Holster in depth – OWB Holsters

So I had a request to give a somewhat broad description of the different OWB holsters I’ve designed over the years and how I see them being used.

So the current list of OWB holsters, Crossroads, Overpass, Badwater, Overland, Appalachian, and Classic Tom Threepersons. That’s a fair amount of holsters however I’m going to group some by concept here going forward to break them down in groups more less. The Crossroads, Overpass and Badwater are all based on a pancake design so those will be discussed together. The Overland and Appalachian are based on the Bruce Nelson Professional design also known as the Avenger from other makers. And the Tom Threepersons holster pretty much stands alone on my current designs, I do however have plans for more rigs within this “classic” series of sorts I’d call it, which is my take on more traditional designs.

Alright so pancake designs we’ll go chronologically. The Crossroads holster was my first OWB holster design, and still dang good. You’ll find more often than not that when I design a holster I aim for a large capable design first then fill in the more niche designs from there. So the Crossroads is my most versatile OWB holster. It works for concealment and it’s comfortable and being a strong side hip holster it works for most people. It’s a great option still 9 years later despite my newer releases.

Next up is the Badwater holster, this design was intended to be a replacement for a paddle holster. As strange as that sounds, the reason behind that is it’s quick on and off the belt with the snaps and conceals better than a paddle holster since it puts the belt attachments outside of the main portion of the holster. Which means that it’s thinner and allows for better concealment. It solved the problem of guys who wanted to be able to toss a holster on and off, and just added a new feature. The downside is the snap loops themselves are thicker than say the loops of a Crossroads holster. So comparing the two they are both very comfortable, the Badwater is quicker on and off the belt, but because of those loops doesn’t conceal quite as well but is still quite good.

The Overpass is the newest in the line up, it’s a combination of allot of things. There was a design I liked, but there were some things I didn’t like about it so I came up with my own concept based on the mechanical properties of the other holster. IE how the forces were transferred to the belt etc. So my holster looks nothing like the holster it carries like, and I won’t give a makers name since he didn’t give me permission so this design is a variation on the function of his design with a completely different look and in my opinion a more concealable and comfortable platform. In that sense I’d say thanks for not giving me permission it made me build an even better design as a result;) But back to the holster itself, the design is basically a flat back Crossroads with very minimal width compared to other designs. The reason it can be so much smaller is because of the way the belt runs through the holster, it makes for a very comfortable rig that is slightly less concealable than the Crossroads holster. What I like about it, is comfort with little break in, and it carries better further forward at around 3 o’clock for skinnier guys than the Crossroads holster because of the smaller width, it’s got less bend to happen over that short distance.

Alright onto the Bruce Nelson Professional based designs. My Appalachian was the first, it is at the basic level a reinforced mouth Avenger/Professional style holster setup for negative cant crossdraw. It isn’t a typical concealment holster, Crossdraw seldom works well for concealment because you bring the profile of the gun outside of the shape of the body. More neutral cant will conceal better but makes the draw much more cumbersome. So this is a driving/crossdraw holster without much emphasis on concealment at all. It can conceal but it really and truly wasn’t designed for that. Another note because of the way it rides to get a full grip it’s very high on the belt, so you’ve got to beware it will abuse a belt with a heavy gun, if you’ve got a floppy belt do not use this holster.

My Overland  was second, that was a basic revision of the concepts I built out from the Appalachian. Same idea but also strong side with minor cant and reinforced mouth. What it does differently than allot of Avenger/Professional rigs is it’s lower riding than many of the earlier versions, and integrated the reinforced mouth. This makes again not the absolute best concealment holster, but it’s a great range holster. It can conceal but the stacked loop behind the gun adds some thickness and doesn’t pull the front in as tight to the body. That also though allows a little easier grip on the gun itself since it’s not quite as tight to the body. Great holster, but only slightly a concealment holster. Also with heavier guns this is a skinny holster, so it’s concentrating the weight of the gun over a smaller area, heavy duty belt is required for a heavy gun in this style of rig.

