Old School Is Good School
By Roy Huntington
I’ve known of Greg Kramer and his solidly designed holsters and penchant for using horsehide for going onto 20 years. We’ve visited a few times at trade shows, but I’ve never had my hands on his gear until now. He actually first started in 1976 working with DeSantis and has grown to becoming a serious contender in the holster game. It’s almost like one of those stories about how it’s funny, but the harder you work — the luckier you get. Greg’s hard work shows. His “one foot in the past and one foot in the future” also shows in his designs and craftsmanship.
But why horsehide? Shell horsehide is dense and non-porous, making an extremely durable leather. Those traits make it mold and hold its shape amazingly well. Spill water on un-treated horsehide and it barely wets the surface, unlike standard cow leather, which soaks it in like a sponge. There are even SEAL teams (no fooling) who have used Greg’s horsehide holsters in salt water environments. Try that with cowhide.
I’m not saying cowhide can’t be excellent too, because it can. But if you’re looking for something I’d call “the ultimate leather” for a holster — you’ve found it in horsehide.
The MSP Paddle Holster is comfortable but beefy enough for a full-sized
steel 1911. The 1911 is a Guncrafters FRAG 9mm.
Kramer’s IWB #3 has a bit more “paddle” area to help support the gun,
along with the obligatory loops. Gun is CCF Raceframes/Robar custom.
Paddles And Scabbards
I like paddle holsters and Kramer’s horsehide MSP Paddle Holster ($170) is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine for carrying a full-sized handgun. It has a plastic-reinforced paddle and a heavy duty welt helps to lock the paddle under the waistband of your pants. It’s high-rise and carries the gun with a bit of a forward cant. There’s a removable snapped-loop as a back-up so you’ll be doubly secure holding the holster in place. If you have to take your gun off and on all day (office environment, police detective or just in and out of your house a lot) this is a great answer. You’ll pass this rig down to your kids because you’ll never wear it out!
Greg also doesn’t ignore the special needs of ladies who carry concealed. His Women’s Belt Scabbard ($165) is designed specifically for women. Riding low, putting the grip right at belt level, allows a woman to be able to reach the gun easily. Most belt rigs for men hold the gun way too high on women, who often have much less room between their shoulders and waists. The belt slot is lined with molded plastic, pushing the grip out, away from the hip slightly, for an easy firing grip. I know for a fact most women love this rig.
Right: Women’s Belt Scabbard in horsehide with a Remington RM380.
Left: Kramer’s Pocket Holster in horsehide with a S&W custom J-Frame.
Pocket And IWB Too
Simple but effective, Greg’s Pocket Holster ($99) is a molded/boned horsehide pocket rig for a J-Frame — and other fits. It helps to hide the gun using a plastic shield plate on the side facing out. It “prints” like a wallet or phone shape. The rise of leather near the rear sight protects the sight and I found it works great to sort of “push-off” with your thumb as you draw, helping to keep the holster in the pocket. It’s simple, rugged and, simply put, will never wear out.
Greg has the inside-the-waist carry guys covered with his IWB #3 Holster ($145). Our test model is made for a wide-variety of autos, holding the gun securely against your side, with a forward rake dialed in. The mouth is reinforced with a double-layer of treated horsehide to hold the holster mouth open for re-holstering. A sort of “paddle” extension at the holster’s rear helps to support the weight of heavy guns and spreads the weight and mass out for comfort. You can get a full-firing grip when drawing and it has loops to secure it to your belt.
The Honing Strop ($93) is made of shell cordovan horsehide, the same used in old-fashioned barber shops. A few swipes and your pocket knife is razor sharp again, as long as you begin with a decent edge. This just plain works, just like it did for barbers, and there’s no reason you can’t have this hanging in your shop, closet or a handy doorknob! If you “charge” it with a bit of rouge or diamond paste it works even better!
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