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  #1  
Old 07-02-2011, 12:56 PM
kelleygunleather kelleygunleather is offline
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Ultra thin IWB Holsters




Most IWB holsters are designed to be as comfortable as possible, with enough reinforcement to keep the mouth open without a gun inserted, for easy one handed holstering. Makers use leather bands that wrap around the mouth, leather patches to thicken the mouth area, and even metal bands to add stiffness. I do all of the above, except metal bands, on most of my holsters.

For IWB carry, there are a large portion of people who do not draw their weapon often, if at all. I'm one of those. I don't go to the range to do practice drills that require me to draw. I carry almost everywhere I go, and if I do remove my weapon, it will be in self defense and easy reholstering will not be on my mind. Comfort however is always on my mind when I carry. I have some pants with lots of room in the waist band, and some that are a bit tighter. It's sometimes hard to carry IWB with tighter pants.

With that in mind, I tried to make a couple of holsters that were as thin as possible. They needed to be stiff enough to provide adequate retention (which your belt adds the majority of anyway), but extremely thin and flexible to maximize comfort. So what I did was use my C-Flex design, with wide belt loop attachment points, but use 6 oz horse hide instead of cow hide. Horse hide is more dense than cow, so for the same weight you have a slightly thinner leather. I did not add any reinforcement to the mouth. The holster is stiff enough to remain open when you draw your weapon for a short time, but I would not recommend wearing it for long periods without a weapon inserted. But again, reholstering was not what this holster was designed for.

With a weapon inserted, these are over 1/8" thinner in total thickness than the same holster made from cow with reinforcement, and 1/4" thinner than a Summer Special style holster with full wrap around reinforcement.



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  #2  
Old 07-02-2011, 02:53 PM
rayban rayban is offline
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Nice looking work....and nicely written little thesis on your design...however, I do believe that if you're gonna carry, you had better practice drawing on a regular basis, and of course that means re-holstering over and over again.
An open mouth makes it more convenient.
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  #3  
Old 07-02-2011, 03:04 PM
kelleygunleather kelleygunleather is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayban View Post
Nice looking work....and nicely written little thesis on your design...however, I do believe that if you're gonna carry, you had better practice drawing on a regular basis, and of course that means re-holstering over and over again.
An open mouth makes it more convenient.
I agree with you about practice, however in reality, I think the majority of those who carry do not practice on a regular basis. I actually had a customer who requested a design like this. When he explained why he wanted a really thin holster, it kind of hit home with me too. Like I said in my original post, this type of design isn't for everyone, especially if, for whatever reason, you want the mouth of your holster to stay wide open at all times. That isn't a concern for some people, but having a thinner holster is. The mouth of these holsters will stay open when you draw, I just wouldn't recommend wearing them without a gun inserted for long periods of time. As tough and rigid as the horse hide is, it isn't as strong as a thick piece of leather with a reinforcement.

Thanks for the comments!
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  #4  
Old 07-02-2011, 03:36 PM
Bumbellybeak Bumbellybeak is offline
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..Nice looking
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  #5  
Old 07-02-2011, 03:49 PM
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Tim Burke Tim Burke is offline
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Not only do I practice, but, if I have to use my gun, I don't want the officers responding to a shots fired call rolling up on me with my gun in my hand. Someone might get the wrong idea.

I have a place to put my gun where it is immediately available, safe, and out of view. Once I no longer need it, that's where it is going.
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  #6  
Old 07-02-2011, 04:15 PM
kelleygunleather kelleygunleather is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Burke View Post
Not only do I practice, but, if I have to use my gun, I don't want the officers responding to a shots fired call rolling up on me with my gun in my hand. Someone might get the wrong idea.

I have a place to put my gun where it is immediately available, safe, and out of view. Once I no longer need it, that's where it is going.
I agree with you Tim. Again, this type of holster isn't for everyone. The mouth does stay open when you draw. It just isn't reinforced to stay open for long periods. If a person can't carry comfortably, they might not be carrying when they need a weapon. This is for someone, like the customer who originally requested it, that needs something thinner than the norm. You have to give up something to get that. But this guy didn't carry consistently because he just wasn't comfortable with his current collection of IWB holsters. This gave him the options he wanted.
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  #7  
Old 07-02-2011, 05:01 PM
Thorgrim Thorgrim is offline
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Hello Mr. Kelley,

Those are fine-looking holsters, and I am considering them seriously as my next purchase. I very much appreciate the thinness. I'm not a police officer, re-holstering is not an issue with me. If, God help me, I do have to draw, my pistol will remain in my hand until the police arrive and advise me to put it on the ground.

