Thursday, August 26, 2010


I found a great bargain Fobus paddle holster today for my Glock 36 for a mere pittance in a bargin barrel at a Houston gun shop. I've patronized this gun shop for years, and bought many a gun there. For some reason, today I got my first fellow in there who DID NOT know as much as me about guns. Usually, the fellows they've had in their employ the past 4 decades are EXPERTS on many weapons.


I'm no slouch of a weaponologist myself. I began reading in earnest about handguns, and to some degree shotguns and rifles, back in my pre-teens. I began buying "real" guns like the Walther PPK/S in .22 caliber, the Colt Python and Colt 1911's by the time I was 16. Actually, I paid for them from part time work but Dad had to do the paperwork as I was under 18.

But you'd think a guy that had worked there a couple of years would know maybe a little about Glock pistols, since they have a HUGE selection of Glocks and I know they sell tons of them. Here's how the conversation went.

*(ME) Sir, do you have a Glock Model 36 in stock so I can see if it fits this bargain bin fobus holster?

*Glock doesn't make a Model 36.

*Well, yes they do and in fact, there one is right there. It's the single stack .45 subcompact model, and it's the only single stack Glock currently made.

*Hmmm, it must be a new model. I've been working here two years and I've never heard of it.

*Well, they started making the M36 in the late 90's, and they have made it continuously since then. I've had mine for years. In any event, can I see that one right there?

*Are you sure this is a Model 36?

*It says Model 36 right there on the slide. See, the magazine is a single stack, not double like all other Glocks. The grip is a tad bit thinner than all other Glocks. Here, hand me that Model 19 and I'll show you.

And so on. Finally he was convinced that there actually is a Model 36 Glock. Then I asked him to hand me a Hi Power, any Hi Power (and boy, they had some nice ones there with gold plated levers, hammer and trigger) because I had found an Uncle Mike plastic belt holster that obviously was for a 1911. In fact, it says "1911" on it. But I know that often a Hi Power will fit into a 1911 holster (the converse is not true, however), and lo and behold, after he kept telling me how it wasn't going to fit and lock into the plastic holster, lo and behold (yes, I'm saying that again) it fit like the holster was made for it.

I asked how much for both, he said $10 and I said $5 including tax and the older manager behind him who had been watching our interaction said "Sold for $5." I guess he felt sorry for me having to teach his young salesman that a gun did indeed exist.

By the time I was 21, I had quite a few guns and was a lawman in Houston. We were limited by departmental policy as rookies to duty carry of a 4" barrel .38 Special/.357 Magnum Double action revolver for the first two years of service. Most officers I knew opted for S&W revolvers like the Models 19, 66 and 67. After that first two years of employment, you were allowed to move to certain approved other handguns for uniform duty use, meaning DA revolvers by Smith, Colt or Ruger or to a select few autoloaders like the 1911 (including Commanders, very popular back in the day), the Browning Hi-Power, Heckler and Koch P7(13)/PSP and P9's, Smith and Wesson Model 39 and 59.

For off duty carry, anything above and including a .380 was approved, and we were free to use whatever weapons we picked. A few cowboys carried Single Action Colt Peacemakers off duty. I usually carried a snubnose Colt or S&W or some kind of .45 automatic (Colt Commander, Star P.D. and several Detonics models) and for awhile packed one of several P7's. I always felt absolutely safe carrying the P7, but for some reason HK stopped making this fine gun.

As a graduation from the police academy present to myself, I bought a nickle plated Colt Cobra 2", which sort of went with my duty weapon, a nickle plated Colt Python 4". At the time I bought that gun, which was coincidentally at the same store I found the Fobus bargain holster at today. Back when I bought the Cobra, I bought an assortment of Bianchi holsters which are still in active use today by me with that same gun. I bought an upside down shoulder holster, a Model 6 ultra thin IWB holster, a very nice sheepskin padded ankle holster that was used as the backup rig with this gun for years when I was on duty, and a Model 56 paddle holster.

I still use the Bianchi Model 56 paddle holster for my Cobra, and I'm on the lookout for a 1911 and a Glock 19 model. I've recently let a couple of nice 1911 ones slip through my hands due to inattentiveness. I'm not sure if the Bianchi 56 was ever made for the Glock, but if it was I really really (no REALLY) need one. They've been a discontinuted item for years. The beauty of the Model 56 was not only a great holster and thumb break, but the paddle was extraordinary. The paddle went low enough to give stability to the lower part of the holster and thus the top (or grip and cylinder and frame area) of the handgun hugs the body, and is not "tippy" or "wobbly" or the dreaded "loosey goosey".