My Tom Threepersons holster is the first in a “classic” series, this is my “modern” revisions of classic holsters. They have the “look” but don’t necessarily function exactly like the older designs. So in this case, the original holster was designed with strap retention, and generally an open trigger guard. Well I put some modern retention into the rear though it’s not as strong because of the design as a modern design because the forming is on the rear only. I made the strap removable because I don’t care for retention straps generally, and I covered the trigger guard just like I would on a modern holster. So these are for someone who wants a more classic look with some modern features we’ve come to expect of new designs. I want to note here, there isn’t anything wrong with the original designs, but I don’t like to build exact copies of any holster. I prefer to take an idea and add my own ideas to it and design my own version. So that’s what these will be;)

Alrighty that’s a pretty long winded post but I hope that clears things up as always feel free to comment and I’d be happy to answer any questions you’ve got;)

(I’m having an issue with my hard drive so I don’t have an image of the Overpass etc right now, these were pics I had handy to use in the post)

Holster Misconceptions – Leather retention

So this is another likely series of sorts about misconceptions about holsters. So I’ve watched and read allot of content over the years about holsters. What I’ve found is allot of the time there are ideas or concepts that just flat out are incorrect or incomplete. I don’t believe it’s malicious in the sense that the author of the video or article intends to deceive the audience however that doesn’t change the outcome.

Just an example of a modern boned holster, note the deep boning into the trigger guard as well as the chamber of the firearm.

So as I see things that relate to the topic I’ll likely write up a little post about it just to give more information and correct information as I see things. Now a note, I’m a holster maker of both kydex and leather for the last 9 or so years at this point. I’ve learned and know a fair bit about both sides of that coin, but that’s not to say that I know everything. I don’t and I can be incorrect on things but I do know how my holsters are made and why, as well as allot of other guys within the industry.

Alright so on topic retention of leather vs kydex and how it works. Firstly let’s establish that not all leather or kydex holsters are equal. They vary in build quality, materials, and design across the board. There are some very good holsters out there and some extremely poor designs. I will not name names but they exist and if you’ve bought some holsters over the years it’s likely you’ve encountered both to some degree or another.

This is also a hybrid but with less boning and as a result uses the strap as an additional option for retention.

The claim “leather retains the gun through friction, and eventually that friction will wear out”. That’s technically correct in some ways but it’s incorrect in others. So first retention on a modern boned holster isn’t purely friction like a old school saddle style holster would have used. The modern “boning” or molding is actually using the same principle as stamping or tooling in the sense that you’re compressing the leather fibers around a shape. Doing so increases the rigidity and strength in those areas compared to the surrounding area. Also using heavy pressing tends to compress the entire form of the gun into the leather itself. This is done while the leather is wet(this only works with veg tan leather), and the process itself along with the type of leather used dictates the finished result. IE how rigid the holster is and how much retention it has. Modern boned leather holsters will gain most of their retention via the trigger guard and

This design is actually a hybrid while not looking like it, there is more boning on the rear of the holster for retention while the front maintains a more traditional look.

chamber, they will be pressed into the leather so that there is almost a snap of sorts that is in many ways akin to kydex more than the traditional style of holsters of the past. So the friction of the slide against the leather is far less of a factor and again more akin to kydex where you want the leather to barely touch the slide surface if possible.

Now saddle style holsters or at least that’s the term I’ll use to describe them are more traditional holsters, typically made from veg tanned leather also but with little to no forming or boning. Those holsters typically used just friction from the tightness of the holster and the leather itself gripping the firearm. The release from these holsters doesn’t have any sort of “click” and it’s consistent so to speak from when you start drawing till you end. You will also find some holsters that are more of a hybrid of this style in the sense that they will have some modern boning or molding but they rely on more of the pressure based retention. Typically by looking at the way it’s boned you can tell how the holster was designed to retain the firearm.

This difference in leather also plays a big role on what guys are going to recommend. All leather isn’t the same tanning wise, not construction or design wise. So if you recommend the same type of care for a saddle style holster as a modern boned holster that won’t work well. There are allot of other things that have changed over the years with the progression of design of holsters and there can be an argument made that one is better than the other. I personally prefer a modern boned holster, that’s almost entirely what I build. However as a customer you’re in a position to get either one, there are plenty of guys building traditional saddle style holsters and modern boned holsters.

Since this got a bit longer than anticipated I will do a second post later to address the differences in retention on the kydex front as well as comparing them to leather.

Take care!

Luke

Holster in depth – Texas Holster

Full Coverage Elephant hide Texas Holster

Let’s start with an oldie but goodie;) The Texas holster, I designed this holster in late 2009 and I’ll say it’s still to this day a favorite design of mine as well as one of the most versatile and useful holsters I’ve ever built. There has been allot of minor variations over the years but the broad concepts have remained the same since the initial prototypes.

