Thursday, January 21, 2010


Written fifty years ago by a premier NYC holster maker for cops, federal agents, spies and shooters named Chic Gaylord, this book was a very enjoyable read. Although I had been reading about the influence of this book on others for nearly 30 years in various gun magazines, I just got a copy for a screaming deal price.

Clearly a revolver fan, he makes complimentary remarks about the 1911 and talks about the skill one needs to operate this pistol. Otherwise, he generally devotes most of the text to various combat revolvers in .38 special caliber and up.

Chic was also a fast draw competitor and competitive shooter. He was known as quite the pistolero. He designed many of his holsters based upon the specifications and needs of his clientele. I've read that their stories of gunfights and having to conceal weapons in deep cover situations inspired him to provide holster solutions to their problems.

You can clearly see his influence on holster makers from the 1950's to the present day, in many of their designs. Some, like BELL CHARTER OAK, attribute their designs to his original works, and others do not.

Some of his opinions I don't necessarily agree with, although I find them to be reasonable beliefs with as much support as my differing opinions. For example, he maintains it is good to practice with a .22 revolver that is close in design and operation to your carry weapon.

While I agree with the proposition that shooting and practicing with a .22 is better than no shooting and practicing at all, I think it is good to practice with what you carry. In the unfortunate event you must ever defend yourself with your carry weapon, IT WILL BE VERY LOUD and THERE WILL BE RECOIL. If you're not shaking from nerves, adrenaline flow or the shock of being involved in a very serious situation that requires using a handgun to defend yourself at the time of the first shot, you will be shaking as soon as that first shot is fired.

While I don't advocate shaking or getting one's self worked up emotionally to simulate a "live real time-stress situation", law enforcement training academies for years have included physical activities such as running and shooting to simulate a physically stressful situation.

With the high price of centerfire handgun ammo these days, I can also see value in the proposition that a .22 of similar design and operation to your carry weapon in a larger caliber. And I suppose you could take it one step further with using a high-end pellet or bb gun made by Sig Sauer or Walther or even a high-end airsoft gun for practice shooting.

But that's nitpicking his book. Overall, I'd recommend the book to the novice or the long time experienced combat competition or self defense pistol enthusiast. There's a lot of great knowledge that I've heard attributed to Chic over the years from other handgun writers, and it's nice to read the whole book to really put his thoughts about handgunning in perspective.

I also received a Bell Charter Oak Gaylord Holdout holster recently. It's an inside the waistband holster with a belt loop with snap offset behind the cylinder area, making for a much more thinner holster than it would be if the belt loop were on top of the cylinder area of the holster.

The leather work is first class, and although the leather used is not as thin as the suede leather that Bianchi uses on it's clip on inside the waistband holster, it's not much thicker. But it does have just the right amount of stiffness. Not as stiff as a lined holster, but the holster stays open just enough with the weapon drawn for easy holstering.

I have always thought that IWB holster that have belt loops at the front and rear of the holster are more stable than the single loop variety, but I have to admit that after several days of using the Gaylord Holdout, there was very little shifting of the front of the holster. Just enough, in fact, to facilitate getting in and out of a car and up and down from a chair.

The Gaylord Holdout I received was sized for the Colt D frame six shot snubnose revolvers, but it held both a S&W J frame and a Taurus Model 85, which each holds five shots, with equal security and firmness. This is not always true with holsters for the larger Colt D frames and the smaller five shot frames, but it is in this case.

It's a good holster and very well made. I plan to buy a similar holster but with a steel belt clip for at least one of my pistols, and there are several of his designs made by Bell Charter Oak that I'd like to try out.

You can read more about Chic Gaylord at these previous posts and links about Chic.



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