Several years ago I bought a Galco Speed Paddle holster for my J frames. I've owned Galco and it's predecessor Jackass Leather Company holsters for thirty years now, and every holster is really exemplary in design and function.

Except for the Galco Speed Paddle. It is loosey goosey and tippy. It is not stable, with an airweight J frame or with an all steel variety. The paddle sticks too far out from the holster and the holster is not very concealable compared to the Bianchi Model 56 or this new/used Fobus I just got today. The paddle on the Galco goes to the bottom of the holster, as does the hallowed Bianchi M56 that I so like. The paddle on the Fobus goes about an inch below the bottom of the holster proper.

I wrote to Galco and they were not very happy with my opinion regarding the apparently sanctified Speed Paddle Holster. Apparently, it is held to the same status by their company as are various sacred artifacts in Egyptian tombs or relics within the Catholic Church. I simply asked if they made a LONGER paddle for that holster, as the paddle is removeable from the holster proper. I figured for sure that bigger guns like the 1911 or Sigs or Glocks HAD TO HAVE larger paddles, but apparently every Galco gun paddle is the same size, unless I misunderstand.

Even with a proper double thick 1.5" gunbelt, the holster had little stability. I found this amazing. I could see how a heavy 1911 or N frame S&W weighing 40 or more ounces could be tippy and unstable in the Speed Paddle, but a 14.5 ounce J frame with the stock small wood "old school" grips? I have just not used it since buying it and really need to send it to an auction site and buy a good holster to replace it.

I think the Galco Speed Paddle is a horrible holster, at least for me. It's not padded, meaning the bare plastic ("el plastico" in the part of Texas where I live) sticks to your skin when it is humid and gets wet with sweat. Admittedly, the interior of the Fobus paddle also sticks to the skin, but in a less annoying way because it has some very thin neophrene rubber type materal that makes a small liner in the middle 2/3'rds of the Fobus paddle.

I think I'm going to order some very thin and rough out suede and cut it to fit the interior of the Fobus paddle and determine an appropriate adhesive (any suggestions welcome) to bond the suede to the inside portion of the Fobus paddle. I think that would make it nice and cozy and would eliminate the sticking to the skin problem, which is going to be an issue anytime the temperature is over 85 degrees or so.

UPDATE: Two days later, I'm really liking the way this holster wears. Under a sorta loose shirt, it's no problem to conceal, and that's saying something for a paddle holster in general. In my experience, they all tend to stick out a bit further than a good belt holster. But this Fobus hugs the body like my favorite Bianchi Askin's Avenger line of holsters does. The Fobus rides at a 15 degree forward cant, it pulls the top part of the rear of the slide into the body as well as pulling the butt end of the grip into the body. Pulling a gun close to the body for concealment IN BOTH WAYS is very rare. Usually, the front sticks out if the butt is tucked in, or the butt sticks out if the front is pulled close to the body. So the Fobus gets high marks.

It weighs nothing. Even when I had the suede liner, it'll still weigh nothing. It holds the gun securely, even with a thin, single layer "non-gunbelt" belt. In fact, I've yet to try it with a real double thickness leather "gun" dress belt, but suspect it will pull closer to my body still due to the added rigidity of the "made for gun totin" dress belts, or gun belts as we generally call all belts that hold a pistola in my part of Texas.

The one I have is the entry level model, the cheapest one and I'll be ordering the exact same rig for a 1911, the PX4 Storm Subcompact and a J frame. I'll also be getting a double mag carrier for the Glock and maybe a belt holster for the PX4 as well. I can order all of those and get a bulk discount and free shipping and still get some change back from a hundred.

Great holster. Very secure. VERY CONCEALABLE, in fact, having never tried one of these, I'm amazed at the the highly concealability that this paddle holster has with my Glock M36. It just disappears under a Polo or the right tshirt.

I love leather holsters and they'll always be my favorite, but I have to give it to Fobus. They've made a hella holster here for a very cheap price ($20 new, give or take a few bucks) and they've been around long enough it's easy to find bargains like I did. It distributes the weight of the gun excellently and really is a nice holster to wear. The edges of the plastic are well rounded and don't poke or pinch me in any position. There's also the obligatory belt clip indention on the paddle that keeps the holster paired to your belt when you draw. Because it's a rigid holster, reholstering is a no brainer.

For the CHL totin man or woman looking for a good paddle that will conceal in minimal clothing, look no further than the Fobus. I'll keep you posted on what adhesive works best to absolutely bond the suede liner I'll add to the inside of the Fobus paddle itself.

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