Archive for the Concealment Category

Ruger SP101 – Hogue Monogrip

Posted in Concealed Carry Weapons, Concealment, Gun Safety, Self Defense with tags , , , , , , on July 19, 2010 by The Armed Texan

I’ve been meaning to write this for some time.  My favorite carry revolver (usually when I need super deep concealment), is my Ruger SP-101.  It’s a great weapon.  You can read the review here.  It’s a fantastic revolver that is built like a tank.  It has never failed me in any way, and despite jeers from my fellow CHL Instructor applicants for using such a small revolver for the instructor range qualification, I scored nearly perfect on the range with it for my qualification (and that was using .357 Magnum loads instead of .38 Special because at the time I could not find any DPS approved ammunition in anything other than .357 Magnum).

Anyway, that brings my to my point, the ONLY negative thing I can say about this gun is it’s factory grip.  It’s horrible for several reasons:

  • It is too short causing my pinky to hang off the bottom (and half of my ring finger too)
  • It is too shallow (the distance between the backstrap and the front strap).  This causes an uncomfortable grip, and slower target re-acquisition for me as opposed to a more full style grip.  This is even more pronounced when shooting a .357 Magnum cartridge instead of .38 Special.
  • The retaining screw (screw that secures the grip onto the frame) instead of being recessed or at least flush with the side of the grip, sticks out completely, and the plastic around it has a rather sharp edge to it.  This causes it to seriously wear the inside of your palm.  It’s very easy to have a blister after only 50 rounds through this gun.

Based on these facts, it became clear that what I needed was a better grip.  I had thought about some beautiful wooden grips to compliment this gun, and while the look would certainly suit me, this isn’t a show piece, it’s a carry weapon, and what I really wanted was a solid grip that would allow me to retain control of my firearm as well as possible in an emergency situation.  Therefore I settled on Hogue Monogrips.  These are fantastic.  It is as if Hogue manufactured these grips using my hand as a model.  The finger grooves make the grip infinitely more stable, they fit my hand perfectly, and my pinky no longer hangs off the bottom.  I had read several horror stories about people having difficulties installing them on the Ruger SP-101.  I don’t know why that was but I had mine replaced in less than 5 minutes with no issues whatsoever.  In fact I was all set to do a write-up on the install, but it was so easy it seems pointless.  Admittedly the instructions that came with the grips were a bit lacking; however, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Here are a few before / after photos to illustrate the differences.

Ruger SP-101 with Factory Grip

Ruger SP-101 with Factory Grip

In this photo, this is my revolver as it was shipped from the factory.  You’ll notice how narrow the grip is from front to back when compared with the Hogue Monogrip.  This reduced my accuracy considerably.  It also led to a less than ideal grip stability.

Ruger SP-101 with Hogue Monogrips

Ruger SP-101 with Hogue Monogrips

As you can see in this image the grip has finger grooves and no side screw, and it is much wider than the factory grip.

Ruger SP-101 Grip Comparison

Ruger SP-101 Factory Grip Compared to Hogue Monogrip

This is a photo illustrating the grips next to each other.  This really illustrates how much taller the grip is, allowing for your entire hand to have a firm grasp of the firearm.

Conclusion

The rubber grips may not be as beautiful as a quality wooden grip, but for a weapon that I entrust the with safety of myself and my family, it’s the function rather than the beauty that I prioritize.  I can say with utmost confidence that if you are looking for a quality grip that will improve your accuracy, comfort, and looks of your revolver, then you cannot go wrong with the Hogue Monogrip.

Well folks, that’s all for now, and remember to always watch your six!

SmartCarry Review

Posted in Concealment on June 25, 2010 by The Armed Texan

Design:

I have been meaning to write this review for quite some time.  I purchased this item several years ago as my second attempt at concealed carry.  The holster itself is fairly simple in design.  It is a cloth holster with elastic nylon webbing straps that wrap around your waist and velcro together.  The main pouch (for lack of a better word) contains two separate compartments.  One is designed for the weapon, and the other is designed for a spare magazine.  They do have a higher end model that contains a 3rd compartment for holding money, keys, etc.  The holster is available in a wide array of gun and waist sizes.  As far as concealed carry products go, it is relatively inexpensive.

SmartCarry Holster

Comfort

The holster is very comfortable to wear, and effectively conceals anything I’ve tried to use.  Mine is a small one that accommodates my Ruger SP-101 perfectly.  I’ve also used it effectively with my Springfield Armory XD 9mm sub-compact and my Wilson Combat ADP.  Comfort is based on the tightness with which it is applied.  If you make it too loose, then it will not stay put as well.  This isn’t too big of a problem if you’re wearing jeans; however, if you’re wearing loose shorts or nylon workout pants (or similar), this will make it uncomfortable as it shifts around.  For me, the less a weapon moves the more comfortable it is.  Getting the tightness level correct just takes some practice.  I have gotten it down now to where it is very comfortable for me, and I can get it on in just a matter of seconds.

