By Bob Campbell,
Any tool needs load bearing gear when the tool is not actually in use. The handgun must be carried in an accessible location and remain relatively comfortable while concealed. The balance of speed and retention must be retained. The handgun must be rigidly held in the holster. It cannot flop about and must be firmly attached to the belt at all times. You must be aware that the firearm is on your person. The handgun cannot be exposed to public view at any time.
I am continually surprised by individuals that show up for training with cheap, inappropriate holsters that are actually dangerous. More than one student has attended class with a good handgun and a ten dollar holster. Others have purchased holsters that are basically gimmick holsters not suitable for personal defense. Others have purchased holsters designed to be worn under the shirt or buried in the pants and never practiced the draw.
They cannot realize how poorly designed the holster is and difficult a presentation would be. A properly designed and executed holster will add to your ability to defend yourself. The handgun will be accessible and when you need to re-holster you may do so with one hand.
A holster should keep the handgun rigidly in place so that the draw is smooth and the handgun offers the same resistance to the draw each and every presentation. A concealed carry holster should not rely upon a strap to keep the handgun secure but hold the handgun by retention of the handgun’s long surfaces.
By the same token, a holster worn inside the trousers should never rely upon body compression to keep the pistol secure. A junk holster will become a chafing nuisance. Quality holsters are not inexpensive, but there are affordable products that are more than acceptable.
For hard use many professionals rely upon a thermoplastic resin called Kydex. Kydex is impervious to heat, cold, most solvents, and need only be washed with soap and water occasionally. (Grit or dirt in the holster will damage the handgun’s finish.) It is true that Kydex may cause wear on the muzzle area of the handgun and other long bearing surfaces when intensive practice sessions are undertaken. I am far more concerned with proficiency than with finish wear. In any case a tightly molded leather holster does the same thing as witnessed by holster wear on many used police revolvers. Modern pistols often feature a hard finish such as Glock’s Tenifer that doesn’t wear easily.
The holster should separate the gun from the body. The sharp edges of the handgun should not be allowed to gouge the body. The handgun should be protect-ed from corrosive body salts. It doesn’t take long for perspiration to begin to interact with the handgun’s finish. Even the Glock and a stainless Colt have small parts that are subject to rusting. I have strong demands on my gear and few holsters, handguns or ammunition meet my criteria.
During the past few months I have been testing and evaluating a pistol that Joyce calls the “Green Machine.” The Smith & Wesson Military and Police 9mm Viking Tactics edition is actually earth colored, but it looks green in certain light. And the combination fiber optic and night sights of the Viking Tactics sights are definitely green. We agreed that the pistol needed something special in the way of a holster. Since I had elected to keep this handgun and use it as a traveling gun, a first class holster was indicated. Joyce also enjoys firing this piece on the range and it is a fine home defense handgun. The pistol is very easy to use well with modest recoil. Yet, the Winchester 127-grain SXT +P+ exits the muzzle at 1249 fps. That is a lot of power in a package that weighs less than thirty ounces and carries a seventeen round magazine.
Since the pistol is a polymer frame design I opted for Kydex. I am hoping not to be so busy I cannot do IDPA this year, and the S&W 9mm and a quality holster would be ideal. I did my research and studied recommendations. The Eclipse holster that I obtained has all the good features I demand. The holster carried the pistol in a rigid manner, with good offset from the body. Retention is good. Speed is awesome! The balance of speed and retention should be equal, and each is good, but in this case the speed is brilliant.
I like this holster a great deal. I had it personalized as befits my background. The belt loops may be adjusted for a high ride or a lower ride as preferred. The owner, Jess Hazelaar, offers the holsters in a wide variety of finish. Solid colors, carbon fiber, and camo patterns are available. Remember, these are not hand painted but cut from sheets of Kydex supplied in the pattern, and understand this when ordering. Jess is knowledgeable and answers questions clearly and professionally. I was interested enough to let her take over and tell her story.
“Born and raised in Alaska, a gun loving state, I grew up around guns but didn’t discover my passion for them until just a few years ago. I began making holsters in 2012 after my search for one for my brand new S&W Shield came up empty. Having a need and desire to carry my new pistol and nothing on the market for it at the time, I decided to take matters into my own hand and I set out determined to learn the process,” Hazelaar said. “I wanted to make a concealed holster that fit women more comfortably and had the customer service where women and novices could ask questions without fear of embarrassment. That original plan quickly evolved into making duty holsters for my husband in law enforcement and close friends within the competitive shooting world.”
“Eclipse Holsters officially opened our doors for business in March, 2013. From making holsters in cold frozen outdoor sheds of Alaska to a new shop in warm Williamsburg, Virginia, my passion for making quality holsters for gun owners and competitive shooters still remains #1,” she said. “I remember placing an order for my first holster, nervous that I would be treated differently because I didn’t know ‘gun lingo’ and thought my questions might sound silly. You will never have to worry about that here at Eclipse. I am committed to providing customer service that is unmatched in this field to every single person I am blessed to encounter.”
“Along with making quality holsters, I am a spouse, full time mother of four teenagers and their biggest fan, gun enthusiast, competitive shooter and 2nd Amendment supporter,” she said. “
“While I do all of the custom work myself, I also have amazing people around me who are part of the Eclipse team. With the unfailing support of my husband and close friends we have, and still do, devote hundreds of hours into learning, developing, testing and evaluating different guns and holster designs to create a product line that proudly bears the Eclipse name. I am blessed to own my own company and have the opportunity to work with my hands creating superior, custom holsters for people all over the world.”
After a thorough evaluation the Eclipse holster is part of my ready gear. This is good kit. Craftsmanship knows many forms and now it is available in Kydex.