|The D.M. Bullard OWB Cross Draw (front)|
|the rear view|
I admire Bullard holsters. In fact, I admire and own several holsters, mag carriers and a wallet made by David and his folks in Azle, Texas, which is affixed to the outskirts of Fort Worth itself. I have his Bodyguard design holsters for my LCP and LC9, along with single leather mag carriers for the LC9 and the SR9c. I also use his Bandit belt slide holster for my SR9c. I am very happy with all of these, and when wearing my pistols OWB, which is my preferred style of carry, my guns ride in Bullard holsters. Lately, I have been also carrying in the cross draw position, which is very good for car travel and for when you know you'll be doing a lot of sitting. I have heard all of the old negative opinions of cross draw, but I also know that cross draw has certain advantages that that strong-side carry does not when used for concealed carry. But, more on that later. So, wanting a OWB holster for my chunky, somewhat heavy SR9c, I contacted Bullard Gun Leather ( http://dmbullardleather.com ) and requested one of his cross draw holsters. It came a couple of days ago, and this is my first write up on it.
I am in what the techies call the "honeymoon period". I'm smitten by the holster's design, craftsmanship and obvious quality. This is not hard to understand when you look at the photos. To borrow an old, but true engineering maxim, form follows function, and like the other Bullard holsters and leather pieces I have, this maxim is expressed in leather about as well as it can be. The holster offers nothing superfluous - everything is there for a reason. The moulding to the weapon is exact. The fit is perfect and the execution is about as good as top-quality hand made gun leather can be. Look at it closely and you can tell it is hand made. It's not perfect. It's the result of the knowledgeable labor of human hands. Really good stuff.
But, looks aren't everything. Having worked my way though many holsters, not to mention various other kinds of technology, over the years, I know that first impressions can be misleading. I am well acquainted with the other OWB holsters I have by David, and feel they are among the best of their type, but a good OWB cross draw holster is not easy to design nor to make, if it is to perform well to my three main criteria: concealment, comfort and accessibility. I have had other OWB cross draw holsters, some leather, some hybrid, but none that I stuck with after wearing and testing them for a few weeks. All concealment gun holsters must effect a compromise among those three criteria, and it is up to the holster maker and designer to find the best combination of design and materials that will offer the best of those three worlds melded together, depending on whether the holster will be carried Inside the Waist Band (IWB) or Outside the Waist Band (OWB). The requirements and limitations are different for those two types. Questions must be asked and answered by the holster maker. Will it be OWB or IWB? What carry positions? Materials? Deep concealment or a high ride for better access? Cant - none, shallow, steep? There is a lot of thought and experiment that goes into a well designed holster.
The first criteria, concealment, is especially important in a cross draw OWB holster. Carrying in this position will put the butt of the pistol forward, pointing the butt toward the midline of the body which, if not done in such a way as to pull the grip in to the body, is a recipe for printing. Concealment with OWB cross draw holsters is also affected to a great degree by body type.
If one is pushing a bit (or a lot) of stomach flab, then carrying a substantial firearm in the cross draw position results in much better concealment than if one is skinny, or doesn't possess a significant 'gut'. Blunt, but true. The bigger stomach tends to hide the butt of the gun better with a cross draw rig. Although I'm 6' 3" and stay right at 200 lbs, I don't have much of a gut, so this is an aspect of OWB cross draw carry that is particularly important for me.
After unwrapping the holster I was basically blown away by the quality and, yes, the beauty of the thing. I took the photos you see here so to present it in the new, pristine condition in which I received it. I then strapped it on with my Bear Creek 1 1/2" gun belt, pushed in the unloaded SR9c and checked out the fit and concealment.
For my body type, this holster with the heavier SR9c requires a tight belt and proper placement to get the best concealment. The forward slot of the holster pulls the gun butt in close to the body and, by adjusting the position of the holster to be astride the forward part of my left hip bone, I got the best fit to my body type. The gun carries comfortably and relatively snugly, but it's obvious that I won't be carrying this with just a T-shirt. But I didn't intend to do that in the first place. Around here, come September, the weather begins to cool rapidly, and at 7000 feet, we expect snow any time after that. For the best part of the year we are in heavy sweaters, coats, vests or parkas, depending on Mother Nature, so concealment with this setup is not going to be an issue. I tend to carry much of the time IWB in the summer anyway.
As you can also tell from the photos, the holster is exactly moulded to the gun. It fits in with almost a 'click'. I learned from Doug Childress of Bear Creek Holsters to wrap a couple of turns of kitchen plastic wrap around the gun, fit it in the holster a few times, leave it for a half hour of so and then unwrap it. Gun still fits tight like it should, but the holster is now "broken in" and the draw and re-holstering is smoother and as it should be.
I will be using and reporting on this new Cross Draw holster from D.M. Bullard, along with my other OWB Bullards over the next few months. I am not a big fan of pocket carry, and I use my Uncle George back pocket holster when I do carry my little LCP in the pocket. I am not totally satisfied with my various IWB holsters for the LC9 and the SR9c and when this new one has been well used and evaluated, I hope to look into David's various IWB designs. He has some very innovative holsters.
So, in the initial stages, I am very pleased with this new cross draw design from David Bullard, and the materials and workmanship are among the best there is. As we get acquainted I will continue to report on the results.
|Precise moulding seen on the sweat shield.|
|David's Maker's Mark|
|Excellent moulding on the 'front' side.|