As NRA instructors, my Dad and I teach a course that allows law-abiding citizens to obtain a concealed carry permit (CCW) in our home state of Arizona. A large percentage of the students—young, middle aged and old—in our classes are new shooters.

While that may initially sound like a bad thing, my Dad and I don’t mind, because these students come to class with no egos or bad habits to break. Many of the shooters show up at class with a new gun in the box, a couple boxes of ammo, and something that more or less resembles a holster. Unfortunately, the guy at Wal-Mart who sold them the holster was probably selling paint or working in women’s lingerie the day before, did not own a gun himself and therefore had no idea what makes for a good holster.


Patriot holster in standard OWB, pancake mode.


One part of our class covers what students should be looking for in a holster. This includes things like good retention, concealability, accessibility, and overall comfort. If a holster does not feel good, you’re not going to wear it, which means you’ll leave it at home—and Murphy’s Law dictates that will be the day when you need your defensive handgun.

When I first started instructing, I brought a small bag with a few holsters in it to class to show students different designs and types. That small bag has grown to a couple of large boxes. I tell the students that, as time goes on, they will end up with several holsters, but the trick is to not go broke searching for the “perfect” holster.


Filler block placed in belt slot on rear of holster facilitates installation of IWB kit.


Recently S.W.A.T. received a Patriot holster for a full-sized pistol from Garrett Industries Freedom Line. Also available in the Freedom Line are the Liberty for compacts and the Scout for sub-compacts. Users may select any back for any pistol, depending on how much leather coverage they want.

When I first looked at this holster, I thought it was too simple to be much of a holster. I was wrong. Sometimes the best things in life are simple.


Top of leather has embossed eagle logo.


My personal favorite mode of carry is inside the waistband (IWB), though I occasionally carry outside the waistband (OWB) as well. This obviously required more than one holster—until now. Garrett Freedom holsters can be worn either IWB or OWB, and they still function very well.

Patriot holster with IWB kit installed.

The back of the holster uses two pieces of approximately six- to seven-ounce leather glued and double stitched together. The leather is double stitched along the center on both sides where the pistol’s slide will travel, ensuring this vital area will not become bunched up after a lot of usage.

The front of the holster is made of Kydex® and is available with slots, as shown in the accompanying photos, or solid. The front attaches to the back with four hex-head screws, two forward and two aft. Retention can be adjusted via the two rear screws.

Without the IWB kit installed, the Patriot can be worn as a standard pancake-type holster by running one’s belt through the slots on the holster. The areas around the slots have stitching for reinforcement to the slots.

To wear the Patriot as an IWB, filler blocks are placed in the belt loop slots on the back, and fasten to the IWB kit on the front—it’s that simple. It’s one of those things that make me say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I guess that’s why I write about holsters and not design them…

The only problem I had was that, when I first put the holster on in IWB style, it was very stiff and did not conform easily to my waist. I wore it as a pancake holster for a few days, which let it conform more readily with the IWB kit attached.

This holster would be a great choice for someone just getting started at carrying concealed, until he finds the “sweet spot” that suits him best. It would also be a very good choice for seasoned pistoleros looking for quality and versatility.


Garrett Industries
Dept. S.W.A.T.
136 15th St.
Woodville, TX 75979
(713) 828-7812

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