Craft Holsters Review and Holster Thoughts

I was sent this holster free of charge with the intent to review it honestly. I'm happy to check out your gear. Just don't be surprised if I let people know the good AND the bad.

A company called Craft Holsters contacted me about testing one of their holsters a few months ago. They boast 250 different holster options! I think what they do is have many holster makers under their banner. The holster I received even has another company etched into it. The Rep was kind enough to give me free choice of any holster on their website (including with monograms! ). I scoured the site and was having trouble finding anything that looked like it fit my criteria. I talked with their rep, telling them how several of their holsters seemed pretty close to sufficient, but all were lacking one or several requirements I had. I even wrote a list detailing what could be fixed about their holsters to make them useful for people who actually carry their guns.

I looked through their catalog with the hopes to find a leather 0-degree cant holster for my Beretta 92A1 that would work for appendix carry. I found one they make that most closely fit the bill. I mentioned to them that I wouldn’t buy this holster, but if they wanted me to choose one, this was it. I have been struggling with, I mean *using*, their holster all summer and here’s my thoughts.

My “Ideal Holster” Criteria

  • Must allow full firing grip (FFG) in holster
  • Must cover trigger guard and not allow trigger press through body of holster
  • Must allow one handed holstering (mouth of holster must not collapse under belt pressure)
  • Must retain pistol sufficiently for my needs. (if I can do some handstands without the gun falling out, I’m happy)
  • Sufficient comfort and concealment for my needs

The Good

  • Leather is more comfortable than kydex. So the material was a good choice. It’s also pretty, for what that’s worth.
  • Tuckable leather belt loop allowed the gun to move with my body. This increased comfort but made concealment poor.
  • Retained gun well. I was doing handstands, cartwheels, and chasing my son around parks all summer and the gun stayed put.
  • Reasonably good ride height. FFG was no problem.
  • Holster covers trigger, albeit “lazily”. A small flap of leather hovers over the opening, leaving the space behind the trigger open. Given time, sweat, and use, I fear it might create an unsafe condition. Like this guy’s leather rig.

The Bad

  • Uses a standard snap on the belt loop. There is no excuse for a holster maker NOT to use a pull-the-dot style directional snap. The ability to unsnap the holster as you’re clearing your cover garment is an immediate no-go. They need to fix this. I was accidentally unsnapping it during the draw in dry- and live-fire.
  • Poor concealment. I understand I’m spoiled with excellent concealment holsters, but the floppy leather belt loop allows the butt of the pistol to stick out from my body more than I’m comfortable with. The leather loop itself is quite thick also. I believe they could fix this with a hardware adjustment and perhaps integrating something like a Tuck-Strut into their design.
  • The mouth of the holster is single-ply, and consequently collapses when the gun is removed. This will only get worse with wear. At minimum they need a second ply of leather, but more ideally they need to sew in a steel or kydex band that will add structure to the mouth of the holster to allow one handed holstering. When a holster collapses, it requires you to use the muzzle to try to finesse the holster open, which often puts the muzzle in an unsafe direction as you rock it back and forth.

Conclusion

What does a good holster look like? Here’s an example of the Excellent JM Custom Kydex AIWB 2.5 holster.

I gave the Craft Holsters rig a fair shake this summer. I wore it daily and on a couple long road trips. I wouldn’t recommend it in its current configuration. I think it could be reworked into something useful, but it would increase the cost and complexity. In a world of uninformed gun owners, and being able to mass market easily to them, I don’t think most companies would be interested in improving their designs for people who actually carry a gun every day. To be fair, I haven’t given any feedback to Craft Holsters, so I’m not sure what they’d do. My guess is they’ll say ‘thanks for your time’ and go to the next thirsty blogger who wants free shit. I’ll update this post if they surprise me.

There are trade-offs in holster design. There is some sort of Speed, Comfort, Concealment, Safety, Robustness interaction chart that I haven’t worked out. But everything is a compromise.

This, kids, is how I remove myself from the list of blog gear reviewers that companies try to use to get exposure. I’m making myself irrelevant one review at a time! I’m sorry for my lack of posts, it’s been a busy summer being Daddy Day Care. I’ll be writing more in the coming months.

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Technique: Draw from a fanny pack

The fanny pack is the universal sign that A) You just emerged from your mom’s basement because you’re out of cheetos, or B) You’re man enough to recognize the utility and comfort of a bag worn about the waist. I happen to be a combination of both.