So why did I design it?
Well this was my first actual design and first holster I started working on and it was to solve my own problem at the time. My wife and I were traveling at the time living on the road and in south Texas. It’s hot in south Texas even in the winter months and me being from the Upper Peninsula I don’t deal with the heat well. So I needed a way to carry in lighter clothing and I’ll be honest up till this point in my life I was an occasional carry guy. I didn’t have a comfortable carry solution I just hadn’t found anything that worked for me. And worse the things I found like vertical shoulder holsters really didn’t work in that climate or mode of dress. So I needed something that would allow me to carry a gun within shorts and t-shirt type of weather with a fairly high level of concealment. And the Texas holster not only accomplished that, but it actually went further, it allowed me to carry a full sized 1911 and later dual mags in that mode of dress comfortably.

Plain Natural Texas Holster

How do I use it?
For myself the Texas is still my general go to when I need to conceal a firearm. I can conceal with say an OWB rig but IWB like the Texas is easier to insure concealment and less headaches for me. So if I’m going to town I’m 99% wearing a Texas holster with one of my carry guns, I do change between large and small guns depending on the level of concealment I want or the weight. But being that it’s comfortable for me it makes the Texas the most versatile holster I make for me, if I had only one holster it would probably be a Texas. I can carry it in almost any situation without much issues and it works well. That doesn’t mean it’s not a compromise to some degree for certain situations but the vast majority of the time it works for me.

Another plain Texas in Mahogany

Who’s it for?
Well I see the Texas as I mentioned as very versatile. Actually I’d say for most of my customers it’s a great starting point and covers the most bases. I often get requests for holsters outside of the normal range of designs. But more often than not it’s because someone used a bad example of a particular position or design and decided it wouldn’t work for them. As an example I can’t tell you how many guys have said “I can’t do IWB” and then I’ve put a Texas holster on them and they changed their minds. So if you want to conceal fairly well, and have what I think is one of the most comfortable designs available for the position then the Texas rig is a good place to start. Then you can somewhat fill in other niche holsters after the fact to fit into other parts of your lifestyle or modes of dress to better serve those niches.

A little wild, gator and ostrich leg trim

Now one caveat to that statement. If you are say in an environment where a niche holster design works better all day everyday then great use that rig. I’m not saying this is for everyone, but for most guys I think this is a great versatile starting point.

Holster in depth – Introduction

So welcome to my new series of sorts, I know seldom do I post here and I’ve been branching out via social media and whatnot the last several years with this type of discussion. I wanted to put it all in one place, so it’s going here and the blog and will be cross posted to the social platforms.

What is the purpose, so I get allot of questions about my various holster designs and how they fit into the lives of the guys and gals carrying. Sometimes it’s difficult to over the internet convey exactly why I designed a rig or what purpose it’s intended to serve. So this series as a whole will cover many things. Primarily though it will be why I built a particular design and how I personally use that design or the feedback I get from customers on how they use that design.

Hopefully that will give guys a more in depth idea and make it easier to make a selection on what holster they want or need for a particular application.

If you’ve got any questions you can post them here in the comments or ideally email me luke@adamsholsters.com so we can run through things and figure out what the best holster is for you. Note, this series isn’t for everyone, this is for those guys who are trying to find more information about a particular holster or in that research stage prior to buying. Though other people may get value from it if they are just curious about a particular design also. Fair warning they likely will not be short posts and they will not likely come out on any reliable schedule;)

Take care!

Luke

Wallets? I thought you made holsters?

Well some guys I’m sure have noticed I released a wallet and wondered what that has to do with holsters that I typically design. While it may seem out of left field there is actually a tie in reason I originally developed the wallet, and why I released it now.

Going back in time around 2006-2008 I started having some back troubles around the time Sarah and I started traveling around the country. Could have been all the desk work over the years, or driving. None the less I needed a small wallet I could move to my front pocket. At the time I didn’t do leather work, I used a binder clip around my credit card and cash and tossed it in my front pocket. This worked but it was clunky.

Fast forward a few years and I had started making holsters in around 2010 I started working on my pocket holster designs. Well I now had a dilemma I had moved my wallet to my pocket, which now daily held a gun. Moving the binder clip “wallet” to the rear pocket turned out to be pretty uncomfortable. So I started trying to figure out a slim wallet that would work in the rear pocket and not hurt my back while not interfering with my typical Texas holster I was carrying at the time. I made the first prototype which worked but relied on a kydex latch of sorts, that slid out of the way as you opened it. It was clever, but a little difficult and fiddly. Despite this a few people over the years saw my unique wallet and wanted one of their own. So there are some of that design floating around in use. But I never did put it up for sale on my site.

