A Way to Win the Holster Battle

Most people I know who have been around handguns for long, especially those committed to daily carry, admit to having a drawer (or drawers) filled with holsters they’ve tried but just weren’t up to their expectations. I’ve got a different story! Being fortunate enough to have acquired a number of excellent handguns, any one of which are suitable for a daily carry gun, I feel guilty if I don’t rotate them some.

crossbreed1For me, having a bunch of guns has not equaled having a bunch of holsters. Guess I’ve just been lucky and chosen well up front. My first concealed carry holster was a Crossbreed SuperTuck, purchased a little more than eight years ago for a Taurus 24/7. There it is right there, with that original 24/7 in it. It has held up well.

The Taurus got replaced with a Beretta PX-4 Storm 9mm. Okay, not replaced as in traded. I kept the Taurus, but carried the Storm a while. It fit the same holster, just fine. Then I got a Springfield XDm .45 ACP and was pleasantly surprised to find it worked in that same Crossbreed Holster. So did a Smith & Wesson M&P and a FNX 40 and a Sig P226.

bullard1When we started carrying D.M. Bullard Leather Holsters in our store, I figured I’d give the local company a try. I’d become a 1911 person by then so I got one of their 1911 holsters for a 5 inch gun with a rail. Works fine with my Colt and Springfield 1911s, but it also works fine with any of the 4.25 inch barrelled 1911 Commanders.

I liked that holster so much I decided to get one for my double stack 9s and 40s, but hmm, let’s see, which one. The biggest and heaviest of the bunch was a Sig P226, so I ordered a custom D.M. Bullard leather holster custom made for a Sig P226. It was no surprise that it also fit the Sig P229, but guess what else fits in that holster?bullardmix

That original Taurus 24/7 fits it. The Springfield XDm fits it, All of my M&Ps (9, 40 and 45) fit it. The FNX-40 fits it. The gun you see in it here is a CZ-P07. They all fit with what’s commonly called Level 1 retention. That’s enough friction to hold the gun snugly in the holster so there is no danger in it falling out as you move about. These guns a all draw easily from the holster, as well.

So don’t go getting all antsy about having to have a bunch of holsters on hand if you want to grow your gun collection. Get a custom holster for something like the Sig P226 and chances are it will work just fine for many of the other guns you may want to try that are of similar size and capability.

Tell you a secret. I’ve been known to carry a 1911 Commander in my D.M. Bullard Sig P226 holster without realizing I’d put on the wrong holster that morning. Heck I might could have gotten by with just one of their wonderful holsters! Just kidding. The 1911, being a single stack, was just a little loose, if I’m honest about it.

The Crossbreed Super Tuck – a Holster that Works Well for Me

By David Freeman

I’ve read a number of comments from magazine writers and bloggers about having a “drawer full of holsters” most of which were accumulated while trying to find one that works best for them as a concealed carry rig. Sometimes it’s a function of different holsters for different clothing. I’m very fortunate. The first holster I tried after obtaining my Concealed Handgun License worked perfectly for my needs and continues to do so.

I stumbled across the Crossbreed SuperTuck in a few forums and decided to try one. My initial carry gun was a Sig Sauer SP2022 and I ordered the holster to fit that gun. It also fit my Taurus 24/7 very nicely, though not contoured for it and was workable for the Beretta PX-4 Storm that I like to carry on occasion.

My son, who is a lot thinner than I am doesn’t have the same luck with his Crossbreed which he uses to carry a Stoeger Cougar 8000. The other night we were going out to dinner and he watched me pick up my rig and stuff it in my pants ready to walk out the door in about 20 seconds. He said it wasn’t that easy for him.

I wear my rig at about 2:45. Rarely do I wear tuckable shirts. Banded bottom knits work best for me. If I wear a shirt with a tucked in tail, I almost always wear the gun outside it and a vest over it. Here are a few photos showing my rig in action:

Supertuck with Taurus 24/7
This shot with the shirt lifted shows how the rig fits in my pants along
Crossbreed Supertuck tucked.
Same seated position with the shirt pulled down
Supertuck not visible at all.
Here I am standing with a different shirt. The gun isnt visible at all.
Heres how the gun rides at this position. I simply lifted the shirt to show you.
Heres my well-worn Super Tuck. The Gun is a 45 Caliber Taurus PT 24/7. Dont tell the SuperTuck folks, who like to customize a rig for every gun, but I use this same rig for my Sig SP2022 and my Beretta PX-4 Storm. It fits the Sig perfectly, in fact, was probably made for it rather than the Taurus.
This heavy duty gun belt from Crossbreed turned out to be a necessity for me. I tried the holster for a month or two with regular belts because I didnt want to spring for the gun belt. Its a waste of time. Get the gun belt, if youre staking your life on having a proper carry rig.

Comparison of Stoeger Cougar 8000 and Beretta PX-4 Storm

By David Freeman

These two pistols are similar in design, though more than a decade apart in orginal manufacture. Both were designed by Beretta and originally manufacturered by Beretta. However the Cougar 8000 was discontinued by Beretta some years back and in recent years returned to production by Stoeger, a Beretta subsidiary who manufactures the guns in Turkey.

