Carry Options DeSantis OWB Season Leather


That section molded below the slide contains the GRD (Gunhide Retaining Device).
Think polymer “tongs” to grab the front of the trigger guard.

Winter is here, so for me, it’s outside-the-waistband (OWB) carry season — at least some of the time. While I generally make more use of Kydex for IWB carry here in the humidity capital of the world (leather can get sticky on the draw when moist, and yes, I hate that word), the cooler months offer an opportunity to easily conceal a full-size pistol with classic OWB leather.

Three of my favorite carry pistols are the Staccato C2, Springfield Armory SA-35 Hi-Power and Springfield Armory 4″ EMP Ronin 1911. All have some weight, and none are what one would describe as a micro-compact, so they’re great candidates for evaluating some sturdy leather gear. I decided to try three different OWB leather options from DeSantis Gunhide.

Variable GRD

The GRD is a bit of a hybrid, although your handgun will enjoy the (nearly) full benefit of a shaped leather interior.

The belt loops are made from polymer (available for 1.5″ and 1.75″ belts), which attach to the leather body with screws. Extra holes allow you to adjust the ride height by about 3/4″. As the extra holes are only on the leading side, this also tweaks the cant angle.

Two neat things about this model. It’s a fit leather holster, but it includes a set of polymer or Kydex “jaws” inside, which lock onto the trigger guard, aiding retention. When you holster, you’ll hear and feel a solid “click,” letting you know everything is right. It’s also completely and properly ambidextrous — just mount the belt clips on the other side. Everything, down to the reinforced mouth for one-handed re-holstering, is identical on either side.

I’m using this one with the SA-35 Hi-Power, but it’s available for various 1911-type and polymer service pistols.

The Speed Scabbard is a minimalist design and remains thin and comfortable
without the reinforced mouth. It does a marvelous job of supporting this Staccato
C2 with an optic.

Speed Scabbard

DeSantis markets this one to “meet the needs of plainclothes professionals preferring a holster without a thumb break while still providing firearm retention.” I disagree … sort of. Yes, it will meet those needs, but it’s also an excellent option for general concealed carry use.

Admittedly a personal preference issue, I generally prefer a “no thumb snap” fit too, and the high ride of this model makes it very easy to conceal even a larger gun like the Staccato C2 with a mounted optic with ease. The precisely boned leather provides a tight fit with natural friction retention. Some models also have a retention screw. The Staccato model does not, nor is it needed. There’s also some variance between models for different gun fits. All have 13/4″ belt loop cuts, but some models have a third slot for cant angle adjustment or cross-draw use.

The Thumb-Break Mini Slide fits every rail-less 1911 Tom has handy
and offers both retention adjustment and a thumb-break flap.

Thumb-Break Mini Slide

For the Springfield Armory EMP 4″ Ronin 9mm 1911, I elected to go with the Thumb-Break Mini Slide. Yeah, I know, I just stated I “generally” prefer holsters without a thumb break. In my case, the “generally” leaves me wiggle room for those times when I’m puttering around outdoors doing projects, riding my mountain bike, or any other activity likely to involve lots of moving around and bumping into things. In those cases, that thumb-break system provides peace of mind that your gun won’t run away from home.

As the name implies, this one is an open-bottom design, so the muzzle length doesn’t matter. As I’m using the 1911 fit, it works fine, not just with my 9mm EMP but equally well with a 10mm Springfield Armory 1911 Ronin and a .45 ACP Springfield Armory TRP 1911. With all three models, the snap cover is cut generously enough that I don’t have to resort to leather stretching contortions to fasten the snap-equipped flap between the cocked hammer and frame. So, yes, for pistols designed to be carried cocked and locked, the snap design also provides a bit of extra insurance preventing an unplanned hammer fall.

This all-leather model is equipped with two 13/4″ belt loop slots, placed to provide a moderately aggressive forward cant angle. A retention screw allows you to adjust the primary retention resistance supplementing the security provided by the thumb break. You can order it in black or tan leather.

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