Sixguns Stocks & Scabbards: Options Aplenty!
For some shooters, purchasing a handgun represents both the beginning and the end. They’re often perfectly content to use it as is with factory grips — carrying it around in its factory box or zippered pouch. At least factory boxes have improved a lot over the past 60 years, with most handguns now coming in a sturdy, lockable plastic box. For others — call us connoisseurs if you please — we look at custom grips and leather as necessities. When I first started shooting in the ’50’s, I made my own leather and even attempted my own grips. Today we have many companies producing high-quality accessories for sixguns and semi-autos.
Steve Herrett founded Herrett’s Stocks over 50 years ago, and was succeeded by his son, Rod. Virtually any handgun can be stocked by something from the Herrett lineup, whether you choose Walnut or exotic woods, smooth or checkered finishes. Oftentimes, shooters overlook one of the best offerings from Herrett’s, namely their Detective stocks. Originally designed for J-frames, they also work exceptionally well for round-butted K-, L- and N-frame Smith & Wesson’s. They even help tame the recoil of the 4″ .44 Magnum and are especially comfortable on the K-frame Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum.
One of our latest “discoveries” is grip maker Rob Rowen of Rob Rowen Grips. Rob’s a protégé of the best grip maker ever: his fellow Virginian Roy Fishpaw. Rowen Grips offers both double-action and single-action sixgun grips, including 1-piece styles for the latter. The grips pictured are Claro Walnut on a S&W .357 Magnum Model 586 and French Walnut on a .45 Colt USFA Single Action. As you can see, the wood is absolutely exquisite; the fitting and shape of the grips is virtually perfect. Directions on how I wanted them to feel were carried out to the letter.
In those way-back days, I could spend hours looking at pictures of custom stocks. Back in the ’50’s, Elmer Keith had examples of both Kearsarge and Roper stocks in his writings; Roper himself included his designs in his book, as did Bob Nichols. Today, Keith Brown Grips offers both designs, pictured here on a pair of Smith & Wesson’s. Kearsarge replicas are found on the top sixgun, a 1950 Target .44 Special, while the Ropers adorn the bottom Pre-27 .357 Magnum. Brown’s work is a real tribute to these old-style grips.
The Ruger Shopkeeper slips easily into just about any jacket or pant pocket and, with its stainless steel finish, is well suited for a backpack or tackle box. However, the best choice for carrying is still good leather. A good sixgun needs some form of protection and should be carried so it’s easily accessible — this is where Zach Davis Leather’s OWB-QD comes in. This new design provides protection and security while maintaining a compact shape. The triggerguard is covered, and the holster is fitted with a leather thong, which serves as a safety strap when the going gets tough — ensuring perfect pocket pistol protection.
In the Old West, saddle makers produced lots of holsters. Dan Mayer of Red Rock Gunleather started out making saddles more than 30 years ago. He also offers some of the most exquisitely carved holsters I’ve ever seen, concentrating on such standards as the Tom Threepersons-style for sixguns. Dan’s version is the Red Rock 120. It takes three things to make an excellent holster: design, construction and leather quality. The Red Rock 120 excels in all three categories, as well as being beautifully carved.
I first met Mike Barranti at a Shootist’s Holiday several years ago; he was doing leatherwork part-time then. We corresponded later, and I provided him with several pictures of the old-time designs. He’s since gone full-time doing leatherwork at Mike Barranti Leather and can provide replicas of the old classics, as well as this excellent new rendition for semi-autos — appropriately named the 1911. It carries them perfectly, as well as being beautifully constructed and embellished.
By John Taffin
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/index and click on the company name.