Friday, May 16, 2014

Palette's Product Reviews: Michael's Custom Holsters

Not actually Erin.
Picture by KJ Photography
& is used with permission. 
Hello everyone, and thanks for putting up with the barrage of guest posts while I was on vacation (and subsequently recovering from vacation while taking care of an invalid mother). I'd like to think that I have my act mostly together these days, but just in case I'm going to give you a fairly easy article in terms of a product review.

Custom Knife Sheath and License Holder

Readers of my other blog are no doubt aware that I am a big fan of Michael's Custom Holsters. In fact -- disclosure time -- not only am I friends with Michael and his wife, but I am such a fan of the holster and gun belt that he made me in 2012 that I've hosted an ad for his site on my blog for quite a while now.

So when I tell you that I am reviewing another product of his, please realize that I am not an unbiased source in this matter.  I think he's a great guy who does great work -- fortunately, enough other people say similar things about his work that I know I'm not just letting my friendship color my opinion of his products.

One of the drawbacks of concealed carry is that you have to have your license to carry with you whenever you're carrying your gun.  Unlike a driver's license, where if you can prove you do indeed have a valid DL that you just left at home you can get the ticket reduced, if you ever get caught carrying without a concealed weapon permit, it's likely to result in automatic jail time and loss of carry privileges.

This was a source of annoyance for me, because I carry when I walk my dogs, and I don't like having to dig my CWP out of my wallet just for walkies, nor do I enjoy having my wallet banging against my thigh when I wear shorts or sweatpants when I walk.  The solution, of course, was to find a way to put the CWP on my gun belt so that I'd be legal whenever I had my gun on me.

But where to mount it?

Inspiration finally struck when I realized that the Ka-Bar TDI which I carried on my weak side had a flat area which was exactly the same dimensions as my carry permit.

All right, I had a location. All well and good. But how would I keep it there? Rubber bands didn't work (and looked terrible, to boot). What I needed was a custom holster (sheath, really) that could hold my knife and my license at the same time.

Enter Michael's Custom Holsters. I described what I wanted, and he flattered me with the comment "Most ideas for combination holsters are terrible. I think this is the first one I've heard that makes good sense."

After some back-and-forth regarding what I wanted, how it should work, and how I wanted it to look, we settled on a final design. Because Michael didn't have a Ka-Bar like this, I had to send him mine so that he could make a mold for it.

Time passed  (Michael is a busy man and this was a prototype custom job), but this week it arrived and I am overjoyed!

As you can see, it is an all-leather design with heavy stitching. My license is kept in a little pocket in the front, where it can be easily removed by either hand but held snugly enough that it isn't going to fall out.

The back of the unit is the sheath for the Ka-Bar, which is also held securely while still facilitating a smooth release. Again, either hand may easily draw it.

The reverse of the unit.  You can see that this is a simple belt-loop design. I specifically requested this because I am a restless sitter, constantly shifting my position -- leaning back, slouching forward, twisting to the side, etc -- and a sheath in a fixed position (from clips) would result in the handle of the knife digging into my ribs.  By keeping it on a loop, though, I am able to slide it forward or backward as necessary for my comfort, and also adjust the tilt forward or backward by a few degrees.

To say that I am happy with this is an understatement. It is beautiful, it is rugged, and it does everything I want it to do. I do not have an exact price for this piece of art, as I did some bartering with Michael, but I believe he said something like this usually runs $100.  While that is not an insignificant amount of money, I can tell you that this is quality work that also comes with a lifetime guarantee.

I cannot recommend Michael's Custom Holsters highly enough.

Obligatory Middle Finger to the FTC:  I did not receive this product in return for a good review. Go away. 

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