Quality

The holster is made only of cloth which I knew before ordering one.  That said, the only problem I’ve had is with the velcro at the corner of one of the straps coming unstitched.  A few seconds under my wife’s sewing machine fixed that problem up.  It’s been fine ever since.  When it gets dirty I can easily throw it in the wash and it comes out looking brand new.  I’ve had no issues with Rust on my guns as a result of perspiration.  The holster is supposed to incorporate some type of moisture barrier to prevent that, and it must be effective since that hasn’t been an issue.  The holster causes absolutely no wear on the gun whatsoever.  Clearly this type of holster will never last as long as a custom leather or kydex holster; however, it’s a fraction of the price of one of those others.  That said, mine is now 3 years old and looks brand new!

Effectiveness

The real beauty of this holster is the deep concealment it provides.  There simply is no comparison from any other product.  It literally disappears when I put it on.  I’m not one that worries about “printing” or a “bulge” on my hip since most people are completely oblivious to anyone other than themselves, but there are times when I would prefer a slightly deeper concealment either because of a wardrobe requirement or the location where I’ll be going.  If I’m wearing dress slacks, I usually have my SmartCarry on underneath them because my dress belts simply aren’t rigid enough to support a weapon comfortably, and the SmartCarry requires no belt at all.  It is also perfect for working out.  The only downside to it is that the draw is markedly slower than drawing from an IWB (In-Waist-Band) holster on your hip, and if you’re seated the draw can be even slower.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that I wouldn’t consider my holster collection complete without one of these beauties, but I wouldn’t want this for my every day carry solution either.  For times when deep concealment is needed, or when your clothes don’t really support a more traditional concealment holster, this can be an invaluable asset.  The truth is that there simply is not a single solution to concealed carry.  An effective concealed carry regimen will consist of multiple holsters, weapons, and clothes to help facilitate all situations you may encounter.  I hope this helps you decide if the SmartCarry is right for you.

Well folks, that’s all for now, and remember to always watch your six!

D.M. Bullard Dual Carry Holster Review

Posted in Concealment on June 24, 2010 by The Armed Texan

I am the proud owner of two of Mr. Bullard’s Dual Carry holsters.  I have one for my XD 9″ subcompact, and I have one for my Glock 30.  The Glock 30 holster is a slightly newer design that has the added mouth reinforcement for easy, one-handed re-holstering.  Other than that, the two holsters are identical.  I must say that the craftsmanship on these holsters is outstanding.  I haven’t had a single negative thing to say about them.  Both of these weapons are fairly thick, and they are slightly more difficult to conceal than other firearms.  Despite that, the Dual Carry holster makes them virtually disappear.  I do not have to wear crazy Hawaiian shirts, photography vests, etc.  They disappear with even a regular plain t-shirt.  The holster is also super comfortable.

When I first ordered my holster, Mr. Bullard only had the black metal clips (shown below).  I didn’t care for these as much, but he now offers an optional belt loop option (shown above).  I highly recommend this option, as it makes the holster more comfortable, and ensures that you don’t accidentally pull it out on a draw.  I have since ordered two sets of those belt loops so I can put them with both holsters.  The problem I had with the metal clip was that it folded out at the bottom and sliced a hole through one of my shirts.  Not a big deal, but I find the loops just an all around better choice.

DM Bullard Dual Carry Holster with Clips

DM Bullard Dual Carry Holster with Clips

Pros:

  • Super Comfortable – I can’t say enough about this, it goes on when I get up, and comes off before bed.  I literally cannot even tell it’s there.
  • Very Concealable – Even a wide framed gun like an XD or Glock easily disappears.
  • Very High Quality – I wear this holster every day for over a year now with no noticeable wear on the holster.
  • Excellent Retention – The gun is tight enough that I had to break it in a bit, but I have no problems drawing when I need to.
  • Reinforced Mouth – I can easily re-holster with one hand with either version, but the strap pictured in the top photos on the mouth does help to prevent collapsing.
  • IWB/OWB – This holster can be worn OWB; however, I have never tried this.
  • Tuckable – My mounting the belt loops or clips correctly, this holster can be tuckable.  I don’t normally do this; however, I have, on occasion tried it to great effect.
  • Form – Perfectly conforms to my weapon, just as a custom holster should
  • Cost – approximately $70.00 – Most custom holsters go for significantly more, and the quality of this one is top notch.
  • Wait Time – I ordered one about 6 months ago for my Glock, and at the time the wait was only about 3 weeks.  Many holster manufacturers are experiencing over an 18 month wait.

Cons:

  • The only negative thing I could come up with is that the screws on the belt loops tried to work loose a few times, but I put a small drop of clear nail polish on the threads and this fixed it right up.  I can still unscrew the screw if I need to but it no longer works loose.

Conclusion:

I cannot stress enough how pleased I am with these holsters.  I will definitely be buying one for my Ruger SP-101 that I recently purchased.  I would have no reservations whatsoever recommending Mr. Bullard’s holsters to anyone looking for a custom concealment holster.  I have not tried anything other than the Dual Carry; however, I plan to in the near future.  I also plan to order one of his belts to go with my rig.

Well folks, that’s all for now, and remember to always watch your six!