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Craft and Falco Holsters, by Pat Cascio

I’ve seen it a hundred times. I used to own a gun shop, and later on in life, I was in partnership with a friend, who sold mainly at gun shops. Someone will purchase a nice handgun, costing hundreds of dollars, or even more than a thousand dollars. One of the first things they would ask for, when we’d ask them if they needed any ammo or other accessories, and they would buy a box of ammo, then ask if we had any “cheap” holsters – and by that, they meant really cheap holsters. It never ceases to amaze me, that someone will spend a small fortune on a firearm, and then by the cheapest holster they can find or a used and abused holster. That makes no sense to me.

I’ve told this story before, but it is worth repeating. My wife and I were out shopping at a small box store, and spied a gentleman carrying a concealed handgun. How did we know? Well, he was wearing a light-weight jacket to cover his handgun. First of all, his jacket was too short to cover his handgun, and secondly, he was carrying his handgun on his belt, in a cheap belt and holster. His handgun had flopped over and was riding upside down, on his cheap belt. For the life of me, I don’t know why he didn’t feel his pistol flopping around on his hip the way it did. I’m betting good money, by the end of the day, his handgun had fallen out of the holster, or someone called the police on him.

First of all, I carry my handgun in either a double-layered leather belt – that is specifically designed for carrying a handgun. Secondly, my other belt of choice is a ballistic Nylon belt, that has a “stiffener” sewn into it – so the gun/holster can flop over, or allow the gun’s fingerprint to print through my covering garment. I have several double-layered leather belts that I’ve owned and used for 40-years now, and they are still perfectly functional. If I recall, I paid about $80.00 (each) for them. Yeah, a lot of money, but when you break it down for all the years these belts have been used, they are really inexpensive. Whenever I carry, I have a handgun on one side of my belt, and on the other side, at least one spare magazine in a mag carrier, and a multi-tool – all that weight adds up and a sturdy belt sure makes packing all that stuff a lot easier.

I’ve tested a lot of gun belts and holsters over the years, some very good, some junk. I now look for the best belts and holsters I can find – they pay for themselves over many years of use. For the past year and a half or so, I’ve been testing holsters, belts and magazine pouches from a fairly new company called Craft Holsters [1], a subsidiary of Falco Leather Company and I’m totally impressed with the quality of their products. They originally contacted me, and asked if I wanted to test some of their holsters for possible articles on SurvivalBlog.com [2] and in short order, they sent me some custom-made holsters for testing. Now, make no mistake, each holster is hand-crafted – they aren’t made in bulk and simply packaged up and sent to you. Nope, each holster is made to order. They rarely have any holsters in-stock. On average, it takes about four weeks to get a holster from them.

[3]Craft Holsters is located in Slovakia. Much of their leather is sourced in Italy. Many of their holsters are made in Slovakia. However, they have some of their holsters made in other countries by other craftsman – thus a little longer wait to get your holster. Trust me, it is well worth the wait. I’ve had holsters man by some custom makers here in the USA, and often, it is maybe a 4-to-6 month wait to get a holster. Another positive for Craft Holsters is that their prices are usually more than a little bit lower than other handmade holsters. Again, it is worth the wait.

[4]Some of the holsters than Craft makes are from ballistic Nylon, some out of Kydex and most out of leather. On some bigger handguns, like my Glock 21, I elected to have a tactical thigh holster made for it. It’s made out of ballistic Nylon, and fits the Glock 21 perfectly. A lot of holster makers have “abandoned” making holsters for some larger handguns, and the Glock 21 is a rather large handgun. Now, while I pack this large pistol on a belt holster every now and then, I prefer carrying it, when I’m out hiking on a logging road – not something I do very often these days – I prefer packing that big Glock on my right thigh, with a spare magazine in a mag pouch that is part of the holster. In short order, you tend to forget you are packing such a large pistol.

For the past 8-10 months, my everyday carry gun has been a Springfield Armory Hellcat, and I have several of them, and my wife has one. I love my Glocks, and my 1911s – but the Hellcat just offers a lot of ammunition on-tap, is very concealable, and accurate like you wouldn’t believe. I have two holsters from Craft, one of my tan Hellcat, and the other for my black Hellcat, with a red dot sight on it. The guns ride high and tight to my right hip, and with smaller handguns, I like a “suicide” strap, just to make sure the little guns don’t get away from me.

All of the leather holsters from Craft Holsters, can be had with a suicide strap or open top – no straps, but these holsters are very well molded to the shape of the gun you want the holster for. You can stick a gun in the holster and hold it upside down and shake it – hard – and the guns don’t fall out. The ballistic Nylon holsters, all have a strap to keep the gun extra secure.

The Kydex holsters – some have straps and others don’t. Every now and then, I long to carry a 1911 on my hip – if only for a few days. I’ll strap on my Springfield Armory 1911 light-weight Ronin Commander-sized pistol, in a Kydex holster. This holster is molded to hold the gun extremely tight – no worries about it falling out of this holster – ever!

[5]The Craft leather holsters are an absolute work of art, if you ask me. I have more than a few of these holsters, and I can not find any flaws in them at all. Plus, they are sewn with an extremely high-quality thread and molded as close as possible to the type of gun you are wanting it for. I’ve had a couple of their holsters that were so tight that I couldn’t fasten the strap to secure the gun. There is an easy fix, and it is described on their website.

What I’ve done for a lot of years is this, take the gun you want to fit in the holster and place it in a plastic bag to protect it from rust. Then take the holster and soak it in some warm water for a few minutes. When the holster is good and went, take the bagged gun and stuff it in the holster, and the wet strap will now fasten…I then either use a hair dryer on the holster to dry it, or on a nice sunny – hot – day, place the gun and holster on my front deck, and a few hours it dried, and the gun then fits the holster PERFECTLY!  I’ve had to do this many times over the years, with other leather holsters that we molded a little bit too tight.

On some areas of the leather holsters, they are also double-stitched, especially around where the molded part meets the gun, no worries about the stitching giving way and breaking. Some of my Craft Holsters have double belt loops, some a single loop on the back of the holster. I like the double melt loops, as they keep the gun/holster much tighter to my side – and I prefer an open-top holster – no straps. Now, if I were still in law enforcement – uniformed or plain clothes, I would elect to have a safety strap – adding another layer of protection from the gun falling out in the event of a scuffle with a suspect. But since I’m old and retired, I prefer an open-top holster – I don’t expect to get into a fight with someone and ending up on the ground…even if that happened, the gun would more than likely stay in the molded holster.

I’ve included a few pictures of some of the Craft and Falco holsters that I’ve tested recently, and in many of my handgun articles, I’ve included even more holsters that I’ve tested – not enough room to show pictures of all the holsters I’ve tested. However, the attached pictures will give you an idea of what Craft Holsters has – if you check out their website www.craftholsters.com [6] you will surely find exactly what you are looking for – they list well over a thousand different types of holsters in different colors, plus they are now offering some custom touches, so you can make a holster personalized to your taste. It is well worth the wait to get one of these holsters. If you like shoulder holsters – they have you covered, or belly band and ankle holsters – covered again!