Rare Handguns and Custom Holsters

   07.19.18

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Finding a good holster for Grand Power XCalibur proved rather difficult. The result was well worth the effort.

“I have the Obcurematic Limited Edition in .336 Alberginesian. But lately, that got SAAMI certified, so I got it re-barreled to .350 Obscure Magnum. It’s kind of exclusive…”

Not everybody carries odd guns for bragging rights. Personally, I would much prefer the most mainstream pistol possible, and in the most common caliber. However, sometimes the performance advantages of oddball designs outweigh the logistical disadvantages. That’s how we got percussion in place of flint lock, and how Mauser and Browning automatic pistols supplanted revolvers. Among my own oddball favorites, HK P7M8, Nighthawk longslideBond Bullpup, Grand Power XCalibur and Coonan. Guess how many holsters for those I was able to find in local stores!

The solution is, of course, ordering custom holsters. Hundreds and thousands of craftsmen offer leather and kydex made to order, but not all of them can make what you need. For one, they would need a dummy gun to form the material — some makers have an extensive collection of those, others do not. The same is true of leather: some keep basic cow and horse hides, others take the time to navigate the convoluted regulations to acquire exotic skins, like ostrich, alligator and the ever-elusive honest politician.

Dragon Leatherworks collection is extensive but not all-encompassing. Since XCalibur blue gun wasn’t available, I had to leave mine as a sample for a while. Since shipping handguns is expensive, it pays to build a relationship with a local craftsman.

The next limitation is the quality of the craft and the degree of experience. Some makers produce pretty holsters than won’t hold a gun reliably, or can’t survive a humid summer, or fall apart at the seams. Others make technically sound product that just isn’t comfortable to wear. Look for the holster maker who wears his own product.

Dennis Badurina wears his own work.
Working with leather requires a considerable investment of hardware…

…and even greater investment of experience. Most custom makers say that they took years to refine the level craft to the point where they can start inventing new functional design. Let’s look at what makes a custom holster worthwhile:

Sideguard IWB allows comfortable covert carry of a fundamentally large, heavy autopistol.
Nelson beltslide holds a 6″ 1911 so securely that the owner can comfortably jog with it on.
Dragon Leatherworks OWB had to allow for abrasive ventilated slide, and for an easy draw despite the long barrel.
Meco paddle holster had to provide secure retention for an unusually short pistol, Boberg XR9 — now, in improved form, Bond Bullpup.

All of these leather artists made designs that proved comfortable, safe and durable. A well made holster, production or custom, can last decades and will not harm the finish of your pistol. A cheaply or poorly crafted one might fall apart in a few months, endangering the user all the while. When buying an unusual handgun, budget not just for the ammunition and spare magazines, but also for a holster worth the weapon.

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