Fast forward again;) 2016 I bought a laser cutter/engraver. Initially the plan was just engraving logo’s and artwork onto holsters. But it’s turned into a much more useful tool in the shop. I’ve laser cut some difficult patterns etc, but also engraved badge numbers and badge logos for law enforcement onto their holsters. So I got thinking about small things I could cut more accurately on the laser than by hand. So I started working on a new design for a wallet trying to eliminate the need for the kydex latch and make it 100% leather. This sounds simple, and the result is simple while it still has a few tricks up it’s sleeve. I made a couple different versions and ran them for a while. They were alright and solved the latch problem but had problems of their own. After several versions I came up with this one that I’m building and selling now.

I should mention the size and thickness was always the focus, this is not a wallet for carrying everything with you. It’s designed to carry up to around 6 credit cards, and a small amount of cash that’s it. So if you are like myself, and carry a credit card, debit, concealed carry license, and a few other things along with a couple twenties etc in your wallet this works very well. I designed the original wallet to be almost exactly the size of a folded in half dollar bill. This new wallet is that plus around an 1/8in. on two sides to account for the lack of the latch, and allow the stitching around the edge.

So this new wallet still lets me carrying in my rear pocket the stuff I need, leaving my front pockets open for guns/ammo or cell phone and knife etc. More than anything it just puts a wallet in my rear pocket that just works and doesn’t get in my way or become uncomfortable while still being made of good hermann oak leather(or kangaroo in the case of some of these initial rigs).

So that’s the story of how a holster maker decided to sell a wallet;) I likely will do other things like this as well over the years. Mostly if I find a niche that I need something, and either don’t like the options available or can’t find what I want myself. I just start building what I want, and I figure if I want it and can’t find someone selling it very likely there are other guys that do as well. If I can solve the design and compatibility issues with it, eventually I’ll release my headlamp I’ve been using for nearly seven years as well;) Just like the wallet, there are some out there in the wild since if you see me in person it’s very likely you’ve seen my head light that is attached to the brim of my ballcap I wear all the time.

If you’d like to buy one for yourself I’ve got some in stock here: http://adamsholsters.com/store/FRONTSIDE-WALLET

Take care!

Luke

Interesting color combinations

Well there are times when I get requests for certain color combinations that I’m honestly not sure how they will turn out. This set was one of those situations. I had a request for green ostrich leg, and while I have green ostrich leg on hand I’d never had much call for it;)

None the less I decided I’d give it a try, and I was left to my own devices on the rest of the color scheme. Well I decided the green would go really well on a natural holster as well as the tan of the gator. Once I went through laying out the colors all that was left was building this rig. I had the apprehension I mentioned in an earlier post about natural holsters. Since of course they are difficult to get right, and easy to make a mistake with. If you haven’t read it scroll down the page and take a look it’s an interesting look at an issue holster makers and other leather workers deal with that some people may not realize.

None the less after much cleaning and insuring the shop was ready to do a natural holster(I don’t do very many, especially not in combination with exotics). I went to work and it took a fair amount of time but I think the end results are worth the effort. I really like the way the green stands out on the holster, while still having a bit of the classic looks of the natural and tan gator.

So overall I would call this experiment a success, but I do hope it’s a while from now when I need to repeat it;) I should also mention not all combinations like this are a success at least from my point of view. Though people have different tastes, and just because it doesn’t light my fire doesn’t mean that it doesn’t light yours. That said though if it’s a color combination I just don’t think will look good or I can’t get the hide in a particular tone don’t be surprised if I tell you it’s not something I’m willing to take on. At the end of the day I’m of the opinion that I’ve gotta be happy with the rigs I’m building, and if that makes you happy as well that’s really what I’d like.

Take care!

Luke

Seeing an old friend again.

This is a bit off my normal posts about holsters and my shop, but this morning I saw a new episode of Roadkill and realized that the Firebird that I worked on, drove, and loved was actually the center piece of the new episode. So this is a bit of my memory and rambling about it.

The Car currently from the episode of Road Kill

So the history of the now famous Roadkill Finnegan 1969 Firebird or at least what I know of it. I’ll introduce myself I’m Lukas Adams, grew up in Channing MI and I’m the kid who drove the car to prom back in 1998. My dad David Adams bought that Firebird back in around 1990. He bought it from a local dealer in Iron Mountain MI, Hallman’s which is located on US2 outside of Iron Mountain. Hallman’s bought and sold muscle cars at the time and restored them. We purchased this one just as it stood, came from down south seems like Texas. It was blue at the time with a touch of metallic and a little rough but not bad at all. It was original across the board with very little done to it. We took it home and I somewhere have a VHS tape of my dad doing a burnout with it in front of his uncle’s property before we went through the car.

