Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Rise of Rhome, A Review of the DGL #2 IWB

This is a holster review from February of '09, thought I'd toss it up here as I'm looking at trying to get one of his holsters (the IWB #4) for my Sig 238 provided the replacement runs. 

Along time ago way back when, I first happened to come across DefensiveCarry.com (CombatCarry back then) and I dug into the Mega-Holster Maker Links page, bookmarked about half a dozen makers and then started making decisions on gear I wanted and started searching out info on those makers.

Of those that I was looking I really liked what I saw from Desibens Gunleather. The gear looked solid and there were no complaints on wait time, price, etc. This was to be my first custom holster so I was a little hesitant after hearing some horror stories. The holster was for my Kimber CDP Compact, previous to that I was carrying it in my Galco Royal Guard for my 5” 1911. I ordered an IWB and two magazine carriers from Rhome in horse with a cherry finish, I loved the holster, but the horse just wasn’t right for me in that configuration, and eventually I ended up tossing the holster in with the CDP for a trade, I kept the magazine carriers and used them often. Currently those magazine carriers are being used by my Father who is currently using them and my Royal Guard for CCW duty in MI.

I never got around to ordering another rig from Rhome prior to his departure from the States. He’s come back and set up shop again in California and has started making holsters again with some new designs, Rhome contacted me and asked me to review one of his new holsters and I was pleased to accept. I received the holster on 1-16-09 and was pleased with what I saw. The first thing that tickled me was that he included a sheet of wax paper and instructions on break in, I made a point to ask him about this and the sheet of wax paper will be included with all holsters, in case a buyer doesn’t have the wax paper this will save him a trip to the store for a whole roll when just a small piece is need…I just thought that was damn cool. Also included was a care and use sheet which those familiar with Gary B’s website will recognize.

The holster I received is the IWB #2 for a 5” 1911 which is based on the Brommeland Max-Con V. Now before we go any further, I asked Rhome if Gary was aware that he was making a rig based on Gary’s work and his reply was that even he is having trouble getting in touch with Gary, but Rhome does give Gary credit where it’s due as Gary was an inspiration in Rhome’s own work, so lets not go into a “He stole “X” from “Y” debate.

The holster is super thin, is finished nicely, the stitching is top notch being nice and even without a fray to be found, and the edging is spectacular. The snaps weren’t too tight, and I didn’t need the wax paper to make the gun slide out as desired, the draw was smooth but there was one little issue.

Initially I started carrying my Baer in the holster, but found that there was a persistent “squeak” while in motion, I took my blued Springfield from the safe and inserted it in the holster and the squeak went away, put the Baer back in and the squeak returned. Apparently without a proper break in period the holster and the Bearkote don’t like each other. I contacted a friend that has an Armory Koted Springfield MILSPEC and tried it in the holster and we still had a squeaking issue. Part of the “Squeak Issue” may be the Angelus acrylic finisher that is a form of a plastic which is used as a water barrier that Rhome applies as the final finish.

In talking with Rhome we agree that with a proper break in the squeak should go away, this was confirmed as the Baer spent the night in the wax paper in the holster between the mattress and the box spring over night and I’m pleased to say that the squeak has gone almost completely away, just goes to show that even if the gun draws smoothly, you still may want to go ahead and use the wax paper to avoid any squeaking. Another couple days of break in should just about do the trick.

Back to wearing the holster, the cant is around 20 degrees putting it at the extreme end of the FBI Cant spectrum and for me requires me to wear the holster a bit further back behind the point of the hip than I prefer, but I’m slowly getting used to it. I generally prefer to carry as close to 3 o’clock as I can get and find that for me, a cant of 10-15 degrees suits ME better.

What I can say is that this is one of the most comfortable IWB holsters I’ve ever worn, if not the most comfortable. It even passed the rocking chair test as I spent about three hours rocking my son with the gun and holster in place and felt fine. If it’s not the best, it’s definitely in the top three with my Sparks VMII and HBE Com III, what I did notice is that the loop spacing is a little further apart than my other IWB holsters, that combined with the difference in how the weight is distributed due to the cant made a difference in how well the rig carries, even with a standard belt I didn’t feel like the gun was pulling my pants down. The body shield is probably the most proportionate one I’ve had on a holster, this in part is due to the cant which allows the shield to not stick up so high and get “floppy” over time, it’s neither too large or too small and has just the right amount of material to keep the hammer and beavertail from making contact with the body. In short, the shield is perfect.

The holster conceals wonderfully, while the cant is not to my liking at this time (It’s growing on me), you can’t refute that it aides incredibly in concealment of what some seem to think as an un-concealable gun.

Regarding price, Rhome prices the rig at a starting cost of $85.00 for veggie tan leather which is nice and firm, while the holster is not reinforced, at this time I have no troubles re-holstering the gun, this may change over time, but currently it’s a non-issue. I generally prefer a reinforced mouth, but that’s just my preference and not really based on anything in particular other than I just like my holsters that way, but according to Rhome a model with a reinforced opening is in the works.

I will most likely be ordering a #2 IWB for my Hi Power once we get settled in from the move, just because of the body shield alone which in my opinion is one trait alone that  makes this holster worth the money.

And finally, some pictures of the holster.

One minor area of concern is that the rear sight seems to me making a nice home for itself in the body shield, this should stop once the correct amount of leather is removed.

Overall I give the holster two thumbs up as while it’s not exactly my cup of tea, it still impresses me and exceeds my expectations in all aspects such as cost, quality of construction, and functionality.

While I’m not one to recommend one holster to be right for everyone and I don’t plan on starting now, this model is definitely worth taking a look at. The price range is right in the middle of what I expect to pay for a custom holster, being not on the cheap end and not into the three digits that I’ve paid for holsters of similar quality.

If you’re one who likes thin holsters with that level of cant, or are looking to try something new to carry, I think this just might be the holster for you. You can view different models on Rhome’s website, Desbiens Gunleather, the gun list can be found under the “Order” tab.

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