If you think the market is hot with new guns, the rebound in revolvers and rimfires, perhaps a new caliber or two, then you need to take a look at upcoming accessories, tools and gear. The aftermarket parts innovations, modification to existing holster lines to accommodate optics – another growth field in handguns, and use of non-conventional materials in existing product designs have really moved the needle.
A great revolver, the current Colt Python (this one a 3") has short sights and a less-than-wide rear notch in the rear sight -- which can now be changed, by the user.
For example, there are HD Snake Sights – the HD for Harrison Design, a custom shop in Georgia that makes some of the nicest gun parts (and does interesting 1911 custom work). John Harrison examined the current Colt Python/Anaconda line and found the sights wanting.
Oh, they’re okay but they’re short – close to the top of the revolver – and comparatively narrow. Some of us need more light on either side of the front sight when gazing at it through the rear notch. John’s solution to the problem includes an increase in the height of the front and rear sights – as well as opening up the rear notch to let more daylight into the sight picture. The sights come as a set, for current production Colts -- both Anacondas in 6” & 8” as well as the Python in 3”, 4.25” & 6” lengths.
The Harrison Design rear sight slide is robust, with a wide notch. Just the thing for aging eyes, it makes sight alignment a bit quicker and more sure. Both images are from Harrison Design.
The rear sight has rounded corners to prevent snagging fabric or cutting skin. The set screw is the more commonly used 1/16” hex key and it has been moved to the center of the blade.
Image from Harrison Design.
The front side is an improved ramp, higher than original and wide enough to feature ‘color contrasting’ features like gold beads, fiber optic rods or tritium.
The sights should be available next month on John’s website, Harrison Design & Consulting, LLC.
Speaking of handguns, the issue of how to pack them around arises. There’s a newer innovator as a holster maker and there is a company which is a long-term solution to the problem of carry, there’s a classic holster maker; and they’re by no means the only holster providers out there.
They are all innovators, something we often see in the holster space.
The most recent maker I had considerable experience with is Massaro Holster Works. The first examples of Eddie’s work mirror my most typically carried setup, the American Purebred IWB. The holsters are kydex pouches formed with a 12° angle to prevent printing; they are .080 inch thick, the pouches molded and cut for red dot sights, suppressor height co-witness sights, grip style lasers – all while featuring full muzzle coverage for protection of the gun and clothing.
There’s a cut in the bottom corner of the holster. The shell flexes under the pressure of the belt and trousers to prevent hot spots, a concern when the holster is worn against the body.
The holster pouch, which is a complete shell not just a front section, is attached via military-grade velcro to a breathable neoprene backing pad. On the backing pad, at the leading and trailing edges, we have the belt clip assembly. Made from ATSM spring wire – very discreet – with a black zinc coating, it is extremely secure to the belt.
The backing pad has a high coefficient of body friction – so it closely adheres to the location you place it (keeping your shirt tucked in). There is 3.5” of tuck area in the full-size configuration. The thickness is less than .125 inches – as thin or thinner than leather backed hybrids.
Not content to rest on a single design, Eddie manufactured a holster inspired by Dave Spaulding, our correspondent and honcho of Handgun Combatives. I extensively carry the S&W M&P Shield (and Shield Plus) in the American Purebred IWB, as well as a Gen5 GLOCK 19 in the appropriate size holster – he has the Spaulding OWB design -- the S.P.E.E.D. (Spaulding Enhanced EDC Design) holster.
Featuring a “molded in” 12° cant, the gun is held close to the body. The flat holster back enhances comfort and “speed-ease” belt clips are quick “on-and-off,” while keeping the holster firmly attached to the belt. The holster furnished for the evaluation had a brown “leather-look” print, very fancy. Along with the “9mm retention adjustment screw,” it makes for a unique look.
From our friends at Galco, they continue to modernize their line – both with new models and with updating of existing lines. First, the KingTuk Cloud, another IWB hybrid, and consistent with my most usual daily wear. The innovation in this update of the KingTuk, is the backing material. It’s closed cell foam with a ballistic nylon cover. The back portion has Galco’s Comfort Cloth – “Adaptive Performance Mesh” that includes moisture wicking with comfort padding.
The rigid Kydex shell makes for quick, slick access with easy reholstering. Like the holsters referenced above, the KingTuk Cloud is cut to allow a full firing grip while the gun is holstered. The attachment is with Galco’s tuckable polymer “UniClips.” While stable on the belt, it makes for an easy-off capability should that become necessary.
Wanting to stay with real leather? Rob Leahy, of Simply Rugged Holsters, hasn’t been resting. They’re still producing solid holsters out there in the high desert. These include the Sourdough Pancake, for which Rob credits the inspiration from Roy Baker’s Pancake holster (from Magnolia, Ark.) – I have one for the 7-shot 357 Magnum Ruger GP100 – and the Simply Rugged DEFCON 3 holster, with its reinforced holster mouth and punched for IWB straps if you consider carrying it in a more discreet way.
Now, we get to parts. I’m careful about aftermarket parts on carry guns and that’s why one of my preferred vendors is Apex Tactical Specialties. With all the other parts they have now – and some that are forthcoming – they continue to provide improvements to factory-supplied guns.
Image from Apex Tactical Specialties.
The company recently announced their Apex Extended Magazine Release for the Springfield Hellcat model pistols. A direct replacement for the factory part, it makes for an easier reach to dump the depleted magazine. Made from bar stock steel, it is finished in black oxide and ships with a spare magazine release spring – though it works with the factory spring.
Another development from Apex is their Competition Trigger Kit for the Ruger MK IV line of pistols. Designed to ensure a clean break while reducing trigger pull weight and overtravel, it includes a safety plate to “maintain factory safety values” – a critical aspect when doing a ‘trigger job.’
It’s a great time to be a handgunner.
-- Rich Grassi