Lawful Carry: Field Holsters

It is not always practical to carry the same type of holster on and off duty. For example, if I am out hunting, there is no need to wear a Level Three security rig. For such occasions, a field holster is a little more to my liking.

One holster I wore years ago on the ranch was an old cavalry flap-type holster for my 1911. Riding horseback, I did not want to scratch up my nice “go to town” leather holsters while chasing wild cows. The flap would also prevent the pistol from falling out if a colt I was breaking started to buck. I also used this holster to pack a pistol while hunting, as a backup for my rifle or shotgun.

I no longer have that holster, however I do have a couple of Bianchi UM84 Universal Military Holsters. The UM84 is made of a tough nylon and is a good quality holster for the field. A large flap covers the entire grip portion of a handgun. This is not only good for protecting the handgun and keeping your weapon from falling out, it is also great for keeping things out of the holster that have no business there, like sticks, dirt, grass, rocks and bugs.

Old Model” Ruger Single Six has been carried many miles in this Proline (now Kramer Handgun Leather) custom-made flap holster. Pocket on flap holds Swiss Army knife.


The UM84 holster is totally adjustable and changeable for a left- or right-handed shooter. Having an ambidextrous holster is an advantage because just finding a left-handed holster can be tough at times.

The UM84 has been around a long time and has proven itself over the years in climates ranging from tropical to desert. In fact, its cousin, the Bianchi M12, is standard issue for the Beretta M9 sidearm for U.S. armed forces. One of the UM84 holsters that I have had for many years is in the old, no longer available, “chocolate chip” desert pattern. It is currently obtainable in Black, OD, Woodland Camo, Coyote, and 3-Color Day Desert Camo, and can be had for both semi-autos and revolvers.

When out hiking or fishing, I often carry my old Ruger Single Six in a custom-made Kramer Handgun Leather flap holster, usually loaded up with CCI .22 LR shotshell rounds for snakes.

Colt Python carried while hunting as backup to rifle, shown with Bianchi HuSH System holster.


Since this set-up is carried more for peace of mind, small game hunting, and protection from critters that slither on their bellies than for two-legged dangers, I chose to have a pocket placed on the flap that carries a Swiss Army knife. Although, as mentioned, my holster was custom-made, Kramer Handgun Leather offers leather flap holsters for a variety of revolvers and semi-autos.

Another good option for field carry is a shoulder holster. One good option for a shoulder holster is the Bianchi Model 4100 Ranger HuSH (Hunting Shoulder Holster) system. This rig is a tanker-style shoulder rig that holds the handgun in a chest carry position. Available to fit most large-frame revolvers, it can be had in any color you so desire, as long as that color is black.

Bianchi UM84 holster shown with Colt Commander and S&W M&P. UM84 has been around a long time and proven itself over the years. Holster at left is in vintage “chocolate chip” desert pattern.


I find it hard to understand why, when someone goes hunting, they don’t carry a handgun along with a rifle or shotgun. Perhaps it’s because they have a “real” gun and don’t want to carry the extra weight. I have a buddy who used to give that excuse, uh, reason.

One time we went hunting and he shot a nice bull elk. The problem was that it was a spine shot and so, while the bull could not escape, it still needed to be dispatched humanely. The brass in my buddy’s gun had expanded to the point where he could not open the bolt on his “real” gun. (Hint: Don’t use reloads of unknown quality on a hunt any more than you would for self-defense.) He ended up using my .45 to finish the bull.

I’m a firm believer in the adage, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.” And so, while a field holster is not especially fast, you will be sure to still have your handgun if you need it.

SOURCES:

Bianchi International
Dept. S.W.A.T.
P.O. Box 9015
Temecula, CA 92589-9015
(951) 676-5621
www.bianchi-intl.com

Kramer Handgun Leather
Dept. S.W.A.T.
P.O. Box 112154
Tacoma, WA 98411
(253) 564-6652
www.kramerleather.com

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