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Sunday, June 17, 2018

AIWB Holster Review: Bell Charter Oak Gaylord Holdout II (Lefty Lewis, Maker)


Chic Gaylord is oft referred to as the father of modern concealed-carry holsters.  Retired New York City Lawman Lefty Lewis was his friend, an associate, and ultimately the owner of Gaylord's holster designs, to which he added many of his own innovative creations.  The above clipping is from a circa 1959 Gaylord holster catalog and shows his IWB Hold-Out holster being carried in the appendix position, inside dress pants looped for a 1'' wide belt.   Dress pants ride higher than most modern cuts of denim jeans and therefore are a bit more amenable to AIWB carry.  





Gaylord's primary target-market was law enforcement,  initially the NYPD off-duty and plain-clothes officers/detectives.  





Chic Gaylord circa 1950








It is only on rare occasions that I wear dress pants.  Jeans are my usual attire and having the waist ride lower than it does with dress pants makes it a challenge for me to carry AIWB, especially since I am not overly tall, but it is doable.  Although the holster belt loop strap allows for neutral, forward, or reverse cant I do prefer the cringeworthy cant that points the muzzle at my junkyard.  I wore this Lefty Lewis (Bell Charter Oak) Holdout II holster daily in this position for about four-months straight before my wintertime weight gain made belt carry of ANY type of holstered handgun too uncomfortable for me to bear; whether sitting or standing, my gun belt was squeezing my visceral fat too much and my internal organs went renegade.  Even borderline obesity can be painful ... and I mean a trip to the emergency room type of painful ... and that is a warning for me to lose weight or else.





Another AIWB position that worked for me with this holster is a cross-draw position.  The location of my seatbelt/shoulder-harness in both of my vehicles makes strong side access of any belt gun a problem; cross-draw solves the problem to some degree but I usually go to a shoulder holster if I am going to be sitting or driving for long periods.





The leather belt loop is cut perfectly to lay over the trigger guard instead of over the cylinder; that keeps the revolver and holster combination as thin as possible.   Along with that, the leather itself is very thin but perfectly firm for its designated task; the holster easily slides into the waistband and it rides comfortably.  So what makes a Lefty Lewis Holdout II different from Gaylord's original Hold-Out?  My guess is that Lefty Lewis chose to make some modifications available to customers, e.g., the holster available with a strap larger than for 1'' wide belts (mine is for a 1.5'' belt).  Further, he offers it with a mouth-band reinforcement to aid re-holstering in-situ; I chose to have mine without the reinforcement for a few reasons.  First, I wanted it as close to an original Gaylord as possible; second, I do NOT re-holster a handgun carried AIWB (I remove the holster from inside my waistband, insert the handgun, then put the holstered gun back into position. That's just my preference; I don't suggest to others what is right or wrong.)  The final reason I opted against the reinforced mouth-band was to keep things comfortably thin.   I have no regrets.  





Another feature that Lefty Lewis added was this snap reinforcement; I am only guessing that it is to keep the leather strap from premature wear due to frequent use.





While the holster that I ordered is for the larger Colt Detective Special, the form-fit of this holster (i.e., it is not heavily boned to an exact shape) also works perfectly well (for me) with the S&W J-Frame snubs.






The Holdout II does work for me in positions other than AIWB.  I'll be honest with everyone and say that my wearing any holstered gun AIWB is usually simple "proof of concept."  I want to know which guns and holsters work for me just in case some change in my life makes regular AIWB carry a requirement.   I much prefer IWB carry just behind the hip; while not as fast as drawing from AIWB, it is a much more comfortable carry. There is plenty of room in the belt loop leather of the Holdout II to allow instant adjustment of cant, fore and aft. I will also admit that, if I am not going to be sitting for a while, I often use this holster AIWB for no other reason than it is quick and easy to put on (yeah, sometime we old guys are too damn lazy to reach around and snap on a holster  behind the hip).  Hell, there have been times that I am so lazy that I simply slip the handgun and holster into my pants pocket.  I like this holster ... it gives me options ... 





I did find that if I tried to tuck the holstere down too far into my pants the snap would pop open.  Other than that, I never had my daily activities ever pop the snap open or push the gun and holster up and out of my waistband.  Note: I am not one to get drunk and try a dance-floor backflip while carrying a gun; aside from such antics, this holster keeps my revolver secure throughout my abnormal daily routines.





The final three photos above show the holster being worn in an unorthodox position, lefthand side, cavalry carry (gun butt forward, the hand is positioned palm-side out and slides between the gun butt and the body in order to draw).  I've tried this "proof of concept" with other righthand holsters OWB and IWB holsters and this is the first time that it worked out.   Why bother?  Well, I like Colt D Frame revolvers with Pachmayr grips and they are easier for me to conceal in the butt forward position; right or left handed I shoot pretty much the same.









6 comments:

James Pritchett said...

Spent the 70's and most of the 80's carring a S&W Bodyguard in a Bianchi copy of this holster. A DEA agent, who survived several man to man fights, carried everything from a 3" M13 to a well modified M25 in the same style holster. They take practice, but boy do they work.

"Zack" said...

Thanks for the insight, James. It's great to have you stop in.

Best,

Zack

Old 1811 said...

I carried a J-frame in a Jackass Leather (now Galco) copy of that holster for many years, but unlike the DEA guy I don't have any good stories for it. I carried AIWB once or twice, found it uncomfortable, then always carried either behind the hip or crossdraw (as a backup), and once or twice in the cavalry draw position you described.
But these kids today will tell you it's a lousy, unsafe holster because it doesn't contain any Kydex.

"Zack" said...

Heh heh heh @ kids and Kydex ...

People who long carried these holsters and handguns as tools of their profession have perspectives and wisdom. I'm just an enthusiast ... a hobbyist ... yeah, I take my personal/family defense seriously but I get to avoid situations lawmen are duty-bound to charge into. I don't have the insight you guys do and frankly I'm glad that I don't.

Thanks Old 1811

Good seeing you again.

Old 1811 said...

After I posted my comment I remembered something else.
Jackass Leather made the same holster for bigger guns. I carried a Model 59 (Yes, I'm old) and a Colt Combat Commander in Jackass's models for those guns.
(In case you're interested, Jackass Leather started business at 920 Waukegan Rd. in Glenview. When the operation was moved to Chicago, the Waukegan store became a gun store, which was run out of business by Cook County ordinance in the late 80s/early 90s. I think it's a beauty parlor now. Gallagher, the holster maker, moved to Arizona and changed the name to Galco. I still have a Jackass Shoulder System (now the Galco Miami Classic) from 1976, stamped with the donkey logo and "Jackass Leather, Glenview IL.")
Like the T-shirt says, Yeah, I'm old, but I got to see all the cool bands.

James Storyteller Pritchett said...

Old 1811, hey, I got one of those as well. (Don't fix it if it ain't broke.) I also have the off side mag/knife pouch also stamped with the kickin'mule. The knife pouch was designed for the Gerber double edged fighter. A great bar-b-q set up, stainless steel mag, bone handled Gerber, and stag handled stainless commander. I'll send a picture. :)