If I weren’t married, I 100% would rock the fanny pack more often. As it stands, it is my dog walk, yard work, ruck walk, occasional around the house, and (if I’m not with my wife) grocery store companion. I think it’s a sign of maturity. At least that’s what I tell myself.

relaxed
No Ragrets.

My fanny pack serves as a holster, mag pouch, and trauma kit when I’m out and about.

Whatchu Got in that bag?

My cover story is it contains my insulin and blood sugar monitor. Pick a story that works for you. Especially if you wear it in a gym or somewhere where it could draw more than passing interest.

Set Up

max octa
My well loved Maxpedition Octa

My fanny pack is the Maxpedition Octa Versipack. While it’s not a purpose built gun bag, it holds a glock 19 easily in the main compartment. If you have a striker fired gun, consider a trigger guard holster like the MIC for protecting that trigger. Tie that holster through a grommet hole so it tears away when you draw. You should also consider cutting away all internal mesh/dividers in the intended gun compartment. No obstructions, nothing to hang on.

The front pockets can carry spare mag, a small LED light, TQ’s, dog poop bags, etc.

Only keep the pistol in the main pouch, with nothing else in that segment of the bag. It has 2 zipper pulls on the main pouch. I removed one, and on the other I hung a longer segment of green paracord as a pull. Consider also a bead or woven pull tab so you can distinguish the gun zipper from the others without looking.

The Draw-stroke is the Draw-stroke

That’s it. Are you man (or woman) enough to rock a fanny pack?

Here’s photos of the VERY GOOD KG Products BeltBag. I took mine to the range recently and put myself on the timer with it. I was working draws and 1,2, or 3 shots on a 6″ circle at 5 yards. I was getting draw times from 2.5 to 3.0 seconds (concealed from holster puts me at 1.5 seconds or so from beep to first shot). If I were buying a new one, I’d definitely get a KG Products.

There are tons of fanny pack options:

Thanks for reading.

 

Gear Featured:
Do The Work/Memento Mori Bracelet
Silicone Wedding Bands
Marathon TSAR watch
Beretta PX4C

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What Does Average Joe Need In A Trigger?

Have you ever had a Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon moment? It’s a type of cognitive bias where you could swear that the frequency of mentioning a topic has seemingly increased to impossible numbers for no apparent reason. I feel like I’m experiencing one with Double Action/Single Action (or DA/SA) and Double Action Only (DAO) pistols as of late.  It seems like all the people I respect and listen to are talking about the merits of DA/SA guns for a host of reasons. It has caused me to give DA/SA more than a passing consideration.

Beretta M9

Striker fired guns are easier to shoot well

I began carrying a gun every day nearly 10 years ago (time flies). The Glock 19/26/42 primarily, but also the S&W shield, and even an X D45 for a short time. I carry in the appendix position (1 o’clock) exclusively. I also carry a few double action only guns when I have to be very discreet, but I bought them for their size, with no real consideration for their mode of operation. I bought and carried the striker guns because of their reliability, capacity, and consistent trigger pull. It’s what my first instructor told me to buy and I have been pleased with my purchase. When you’re just learning to shoot, having one repeatable trigger press makes things easy, and a novice shooter can get up to speed quickly with a relatively short, light, and consistent trigger. Until relatively recently, I didn’t understand why someone would want a DA/SA pistol like a Beretta 92 or Sig P series pistol for concealed carry or a home defense gun.  Striker fired guns are easy to shoot, after all. I was ignorant of the benefits and I now realize the appeal, let me try to hash it out…

G19 w/ TTI +4 basepads
My Current Carry

It’s Not Just About Shooting

Based on training I had done with Claude Werner, The Tactical Professor, and with Craig Douglas of Shivworks in his A.M.I.S. coursework, it becomes clear that not everyone needs shooting. As Craig says, there are shoots, no-shoots, and don’t-shoot-yets. The seed was planted that learning to think and talk with a gun in your hand under stress was a skill worth developing. So is learning to hold someone at gunpoint safely. Up until these things became clear to me, I thought the most important thing was being fast. Competing in IDPA and working with a timer, while critical for improving pure shooting,  neglects the soft skills of people management. The ‘hardware’ (AKA stuff you can buy) component of this wasn’t clear at the time, but started to come together for me recently. I have been lurking at Pistol-Forum.com and found a nugget of wisdom worth sharing from respected member GJM:

For a game gun, my priorities are how easy it is to shoot other stuff. For a defensive gun, my priorities are not shooting myself, not shooting something I don’t intend to, and then how easy is it to shoot something you do intend to shoot.
. . .
I think short, light striker triggers are overrated on a carry gun, regardless of how they perform on pure shooting tests. I do love pistols with short, light triggers to game…

There is a lot of discussion of the ‘street trigger’ over at Pistol Forum. This thread is worth your time.

