Do you have a small revolver that you’re trying to figure out how to carry? Might we suggest an open top J-Frame holster from 1791 Gunleather? Read on for a possible solution to your dilemma!
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I recently received a holster from 1791 Gunleather. With the myriad of holsters out there on the market, I have to confess that I wasn’t familiar with this company until recently. I’m glad I caught up with them because they are putting out some products that are top-shelf. Let’s take a look at what the consumer can expect.
Open Top J-Frame Holster
The holster I received for a review is their open top J-Frame model that fits the Smith & Wesson J-Frame and also the Ruger LCR revolver. It is an OWB type holster. The revolver I carried is the S&W 642 in .38 Special with a 1 7/8-inch barrel.
When I received the holster, I was a little taken aback; it is an unexpectedly heavy-duty rig. To say that the leather is thick is an understatement. The individual pieces used are nearly 1/4-inch thick. Where those pieces come together and are joined, they are about 3/8-inch thick. I want to use the word robust, but I’m not even sure that is an adequate description here.
On the outboard side of the holster near the mouth, there is a slab of leather attached to reinforce that area. However, it’s not just a slab of leather – they’ve sewn a slab of carbon fiber into this space so that the leather will never soften. Soft leather can eventually get into the trigger guard and cause an accidental discharge. I’m not sure it was needed, but they put it there. They aren’t ones to skimp on materials or workmanship, that’s evident.
The leather around the area of the belt loops is about 3/8-inch thick and is likely to hold up in the event of a nuclear blast. The loops will fit belts up to 1 3/4-inches wide. When worn, the holster has a slight forward cant.
1791 products come in four finishes, with my holster being in Stealth Black. The others are Classic Brown (a medium brown color), Signature Brown (a very dark brown color), and Vintage (a worn, brown color). All are pleasing to the eye, and I think the worn look of the Vintage is my favorite. Classy all the way, for sure!
The edges of the holster area also very nicely finished, being rounded and smoothed perfectly. It really adds a nice touch to the holster that other makers could take a lesson from. I cannot picture these edges curling over in time. With some holsters, this becomes an issue that is dangerous because the edge of the holster could get into the trigger guard, causing an unintended pull of the trigger. I.e., a negligent discharge. With these edged being as thick as they are, I cannot see this as ever being an issue with a 1791 holster.
I’d fully expect this holster to last at least a lifetime, if not longer.
There is double stitching around the belt loop area. It is very heavy and well done. This holster won’t be coming apart any time soon.
You’ll want to allow a little time to break this holster in. Fit at first was quite tight. Several dozen draws from the holster began to smooth the inside out and the tightness began to ease somewhat. This is not a criticism, it is to be expected with a leather holster that is wet molded to the handgun, as these are.
I left the handgun in the holster overnight for a few nights, which also seemed to help. It is now much easier to draw from, yet it retains the revolver very well. It’s not going to fall out accidentally.
When the revolver is inserted, the trigger guard is also completely covered, ensuring safety.
Overall, the holster carries the little revolver well. Given the overbuilt, stout quality of the holster, it seems almost overkill to carry such a tiny handgun in the holster. Again, it’s not a criticism, it’s just the nature of how this holster is built.
Personally, I’d prefer to carry a small revolver in an Inside The Waistband holster, as it conceals a bit better. However, the option of the OWB holster is also nice.
1791 also offers this holster to fit numerous other pistol brands, including: Arex, Beretta, Glock, H&K, Keltec, Kimber, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory, Walther, Taurus, and others.
If it’s manufactured, they probably make a holster for it.
It seems that this OWB holster would be perfect for many of the autos that are out there on the market. We’ll report on some of those options soon.
If you’re not a fan of the open top J-frame holster, do not despair. They also make thumb-break styles for additional retention and security.
At the time of this writing, the holster retails for $51.99. In my estimation, that is a spectacular value, considering the fact that the holster oozes quality from top to bottom.
Considering my very positive experience with this holster, I would definitely buy another holster from 1791 Gunleather in the future. Their attention to detail is outstanding.
It carries the revolver safely and comfortably while offering excellent retention. The price is also modest when compared to other holster makers on the market. You just can’t go wrong with these guys!
One final thought: no matter which holster (or holsters) you’re using, you need to safe the weapon and practice your drawstroke.
About 1791 Gunleather
Based in Miami, Florida, 1791 Gunleather offers a lifetime warranty on all of their holsters and gear. They use 100% certified American, Heavy Native Steerhide in their holsters. They incorporate four generations of professional leather artisans into the making of each holster – and when you get one of their holsters into your hands, you will believe it! This company makes a badass holster and stands behind it.
Why 1791? Because it was the year that the Bill of Rights was ratified.
Aside from holsters, they make other gear as well, including belts and magazine holders. They make inside the waistband (IWB) holsters, outside the waistband (OWB) holsters, and 2-way holsters, among others. Check out their website for the full line because it’s too expansive to list here.