HOLSTER BUTCHERY

BY TOM MCHALE

Taking a Dremel tool to a firearm is almost always frowned upon. And I agree.

However, butchering a holster might be entirely appropriate, depending on the reason. The other day I shared a story about how the extremely challenging Air Marshal Pistol Qualification test exposed some opportunities for gear improvement. The need for top speed leaves no room for even the slightest hang-up caused by equipment issues.

Well, that started a dangerous binge. No, I didn’t subject any firearms to Dremel abuse. However, I did complete some very minor and gentle performance modifications to an old Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe IWB holster. In other words, I hacked the crap out of it with scissors and power tools.

It doesn't look pretty, but it sure is functional.

Here’s why. This particular holster is for a Beretta PX4, and I’ve dug it out of the drawer-o-holsters to use with a Beretta PX4 Compact Carry 9mm pistol. It’s a smaller gun, so everything is a bit closer together. The grip is shorter, so it’s harder to get a perfect hold while the gun is holstered. If you don’t, you’ll have to tweak your grip while extracting, rotating, and raising the pistol. That’s a bad thing. What I found was that my fingers were being obstructed by the leather back panel and that my middle finger knuckle was jamming into part of the Kydex shell. That definitely fouls up any opportunity for a perfect draw.

Post surgery, both leather and Kydex were well out of the way of my normal grip.

Cut but don’t compromise holster safety

So, feeling industrious, I got some heavy-duty scissors and performed my own “combat cut” to remove leather from under the entire grip area. I then broke out the Dremel tool (gasp!) and ground out a rounded cut to make room for my middle finger. Hey, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I did take care to use the felt polishing wheel to smooth out my surgical cuts after shredding plastic with a sanding drum. By the way, the sanding drum, while not approved by the Leather Workers of America Guild, does a reasonable job of repairing rough scissor cuts on leather. Just sayin’.

Voila! This custom rig now allows a quick and smooth draw with absolutely no interference. The “combat cut” in the leather allows all fingers to go where they need to on the grip and my middle finger knuckle no longer jams into the Kydex shell. It doesn’t look pretty, but I figure it’s concealed anyway, so who cares?

All finished!

The moral of the story is simple. With the exception of pairing Dremel tools and firearms, don’t be afraid to tweak your gear if it will give you better function. Holsters, magazine carriers, belts, and even guns are simply tools. If some surgery (with professional gunsmith assistance for firearm work!) can make them perform better for your needs, then don’t worry about altering the shiny factory finish.

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