I do have one question/suggestion - do you offer it in an 18-20 degree cant? Because of shoulder problems I have a hard time clearing some holsters, and even the 15 degree cant doesn't tuck the butt in tight enough for good concealment with my body type. Just a little more cant would be a big improvement for me. It's a niche market, without doubt, but I find no one filling it. I tried wearing an SOB type holster as far forward as possible to avoid having the barrel over my spine, but it's too much of a good thing. If you offered a holster canted a bit more it would be a unique product with no competition that I'm aware of.
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  #8  
Old 07-02-2011, 05:17 PM
kelleygunleather kelleygunleather is offline
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Thanks for the comments.

The standard cant on this holster is 15 deg, but as with any custom maker, I can adjust that for an individuals needs. Recently, I had a customer that wanted an owb holster with 25 deg cant. It's easy to adjust the pattern to provide more or less per customer request.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorgrim View Post
Hello Mr. Kelley,

Those are fine-looking holsters, and I am considering them seriously as my next purchase. I very much appreciate the thinness. I'm not a police officer, re-holstering is not an issue with me. If, God help me, I do have to draw, my pistol will remain in my hand until the police arrive and advise me to put it on the ground.

I do have one question/suggestion - do you offer it in an 18-20 degree cant? Because of shoulder problems I have a hard time clearing some holsters, and even the 15 degree cant doesn't tuck the butt in tight enough for good concealment with my body type. Just a little more cant would be a big improvement for me. It's a niche market, without doubt, but I find no one filling it. I tried wearing an SOB type holster as far forward as possible to avoid having the barrel over my spine, but it's too much of a good thing. If you offered a holster canted a bit more it would be a unique product with no competition that I'm aware of.
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  #9  
Old 07-02-2011, 05:21 PM
HybridLycan HybridLycan is offline
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Nice, I am working on something similar. My first and still one of my most comfortable IWB holsters was super thin. I do practice and like the thinner more flexible holsters for carry. The one I use the most is a clip-able but I will be making one with loops soon. With some practice you can reholster fairly easy by instertig the weapon and then hooking your finger on your belt and pushing on the back of the slide.

I love looking at the holsters you and other pros produce. It keeps me making holsters in the hopes that one day mine will look that good!
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  #10  
Old 07-07-2011, 09:08 AM
alejandrino alejandrino is offline
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Hi ! I just bought your Ranger 2 and still waiting for it. Did you ever try to make it with a clip?? I carry my gun at the 1-2 o'clock postion.
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  #11  
Old 07-07-2011, 09:16 AM
DevilDave1911 DevilDave1911 is offline
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I have a Milt Sparks Watch Six and its a great holster. Reholstering just takes a different technique over a reinforced mouth holster but is still totally doable. Fine work your doing there....you've pretty much nailed the VMII and Watch Six in your lineup.
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  #12  
Old 07-07-2011, 10:48 AM
kelleygunleather kelleygunleather is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alejandrino View Post
Hi ! I just bought your Ranger 2 and still waiting for it. Did you ever try to make it with a clip?? I carry my gun at the 1-2 o'clock postion.
I just tracked your holster and it is at the sorting facility in Hollywood, FL. Hopefully it will be delivered today or tomorrow at the latest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilDave1911 View Post
I have a Milt Sparks Watch Six and its a great holster. Reholstering just takes a different technique over a reinforced mouth holster but is still totally doable. Fine work your doing there....you've pretty much nailed the VMII and Watch Six in your lineup.
Thanks! I appreciate it. I really like the way the front belt loop attachment point is "detached" from the top of the holster body on the VMII. The way they use a wrap around mouth reinforcement on that holster, it has to be. It creates a lot of flexibility and allows it to move and flex as a person moves or changes position. I wanted to incorporate that type of flexibility on mine, so that's why the lines resemble the VMII, especially on the front end. I have to give Milt Sparks credit for that for sure, and do give them credit for it on my website. I've been toying with the idea of making a tuckable version of that holster, but just haven't had the time to model it and produce one yet.

