We’ve all heard and maybe even used those sayings, “Friends don’t let friends carry pocket guns,” or “Never carry a pistol whose caliber doesn’t begin with 4.”

I personally didn’t carry a small-caliber handgun much because I had larger-caliber handguns that suited my needs better. On the ranch, I usually carried a .357 Magnum revolver, and while working the road, I carried a 1911.

The truth of the matter is that more and more people are carrying smaller guns. Their small size and light weight make them more concealable, which in turn leads to their being carried often.

The downside is that pistols in general are not good fight stoppers. The smaller calibers do not hit as hard and they are harder to sight and shoot accurately. Nevertheless, more and more folks are carrying .38 snubbies and .380 auto pistols.

Recently I attended a writer’s seminar at Gunsite sponsored by XS Sights and several other companies, including Ruger and Galco (SMALL SOLUTIONS: Making the Most of Pocket Guns, September 2010 S.W.A.T.). We had three days of shooting on a square range and running the simulators with Ruger’s LCPs AND LCRs.

Ruger LCR and Galco Speed Paddle holster.

The seminar taught me the practical use of owning a Ruger LCR, and now I carry one every day, either as a primary or a backup. I plan on installing an XS Sight Systems dot sight to make it even more effective, and possibly a set of Crimson Trace LaserGrips.

At the seminar I mostly used a Tuff Products Pocket-Roo holster to carry the LCR. This worked great since I was wearing EOTAC Operator Pants, and the generous fit and large pockets made it possible. The Pocket-Roo, however, will not work with my everyday wear of Wrangler jeans. I needed a belt holster.

The holster I chose for the LCR was the Galco Speed Paddle. While I usually prefer a belt slide or inside-the-waistband holster, the paddle is convenient if I just want to run down to the neighborhood stop ‘n’ rob for a carton of milk.

The Speed Paddle is a heavy cowhide holster that is molded and fitted for the specific firearm that it is made for. The action and trigger are covered, but the stocks are fully exposed, so the user can get a full firing grip before drawing the gun. At the top/rear of the holster is a tension screw to allow the user to set the amount of tension he desires. On the back of the holster is Galco’s patented copolymer injection-molded belt-lock paddle. Suggested retail price is $74.95.

During the seminar and in subsequent weeks, I also used and evaluated two other holsters from Galco for the Ruger LCP (.380 auto): the Stinger and Pocket Protector holsters.

Galco’s Stinger belt holster is the epitome of the KISS principle. Made from premium saddle leather, the Stinger will carry a small semiautomatic pistol or double-action revolver behind the strong-side hip, and the forward cant allows a fast, smooth drawstroke.

Galco Stinger holster (top left) will carry a small semiautomatic pistol behind the strong-side hip. Pocket Protector holster is available for Ruger LCPs both with and without a LaserGuard. This LCP features Robar NP-3 on all metal parts and is equipped with Crimson Trace LaserGuard.

Some folks may say, “If you’re going to carry a pistol in a belt holster, why not carry a larger, more effective handgun?” While I agree with that philosophy, the purpose of carrying concealed is to actually conceal the handgun. Ruger’s LCP carried in the Stinger will do just that on those hot summer days when a long T-shirt is the only covering garment. The Stinger is now available for the LCP equipped with a Crimson Trace LaserGuard. Suggested retail is $56.95.

The last Galco holster that I used was the Pocket Protector. Designed for front pocket carry in pants or a jacket, the Pocket Protector keeps the firearm in the same general location, but conceals the shape of the gun to minimize printing. Reinforcements at the holster mouth and beneath the trigger guard keep the holster stiff enough to allow a smooth draw and easy return to the holster.

The Pocket Protector is available for Ruger LCPs equipped with and without a LaserGuard. One very important item to note is that, over many drawstrokes, the Pocket Protector has never come out with the pistol and has always stayed in the pocket. I cannot say the same thing about some other pocket holsters I have tried. Suggested retail is $24.95 with or without a LaserGuard.


Galco International
Dept. S.W.A.T.
2019 West Quail Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027
(800) 874-2526

Dept. S.W.A.T.
2900 W. Gunsite Rd.
Paulden, AZ 86334
(928) 636-4565

Crimson Trace Corporation
Dept. S.W.A.T.
9780 SW Freeman Drive
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(800) 442-2406

The Robar Companies, Inc.
Dept. S.W.A.T.
21438 North 7th Ave., Suite B
Phoenix, AZ 85027
(623) 581-2648

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
Dept. S.W.A.T.
Lacey Place
Southport, CT 06890
(203) 259-7843

XS Sight Systems Inc.
Dept. S.W.A.T.
2401 Ludelle
Fort Worth, TX 76105
(888) 744-4880

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