Review – Craft Holsters LT 21/1 Appendix Carry Holster

Holsters are a very personal thing.  Most people who concealed carry will have a box or bin full of holsters because of the nature of holsters.  Most universal holsters end up being universally lousy.  So we end up getting holsters for individual guns and for various purposes.  That excellent drop leg tactical holster fits a completely different niche than a deep concealment holster for use with a suit.  Then there are all sorts of little things like how a holster may require wearing different size clothing.  Unlike for my normal rig, I had to buy a pair of pants one size larger to accommodate a 1911 in my waistband.  I’ve heard from women that there can be some issue trying to mesh good fashion and conceal carry, fortunately for me, fashion is not something I know.  In any event, it is always good to have multiple options for concealed carry.

We were contacted by Craft Holsters asking if we would like to do a review.  I hadn’t heard of Craft Holster before, so I look into them and learned that they are a distributor of several European brands.  I ended up getting from them a LT 21/1 black leather appendix carry holster for the Colt M45A1.  Craft Holsters also offered a variety of other options for the M45A1.

It took about two weeks for the holster to ship.  I received the Falco branded holster in nice plain easy to open packaging.  Right out of the package the retention was good, no fitting or stretching required.

The belt loop is mounting on a strap allowing you to tuck your shirt in over the holster.  I didn’t try doing this as I prefer to wear my shirts untucked.

Retention is very important.  It could range from awkward to disastrous if your pistol falls out of the holster unintended, yet you need to be able to quickly and easily get the weapon when it is necessary.

 

The classic test for retention is to place an unloaded pistol in the holster and shake it above a pillow.  This isn’t always a test that will accurately reflect how well the holster will hold a pistol, but it is considered the standard test.  This holster holds the pistol well and the draw is easy.  It has loosened up a little after the hundred or so draws I have done from it, but it still holds the pistol well.

Some inside the waistband holsters will collapse when the pistol is drawn, making holstering nearly impossible.  Not the case with this holster.  I found reholstering to be easy.

Appendix carry has grown in popularity recently, and there are some good arguments that it is the most superior form of concealed carry for the fighting handgun.  I don’t think I would suggest it for the pure novice as the muzzle stays near and points at parts of body we would rather not harm.  Once someone is competent and confident that they can handle a firearm doing tasks like holstering and unholstering with out shooting them selves, then appendix carry is something to look into.  Appendix carry keep the firearm in a location less likely to be touched by others in casual interaction, and provides a very fast draw even in adverse situations such as when in a grappling fight.

I believe it was Jeff Cooper that said something along the lines of, “Handguns aren’t suppose to be comfortable, they are suppose to be comforting.”  Now days we prefer to have both.  When you first wear a new holster, you are not going to be used it is, and it is likely to be uncomfortable.  This usually changes over time.  I’ve never concealed a 1911 before, so that is a fair sized chuck of steel next to my groin that I was not used to.  I found the LT 21/1 immediately comfortable when standing or laying down.  I even slept with it on.  Sitting was not so comfortable, I found my self slouching to try and get more comfortable.  This will change as I wear it more, and perhaps adjusting how far left or right it is worn.  When wearing a new holster, there is a bit of time when your body has to get used to it.  I hadn’t quite found the sweet spot.  But this is fairly common when trying out a new holster.  You need to take time to get adapted to it.

I usually find it easy to be critical of stuff I work with.  I didn’t find anything that I thought was an issue with the LT21/1 Holster.   I’d prefer for the magazine catch to be covered on a concealment holster, but adding leather there might make it harder to get a high firm grasp on the grip when drawing.  While wearing this I never had the safety swipe off or the mag catch get pressed.  So it is a non-issue.

I like this holster and would recommend it, but for me, I think I will stick to carrying my plastic wonder-nines.  But it is comforting to know that I have a good option for the 1911.

 

First Impressions – Surefire E2D Defender Ultra LED

There is a running joke between myself and a couple of friends of mine about how when you get a new flashlight, in the first few minutes of using it you end up shining it into your eyes to see how bright it is and end up regretting it.  I had this mind when I first got this light out of the package.  So I start turning it on and walking around my home to see how much it can light  up a room.  And, oh boy, it can light up a room.  Then with in the first few minutes of using the light, I manage to sweep it across a mirror right into my eyes.

