We will examine an unusual strong side concealment hip holster by Mernickle Custom Holsters, a horsehide deep concealment pocket holster from El Paso Saddlery, and an open top leather-look synthetic strong side hip holster by Safariland.

holster.gifMernickle PS6-SA
While I do not recommend a SAA revolver as the first choice for a concealed carry handgun, in a large caliber and in skilled hands, they are hard to beat for the first five shots. In addition, the popularity of Cowboy Action Shooting has brought thousands of handgunners to very high skill levels with SAA revolvers. Recognizing the lack of a modern concealment holster for the SAA revolver, Bob Mernickle designed his Performance Series SA (Model PS6-SA) for concealed carry either on the strong side hip or crossdraw.

The PS6-SA is a full-lined pancake-style holster with two belt slots in the leading edge and a single belt slot in the trailing edge. This allows one to wear the holster in a vertical strong side, high ride hip position or when the belt is through the lower leading edge belt slot as a muzzle raked crossdraw holster. The holster pouch is of the traditional speed style, fully exposing the triggerguard and hammer spur and cut low at the front lip to expose half of the revolver’s top strap.  

The pouch is wet molded to provide a secure friction fit. My sample PS6-SA is finished in an attractive burgundy with all edges professionally finished. The belt slots are cut for a 1-3/4-inch belt. While I ordered my PS6-SA for the Ruger 3.63-inch barrel New Vaquero Montado, I found that my new Colt Custom Shop 3.5-inch barrel SAA revolver is a perfect fit. This Mernickle Custom Holster is a keeper.

El Paso Saddlery’s Pocket Max
The legendary New York City reload was drawing a second handgun when the main handgun was empty, believing this was faster than reloading the empty handgun. This second back-up handgun was often a Smith & Wesson J-frame .38SPL carried in a side pocket, often in a holster from the NYC shop of Chic Gaylord. Using a pocket holster maximized the speed of drawing the backup from a pocket and El Paso Saddlery’s new Pocket Max is an excellent example.

The Pocket Max is a simple pouch holster constructed of top-grade horsehide. As we have seen before, tight grained, lightweight horsehide produces a superior leather holster. The Pocket Max is constructed with the natural rough side out, placing the smooth finished side against the gun to minimize finish wears on the handgun. The rough-out construction also minimizes movement in the pocket.  

The two-piece construction consisting of front and back halves stitched securely together provides a sight tunnel down the leading edge. The tab extending from the trailing edge, combined with the rough-out exterior further stabilizes the holstered revolver in the pocket. The pouch is nicely wet molded for my S&W  Chief’s Special with 2-inch barrel, and fully encloses all but the revolver’s grip. The El Paso Saddlery Pocket Max demonstrates the best in design, material and execution.

Safariland M528: Open Top Pancake
Safariland broke onto the holster scene nearly 50 years ago with a unique hip holster that incorporated a “Sight Track” stitched into the leading edge of the pouch. They have evolved into the leading manufacturer of synthetic holsters, including those with the appearance of leather. Recently I have been using a Model 528 Open Top Pancake hip holster made of a tri-laminate material known as SafariLaminate.

The black tri-laminate consists of a black nylon-type material call Majilite, real genuine suede lining, and a rigid synthetic stiffener called Boltaron, which is thermal moldable, sandwiched between. The holster is molded in a secure glove-like fit, with a molded indent inside the triggerguard for additional security. The leading and trailing edge belt slots are sized for a 1-3/4-inch belt and placed the cocked and locked M1911 .45ACP at an FBI rake. The pouch fully encloses the triggerguard to prevent premature access to the trigger and it presents the gun butt for a full shooting grip with first hand contact.  

The backside of the pouch is cut to clear the pistol’s magazine release and extends upward to cover the thumb safety lever. The Safariland Model 528 holds the pistol high on the strong side hip and the pancake design pulls it in against the hip for comfort and concealability. Safariland’s new Model 528 Open Top Pancake is an excellent synthetic holster with the attractive appearance of a molded cowhide holster.

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