Front fender from pictures I took in 2014

We had a local guy who we knew do the bodywork, we went back and forth on color. But there was some roof damage, from what we could guess someone sat on the roof or sat a rim on there something of the sort. While it was repaired we knew that those dents are really hard to make invisible on a smooth contour like that, so we went with white paint. White for those not aware will not show nearly as much as say black when it comes to small imperfections like that. Nonetheless the guy who did the bodywork passed away quite a few years ago now. But he leaded the panels and did all the body repair the old way and it was done pretty well. There are some mismatched panel gaps here and there, but most of it likely came from the factory that way other than a few that I can explain later. Overall though the body turned out very nice all things considered, and at the time you couldn’t find unique parts for the 69’s like the front turn signal valances etc. We got the car back, still running the original motor and 2 barrel carb and drove it.

Later we put on a Holley Double pumper, and installed a 4 barrel intake because the 2 barrel

Empty engine bay after around 16 years waiting for the motor to be reinstalled.

was giving us trouble and we had the Holly sitting on the bench. From memory we actually ran it for a while with the linkage removed from the secondaries so that we could try to keep up gas mileage which of course was getting expensive around a dollar a gallon;) But the holly ran well on there and other than minor issues we ran into most everything was original and just worked. I actually was the one to clean the interior which all that work is long gone after it sat in my pole barn for nearly 20 years actually only 10 feet from where I’m typing this up. But I went through the entire car with a toothbrush inside, and literally spent days cleaning the inside and all of the mesh type of material they used to get all the dirt and debris out and clean and then wiped the whole thing down with armor all. We had a fresh headliner and carpet at the time but we had been waiting to install them until the motor went back in. But I’m getting ahead of myself;)

Picture of the body without the hook from 2014

So the car was pretty outside and functional, the interior was a work in progress but it was coming together. At this point we had actually put it in a few car shows locally and I believe one year we drove it up to the St Ignace car show and parked and walked the show. But generally we just enjoyed the car and drove it around here locally. Actually now that I’m thinking about it and the memories are flowing I know for sure that we took it to St Ignace. I drove, and I remember coming around a corner after a windstorm on the way and having to dodge a large tree that was laying most of the way across the road. Either way things we going well we were enjoying the car. Then my mom did the worst thing ever at the time. She washed the car;)

The interior after sitting for nearly 15 years in the pole barn.

So I was a young kid at the time, I would have been around 10ish years old, and I helped my mom wash the car. We were getting ready for a family vacation out west to Yellowstone a few days later and we wanted to wash the car and put it in the garage before my dad got back so that it would be clean and put away. We washed it up, and my mom who’s not very tall always had a problem seeing over the hood of older muscle cars. Also the incline of the entry to the garage meant the hood was up in the air as well. Nonetheless the freshly washed and dried and recently painted and nearly finished car was pulled gently into the garage. Unfortunately there was a small block Chevy motor sitting on the floor and she couldn’t see it until the crunch. I was in the car, she was in the car, both of our hearts sunk. Backed up and we got out to look and low and behold the front under the bumper along with the turn signal valance was banged up. My dad didn’t talk to her for most of our trip;)

But once we got back we got around to getting the damage repaired it really wasn’t major, we barely ran into the engine but it was enough from memory that we replaced that sheet metal under the bumper. The problem though was the valance we couldn’t get one anywhere at the time and we looked for years. The temporary solution was to put a piece of plexi glass in there cut to fit and paint a valance on there. I know it sounds terrible but from 10ft you really couldn’t tell and without a better answer at the time it worked that way until a few years later when we finally found one to replace it with properly.

Myself and my girlfriend at the time of her Graduation in 1998

The years passed pretty uneventfully for the Firebird, though I will say without a doubt we loved that car. We never had big bucks to do a full proper restoration but we basically did things as we could and made a nice original driver out of it. So as I got older I got into hot rods of course since I grew up wrenching on cars and trucks. Well I’ve always been a responsible driver, though I will say at the time I also had a bit of a wild streak compared to today. I drove the Firebird a fair amount after I got my license, used it for special occasions like when my girlfriend at the time graduated high school I drove the Firebird and picked her up afterwards and hit up graduation parties and things like that. I also drove it to prom and car shows but generally I put allot of miles on that car just enjoying it.

