Simply Rugged's new holster, the Shootist, has elements of old and new. The design pulls the gun in close to your side.
Rob Leahy, proprietor of Simply Rugged Holsters - formerly of Alaska and now of Chino Valley, Ariz., and his media/sales guy Bruce Warren were discussing how good it would be to get the company employees some handgun training. They make holsters, it's kind of important to know how these things will be put to use. They discussed this with a Gunsite Range Master, Ed Head, and between them considered it might be a good idea to have some writers come out and try the gear at the same time.
Buz Mills is always a genial host and his facility, Gunsite, is a premier training institution. With all the training done on-site, he's still willing to have media and product test events at the old home of the American Pistol Institute. Ruger is nearby and they make guns, HPR Ammunition is in Payson and they make ammunition. Crimson Trace was willing to provide Lasergrips and Lightguards for the guns - Simply Rugged makes holsters to fit guns so equipped - and Streamlight sent some handheld illuminators as well. Militec-1 provided the lube for the guns.
The guns were SR1911 Model 6702, the "Commander" variant. Ruger did it right with a 4 ¼" barrel length allowing the "conventional Commander" recoil spring/plug/barrel bushing combination. The match grade stainless barrel is made together with the bushing and both components travel together through the manufacturing and assembly process. The plunger tube is integral to the frame. Before anyone says "but you can't replace it," when was the last time you crushed a plunger tube and necessitated replacement? A slightly extended magazine release button helps those with a short thumb, the safety is slightly over size and extended (enough so that southpaws used these guns without
starboard safety levers) and the beavertail grip safety has the extended bump at the base. I didn't fail to completely depress the grip safety once in about 500 rounds.
Rob issued each of us a copy of his Laminated belt, the Dual Defender Magazine Pouch and his new creation, the Shootist Holster. The belt was quite stiff as issued and wore in quickly over three days. The Dual Defender covered the magazines up to about 2/3 of the way, possibly leading some to believe they were secure but slow.
Reloads were practiced extensively. The Simply Rugged leather gear was plenty fast enough to get the job done.
The Shootist is retro. With qualities of the old A.W. Brill holsters made for peace officers of the Southwest and a design in some ways similar to the Mexican Loop holster that preceded them, the Shootist is made of Hermann Oak Leather and formed with a peculiar belt loop arrangement. Between the tanning process of the leather, making it nearly the equal of horsehide in stiffness, and the form of the belt loop, the holster brings the gun in tight to your side. It's no deep inside-the-waistband concealment rig, but it will work for casual concealment as well as being a great field and range holster.
Being old-fashioned, it'd have to be slow wouldn't it? When coupled with the high-cut Dual Defender magazine pouch, it'd be tough to be quick, right? Don't ask me. I shot the El Presidente clean - cold - on the morning of the third day. That requires, among other things, a draw and speed load. I won the shoot-off, also requiring a draw and mandatory speed load, the same day.
I guess it's quick enough.
The old and the new: a 1911 with an old style holster -- with Crimson Trace Lasergrips on the gun. This was the new green laser.
The importance of innovation in design and manufacture can't be understated. We were using 1911s, true, and new holsters with old styling. The ammunition, which I also give high marks, relies on innovative manufacture as well. What's old is new - when we approach with problem with fresh eyes and an open mind.
If you like leather holsters and support gear, you need to take a look at Simply Rugged Holsters. My fondness for the gear started when I saw that Rob was re-creating and updating the Roy Baker "Hidden Thunder" Pancake rigs. But he does so much more.
Put that together with Ruger guns and the outstanding experience at Gunsite and you have a real week to remember.
-- Rich Grassi