I know I’ve mentioned on an occasion or two that my sis in law is working at the gun range. At this particular range, the employees are encouraged to open carry while on the premises. She’s got her CCW license, and a couple of handguns, but she hasn’t really had a holster that’s suitable for the job. I have on my to-do list a couple of CCW holsters for both my brother and his wife (as well as another few for Jenni), but I’ve really been focusing on getting my SIL into a holster that she can OC on the clock.
Incidentally, I’m about to debut my new holster page which will supersede my current holster page. I’ve been working on a few, pretty radical designs to debut the new site with. So, I took the opportunity to stretch myself a little and cobbled together something quite unique for my bro’s bride. I’m probably not going to post this one on my current gunleather page, but rather save it for the debut of the new site. However, for both of my loyal readers, I thought I’d throw in a sneak peek.
Being girl-to-the-core, my sister in law loves her pinks and purples, and if it sparkles, even better. The gun in question is a S&W 686 SSR from the Pro Series. It’s got some beautiful model stamping and etching on the side of the frame and a slab-sided barrel that I wanted to leave visible while holstered, but I still wanted to fully enclose the trigger guard and provide enough retention that it wouldn’t fall out if she ran or jumped while wearing the thing.
After scribbling on graph paper for quite some time, I decided to go with a rig not unlike some of the competitive holsters that I’ve seen used by the likes of Jerry Miculek. I also wanted to give it flash. I’d been dying to try out a solid color with a thin, decorative panel in a complimentary color overlayed, in much the way of a toe-cap on a pair of wingtip shoes. so, this is what I came up with:
There’s just enough retention between the muzzle, trigger guard, and body side of the cylinder that the gun sticks nicely in the holster. since it rides right under the arm, it’s quite defensible. I wouldn’t recommend anyone wear a contraption like this in the general public, but I’m quite pleased with how it turned out for its purpose. Upon reholstering, it latches into place with a satisfying ‘snap’. At that point, the gun won’t fall out even when inverted and shaken.
To draw, it takes a rock forward…
…and then a slight lift for the muzzle to clear the bottom of the holster.
Do you feel lucky?
The gun even rides surprisingly close to the body!
The next time I build a holster in this style, there are things that I’ll do differently. Most of that has to do with the way I layer the leather, and what weights of hide I use where. I feared that with the spartan openness of the design, I’d have to err on the heavier, thicker side. As it turns out, that may have been a pretty major detriment to the molding process, and I’m not convinced that it evenly traded out for rigidity – which was the original objective. The stitching hurt. Period. I had to do all my stitching in several phases, as my hands kept cramping up.
Even still, there are a couple concepts that I was testing out with the construction of this particular piece: I wanted to see if I could successfully do the wingtip-style overlay, and I wanted to see if I could successfully build a functional holster that was radically different from my standard pancakes. Mission accomplished on both fronts! I will be testing some other concepts with some of the ‘family’ holsters that I’ve got coming up. For instance, I’m going to try my own, unique concept of the ‘tuckable’ IWB. I’m also going to be experimenting with some new, exotic materials that are certainly not widely-used in the holster market. Once I go live with the new website, I hope to have several new show pieces to provide some eye-candy for the debut. Wish me luck!