Prom night not sure the year but could be 97-99, could have been the year of the sending unit issue.

Prom night actually from memory it was the following day but it’s been almost 20 years ago so my memory had faded a touch since then. Nonetheless I was driving and I’ll admit I was hot rodding a little bit, I was running down a nice twisty paved back road near Iron Mountain. I was meticulous checking gauges while driving that car, mostly because I had spent allot of time on it as well as it wasn’t mine. But I knew if it broke I’d be helping to fix it, or fixing it. Well while driving at a fairly high rate of speed I went through a set of corners, and when I came out of them oh I don’t know maybe a minute later I looked down and saw zero oil pressure. I shut down the motor immediately and pulled off the road and parked. Walked to a house a made a call to have my dad bring the car hauler down to load it up. This of course predated common cell phones;)

We loaded it and brought it home and took a look what happened. What we found was the line or the sending unit to the mechanical oil pressure gauge had blown off or broken. Don’t remember which now but either way it had pumped out a good amount of oil before I had seen the gauge and shut it down. My guess today would be that the line broke since they are known to do that, but I’d further guess it was cracked or had cracked that night and leaked some out before it went all the way. It was down several quarts of oil, we topped it off and started the motor. Everything sounded good no issues what so ever. We dodged a bullet so to speak. So back up and running without any issues we breathed a sigh of relief that we wouldn’t have to rebuild the motor. I should mention this was the original motor that you wondered what was the status of.

A few weeks later I was driving the car again, and I don’t remember where I was going at the time. May have just been driving to fill up the tank since we live nearly 15 miles from the nearest gas station out here in the woods. But I pulled out on the road and I got on it, not hard mind you just a medium speed up to 60mph kind of get on it. I didn’t push the RPM’s or anything crazy, but as I got up in 2nd gear I heard something through my open window. I’m not 100% sure what it was, but either it was a light rod knock, lifter noise either way something new that shouldn’t have been there. I let off the throttle and drove it gently back home.

Still waiting for that motor sitting on the engine stand next to it around 2014

Then we checked it over a bit decided the motor would have to come out and we pulled it. Then life happened, I was getting close to graduating high school at the time. Of course I was chasing girls and thinking about jobs or college. My dad’s health has been so so over the years, and we just had allot of things come up in a short period of time. So the car sat, for a while down in his garage. Then eventually got moved back to the pole barn. It was rolled around, not sure who stabbed the brakes on it but they we free when it was here two years ago;) Granted I’m sure rusty so who ever hit that pedal locked them up. But it was rolled around here to move it around other projects. And eventually my wife and I moved back to the area and I took over the pole barn for my business. The Firebird sat here 10 feet from where I sit now calling to me, but with two small kids a business that keeps me very busy time wasn’t available nor was the money to get it up and running again.

So a few years ago my father in law decided to buy the Firebird from my dad as a restoration

The day it finally saw the light of day again to head off to my Father in law’s garage in 2014

project, but honestly it’s a big project and life happened;) So that brings us to mostly current. The other day I saw a promo video for the new episode of Roadkill on YouTube which I’ve been watching for several years almost from the very start. And I saw a white 1969 Firebird and I thought “Hey that’s strange you don’t see many of those”. At the time I didn’t know the car had been sold, so I didn’t know I was looking at my Firebird;) I saw another promo this morning and I got a twinge that it wasn’t just another Firebird I was fairly sure it was indeed my Firebird. But it was an image after it was cleaned up and had stickers etc on it, new rims etc. But my wife finally gave up word that the car was sold, they didn’t know where it was heading. Well at that point I knew. But I went ahead and signed up for Motortrend on Demand because I couldn’t wait for a month to see the car and be sure it was the same car. Well I watched the first few minutes and got a few looks at the car before they started working on it. I recognized everything I knew without a fraction of a doubt what car it was. The body gaps, the Sunpro gauges, the exhaust tips, everything down to the tires. I knew this car from one end to the other there isn’t probably a square inch of that car that I hadn’t had my hands on at one time or another. Hell I can tell ya what kind of paint is in the trunk and where we bought it. I can tell ya don’t run it through an automatic car wash unless you’ve got a towel handy to block the window seals;) Granted that’s common from that era of car and the design of the door/window seals. Nonetheless I knew without any doubt that it was my Firebird.

Also from 2014 just another side shot.

