By Mike Searson
Concealed Carry laws have undergone a tremendous change over the past 2 decades. Forty out of all fifty states are now considered “shall-issue.” In other words, if you are a law-abiding citizen and are not prohibited from owning a firearm, you can apply for a concealed carry permit. States such as Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, Maine and Vermont do not require a permit for concealed carry.
In the “May issue” states like New York, California, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, Illinois and Massachusetts, the applicant’s permit is at the discretion of the chief law enforcement officer in the area which they reside. If you want a concealed carry permit in these locales you will need to meet additional criteria. This may come in the form of proving that your business causes you to transport large sums of cash or proof that your life has been threatened.
Aside from the “May issue” states, reciprocity between states is growing as well as free states issuing permits to non-residents. Concealed carry is no longer relegated to your home state. Leaving your firearm at home as opposed to taking it with you while traveling is becoming a thing of the past.
Holster makers have seen this coming and are meeting the needs of permit holders everywhere. One of them is Galco, who has made a name for themselves in the realm of premium leather holsters.
We will take a look at a few of them.
The Miami Classic
When the term “shoulder holster” is mentioned, most shooters chuckle and think of old school private eye and detective shows or movies. The shoulder rig definitely seems like a product of a bygone era that conjures up images of Barney Miller, Dragnet or Miami Vice and thoughts of men wearing fedoras and smoking cigarettes as they sweat a suspect under hot lamps.
There is definitely more to the shoulder holster than meets the eye, especially Galco’s Miami Classic. Coincidentally, this holster got its name from its use on the aforementioned Miami Vice series and was on the big screen in 1992’s Basic Instinct..
The Galco Miami Classic provides the shooter quick and easy access to his firearm from a variety of positions. It is one of the fastest holsters to grant access while seated or driving. A car’s seatbelt will pin your strong side IWB or OWB and make your handgun inaccessible under a layer of nylon webbing, particularly if the seatbelt locks up due to impact. The Miami Classic gives you access with either hand.
If you typically mount your handgun to your plate carrier or load bearing vest, you are not that far off from running a shoulder rig. Constructed of high quality leather and steel, the Miami Classic has numerous adjustment points to grant a semi-custom fit and allows you to carry spare magazines, speed loaders or handcuffs under the opposite side of the rig.
The Galco Miami Classic does have a few drawbacks as a concealed carry holster. For one thing it really is only effective when worn under a jacket or sport coat. Add to that the fact that the jacket will need to be fitted and tailored to downplay the outline and bulk of the holster. Likewise, if and when the jacket is taken off, the Miami Classic transforms into an open carry rig.
Very few instructors or range masters will allow a shooter to draw from a shoulder rig such as this for the safety factor.
Still, for a classic retro style holster that hearkens back to the days of Miami Vice, this is the one to get.
Galco’s FLETCH high ride holster is probably the company’s second most famous holster after the Miami Classic.
This is a classic leather holster of two-piece construction that is contoured to fit the curve of the hip on the inside of the holster with all the molding facing outboard. This allows for an extremely comfortable method of carry and the holster rides high enough that you can sit comfortably while wearing it.
The FLETCH is made from premium saddle leather and fits belts up to 1 3/4″ in thickness.
Each holster is molded for a specific handgun but you can cheat a little here. Browning Hi Powers will fit the 1911, the Sphinx SDP subcompact will fit the S&W 6906. The classic P series from Sig Sauer (P220, P226, P229) will all fit the same range. Sig 1911s will not fit the traditional 1911 holster.
For retention, the FLETCH relies on an old school reinforced thumb break and a completely covered trigger guard. The thumb break is constructed in such a manner as to let you get your hand completely around the grip for a smooth and fast draw.
Gunsite Training Holster
This model may no longer be in production, but it is still a timeless design. It was designed with input from the training staff at Gunsite and is a completely lined OWB that bears the Gunsite logo.
It is an open top holster with no retention strap and this makes it ideal for range and competition use or for use in a tactical pistol class. The wide sight channel accommodates most aftermarket sights and the attachment point to the belt is thick four-ply leather.
Like the Fletch, you are able to get your hand completely around the grip for the proper draw. For concealed carry with this holster, you need to wear an outer garment or a jacket to cover it.
This little acronym means “Small of Back” and it is where the holster holds your Roscoe. SOB carry is controversial because there is a risk of falling and landing on the ground with a pistol between the pavement and your spine. If you are seated for any length of time it can become uncomfortable too.
Nevertheless it fills a niche for gun shop employees or anyone who stands for most of the day and has a need for concealment. This double lined holster offers concealment in an area that is not prone to printing.
We wear our SOB off to the right instead of dead center in the back for comfort and concealment and most likely keep a Walther PPK or a Sig Sauer P230 at the ready. It prevents the risk of a spinal injury should we fall or find ourselves thrown to the ground.
Galco offers a host of different holsters, too. Some sporting Kydex instead of leather and designed more for the civilian concealed carrier as opposed to just strictly law enforcement. However, they have not compromised on quality whatsoever. Check them out if you are looking for classic, time proven leather designs or new concepts in Kydex.