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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Review of the Bell Charter Oak "Chicago Rocker," an Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB) Holster


Definitions for this blog entry:
AIWB = Appendix Inside the Waistband
Appendix-Carry = Carrying a handgun inside or outside the waistband, anywhere in the area from just in front of the left hip to just in front of the right hip.
Chi-Rock = My abbreviation for Chicago Rocker

I've had this Chi-Rock holster for about one year.  I had no pressing need to buy it;  I simply wanted more B. E. "Lefty" Lewis holsters in my collection.  Well, I'll be darned if it didn't work out to be a dandy niche concealed carry holster for the times when other stuff just didn't quite work out for me.  It is a very no-nonsense, quick-on / quick off, old school design, elegantly utilitarian, and very affordable.  Since I am of short stature and (ahem) somewhat chubby, I don't have enough prime real estate in the appendix area to be carrying anything except blubber; the Chi-Rock optimizes what little my physique has to offer.  The unboned leather is firm, yet it is pliable enough for comfort. The holster does not squeeze the handgun out when I bend or sit, as do the nylon-canvas, cloth, or the overly soft "buckskin" type leather holsters.  

(Description below is a copy-and-paste from the Bell Charter Oak Website)
This traditional revolver inside waistband is ideal for appendix carry. Heavy duty gun spring steel clip will not draw off. Available for most 2 inch barrel J and D frames revolvers from S&W, Colt, Taurus and Charter Arms 2000 revolvers. May be crafted with or without rear position sweat shield, please specify. Available in black or chestnut finish. Neutral cant only.





ABOVE:  I ordered the Chi-Rock to fit my Colt Agent and Detective Special with a veiled hope that it would also be a satisfactory fit for the narrower cylinder (and the frame differences) of my S&W J-Frame and Magnum J-Frame revolvers; it turned out (for my purposes; your mileage may vary) to be just wonderful for use with all of my short barrel D-Frames and J-Frames. 





ABOVE: One problem with owning the long-out-of-production Colt D-Frame revolvers is that many leather outfits don't make holsters for them anymore.   Bell Charter Oak is one of the few firms that still provides quality leather for Colt revolvers; Lefty Lewis likely has been doing so longer than any other leather artisan that is around today.  





ABOVE: The spring belt-clip is quite adequate and is sized on this holster for 1.5'' gunbelts; it seemed overly strong at first but it relaxed after being used over time and is now a very manageable / serviceable strength.  Depending on the fabric of my britches du jour, I sometimes, albeit rarely, wear the Chi-Rock without a belt; yeah, that silly looking old dude shuffling around the block in the early morning hours while wearing pajama bottoms and a t-shirt may have a snub-gun AIWB hanging near his crotch.  





ABOVE: The holster stitching is strong and looks very good.  By design, in order to keep things as thin as possible, the belt-clip is placed a bit on the downside of the revolver's cylinder.  





ABOVE: The closed-bottom is shaped to make sliding the holster inside the waistband a cool breeze, quick on and quick off.



















ABOVE:  I can get the rig to ride just a bit lower and closer to the "Zipper O'clock" junkyard position by wearing the clip UNDER the belt instead of over the belt.





ABOVE:  The .357 Magnum J-Frame is a bit larger than a standard J-Frame but it is still smaller than the Colt D-Frame revolvers that this Chi-Rock was purchased to accommodate.


ABOVE: An untucked t-shirt adequately covers the banana gripped Magnum J-Frame used with the Chi-Rock in the prior photo.











2 comments:

Wilson said...

Good review - Bell Charter Oak is a quality maker and I own a few of the models. I have never been disappointed.

Since I rarely carry a gun for long periods of the day these quick on/off holsters (clip or straps) are what I use most, although I definitely prefer a holster with two points to anchor it down. When I carry larger guns a single clip just won’t do, shifts too much. A Colt Detective would be about as large and heavy as I would carry with a holster like in your review.

"Zack" said...

Thanks, John.

Lefty Lewis had a stroke back in late 2016 or thereabouts. He toughed through it and filled all backorders. He removed many of the less popular items from his online list to help expedite production. He is one of the few remaining links to a remarkable time in history. What a guy ...

Take care, man.