And at the end of the day I couldn’t do it, I didn’t have the time or money to restore it back to where I’d like it to have been. My dad while he loved the car as well is in the same position, neither of us could have done it. Maybe in 20 years I’ll have the time to take on something like that, until then I’ll stick with my vintage motorcycles since they are far smaller projects. My father in law really wanted to make it happen but we all ended up in the same position. At the end of the day I’d like to say I’m completely happy to see it being done. But I can’t, there will always be a part of me in that car and it will always have a place in my heart. I know it’s stupid, it’s steel and rubber, but I loved that car and I spent allot of time working on it, and enjoying it. So it’s a mixed feeling, on one hand I’m extremely happy to see that it’s not sadly sitting in my shop not being used and enjoyed. But I’m also jealous and sad that I wasn’t the one who was able to make it run and drive once again. But the happiness that someone was able to make it into what they wanted really does take the sting out of it more for me. And I will say I’ve owned a lot of vehicles over the years, and technically I didn’t own this one, but more so than any other vehicle I’ve owned this one is special at least to me.

So Mike if you’re reading this I really truly hope you enjoy the Firebird it really was a part of our family and I guess if it goes to anyone I’m happy to see it go to you. But if you’re ever in the area with the car I’d love to see it again and maybe get a ride in it. Also if you ever want to know more about the history of the car or anything along those lines you’re more than welcome to contact me.

Inside the Shop – Natural Holsters

So this is the first post of this sort, and I thought guys are always curious about things in the shop and how things work. I’ve had allot of guys want to come in the shop and see how things are built and it’s sort of like watching the show “how it’s made” but allot slower and by hand rather than some amazing mechanical wonder.

So Natural holsters, the arch nemesis of virtually every holster maker that I know. Likely the same in saddle makers, and all other leather crafts. Very likely the same also when dealing with natural wood finishes as well. The reason is that every single defect, mark or anything else will show in the finished holster. Did the cow get a bug bite when it was still a calf? Did she get too close to the barbed wire fence? Did someone with a slightly unclean hand touch the leather at the tannery or in your shop? All of that will or can show up in the finished holster.

Minor scar causing discoloration, this wasn’t visible until it was oiled at the last few steps.

Often times small things like not washing your hands between working on a non-natural holsters or wiping down your boning tools will transfer a little bit of dye which will show on a natural holster. I’ve had the presser foot on my sewing machine transfer dye because I happened to stitch a black holster before a natural.

So in essence making a good or as perfect as you can get natural holster you pretty much have to turn your work space into a clean room. Wipe your tools and equipment down to make sure there isn’t any dye on anything. Hope and cross your fingers no grease or oil from your sewing machine finds its way into the process, or god forbid gets on your hands while working on it, since next step will be a nice clean black fingerprint that you can’t remove.

jim-h-set

Crazy as it may seem, sometimes a complicated order like this will actually be easier to build, than a simple natural holster.

So the whole process there are countless times to make a minor mistake, and ruin the holster to the point that you’re going to have to rebuild it. Then dye that one you screwed up black or some other darker color. There are also things with the hide that just aren’t visible until you start working with it. Sometimes parts of the hide are firmer, or more dense. They will absorb water and oil at a different rate. That’s going to leave an uneven finish on the leather. Ever wonder why some cheap holsters often import rigs get that brown/orange color and doesn’t look natural or like a dye. Well that is actually more like a paint, it goes on smooth and hides a lot of things with the grain of the leather that you can’t hide with dye. When dealing with wood I’d say it’s paint vs. stain. Stain you will see the grain and any issues with it, paint will cover it up. And I should say that’s not a complaint or even an issue, just something to be aware of.

I also would like to say that doesn’t mean holster makers as a whole are using worse leather on black or dark brown holsters compared to natural. Pretty much all the issues with natural rigs are aesthetic not functional issues, they are minor things that won’t affect the function of the rig. If the cow has a tiny scar the width of a hair and the rig is black you’ll never see it and it won’t affect the function of the rig at all. But on a natural rig often that will show as a line of darker or lighter leather where oil won’t penetrate as well and looks off.

So just an oddity of holster making that I wanted to mention and write about since I don’t often see it talked about outside of the industry itself. Inside the industry it’s often talked about in my experience all the way up to the top level professionals, we all hate natural holsters.

A good clean example of a natural holster, which also happened to replace the one in the image above.

