Simply Rugged Holsters: Born in Alaska, Ready for Anything


Simply Rugged Holsters: Born in Alaska, Ready for Anything

Gun writers attending the Outdoor News America conference in Dallas on October 11-12, 2022, heard from one of the country’s principal creators of leather holsters for backcountry and concealed carry. His name is Rob Leahy, and he’s the creative force behind Simply Rugged holsters.

The presentation was full of real-world Alaskan stories, ranging from a face-off with a charging grizzly to an unplanned dunk in the Bering Sea. Leahy and some of his customers have been there, done that, and in many cases proven that a great holster is part of a good wilderness survival plan. Leahy has whittled his designs down to what works for survival in the face of all sorts of dangers on two or more legs. “I don’t like snaps or straps in my way,” he explained. Simply Rugged holsters are formed from leather that’s strong enough and formed still enough to make a hollow sound when tapped on, with retention that’s built-in thanks to their shape or, including pocket models that allow the user to obtain a grip while keeping a handgun concealed.

A sampling of Simply Rugged pocket holsters

Simply Rugged holsters are made of American Hermann Oak leather as well as exotic leathers. “Think about prey species—elephant, cape buffalo; that skin needs to be lion-resistant,” said Leahy. “I use ostrich too; people want it because it’s pretty, but I prefer a stronger hide.” Some designs are plain; others are two-tone, a way to create both visual appeal and make use of scraps, he explained.

Leahy’s best-selling model is the pocket holster, starting at $35, but he is more fond of other products, like the Chesty Puller (base price $70), a chest harness named after his military hero. It pairs with other Simply Rugged models and allows for solid carry and a fast draw of a big revolver. This battle-proven setup is a starring character in Leahy’s water survival experience.

Assorted Sourdough Pancake holsters. The one on the left is Leahy’s personal IWB holster.

Then there’s the Sourdough, a pancake design with three belt slots that can be worn inside or outside the waistband with a straight drop or canted. Base price is $80. “Sourdough” is a complimentary moniker, Leahy explained, for a mountain man who’s proven himself in the outdoors, including his ability to make sourdough, perhaps the ultimate comfort food in the wilderness.


This is but a sampling of the many products available from Simply Rugged. Leahy concluded his presentation with a nostalgic turn, informing us writers that years ago, his company took its name from the description of his holster in a product review from legendary gun critic Jeff Quinn, now deceased. Jeff’s brother Boge, representing their business, was in the conference audience, carrying on the Gublast tradition of down-to-earth gun and gear reviews.

The Simply Rugged brand combines old-world craftsmanship and toughness.

Cover photo:  Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged displays the lever gun butt cuff cartridge holder/cheek support he makes, based on a design by Andy Larsson, co-owner of Skinner Sights, also represented at the conference. 

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Eve Flanigan is a defensive shooting and armed security practitioner/instructor who lives in the American Southwest. She is the author of "Ready to Defend: Tips for Living the Armed Lifestyle," and is a contributor to numerous gun-related blogs and print publications.

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