I’d been looking for a new flash light to replace my old E2D Executive Defender.  I had really wanted a single cell smaller light similar to the Novatac lights I had.  I ended up picking up a new 600 lumen version of the E2D because it was on sale.  My old E2D had a KL4 head that had an output of about 100 lumens.  The first biggest difference between the new light and the older one is a massive difference in brightness.  There is just no comparing the tremendous increase in light output.

The new light on top, and my trusty old E2D on the bottom.  The newer model is a little longer.

When I saw the new pocket clip on the new light, I was pretty excited.  It has a double bend in it so you can use either side of the clip.  Unfortunately I found that this new clip has very little spring tension, and if you use it with the light end up the outside section then catches on your pocket or items in your pocket.  I ended up putting the new head on the old flash light body due to how lousy this new clip is.

Much to my dismay I found Surefire returned to the aggressive crenelations they used to use.  While I do suppose you could use these in a fight, I find they are best at cutting holes in your pockets.  I am probably going to blunt these with a file so I don’t end up having to replace all my pants.

The biggest thing is that the new light has a high 600 lumen mode, and a low 5 lumen mode.  I would really like that, except that it alternates between them.  Using this light for a week, I found that every time I went to use it, it would start on the wrong brightest.  (While it should be a 50% chance to be right, I managed to have be 100% all the time)  Every time I tried to use it in the middle of the night it started on 600 lumens, each time I tried to use it to check out machinery during the day, it would start on 5.  So it becomes an annoyance to have to toggle EVERY time I go to use it to get it into the right brightness mode.

Now if you liked to strobe a flashlight an an attempt to blind and disorientate a target, you will find this light completely useless for that.  Due to the alternating brightness setting, every other flash is far from blinding and then sometimes it will stay on the 5 lumen brightness as you attempt to strobe.

Had I paid full price for this new Surefire light I would have been rather disappointed.  But for a discounted unit, I can make it work for me.  I wouldn’t recommend it for “tactical” use due to the nature of the dual output function, but it will make for a handy every day carry utility light.

My 9mm AR

There are a couple different style of 9mm AR15s out there.  Used to be as simple as having two variations that were not interchangeable, the Colt pattern and the Olympic pattern.  Now there are other variations, but the majority have somewhat interchangeable parts with the Colt pattern.

In the Colt pattern, you are suppose to use a spacer in the buffer tube.  I finally bought a proper spacer, but previously I had been using a stack of quarters.

Proper spacer on the left, $1.25 on the right.(My old “spacer”)  Looks like the spacer is the same height as 4 quarters, and it has a section to slip into the spring.

My first 9mm AR was a Colt upper on a standard lower using a VM Hytech (sp?) Uzi mag block.  It let me used unmodifed Uzi mags, but I couldn’t use the normal AR15 magazine release.

I sold that Colt upper and picked up a 10.5 inch RRA upper.  That RRA upper had a very heavy barrel and ended up being much heavier than the Colt 16″ barreled upper.  I was not too thrilled about that.  Ended up getting rid of that some time ago.

An old picture of a messy desk and the RRA 9mm Upper.

A little while back I saw a guy selling one of the new Colt 9mm uppers that had a flat top for a good price.  I bought it and also purchased a Hahn Precision top loading mag block.

The top loading mag block allows me to use the standard bolt catch, and mag release with Colt pattern mags.  Installing the top loading mag block requires removing the bolt catch, so it isn’t very quick to install or remove.

So my 9mm AR is a Colt 6991 upper on an old SBR lower.  When using a 9mm upper you need to make sure to be using a compatible hammer in your fire control group.  I use a no-notch hammer.  Notched semi auto hammers will cause the action to lock up and make disassembly the firearm a pain in the ass.

One other change I made was to add a gas tube stub to the front sight base.  On a normal AR15, the gas tube prevents the front cap for the hand guards from rotating.  On a 9mm or .22 AR, there is no gas tube.  Some years back I got from Spikes Tactical some sort predrilled rod sections that you install like a gas tube to prevent your hand guard from rotating.  Not necessary, but a nice little little upgrade.

As shown in the picture, I have a KAC RAS quad on it, and I am running an Aimpoint PRO as the optic.  The Aimpoint PRO is an excellent lower cost option for a hard use optic.  If you shop around you can find them in the $350 range.

I don’t shoot the 9mm AR much, but it is a whole lot of fun.  It is excellent for when you are wanting to shoot steel targets at much closer ranges.

In the end, if I were to start from scratch, I would probably either just buy a factory Colt 9mm carbine or perhaps something like the SIG MPX.

