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smokycity

Holster rig questions

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Hello all.  This is my first post here.  So, let me introduce myself.  I currently don’t shoot or participate in any type of CAS/SASS.  I am a long time shooter and firearms enthusiast.  My background is in law enforcement.  I started when revolvers were still standard issue.  I feel fortunate that I was taught combat revolver before the transition to semi-auto pistols in the 1990s. About 15 years ago I started collecting police revolvers, mostly four inch S&W K/L-frames with a few N-Frames and Colts.

 

Having said that, I have recently purchased my first single action revolvers and a lever action rifle.  I bought them more out of a desire to have the adult versions of toys I had as a kid. I bought the Henry Big Boy “all weather” in .357.  It shoots well and is easy to use.  I have since read that Henry isn’t the most “authentic” or true to history rifle for the SASS sport.  But, I wanted that particular rifle because it looked just like a toy rifle I had as a kid, made a company called Marx.  The two revolvers are also in .357 (a blued Ruger Vaquero and a stainless Uberti El Patron) and are also reminiscent of childhood toys.  I chose .357 to simplify calibers and to have the cross-platform rifle with my more modern revolvers.    

 

So, now it’s time to get gun leather for them.  Perusing the various websites, I have come to the conclusion, buying western gun leather is very much like buying police duty leather.  The belts are very similar and holster ride varies just like current day leather.  I can get a semi customizable belt, choose a holster style, add all the accessories, like ammo slides, and place them where they make the most sense for me.  Or, I can get what is sort of a “standard issue” movie type where things like the ammo loops have a set location.   I have been looking at both custom made and what I refer to as “off the rack.”  In the LE world most leather is off the rack (where I work issues Gould & Goodrich belts/pouches and Safariland holsters).  My problem is I don’t know of any stocking dealers of western gun leather in my local area where I can go to pick/choose and compare the various products.

 

I was wondering, from those who participate in the sport, what you think about “Triple-K” brand as a starter or entry rig?  It seems this brand is one of the bigger off the rack types for SASS sports.  I like their designs.  They also make modern police duty gear, but I don’t have any experience with them.  El Paso Saddlery is another brand I’ve looked at as an off the rack.    I want to get something that is a decent quality, can hold up to some use if I decided I want to give CAS/SASS a try but, doesn’t break the bank on a “maybe” venture into a new sport.  (I’ve been playing phone tag with the local club to find out when their next shoot day is and to ask if I can attend as a spectator) From there, if I really liked the sport, I would look at upgrading to a custom or semi-custom rig from say Mernickle or Kirkpatrick, for example.  

If you’ve read this far, thank you.  And, thank you in advance for any insight or advice.
 

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i have tripple K for my 22s , i wanted a good quality entry level for my grandkids to use and outgrow , 

 

i also have galco rigs - much like the other "off the shelf's" they are line and serve well , if you will be getting into this to excel get good leather - the mernickle and kirkpatrick are great , there are many local custom makers all over the country that will build you what you want , 

 

its all in what you intend to do - but do not start cheap if you intend to get serious , better to overbuy and shoot into them as you go rather than spend multiple times accumulating boxes of rigs you will not get your money back out of ----just my 2 cents , i enjoy my galcos im not going to be the fastest at any match ever again , 

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Welcome Smoky, retired LEO here too. Before you buy your rig read the SASS handbook on cotume categories and the firearms and holster styles that are right for each category. Then post in the classified section what you are looking for. We all have the "Box of holsters" here, just like you do with years of LE accumulation. he bunch here is great and will really help you out.

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obviously i am partial to Mernickle but in reality there are a couple of things to consider.

1 your style if your not sure of what style you want to shoot do what DeaconKC said and look in the book find out all your options. 

2. talk to fellow shooters and see what they were and why? that makes a HUGE difference to get first hand experience.

3. One of our company motto's is "We want to be your second holster first".... Exactly that, dont settle for something like triple K (good leather just not cowboy leather for sass) then have to upgrade much sooner that you expected.  We offer great starter sets all that will last you a life time. 

 

Hope my two cents helps (no this was not as shamless plug) just honest answers.

