About a year ago, I bought my first 1911 pistol, a Rock Island midsize milspec. While shopping for holsters, I found a model advertised as a “strap” holster. It’s pretty much just a strap of leather cut to size and shape to fit a particular model of handgun. A belt is threaded through it and the handgun rests in the cavity between the strap and the belt.
I’d never seen a holster like that and it interested me. I was impressed with it’s simplicity, yet it functioned as intended. After studying the photo of the holster for a few minutes, I thought “I can make that.”
I could easily have afforded the manufactured version, but I enjoy the challenge of creating something myself. I obtained a piece of 1/4 inch thick top grain cow hide from a leather worker and set out to make my own strap holster.
I started by carefully cutting the leather to three inches wide. I figured that would be wide enough for a handgun to rest in the enclosure. I laid the 1911 on my desk and pressed the strap down over it to determine where the belt slots should be cut. I found that 4 1/2 inches should work well.
I cut the strap to six inches, cut the corners to 45 degree angles to avoid dog earing and laid out the belt slots. I punched 1/4 inch holes at the ends of the slots to avoid the leather from tearing.
My design worked out perfectly. After oiling and working the piece to get it loosened, I threaded my belt through it, pulled it open and dropped my 1911 in it. It couldn’t have fit any better if a custom holster maker had made it.
Different people like their handguns to ride in the holster in different manners. The way my 1911 rides in my new strap holster suits me just fine. There’s enough retention to keep the pistol from moving, yet it’s very easy to draw from.
I’m an avid ‘coon hunter. My primary firearm is a Marlin XT-22 bolt action rifle chambered in 22LR. I like to carry a 22 revolver on my hip as a back-up handgun. Hang with me, I’m going somewhere with this.
I have an Uncle Mike’s belt slide holster that I use for my Ruger Single Six Lipsey’s Special 22 revolver. It carries the revolver well, but it doesn’t keep it as tight against my side as I would like.
Messin’ around with the strap holster one day, I wondered how the 22 revolver would ride in it. I got it out of the safe, dropped in in the holster and discovered it also fits perfectly.
On that discovery, I wondered about the other handguns I own and would they fit. I started dragging handguns out of the safe and trying them in the strap holster.
Next up for a fit test was a Polish Wanad Armory made P-83 9X18 automatic pistol. Again, personal opinion, but the pistol fit perfectly.
There’s no way this strap holster is going to fit every handgun I own. Even being Irish, my luck doesn’t run like that. Sure enough, My Ruger GP-100 proved to be a bit too big.
I would have preferred the trigger guard went a little farther into the strap. However, for just being around home or even running into town on an errand, it still fits suitably for that kind of service. I don’t think I’d want to go hunting or such out in the woods with the GP in that holster, though. The revolver just doesn’t go quite as far in as I would want for that kind of activity.
I have an old Ruger three screw Blackhawk in 357 Magnum with a 6 1/2 inch barrel. If the GP100 didn’t fit, I knew the Blackhawk wouldn’t. I discovered something that really surprised me.
The Blackhawk fits, just barely, albeit. However, with a 6 1/2 inch barrel, I have to raise my elbow rather high to get it out of the holster. Having arthritis in my elbos, that’s not user friendly.
Just out of curiosity, I tried it cross draw style.
Not only does it fit, the strap holster makes the pistol ride close to my torso. All the other holsters I have, when worn cross draw, make the butt stick out and forward. This creates too much ‘print’ in my shirt when I’m carrying concealed. Furthermore, drawing from the strap carried cross draw is very easy for me.
For a coupla’ bucks and an hour’s time, I have a holster that will carry several of my handguns. Regardless of the handgun I choose, I don’t need to worry about changing holsters. Works for me!