The two firearms share a unique design–a short-recoil, locked-breech system that uses a rotating barrel. When the gun is fired, the recoil impulse pushes the slide and barrel to the rear. After a short movement, the barrel is revolved by cam action against what is called the central block tooth, which is best described as an angled protrusion on the top of the locking or central block. This block rides on the recoil spring and guide rod inside the frame, turning the barrel as it moves back and forth. This unlocks the barrel, allowing the fired case to eject and then chambering a new round. This rotating design keeps the barrel in alignment with the target, potentially creating a more intrinsically accurate firearm. The barrel is throated and the frame relieved so that the chamber will accept a wide variety of bullet styles, reliably keeping feed malfunctions to a minimum.

The models compared here are 9mm models, both were purchased in 2009 from Academy Sports. The Cougar retailed for $399. The Storm retailed for $519. The Cougar is all metal, the Storm has a Polymer lower housing.

Here other some other comparisons:

Stoeger Cougar 8000 Beretta PX-4 Storm
Weight (loaded)  28.5 oz  29 oz.
Height  5.5″  5.5″
Length  7″  7.5″
Mag Capacity  15  17
Barrel Length  3.75  4

Before we get to the photos, I must tell you that these two guns have been totally flawless in operation. We’ve fired hundreds of rounds of Winchester White Box, Federal, Monarch, and Remington FMJ ammo through them and several brands of JHP, including Winchester, Magtech and Hornady. Both guns are a pleasure to shoot. They are Double/Single Action, hammer-fired pistols with an external safety on the slide. Double-action trigger pull is very comfortable and the single action trigger pull is very light. Both are very accurate out to 25 yards, shooting groups as tight as we can hold them.Hopefully, these pictures will help you with the subtle differences and the similarities.

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Taurus 24/7 DS – 45 ACP

By David Freeman

Taurus 24/7 45 ACPI grew up shooting revolvers. The first semi-automatic hangun I owned was a Stoeger Cougar 8000 in 9mm. It was a sweet handling and shooting gun. My son liked it and I had been eyeing a Taurus 24/7, so I sold him the Cougar (at least it’s still in the family) and picked up a 9mm Taurus 24/7 at Academy Sports.

The gun was winner from day one. No jams, no misfires and right on target. Plus the trigger was nice and smooth and easy. Since I was getting the gun bug, I soon bought a Sig Sauer SP2022 (it’s a Sig, right?) on sale at Cheaper Than Dirt for a really great price. You can read about that gun elsewhere in my blog, as well as the Beretta PX-4 Storm. Here I was with three 9mm semi-automatics (one to carry, one for the truck and one for the upstairs bedroom was my argument). I carried the Storm, kept the Taurus in the truck and the Sig upstairs. But on range day, I carried all three. Even though the Taurus was the least expensive of the three and the one from the company that has to fight against a bad rap from years gone by, it was the most fun to shoot and at least as accurate as the other, two, if not more so.

Because I had so much invested in 9mm pistols and had good supply of ammunition, I tended to resist the magazine articles and instructor admonitions that for defensive carry, a 45 is better. It was while attending the NRA Handgun Instructor Course that it finally dawned on me. It wasn’t that I couldn’t effectively stop a bad guy with my 9mm. It was more about who else I might endanger while doing so. The instructor explained quite graphically, that even with hollow point ammunition, because of it’s muzzle velocity, a 9mm will shoot through things, including people and possibly hit innocents, even if they’re behind a wall.

I sold the 9mm Taurus 24/7 and bought the 45 ACP version of what I thought was the same gun. It looks the same. It feels the same, even weighs about the same. It carries well. I loaded it up with some 230 grain hollow point ammunition and felt safe. Until I went to the range. Bang – jam. Bang – jam. Over and over.  I took the gun home, cleaned it really well and tried it again. I got as much as a bang, bang jam out of it this time. I tried different ammo and discovered I could shoot FMJ (full metal jacket, also known as “ball”) ammo through it without jamming.

It seemed at first it was a magazine problem. Taurus offered to send me a new one if I sent in the bad one, but I felt a little more testing was in order. I tried three different brands of 225-230 grain hollow point ammo:  Winchester Supreme Elite, MagTech Gold and Remington Golden Sabre. None of them fed without jamming. They did what gun people call “nosediving” where the nose of the cartridge doesn’t slide up the ramp into the chamber like it’s supposed to.

Most gun guys caution that it takes from 300 to 500 rounds to “break in” a new semi-automatic handgun. That wasn’t true with my 9mm Taurus. It was perfect right out of the box. But I after shooting 300 or so expensive rounds through the Taurus 45, it wasn’t getting any better.

I made another stop at Cheaper Than Dirt and picked up two types of 185 grain JHP (jacketed hollow point) — Black Hills and Speer Gold Dot. Problem solved. I may try some other brands later, but for now, I’m satisified that my 45 will perform when and if called upon in a defensive situation.

Oh, and it is pretty accurate. What misses is my fault, not the gun’s. Here’s an example:

Targets 04172010

UPDATE MAY 2016:

One of my mentors suggested trying Winchester Silvertip 185 Grain jacketed hollow points in the Taurus 45. After shooting two boxes of that ammunition with no failures I discovered that for this particular gun the break-in rule appeared to be real. It shoots anything and everything I feed it now with no problems whatsoever. Now that I’ve discovered the Ruger/Polycase ARX rounds, this .45 ACP Taurus 24/7 makes a nice addition to my carry gun rotation. I know many people opt for carrying the same gun all the time, but I like to vary my carry guns to justify having a “collection of them” (just kidding). The real reason is so that I have a broad experience from which to provide advice and guidance to the many students that come through our classes.