Mouth reinforcement and one handed re-holstering is definitely a hot topic that gets some heavy debate at times. The horsehide, non reinforcement version is just there to give people another option. Since the horsehide is so stiff, you can make a non-reinforced holster that is almost as stiff around the mouth as a reinforced cowhide. I don't think concealability changes, but the amount of leather between your belt and side does, so for some the thinner profile is beneficial.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:55 AM
alejandrino alejandrino is offline
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Yes, should be here today or tomorrow. Don't think I was doubting you. Just wanted to mention thatyou could have your holsters for front hip carry if you moved the beltclip to the middle of the holster like the others are doing. Like maybe just one clip about an inch wide and also thin. Just a thought, this way you still have the same mold but no outer belt clip. Hope you get my idea. Thanks.
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  #14  
Old 07-07-2011, 12:07 PM
kelleygunleather kelleygunleather is offline
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Originally Posted by alejandrino View Post
Yes, should be here today or tomorrow. Don't think I was doubting you. Just wanted to mention thatyou could have your holsters for front hip carry if you moved the beltclip to the middle of the holster like the others are doing. Like maybe just one clip about an inch wide and also thin. Just a thought, this way you still have the same mold but no outer belt clip. Hope you get my idea. Thanks.
That's a really good idea. I might be able to come up with a wider belt loop, or double loop, that would mount to the same post as the forward loop. That way, you could just swap out the standard loops for the wide front loop. I'll see what I can come up with. If I can design that type of loop, I'll send you one to try.
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:28 PM
tocohillsguy tocohillsguy is offline
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Hey thin is in. Seriously, I'm a big fan of the thin design. That being said Brommeland seems to have solved the reholstering issues by dipping the leather in some form of acrylic. His holsters are both thin and rigid, which allows for one handed reholstering. If you can replicate the Brommeland design I think you would have a winner.
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  #16  
Old 07-08-2011, 08:34 AM
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I like your idea of horsehide and being thin.I have been carrying IWB for so long when I started carrying there were not many options and not many stayed open after drawing.I had to make a few before I found a local guy thad made holsters for his friends and it didn't take long to learn how to re-holster when the holster collapsed but did take 2 hands.In reality a small strip of horsehide at the mouth would not make the profile more visible if it stays above the belt.Nice holsters.COLD.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:59 AM
alejandrino alejandrino is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleygunleather View Post
That's a really good idea. I might be able to come up with a wider belt loop, or double loop, that would mount to the same post as the forward loop. That way, you could just swap out the standard loops for the wide front loop. I'll see what I can come up with. If I can design that type of loop, I'll send you one to try.
I sure would like to try it! I adjusted the ranger 2 and works fine now. I still have to get used to carry at the hip as I have always used appendage carry as I find it safer from being snatched from behind and not know if it sticks put when you reach for something. Also no cant needed. Is there any way you can have the top stiff and the lower area softer?? Thanks
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:08 AM
kelleygunleather kelleygunleather is offline
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Originally Posted by alejandrino View Post
Is there any way you can have the top stiff and the lower area softer?? Thanks
Do you mean the top of the loop, where it attaches to the holster, stiff and the loops themselves softer? If so, yes, I think that can be done. I might have to use a stiffener to add rigidity to that area. I'm going to work on this over the weekend. I'll shoot you a pm if I can come up with something that might work, and send it to you for a trial.
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:44 AM
alejandrino alejandrino is offline
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Yes, the top part where the pistol goes into is just the right stiffness now but the lower would be softer as it touches the body and would feel more comfortable especially if the gun is not hostered. I do not mean really soft but maybe half of the stiffness now.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:07 AM
kelleygunleather kelleygunleather is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alejandrino View Post
Yes, the top part where the pistol goes into is just the right stiffness now but the lower would be softer as it touches the body and would feel more comfortable especially if the gun is not hostered. I do not mean really soft but maybe half of the stiffness now.
Oh, so you mean the holster body itself would be soft but the mouth of the holster would be stiff. That would be tough to do. Leather holsters are molded to fit a particular weapon. That molding process creates much of the stiffness. There really isn't a way to wet mold a holster to a gun and keep it soft. That molding and stiffness is what creates retention of the gun in the holster. For IWB carry, the belt also adds to the retention. One could make an unmolded, soft holster, and add a stiffener to the mouth to keep it open, but that would be a totally different type of holster from what I make.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:11 AM
alejandrino alejandrino is offline
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Well, your holsters are just the right thickness so maybe a really thin loop and thin fasteners would work to keep it thinner for appendage carry. I sure wouls like to see what you can come up with, though. If you do try, make it in brown.

Last edited by alejandrino; 07-08-2011 at 11:28 AM.
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  #22  
Old 07-08-2011, 11:43 AM
kelleygunleather kelleygunleather is offline
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I'll work on a wider belt loop that you can use for appendix carry. You would replace the front belt loop with this new one, and remove the rear loop. The new wider loop would mount to the same post as the front loop. You could rotate it, before tightening, to whatever cant angle you want. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alejandrino View Post
Well, your holsters are just the right thickness so maybe a really thin loop and thin fasteners would work to keep it thinner for appendage carry. I sure wouls like to see what you can come up with, though. If you do try, make it in brown.
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  #23  
Old 07-08-2011, 05:57 PM
potthawg potthawg is offline
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Thin Works for Me..

Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilDave1911 View Post
I have a Milt Sparks Watch Six and its a great holster. Reholstering just takes a different technique over a reinforced mouth holster but is still totally doable. Fine work your doing there....you've pretty much nailed the VMII and Watch Six in your lineup.
I also have a couple of MS Watch Six holsters and mine have the Alessi Dual Talon clips. I prefer them over all others I've tried. You might consider offering the Talon clips as they don't seem to be offered by MS anymore.
They make removing the holster without having to mess with threading your belt in and out.
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  #24  
Old 07-09-2011, 04:39 AM
Seamusray Seamusray is offline
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Rusty Sherrick's "Thin Man" is fairly thin. Love mine. Carried with it for years. Worth a look.
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