“Good Guy With A Gun” 2 Heroes Actions & Possible Lessons Learned From Texas Church Attack

If you will permit me to beat a dead horse (and soon to be rotted and  turned to dust ) for a minute here I want to post a bit about the insanity that erupted in TX.

The fellow above,Stephen Willeford  was able to act and be there decisively when the cops , and the feds or the army or the IRS or even Barrack the Benevolent  could not be.   Hearing the attack, he got to his safe and grabbed his AR15 equipped with a red dot.  Not having a loaded magazine, he single loaded some as he was  moving toward the sound of the slaughter.   No word on if the AR had a shoulder thing that goes up or not in for the who are wondering.   He ran out and engaged the maniac.

Stephen Willeford and the  fellow citizen who helped him chase down and cover the killer should be the pictures and names being pasted all over the internet and news.   Their  actions and image are the ones that should become house hold names,  Not the filth that started this thing.   Of course the media  has to post the killers  dull eyed moronic cowardly  face over and over.  We don’t be doing that here.  I am a firm believer that people like that should be denied the attention they wanted and that giving it to them inspired futures idiots.

The Men acted heroically.  They may not think so and  they will no doubt deny it  as the weeks and months past, but they are.  Crowder has an interview with him below. I doubt many of you have not seen it yet.

If you can’t watch video because you are at work,  truth about guns  writes a recap I am going to skip doing.

Sutherland Springs “Good Guy with a Gun” Stephen Willeford: “I Got My AR-15 Out of My Safe . . .” [Video]

 

There are some lessons to take away from the response of   Mr.Willieford that  any responsible, honest student of self defense should spend some time looking at and thinking of.  It is NOT a criticism of him or his bravery to do an after action analysis.

I know some reading this will think I am being Mr. Obvious and everyone already knows all this and trains and prepares for it, But there is a lot more who don’t.

For instance.

Not having loaded magazines ready to go. Even if it was only one to stick in the back pocket.   It’s sobering to think what could have happened had he ran out engaged the killer  and ran out of ammo before making a lethal  hit.

Having to open a safe to access a firearm in a seconds count- life  or death – stop watch is ticking emergency.    I know this may be something some have to deal with depending on state or country.  I can not imagine not having a minimum of a rife ( carbine) and pistol available to me within seconds in my home.   With a way to loaded mags to support it along with it.     When away from home my vehicle may or may not have access to a long gun and ammo, and of course I carry a side arm with minimum of 2 reloads.

Our hero did everything he could and I’m sure he will doubt his actions and what else he could have done for years to come . I don’t want to add to that on him but you   have to think about these things.  It can happen and you have to be ready to act to save yourself  or others.   Think about where you have stuff and how to get to it as fast and safely as possible.

Ammo selection. We don’t know what our good guy used and while it worked there is no reason not to think about it.  Bad guys are using body armor and more sophisticated “gear” more and more.  Walmart bought  value box ammo in your 556 may not be the best choice.   Of course if you have enough of it and can shoot the target enough times anything can work.   If you haven’t been thinking about it, its time you wake up to the fact you may have to contend with body armor  and the accuracy it takes to shoot smaller targets not covered and do the most damage to that exposed part that you can.

Accuracy.  Many, who think they can actually  can’t make an offhand standing  shot on a head sized target with a red dot at even 50 yards.  That isn’t counting having a heart rate of 400 while some one is about to or is shooting at you.    nothing but center mass practice at 20 yards  and less  just doesn’t cut it anymore.   Yep if you shoot some one with body armor in the chest 30 times,  the target will take notice but you may not have the chance or the time or any number of factors.

Good guy body armor?   Many people have it, including all of us here.  If our hero had it and had time, it would have been wise for him to don it.  That is a huge IF though.  Seconds passing meant more victims.   But  would another death have helped thing if plates or armor had stopped a round from the bad guy?   I feel like the time it took to slip on  at least body armor could have been offset by not having to diddle with a safe  combination lock.   On the other  hand, if maybe, you can act fast and decisively enough on the threat…

On the other hand if  the police show up and you are wearing body armor with a carbine  in your hand    etc..    Not easy or possible to think about once  the maniacs start or a terrorist attacks happen.

Anyone who wants to discuss any of this please do so in the comments and  at some point I will add them into the post. Hopefully we will be able to learn from this and help people act even faster and with more safety in case of future events.    Hopefully some great points can be added from our knowledgeable commenters and we can create something here that may help some people.