Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Etowah River Leather

Here are the pictures of the new gunleather that I promised about two months ago. This rig is from Etowah River Leather in Baird, Texas. I try not to stay up nights trying to figure out why a one-man holster company in Texas is named after a river in Georgia.

The rig starts with a three inch wide, lined belt. Note to those considering wearing heavy iron: the wider the belt the better. A heavy shootin' iron worn on a narrow belt is an instrument of torture. Bemember those half to three quarter inch belts that were popular back when I had a full head of hair? Put an N Frame S&W revolver holster on one of those and the rig would slowly cut you in two. This particular belt has no cartridge loops. For one thing, the holstermaker, Brazos Jack, known to the IRS as Jim Simmons was making this rig to illustrate his pattern for a Single Six Rig and a row of heavy caliber cartridge loops would not fit the pattern. Instead he included a pouch on a clip That fits where I want to put it. It is easy enough to put as many rounds as I need for the rifle and handguns in. Most stages do not need a reload, anyway. I simply keep a couple of rounds in the pouch in case I miss a "must fall" knockdown target or accidentally eject a live round. There are other reasons for no cartridge loops, too. Such as Jim didn't know if I was shooting a .45 or a .38. I shall not complain, if I decide I'm desperate for cartridge loops I'll pay him for a belt slide like the shotgun slide that clips on the front of the belt. Assuming, of course, that I ever see any cash again.

Next on the lineup are two straight draw holsters. These holsters are lined with smooth leather. This is great for the finish of the revolvers. The rough leather of an unlined holster can catch dust and grit and act as if it were sandpaper. The downside is that we need to be more careful about engaging the hammer thong as the iron can fall out easier. I seldom stand on my head while wearing a pair of shootin' irons, though. If I must I'll slip the hammer thongs on.

There is still some controversy about straight draw verses a strong side and a cross draw rig. I have pretty much decided that I am a two straight draw man, primarily because of the "crossdraw shuffle" that CAS requires. This is so no one breaks the 170 degree rule as they draw. Oddly if one simply stands with the left foot forward he can draw from a left side crossdraw holster without violating that rule. It doesn't matter, though. If one tries the crossdraw without an exaggerated swaying of hips there is a whole lot of hooraw from people who think that to shoot a gun one must be a choreogpher. Without them I'd wear a strong side right holster and a cross draw on the left.

Brazo Jack is one of the few holstermakers I know of that does not believe in wet molding the holsters. I'm still getting used to that after some forty years, or more, of dunking a holster in the horse trough and letting it dry around a well greased gun. I can't complain about the speed, though. The irons come out of the leather like they were jet propelled. I should have taken a picture of my hideout holster for my Ruger SP101, it is wet molded.

A look at the very bottom picture shows how the top of the holster is slightly rolled out, this makes it a lot easier to reholster the weapon. A look at the pictures shows the border tooling done on this rig. Every one of those tool marks was put on by hitting a little chisel with a small hammer.

This rig is further embellished by a "State Of Texas" concho on each holster.

Brazos Jack does not keep a stock, each item is made to order. He is fairly fast, I would be surprised to see a basic rig taking more than six weeks or so, unless he was real busy.

One can also order the patterns and plans for several of his rigs if you are the kind of person who is handy.

Jim's website is and is well worth checking out. I also have his snail mail and phone number, a note will get it to you.


This issue of Shoot Magazine has a nice article with professional pictures. I don't know how much their website will give you but it is here.

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