Everyone wants to have the latest and greatest weapon, thinking that if it’s new and costs a lot of money, it will make them a better shot and subsequently turn them into a better tactician. I have seen students on our range who have spent $1,500 on a pistol and extra mags, and then use a cheap nylon holster that is more like a bucket to drop their pistol in.

In the first place, no amount of money can buy tactical skill—that only comes from training and experience. Becoming a better shot requires a lot of practice and not settling for cheaply made gear.

The owner of Simply Rugged Holsters, Rob Leahy, sent a few items my way. I have always liked Rob’s work and looked forward to evaluating these. The cowboy in me always comes out when I’m dealing with leather.

The holster I received is the DEFCON 3—a nod to the fact that this holster can be worn three different ways. I’ve noticed over the years that if a piece of gear claims to do a lot of different things, it usually ends up not doing anything exceptionally well. This is not the case with this holster.

The DEFCON 3 can be worn inside the waistband (IWB) or as a strong side with two different carry positions. The holster is open at the top and bottom. It is made of two pieces of leather and fitted for the specific gun being used. My sample was for a Commander-size 1911 pistol.

The leather is glued and then stitched with heavy nylon thread. A second piece of leather is stitched to the upper half of the holster to add support and strength to the holster. This extra leather helps keep the mouth of the holster open to a degree. The leather on the body side of the holster comes up several inches and forms a sweat guard.


Dual Defender pistol magazine pouch and adjustable AR magazine pouch. Pistol mags are Chip McCormick Power 10+.


If you want to wear the holster as an IWB, two leather straps are attached to the back of the holster with Chicago screws. If not worn IWB, the straps can be folded flat against the back of the holster or removed entirely. For me, removing the straps was the most comfortable.

If you wear the holster strong-side outside the waistband, integral slots are cut out of the holster’s body—one on the rear and two on the front, one above the other. If the belt is threaded through the rear slot and the top slot on the front, the holster will have a slight forward cant. If the belt is threaded through the rear slot and the bottom slot on the front, the holster will have a straight drop.

Suede leather dump pouch is functional and adds a touch of class. Pouch can easily hold five AR magazines and several pistol mags.

Finally, the DEFCON 3 can be worn as a crossdraw holster.

If you have to defend yourself and expend all the ammo in the pistol, having a reload may be as important as having the gun in the first place. Additionally, the magazine is the weak link in semiautomatic firearms. I have seen magazines from numerous manufacturers fail on the range. No big deal when paper targets present no danger, but it may be a real game changer on the street.

Simply Rugged’s Dual Defender magazine pouch is made from a single piece of high-quality leather. Tension on the magazines is provided by a rubber space and screw at the top of the pouch. Two belt straps on the rear of the pouch are spaced far enough apart to fit the belt loop on a pair of trousers between them. The straps secure with snaps for easy on and off.

I also had a chance to evaluate a spare mag pouch for an AR-type weapon. This pouch is also made from a single piece of leather. It is adjustable: the rear of the pouch is held together with a piece of strong leather lace, and a tensioning device is at the bottom of the pouch. The belt loop is secured to the belt with two snaps.

The last product from Simply Rugged Holsters was a dump pouch. The bag portion is made of suede leather. The pouch will stay open—unlike many nylon dump pouches—thanks to a strip of very heavy leather at the top. To attach it to your belt, there is a 1½-inch strap with snap closure. And it’s just plain classy.

I only have one complaint, and that is the snaps used to secure the pouches. I get the whole “easy on/easy off” thing, but when I put on my gear in the morning, it stays on until I take it off at night. Snaps, by their very nature, can be inadvertently unsnapped. My personal preference would be that the belt loops be sewn in place.

Like all Simply Rugged items I have ever seen or used, the quality was great, and up to everything I have come to expect from this company.

Flint Hansen has been with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (AZ) for 12 years. He is an NRA and Arizona DPS certified Firearms Instructor. He has written numerous articles for S.W.A.T. in addition to his monthly Lawful Carry column.


(928) 227-0432

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