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American Handgunner March/April 2010 - Page 40

CARRYOPTIONS Sammy Reese FROM CLASSICS TO CUTTING EDGE IN CARRY METHODS The Executive Classic and belt combo shows topquality workmanship. The coluMn ThaT alMosT Wasn’T InTernaTIonal handgun leaTher O n a monthly basis, I’m introduced to one or two new holster makers. They may not be new to making holsters or working with leather, they are just new to me. Some are referred to me by friends and readers. Others track me down here at the FMG puzzle palace, also known as the world headquarters. Often they are surprised I answer my own phone. The helicopter pad on the roof makes it difficult to hear the ringer sometimes, but I do my best. Roy prefers to fly into the office rather than drive these days. Who can blame him? It’s a pretty long commute from Missouri. I’m not sure exactly how I came to know of Ian Martin and his company International Handgun Leather, but I’m glad our paths crossed. IHL has been around since 1994 making concealment holsters and cowboy rigs. Ian and I traded e-mails and phone calls for a few days and decided to showcase two totally different styles of holsters. We are both 1911 fans and I told him of my newest carry gun, the Kahr P45 (shameless plug). You can read the feature I wrote about the gun in the latest American Handgunner Tactical Special Edition (another shameless plug). fter a few weeks had gone by and I hadn’t received the A holsters, I called Ian. He told me the package showed delivered two days prior. After some log checking, the Almost Wasn’t package wasn’t delivered here. USPS was contacted by Ian and the investigation concluded the package was delivered to the building across the street. My first attempt to find the package at the guitar manufacturing plant was frustrating. The “supervisor” of the shipping and receiving department was just a little bit high when we spoke (I’m a retired cop I know these things). “Dude, I’ll have to check around, can’t seem to find it right now.” Not wanting to crush his buzz, I told him I would be back in an hour “dude.” When I returned, the package had been found and all was right in the world. I could hear the stress in Ian’s voice disappear when I told him the good news. ’m always excited when I open packages containing holsters. It’s a lot like Christmas morning only I’m lucky, it happens many times throughout the year. The Holster for the Kahr P45 is called the Executive Classic, and it was accompanied by a vertical single carrier and a gunfighter belt. I chose tan for this rig because it’s my favorite color at the moment. And, the 1½" belt slots work best for me since I wear jeans almost everyday. I always stress the belt is the most important part of the concealed carry system. I get calls from time to time about how certain holsters “don’t work.” My first question is always “What kind of belt are you using?” I look at the belt like the foundation of a house. If it’s solid and properly designed, the house will last for years. If it’s made from poor material and not designed to carry the weight of the rest of the house, the structure won’t last very long. The Gunfighter belt is designed from the ground up for the purpose of supporting holsters and magazine carriers. IHL got this one right. The Kahr isn’t very heavy to begin with, but it rode comfortably all day in the Executive Classic. More Than I expecTed I sharkskin T The Combat Slide and matching mag pouch held a Thunder Ranch special easily. he sharkskin Combat Slide and accompanying sharkskin vertical carrier are designed to accept 1911 style pistols from 3-5" and longer, I suppose, since the bottom of the holster is open. I wrote about my current favorite being simple tan leather holsters. Looking at and wearing the black sharkskin rig has caused me to change my mind some. The holster and mag carrier are beautiful to look at and functional as well. My full sized, all steel, Thunder Ranch Special, Commander length Comanche and Officers model all rode comfortably in the Combat Slide. If you have an addiction to the 1911 in all its shapes and sizes, the Sharkskin Combat Slide is the holster for you — many guns = one holster. If you’re as picky about your belts and holsters as I am, you won’t be disappointed in the quality and craftsmanship of the IHL products. For more info: * 40 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MARCH/APRIL2010

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