And to double your dose of gun porn today… about a month back, I teased you with a close-up picture of… something. Dirtcrashr had a very close guess, but he missed on part of it. Today, you get the rest of the picture… of something else:
Strictly speaking, that is not the same, exact item that I took the close-up picture of last month… but it is, pretty much, the same thing.
The long story made short is that I purchased an outside-the-waistband holster from Little Bear Custom Holsters (specifically a “Small Hoplon“) about two months back, with the request that it be made for my PPS, it have a black leather body, and blue-grey stingray accents. About a month after the order, I received a holster, went to test it with my PPS, and promptly realized that there was almost no retention of the handgun at all – when I rotated the (empty) handgun and holster upside down, the PPS just about fell out on its own, and a single shake was all it took to dislodge it completely.
I gave Dave (the proprietor of Little Bear) a quick phone call and email, and after a lengthy conversation concerning the construction of holsters, how everything fits together, and where the tension is (and should be) generated, he signed off with a promise to make me a new working holster, at no cost, this time with a little different design and 100% horsehide rather than cow leather (check out this explanation for the differences). Once the problem was isolated, he had no hesitation, whatsoever, about replacing the holster, and even refused my offers to return the old one to him so we still came out even.
About three weeks later, the above holster arrived.
So what is the difference between that holster and the one I first received? Well, take a look at these pictures:
The biggest difference, and the reason (I think) the new holster works and the old one did not, is that the stingray skin no longer covers the trigger-guard indent, which is pretty much where most of Dave’s holster’s tension is created. Stingray, while looking great and being damned-near bulletproof (it has a tendency to destroy sewing needles, from what I understand), does not hold a form in the slightest, and actually ended up pulling the leather back up out of the indent, reducing its grip on the gun. On the newer holster, Dave corrected this before-unencountered problem, and created an even larger indent on the front and back, ensuring that the PPS locks in place and does not come out – and, honestly, I have not been able to shake, jimmy, or rattle the handgun out of the holster yet. Additionally, the horsehide is a little thicker and a lot stiffer than the cow leather, and had a slightly different finish on it (the old holster is really that much more shiny). Finally, Dave took a little more material out around where my middle finger grasps the grip, allowing me to hold on better when drawing (I got spoiled with my first holster, which leaves around a solid inch available there).
The end verdict? Well, I have only had the newer holster for about a week now, so my view on it may change over time as things break better into place. However, it carries the PPS quite comfortably in the 3:30-4:00 position, it is easily more comfortable than my inside-the-waistband holster from HBE Leatherworks (but comparing comfort levels of IWB and OWB is not exactly fair), its passive retention is amazingly strong and it locks into place with an audible snap (despite having no active locking system), and it looks pretty darned good. Even though it is an OWB holster, a single shirt untucked over it conceals it and my pistol perfectly, without any printing (for reference, I measure at about 75 inches and 170 pounds, though I tend to wear comfortable (read: ‘loose’) clothing), and yet, due to the ride hight, it is relatively easy to get to. Stitching is doubled-up where it needs to be (or would help), and both the horsehide and stingray skin are well-edged and relatively well formed. Summation: a good, solid holster that was worth the money, and looks pretty darned good, actually.
Additionally, I have to give Dave a good amount of credit for taking note of a customer’s dissatisfaction with one of his products, sitting down with the customer to isolate the problem, and then replacing the defective product, no questions asked, once it became apparent that repair was not an option. That kind of customer service should be standard for all industries these days, but, sadly, it is not, and Dave definitely deserves recognition for it. As for the faulty first holster, I honestly think it was due to the stingray’s inability to hold demanding shapes, and was a problem he had never encountered before (being a relatively new holster fabricator), and I never would have thought of. The first holster being disfuctional is a ding, but the efforts to which Dave went to correct it more than compensate for it – in the end, a two-month turn-around for a custom, exotic-skinned holster really is quite good these days.
In short and in closing, based on the quality of the end product and his dedication to his customers, I cannot help but to recommend Dave at Little Bear Custom Holsters for the leather-cladding needs of your firearms – he may be new, he may be small, and he may not have the name recognition of some of the “big” fabricators; but he is affordable, he is enthusiastic, he is remarkably dedicated to customer satisfaction, and his end products are worth their costs. Works for me.
More pictures (all pictures are clickable to big-ize):
--Download outside the belt as PDF --