Pictured at top with the BLUE GUN Glock 19 is the SOB (Sheriff of Baghdad) “Condom,” holster, popularized by world-famous trainer, John “Shrek” McPhee.  As advertised, the Condom holster is very low profile, comfortable, and concealable.  I don’t often carry a G19 these days, but when I do, as work or training environment requires, this rig is great for low profile carry under casual clothes, and allows large RUGBY players like Shrek and I to carry a G19 virtually invisibly.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, fair reader, but there was a time in the recent past when the majority of holsters for serious purposes (personal defense, law enforcement, security) were made of LEATHER!  They were not vegan-friendly like the kydex, Boltaron, and various other polymer type synthetics that are the off-shoots of the Bill Rogers (Rogers Holster and later SAFARILAND) “plastic,” holsters of the 1970’s.  Leather holsters have a lot going for them, and are still quite serviceable and workable for the modern CIVILIAN DEFENDER.  Chief among the positive qualities of leather holsters are their increased level of comfort.  They tend to conform to the body over a period of time, and this makes user compliance higher.  My old buddy Paul Gomez preferred leather holsters over synthetics, because while synthetics allowed a quicker draw (and they most certainly do) they give up quite a bit in terms of weapon’s retention.  Leather holsters rely on surface area contact with the weapon to keep the holster and gun together.  “Boning,” or forcibly bending the leather with a tool (made of bone in traditional leather-working) to fit the gun it was designed for, and other features like trigger guard detents, can allow the pistol to, “snap,” into the holster.  I have yet to purchase a quality leather holster that doesn’t require some accelerated break-in before I use it in my regular carry.  Thus, additional break-in steps have to be taken to get the holster to a point of snug retention, but not so much that it takes two hands, an elephant, and a length of chain to remove the gun from the holster.  It isn’t hard to spot the rookie in a concealed carry class who hasn’t broken in their holster adequately, as the wedgie and belt pulled up to their neck is a dead give-away.

When I was a young police cadet, a wise Sergeant told me to use rubbing alcohol to stretch the leather on my duty belt accessories, since the alcohol would evaporate quickly, and thus prevent the leather from losing it’s shape.  While that is true, because alcohol evaporates so quickly, it dehydrates the leather, which can cause a wet-molded holster to lose its shape.  Most holster manufacturers recommend using the thick, plastic bag (or a freezer bag if you don’t have the factory container) to stretch the holster…this isn’t rocket surgery, but it can certainly cut down on your frustration if you haven’t encountered something like this before.


You’re going to need a bag.  If the holster is very tight, you may need MANY bags.  I keep a stack of these in my storage closet, at the ready for breaking in holsters.  This is a Galco Summer Comfort that I won at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference.  It is Galco’s version of Bruce Nelson’s Summer Special II.  And it comes out of the box TIGHT.  It won’t allow the wearer to draw the holster without help.  And I assure you I’m not lacking in physical strength!  You can use a Blue Gun like I’ve done here, or you can use your (unloaded and cleared) live pistol as well.

Put the pistol into the plastic bags (start with one…if that doesn’t get the rig to relax some, go to two bags.  Increase if necessary).  Push the bags and pistol into the holster, to the limit of its insertion.  THEN FORGET ABOUT THE HOLSTER/GUN.  Leave it in a dry place, and let the leather and the stitching relax, over a period of days or weeks.  Depending on the construction and materials, a break-in with this method can take a couple of weeks to complete.
This AE Nelson duty rig looks brand new…it IS NOT.  If you take care of your leather gear, it will take care of you.  A little bit of love and regular maintenance will keep your gear looking good, and in fine functioning form.  Worn stitching can always be replaced, but smashed edges, chunks missing, and other misuse should be avoided when possible.  After all, with a uniform holster like this, you’re expecting the holster to protect the gun from the elements, as well as allow you to mount an effective defense against disarmament.  So take the extra steps and allow your gear to do some of the work for you!
It looks like leather…but it isn’t!  (The belt is).  SAFARI-LAMINATE is a synthetic leather, which gives the appearance of leather, with the lower maintenance requirements of nylon or plastic.  AND, you can still break it in with the plastic bag method.

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