But now I’m going to throw out the last bit. We all hate them but there is a fine line between love and hate. We hate making them, we may complain and swear through the whole process. But at the end, if we managed to avoid all the pitfalls the finished product is often the best representation of our work. It’s a piece that doesn’t have anything to hide behind. It’s a model from television without their makeup and hair done. It’s either good or bad based on how well it’s built and how well the holster maker went through the whole process. That isn’t to say it’s better than a black rig it’s not, and honestly I prefer the look of black or brown to natural. But it does show every single little mistake you made and that is when you can really tell the difference between makers. Take a close look at a Matt DelFatti’s natural holsters and you’ll see how close to perfect some holster makers can get.

Luke Adams

Updates and Anniversary sale!

Updates! We’ve been constantly updating our existing holsters and I’ve been working to develop a few new holsters too. Some of these have been in testing for more than 2 years now. Others are newer, but nearly ready to bring out.

The Appalachian holster, which is my take on the classic Avenger style holster, but built out for cross draw OWB carry. Pricing starts at $95, just like my other rigs. Exotics and upgrade options are also available.

My switchback magazine carrier has been in testing for a long time with a single offset clip, allowing you to carry a single mag IWB. I think this design really shines with the smaller single stack carry guns.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be releasing a few more holsters.

My Overland holster is a strong side version of the same Avenger style of holster. It includes a reinforced mouth to insure one handed re-holstering. The rig pictured has an optional Speed Cut to allow the gun to leave the holster at a lower angle and clear leather quicker and is a custom option.

My Vertical Shoulder Holster, which allows comfortable carry for larger firearms without the need of a thumb break or other snap retention device.

These last two are not available on the site quite yet, though if your interested in either just email me and I can give you more information about when they will be ready.

Our Anniversery sale

Remember 4 years ago, when gas averaged $2.55 a gallon? Well, like everything these days, the price of gas has gone up, along with the price of dang near everything else. Our holster leather has gone up, along with most of our materials. And, of course, the cost of us just getting by has gone up as well. So, as a result, have our prices.

We’ve been wanting to do something special for our 4th anniversary this year, and I have been running through options and ways to make some sort of sale. To celebrate, I’ve come up with this. When I started Adams Holsters, I sold a basic holster for $65 with free shipping. What we’re going to do is, as of January 1st,  we’re going to go through all of our
holster orders between today and the first of the year and pick at random out of a hat, 4 orders to get our original pricing.

So, what this means is, if you place an order between now and the first of the year for a Texas holster for $95 + shipping, and your name is drawn, I’ll knock that down to $65 shipped. If you’ve got a fancy exotic holster on order, we’ll take and knock $30 off your order, and ship it for free. So no matter what you order between now and the new year, you get the chance to roll back the pricing to 4 years ago. If you’ve got a Sharkbite or just a mag carrier, I’ll go ahead and do the same, knocking $30 off the order and ship it for free.

So while I may not be able to do a thing about the rising cost of fuel or anything else, I can give you guys and gals a deal, as a thank you, to celebrate our anniversary. Sarah, Eli, and I really do appreciate all the support and business that everyone has given us the last 4 years. We promise to keep on working to build the best dang holsters we can figure out how to build!

Thanks again!

Luke Adams

Well guys and gals Sarah and I were talking today and came up with something that I think is going to make life easier for us in the shop, hopefully it will also drop our lead time some. We’re going to offer standard holsters, which basically means black only, right or left handed, 1.5in. belt, etc just simple rigs. No color options, exotics or anything else to worry about $95 same as we have been.

Then custom starts at $105 which includes everything that we’re currently offering. Now one reason for this is that we can look at a sheet while building and if it’s a standard rig know exactly what we’re building without having to worry about colors and options. This should help us keep those orders in a batch in the system, limit our screw ups etc. There is a reason that Henry Ford said you can have any color you want as long as it’s black. That limiting of options made it easier and less complicated to make a car. Same idea here, other than we’re still offering all the options but just via a different page of sorts on the site. I should also say if this limits my mistakes that means I’m spending less on leather and there will be less cost passed on to you guys buying the rigs as well, so I’m seeing this as a positive overall.

It should allow us to streamline our basic/standard rigs a little more in our process and give guys the options for something more fancy or complicated. I’m thinking that in the future we may even end up with two different lead times of sorts, but we’ll see right now that won’t make much sense unless I hired someone to help with basic holsters or something along those lines and I’m not willing to train someone right now;)

So either way you’ll see the changes roll out on the site tonight, as always existing orders won’t change, just new ones from today on.

Take care!

Luke