careful trimming a sharp corner or I will knock a gouge out of my material with the edge of the blade! I also got a nice rotary punch and an extra bottle for my sprayer. The shears have already be worth it, as my hand isn’t currently in pain from straining through 9-oz shoulder hide over the weekend!
Anyway, I’m really looking forward to posting some results of these projects. I’m really having a lot of fun, and that’s one of my main objectives. I told my family early on that as soon as it ceased to be fun, I’d quit doing it. So far, I’ve managed to not let it become a second job, and I usually look forward to doing the holster work. If I begrudge it, it’s obviously lost the charm. I suppose that’s about it for now.