Let’s consider GJM’s three points for a defensive gun in his order of importance, since I totally agree with him.

Not Shooting Ourselves:

Just recently, a young man accidentally shot himself in his thigh and bled out after taking a selfie with his gun. Whether it was an XD45 (a striker fired gun) or 1911 with safety disengaged, it’s unimportant. It highlights a likely lack of training, possibly poor equipment,  and/or a gross lapse in concentration and judgement. Would a DA/SA gun with a long trigger pull and exposed hammer for thumbing while holstering have saved him in lieu of proper training and gun handling? We won’t know. But it’s worth consideration with the amount of folks with either no or only state mandated safety courses under their belt. It’s also worth considering that everyone can make mistakes and no one is infallible.

The exposed hammer is something I hadn’t considered as important. As I said, I’ve always been a Glock guy and I’m always careful when I holster and always look the gun into the holster. But I remember a few years ago I read about Todd Green of Pistol-Training.com developing The Gadget, which replaces the standard Glock Slide Cover Plate and rides the striker so that you can feel the striker moving as the trigger is pulled. Todd sent me an advanced copy to play around with while I wait for the one I paid for to ship. I’ve had it on my G19 for a few weeks now and I have to tell you, it’s something I didn’t know I would want until I had it. I like the idea of knowing if the trigger is moving when I’m putting the gun away. This has me considering DA/SA and DAO guns with exposed hammers.

Gadget
The Gadget on my G19.

Not Shooting What We Don’t Intend To:

This section will be short because all I have to go on is anecdotal evidence about long trigger pulls allowing more time for thinking during an adrenalized encounter. I’ve never shot anyone, nor have I had to hold anyone at gunpoint. But guess who has? The Police! They regularly point their guns at people and usually don’t have to shoot them. Several instances I’ve read about have credited a long double action trigger pull with not having to take a life because there was enough time for either recognition that there was no weapon present, or the situation was changing during the trigger press and there was time to let off before the bang. Just because I’m justified in taking a life, doesn’t mean I want to if I can help it.

So how does this apply to regular Joe Homeowner? Very often, when we pull a pistol on someone who needs a pistol pointed at them and show clear intent to use it, we don’t have to shoot. This is threat management. When we hear a bump in the night, 999 times out of 1000 it will be someone we don’t want to shoot in the house.

So imagine waking up from a dead sleep from the house alarm blaring, feeling the adrenaline coursing through your veins, grabbing your pistol, and going hunting where you heard the noise… you see a figure in your garage, you level your gun, and in the time it takes you to begin to press through the double action shot… you realize it’s your daughter sneaking in at night. You yell at her and ground her and nearly have a stroke thinking you might have shot your daughter. That’s exactly what didn’t happen here. The deputy made several mistakes, two glaring ones are not having a light and not issuing a verbal challenge to the ‘figure’ in the garage. So would a long DA trigger pull helped here in lieu of white light and verbalization? Who knows. But it certainly has me considering  DA/SA and DAO guns very seriously for the long first trigger pull.

Shooting something we intend to shoot:

This is the category that I only have experience with double action only J-frames and tiny .380’s. I extensively dry fired my J frame for a year and it made me a better shooter on all of my guns. I’m not a great revolver shooter, but I can tell you that with dedicated practice, it’s not only an arm’s reach gun. The same is obviously true with DA/SA guns. People have difficulty with the changing weight and length of the trigger between the first and subsequent shots, but this is a practice and training issue.

Watch Ernest Langdon of Langdon Tactical run the F.A.S.T. with a Beretta PX4 compact
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGJZRapjzOo]
Sure they are ‘harder’ to shoot well. I likely won’t be as fast as I am with my Glocks. But I like a challenge. I like new stuff. I like change. A few tenths of a second might be worth the safety margin in every other facet of handling. Watching people like Mr. Langdon shoot a DA/SA like that makes me want to try a DA/SA gun and see how I do against the clock.

So is it worth the switch?

I don’t know if it is. I’m intrigued by the prospect. I definitely think it’s at least worth considering. There’s lots of options. Here’s a thread from P-F to give you some ideas.  Sorry I’m late to the party DA/SA and DAO guys and gals. Mock me if you must.

Protect the Brood and don’t accidentally shoot yourself or your daughter,

Defensive Daddy