Many people overlook the importance of a holster. A holster is an integral part of the weapon system. Unless you intend to walk around with a side-arm in your hand all the time, you need a good quality holster. I'm in a unique position to be making holsters, as I was a firearms instructor for a law enforcement agency, an Arizona CCW instructor, shoot in competition, and I carry concealed 7 days a week. I know what makes a holster work, or not work, as can be the case with mass produced holsters and other leather makers. Many leather makers are not shooters.
A holster MUST have these properties:
1. It must keep the weapon secured for the activity the person will be engaged in. A peace officer will need more retention than a citizen carrying concealed. A rancher on horseback may need even more retention and protection for the side arm. Your activity will dictate what type and how much retention your holster should have.
2. The weapon must be accessible in an expedient manner. If you can not bring the weapon into action quickly, it may cost you dearly. The holster must also not interfere with getting a secure firing grip on the weapon from the draw, and any retention device must be able to be removed when getting a firing grip.
3. It must be comfortable. An uncomfortable holster will not be used, and therefore the weapon will not be with you when you need it.
I think it should look good, but looking good has nothing to do with function. Several holsters on the market look good, but don't cut it on the above three points. Mine will meet the three criteria... and look good.
I will make any type of holster you desire, and if I see something that is requested that violates one of the principles above, I will let you know. Functionality must come before all else, and a truly functional holster must have the three points of security, expediency/accessibility, and comfort.
I often make holsters with a double clip on back. I have found this system works exceptionally well for tucking the weapon in close to you and makes it easy to remove without taking the belt off. Many people at first are worried the clips are not strong enough UNTIL THEY TRY MY CLIPS. Please see my page on the clips. I warranty the clips for life if you should ever bend one. You won't.
How secure are they? I was in a very bad motorcycle accident while wearing a Smith and Wesson model 629 .44 Magnum. I was wearing a holster similar to this one with two clips and a thumb break. While I broke 15 bones and nearly died, the gun stayed on my side and received no damage at all. Of the many bones I broke, I snapped my femur in half from the impact.
Currently I can put the Ruger, Smith & Wesson, FN, and Beretta logos on gear.
You will see many styles of holsters on my website. You are not limited to these designs. If you have a particular style in mind, but would like to have it made better than a mass produced piece, just let me know. Anything is possible.
As a guideline:
Open top holsters start at $125
Thumb break style holsters start at $150Full-flap holsters start at $200
A lot goes into making an heirloom quality custom holster. Every holster is made by hand, including the stitching and edge burnishing. NO HOLSTER YOU CAN BUY ON LINE IS HAND STITCHED!!! Mine are.
Machine stitching is fast. That's about all one can say about it. It's cheap. It's mass production. Yes, hands have touched your holster, but it is not HAND MADE. Machine stitched holsters will not last. If your life depends on pulling a weapon out of a holster, and you actually understand how important a holster is to the weapon system, do you want a K-Mart blue light special holster or do you want simply the best possible or maybe your life just isn't worth it.
My warranty on holsters is the same as everything I make... lifetime. I use 9-10 ounce top grain holster leather and line it with premium steer hide in addition I can use Cobra, stingray, crocodile, python, diamondback... I can make it as unique as you are.
An important aspect of your custom holster is where you want the gun to ride on your belt. I will need a photo of your side-arm held next to you, where you want it to ride. A good way to figure this out is to hold the gun next to your belt in the position you are most comfortable drawing from, and have someone take the photo. I must see the entire side-arm and your belt in the photo in order to get it perfect. In this way, the holster will carry the firearm in exactly that position with the same cant and height on the belt. This will dramatically reduce the amount of practice time you will need to get the muscle memory down to perform a smooth, and thus fast presentation. Where is this option on the pull down menus of other makers? It's not.
Do I need your side-arm? Maybe. Every firearm is different. Sights are not the same. I do not use cheap blue or red guns to make a custom fit holster for your weapon. How can it be custom fit if it is not fit to your weapon? It can't. I assume your weapon may be used to defend your life and I make it accordingly. Many stock models, I can make a holster for without you sending your weapon. I'm good friends with a gun shop owner here in Tucson, so I can pattern it there, if he has one in stock that matches your weapon.
Pancake holsters. You will see that I do not make a lot of pancake holsters and the one's that I have made, I don't show. Why? Pancake holsters were designed to be manufactured quickly with a sewing machine from patterns. The leather is die cut, then a machine sews around the edges of the flat leather. Did you ever notice that every pancake holster has a forward cant? This is because it would be impossible to get a firing grip on one's weapon without it because of the way pancake holsters are designed. They also take up twice the amount of space on your belt. When was the last time you saw a uniformed officer with a pancake holster on?
A forward cant does two things, it can make a larger pistol more concealable, and it slows down the time it takes to get the gun on target. The more you have to turn the muzzle, the more time it will take. Economy of movement is important in a gun fight. More movement = more time.
"But it only adds .01 seconds to my draw!" Well, in .01 seconds, a 9mm bullet has traveled just over 11 feet. A .45ACP has traveled just over 8 feet. The average gun fight is 9 feet away.
Too many folks have drank the Kool-Aid when it comes to holsters. Good marketing does not mean a good product.