 

H.Wolf

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Go to a few shoots and talk to people. You will hear of many good leather makers, but don't worry about that, just try and decide what style of holster you will be going with based on your style of shooting. Most quality makers will be able to accomodate you, but it would be a shame to spend more than a few hundred dollars and find it won't work for you because you were a bit impatient. FWIW, I wouldn't buy the triple K leather, not a good long term choice for what we do.

   And you won't find anybody who will have a big selection of off the shelf for you to peruse, just the nature of SASS shooting, as everyone has different priorities/taste in leather.  No real standard like in police work, where everyone had the same belt, cuff pouches and dump pouch/speedloader pouch. The only real choices were in the holster and how many retention devices you wanted to put up with. I was also in during the revolver period, but carried an auto off-duty.

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I'm a fan of Triple K for the following reasons.

 

My first handgun of any kind was a Pietta 1851 Navy Colt.  I wasn't active in SASS then, and had no idea what kind of shooting/carrying I would do long term.  I bought two Triple K holsters (I think they were "Hickock Slim Jim models), each one costing less than the cost of a monthly SASS match.  I later bought a right handed custom made three loop holster when I got a 7.5" 1873 SAA clone.  I soon ordered a matching left side holster for my other 1873, but the maker is having several issues keeping him from delivering.  So I bought another Triple K in a closer style to sort of match until the custom one is ready.

 

Now that I'm shooting SASS matches, I'm thinking of getting shorter-barrelled pistols and a slightly different style holster to make drawing and handling a bit smoother.  

 

I'm glad I didn't spend a couple hundred on custom holsters that won't be used.  Unless you really know what you'll be using long term, then the longevity of the holsters is a moot point.

 

A good alternative is to Join SASS and get to know the shooters around the country through the SASSWire.  I bet there are pards here would would sell you a used rig, or even loan you one to try out, if you can't get to a shoot near you.  If you buy used, it probably already depreciated and you can re-sell it if you go a different direction.

Edited by Diamond Jake

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Thanks for the replies.  I became interested in the idea of SASS when a friend told me he is going to participate in a Wild Bunch shoot (too bad he lives in another state, I'd go watch him in that event).   I haven't bought anything yet.  I figured I go to the experts before I do and ask.  I do plan to attend a few shoots before I decide.  I also have a phone number, I got from a local gun store that is a big Uberti dealer, for a local holster maker.  

 

I have been reading the rules for SASS, so when I do make my selections they will comply with them.  I also want to develop a rough outline for the character/persona I would be portraying and base my choices on that character.  The costuming part seems like it would be fun to put together.  I'm a history buff (mostly WWII) and want to learn more about the old west period.  If, the historical period is supposed to be the mid to late 1880's, I thought about making the character a Civil War veteran and using a Civil War style belt as a base for the holsters.  But, I also like the idea of using a River or Border Patrol style belt too.  I'm not sure about the Buscadero style, even though it is the classic 1950's movie style belt.  If SASS ever decided to do a "Adam-12" 1960s/70s type competition; to quote Doc Holiday in Tombstone, "I'm your Huckleberry."

 

I like the idea of a crossdraw for my second pistol, mainly because my two guns aren't a matching pair (I would also want a non matching holster to my primary to give the impression that they were acquired at different times).  I also realize there are strict rules on that type of holster, for the obvious muzzle sweep safety factor.   I have lurked here for a little while and read that some started with a crossdraw, then went to two strong side holsters and found they did better in the competitions.  I also need to still get a proper style shotgun.

 

 

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Welcome to the fire!  You won't go wrong buying quality leather gear, and you might find that your

style and your comfort level requires different leather for different days.

 

Once you settle in your own mind how you want to go - whether it be 'psuedo"-historical , or Hollywood Cowboy, double straight,

cross draw, etc. etc. then you can really shop around.  I've used rigs from El Paso Saddlery for years for comfort, switched to

Alfonso's of Hollywood for a Paladin rig, and am looking at Mernickle as well. 

 

I've attached a web site that lists many leather makers, but it's dated, more have come into the game, others have left!

https://pistolsmith.com/holsters-belts/21725-compiled-list-holster-makers.html

 

There's no real way to use a shoulder style holster.

 

My Paladin rig is steel lined and provides for the long gun buscadero style and the short gun cross draw.

I also have a double Paladin rig but it's set up for two short guns.

