Shoulders And Scabbards


Gear – Holsters are as important as any other piece of gear. Don’t stop testing until you find what works for you.
Dummy pistols, replicas of your type weapon, are the best way to practice safely in any environment.

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of things, and I speak from personal experience. So, at the risk of having you guys hunt me down and hit me in the head with hammers, here’s a couple of gentle reminders of things you might have forgotten about — or maybe never even thought about.

While we’re all about concealed carry here at Handgunner, the reality for many of us is we live and work outside of suburbia and, well, there’s no reason to conceal your gun. On my property, while doing chores, I always have some sort of gun at-hand, even if it’s the rusty .22 rifle in the E-Z-GO. But when I get on-foot into the woods, I tend toward big bore revolvers or autos. And after trying all sorts of different methods, I’ve found either a cross-draw belt rig or a comfortable chest rig seems to work best for me. Guns worn in strong side belt holsters always end up getting beat up by axe handles, caught in ropes, or catch when I climb into and out of the tractor. The chest and cross-draw seem to be less intrusive.

Tauris Holsters’ chest rig is well-designed and versatile, and the holster and ammo carrier can be worn on the belt too. Nifty.

Chest Carry

The beautiful chest rig here, holding my favorite S&W Model 25 .45 Colt — done-up a bit by Bowen Classic Arms — is by Mike Taurisano (Tauris Holsters LLC). I dug up this “before” picture to use, since it’s now beat-up, scarred and scruffy, but still works fine. Actually, I like the worn look and since it’s sorta’ fit itself to my aged form, we’ve become old buds. Mike pretty much nails the concept here and can supply this idea for different fits. It keeps a gun high on your chest/side (you can adjust the specifics) and close at hand, without being in the way. You can also wear the holster as a strong-side holster on your belt, and the ammo carrier snaps on and off too.

The wild pig problem has found its way to my place from Northern Arkansas, so the odds of confronting one are increasing daily. Having a big gun along just makes sense.

Also, check out the Handgun Hunting column in this very issue to take a peek at the Diamond D chest rig, made in the great state of Alaska. The crew at Diamond D live and breathe the outdoors so know what’s needed by guides and hunters. They’ve been making the chest rig their way for years and — like Mike’s design — is great in the real world. I can recommend both rigs with 100 percent confidence. Tell them we sent you, and say hi from us.

Also by Tauris, this double-gun rig totes Roy’s 1911 and J-Frame, keeping things balanced and comfy. It’s great for winter carry.

Other Ideas

Speaking of Mike, a long time ago he made something for me I had always wanted — a double shoulder rig for a lightweight Colt Officers ACP and an S&W J-Frame on the off-side. I generally carry two guns, so this makes it easy, and the off-side J-Frame balances the Colt, while also holding a spare mag for it. During winter, I find I reach for this a lot, which is why it looks a bit worn. I find it easier to access these guns when wearing an unzipped heavy outer coat, either sitting or standing. You’d be amazed at how comfy this method can be if you take the time to get yourself measured correctly and work with the maker to get it fit right. You wouldn’t wear a 44L jacket if you were a 40R so don’t do the same with a shoulder rig.

There’s lots of fancy concealment holsters these days, with lots of technology involved with many of them. Nothing wrong with that and if something works for you, get it — and use it. But like most simple things which work, a “simple” strong side open-top scabbard-type holster still works just fine too. They’re comfortable, easy to use and learn, conceal fine in most cases and offer predictable draws.

Thad Rybka, who made these two, is perhaps the fellow who has gotten the concept of the “simple scabbard” down to the most basic elements. The one for the S&W rides at belt level, while the one for the Ruger .22 auto has a drop and rides a bit lower (great for ladies, by the way). He makes either design for about any handgun you may have. I smile every time I wear one of his rigs. You will too.

For more info: Tauris Holsters: Ph: (315) 765-0553; Thad Rybka, 2050 Canoe Creek Rd., Springville, AL 35146 (no phone).

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