Purdy Gear


This cross-draw Field Rig from Purdy Gear is simply perfectly
made in all respects. From fit and finish to comfort in the field,
Purdy Gear’s work is a benchmark.

There’s a reason Karla Van Horne’s cowboy shooting alias is “Purdy Gear,” it’s because she makes, well … purdy gear. With over 38 years of experience (she won the Al Stohlman Award for Leathercraft in 1989, the youngest recipient ever), Karla has that kind of talent that makes you think of the great masters and painting. When I first saw her work, I thought: “You can’t do that with leather!” But you can — if you’re Karla.

Karla has the artist’s eye and the skills of a master craftsman, but melds it with an understanding of the needs of someone who carries a gun. As she told me:

“I build what a customer wants, and I often take design ideas from many holsters and incorporate them into one meeting the needs of the customer.”

Being a true custom shop, Karla does the work with her own hands, so whatever your dream, she can make it happen. And don’t even get me going about her beautiful carving work. It’s over the top, done absolutely to perfection and again, left me wondering how she can do that with a natural product like leather!

I simply had to show you — the back is as beautiful as the front!
Note the quick-snap on the belt case.

Karla’s detail work is without peer.

Field Rig

After seeing her work, I asked Karla to make me something I could use in the real world, not something that would simply sit in a drawer somewhere. I wanted a rig to tote my N-frame S&W sixguns around our land. To her credit, Karla chatted with me for almost 45 minutes as she carefully figured out exactly what I was looking for in a field rig. She asked me what gun I generally carried, how it was used, did I drive any vehicles, what accessories did I want on the belt, and other carefully thought out questions. In the end, we decided I needed a cross-draw field holster, with a security strap, six loops for spare ammo and what she calls a “belt bag.” All done-up with brass fittings.

Since I took these purdy pictures, the rig has been worn mowing for two days on the tractor, on a dozen or more “patrols” I make on our land in an E-Z-Go checking fences and such, and a few trips on our ATV.

I’ve found it to be lightweight (always a trademark of good gear) and very, very comfortable. The cross-draw design keeps the gun handy but out of the way. I keep a few spare .45 Colt rounds in the loops, with a couple of shot loads from CCI. The belt case tends to keep a few band-aids, a vial of iodine and a bandage compress in it. Seems I’m always nicking or cutting something and it’s awfully handy to have those bits at hand.

A comfy field rig if there ever was one. Here my semi-constant companion,
a S&W Model 25 in .45 Colt by Hamilton Bowen, is at-hand but tucked away.

Cowboy Or Not?

You decide. Karla makes over-the-top cowboy gear of all kinds, from holsters and belts, to about every cowboy-type accessory you can dream-up. And it’s all done in her classically beautiful way. She does offer some holsters for autos, and you should call her or check out her great website for more info about that. And for more modern rigs, I like the old-west flair she can add.

Keep in mind Karla can make exactly what you want. There’s no “Gee, I wish this had been that way” when she’s finished. It’s done-up precisely how you want it. It does, however, make you stop and think hard — very hard — about just what is it you want, or need. The old adage of “measure twice, cut once” applies, so chat with Karla and I’ll bet between the two of you it will get sorted out up-front. Simply stunning gear — from a lady who knows her stuff.

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