 

 

IMG_4117-1.jpg

IMG_4118-1.jpg

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Welcome Smoky City.  There are many quality makers out there.  Stick with quality.  The best advice you got above was to visit your local club and talk to the people there.  They will know of makers in your area.  Maybe even members of the club will be makers.  Don't be afraid to buy used quality stuff to start out.  Members of the local club can point you in the right direction.  If any of the clubs in your area schedule swap meets, that could be a good place to start.  Look at the classifieds here  too.  

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Howdy, nice to make your acquaintance.  As some of respondents mentioned get to some matches and look around.   Also, if you have a Cabelas/BassPro store, or other outdoor store in your area, check them out as they do have some western style holsters.  Up here in MN the local Cabelas had mostly Triple K rigs, which are not a bad way to start as they are more affordable than custom made rigs.  

 

There are some really good holster makers out there; I still have, and occasionally use, a Mernickle rig that Bob, the original owner, made for me while he still lived in Canada.  Most of my rigs were made for 7 1/2 " barrels, but now I shoot revolvers with 5 1/2 inch barrels, and even though they will fit in the longer holsters, I have complete sets of newer rigs in the appropriate barrel length.

 

Good luck.

 

Tex

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Go to some matches before you purchase any more equipment. You can see what others are using and ask questions. Most likely you will have someone suggest you try their rig or firearms after the shot is over. Some actually bring extra firearms, ammo and rigs to loan new shooters to shoot in the match.

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Howdy and welcome..

From reading yer post yer an old frustrated kid.. (Just like us):huh:

You dream of the toy guns you had as a little kid.. (Just like us):huh:

You have yer favorite cowpokes like Roy & Gene.. (Just like us):huh:

 

Ya might read up on the Classic Cowboy or the B Western catagories..

Cuz they are gonna have requirements of gun leather, guns, costuming..

 

Like some have said.. Go to a match to look and see.. Touch and feel..:rolleyes:

Yes.. Those other cowpoke shooters will let you touch and feel all their Shootin' irons.. :D 

Probably offer to let you shoot them.. :blink:

 

When ya go to a match.. To watch and learn.. Notice the pards not shooting too.. (They're called yer Posse);)

They'll be busy helping other shooters shoot the stage..

Don't get in the shooters way but help the posse..

 

Figure out the game (class) ya want to play and THEN..:wacko:

BUY ALL THE GUNS YA CAN!! :wacko::huh: Trade in some of them there

police firearms.. Yer retired ain't cha..:blink: JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET!!

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin' just some friendly advice.. 

Oh yeah..:huh: the class ya pick ta shoot may determine what

kinda holster  rig ya want..:D

 

 

 

Edited by Rance - SASS # 54090
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I have a set of Triple K's. Have used them for years. Inlike them. No they are not custom leather, but they have given me good service.

 

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If you really want to go awfulthentic with your leather start out by building your rig around a good original style belt.  the easiest way to do this is find a two inch wide belt, color will not matter, but make sure it is a bit long (with extra knife punched holes, for fit) and has a simple brass buckle.  Get one of the guys who also frequent CW skirmish events to put you on some original style cavalry holsters, preferably one flap style confederate and one flap style union versions.  Now I would recommend cutting the flaps off the two newly acquired holsters and dragging them behind a bike for a mile or so over grassy/soft terrain.  This will probably be a lot closer to what most out west types carried their guns in back during the day.  ME, I think I will stick with my beautiful, though plain version of a California style Slim Jim rig.  Though I usually prefer the cap and ball revolvers, these style holsters actually remained very popular amongst some of the old timers back in the day.     

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On 9/13/2020 at 6:14 PM, Rance - SASS # 54090 said:

Howdy and welcome..

From reading yer post yer an old frustrated kid.. (Just like us):huh:

You dream of the toy guns you had as a little kid.. (Just like us):huh:

You have yer favorite cowpokes like Roy & Gene.. (Just like us):huh:

(snip)

 

 Yer retired ain't cha..:blink: JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET!!

 

 

 

 

 

Yes to the first three.  Not quite to the last. ( I retired, but got bored and went back to work.. Just at a much smaller and quieter place. ) 

 

Thanks all for the replies.  I'm going to a shoot this coming weekend to watch and learn.   

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