Saturday, November 19, 2011


I'd not had any experience with either of the above-companies until this year. I'm very impressed, and the products I've used were made here in the USA.


The Blackhawk Sportster line of nylon belt holsters, their cheapest holster product, is made here in the USA. It comes in 6 or 7 different sizes, and as you might imagine, there is quite a bit of cross-fitting that can go on between holsters designed for one gun that work great with another. It isn't always the case, and as any holster maker will tell you, it's not recommended, but sometimes you've got a gun that no holster is made for and you're gonna use something.

I like the Sportster line for two related reasons. The plastic belt loop is solid and works against floppiness, even with an ordinary belt. With a real gunbelt, even one on the lower end, it keeps the gun and holster solid. Perhaps it's the material it's made of or the way it's attached to the holster, but it works better than any belt loop configuration on any  nylon holster I've used, whether fabric or plastic belt loop.

The second thing Blackhawk got right is the ride height of the gun vs. holster vs. belt loop. The belt loop and the center mass of the gun are positioned at or near the beltline, where I like it. Less concealable than a high-rise holster I'll admit, but far more stable and comfortable, particularly with large revolvers. The older I get, the more I care about comfort.

So the best part is these holsters are priced under $12.00 at my local wallyland, and sometimes they are in a clearance rack there or at Academy. I got two of my Sportsters priced at less than $7.00.

So I've gotten one of each of most of the Sportster line and am now looking for come cheap used leather or nylon "police duty" belts to throw the holsters on so I can have inexpensive but ready to go rigs for different guns for hunting and fishing adventures.

I set up one old actual clarino leather police duty belt from my past with one of these Sportster holsters for a 6" .357, and it was rock solid on a thick Sam Browne belt. I threw on the old speedloader case, also clarino, that I used to use back in the day, as well as a 12 space cartridge slide that I outfitted with shotshells and some semi-wadcutters. I had a black nylon pouch I attached that holds extra/different glasses, cell phone, sunglasses, personal items and anything else you might want to access quickly in the field.

So the idea is to have a couple of different rigs set up where I don't have to tear them down and put them back together to switch mag/shell holders and holsters on the belt. I don't want to put a lot of money in this and I've got a lot of cartridge slides and mag pouches just waiting to be used, lots of it old surplus stuff that's still in real good shape, so all I need is some good belts.

So it's a universal holster but it's the best I've ever used. They make another line, the name of which escapes me, but that has the extra magazine holder for semi-auto's that are nice as well, and I plan to get a few of those at some point.


For years I've read bad comments on various firearms forums from so called experts talking bad about Pro-Mags, particularly their replacement for the Mini-14. Note that I'm not saying Pro-Mag products are bad but that I never tried them.

Recently, while in Academy, I was overlooking the Pro-mag design on their 20 round AK-47 magazine. It's different than the traditional 20 round magazine in appearance, and if I'm not wrong, is a bit straighter and a bit smaller than the original.

I'm no magazine expert,  but I've owned a lot of different mag fed rifles and pistolas and have seen a few quality mags in my time. I was impressed by the design and quality of materials in the AK 20 rounder by Pro-Mag. It was priced at $20, which is what I can get a very high quality brand new traditional steel 20 rounder for. 

In any event, I bought one, along with a box of twenty Tula shells, and loaded it up. Flawlessly it worked out of an AKSM underfolder. Again and again. With Tula, Monarch and other ammo. No issues. No problems. We ran at least 300 rounds through that sucker, with no complaints. Easy on the fingers to load (some mags are not!) without stripper clips, it was just one flawless episode after another.

All of my companions that day are AK shooters at times, and were impressed with it. In fact, my friend Mikey spied it from across a large picnic table when I first pulled it out, noticing the smaller size and all of sudden got real interested in it. In fact, he snagged onto the package I broke it out of real quick and made sure to note the details and ask questions. Really, I've never seen him get so interested in an ancillary detail on a firearm in the twenty years we've been close friends and certainly talked arcane details of guns to death with each other.

I'll be buying a bunch of these Pro-Mag AK mags soon, and will be trying Pro-Mag magazines for other guns I have as well. Including the Ruger Mini-14. Also made in America, Pro-Mag products impressed me greatly, and I'll be buying some more of them soon.

So Blackhawk and Pro-mag are two American companies I'm happy to do business with, and encourage you to do the same.

By the way, I buy this stuff, none of it comes in the mail for free and there are no ads on this site. There are no paid reviews. I am writing about products I use in an unpaid review, and frankly, it takes a lot to impress me these days. Like my Orvis fly rods, these Blackhawk holsters and Pro-Mag magazines and their other products are in my stable to stay.

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