Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How to turn your OWB into an IWB for $20...The Bucket Holster!

This was my first attempt at converting an outside the waistband holster into an inside the waistband holster for concealed carry.

Who out there has had the experience of a comfortable OWB holster that fits their CCW just right and dreads having to find a similar fitting holster that will be comfortable to wear tuckable IWB for those times when sloppy can't be worn? Last week my hand slowly would have gone up.

Here's some background... Yes, I admit I'm a cheapskate. I know that a good quality holster is worth the money, but I also enjoy ingenuity and saving hard earned money. Several weeks back I had purchased a Don Hume 721 open top OWB that I really like. It's a high-ride, well made, good fitting holster. I like it and have worn it numerous times, but it being a high-ride to pull the weapon up so that the cover garment doesn't have to be below your butt it's not very comfortable while sitting as it jabs my back while I drive. I drive a lot. I've been reading posts for some time and have seen all the recommendations for a comfortable quality IWB holster. Most of which will send you back $70 - $1?? Those typically recommended have multiple connection points to the belt and ride pretty low for comfort and concealment and are made in both leather and/or kydex. The Comp-Tac clip system seems to be vastly popular either in their CTAC or Tucker's Answer so I looked to them for inspiration.

I thought that by using a stiff piece of material, two of Comp-Tac's innovative C-clips and screw together studs I could modify my existing OWB Don Hume pancake holster into a Franken-IWB holster. After perusing a Tandy Leather which I'm very fortunate to work near, they gave me the idea to use instead of a stiff piece of leather a plastic paint bucket for my project. Using sissors I cut up the bucket into the shape I needed, drilled holes for the clips and then screwed them on.

For $20 for the clips which I could always use if I purchase one of Tucker's or Comp-Tac's holsters I think it works pretty well.

Here it is worn.

I wore my "bucket holster" over the weekend and I must say I like it. I nicknamed it that because of the paint bucket I cut up to make it. I can see why folks praise designs like the CTAC and VM2. They spread the weight of the gun along a much larger section of your belt and place it nice and low so that the butt doesn't dig into your back.

The great thing about this setup is that it offers amazing flexibility in gun placement. Where with custom holsters you're fairly limited on the cant of the gun, how low it sits and the width of the clips because once it's made it's made and you can only alter so much. Yes, I know with the CTAC you have some choice in cant and how low it sits because of the adjustability Comp-Tac designed into it, but you're still stuck with a kydex holster for those who prefer leather and what if you wanted the holster with just 5 more degrees of forward cant. Tough luck, you live with what you get.

Not so with the bucket holster. If you want it to sit much much lower or have a more extreme cant and the clips are already adjusted as much as possible then go back to the bucket and start cutting. If you're like me and have access to buckets (paint or those 5 gallon Ruco mud ones) then you can experiment to your heart's content.

I wasn't completely satisfied with the first draft of my bucket holster. It didn't offer as much of the grip as I would have liked for a combat grip. I was having to almost shove my hand into my pants. So I went back to my bucket and a new idea on how to angle the gun more and offer more of the grip. Here's what I have now.

It hides as well as any tuckable I've seen (not counting those underwear holsters), though with V-clips it would almost completely disappear.

This is my normal work wear so other than now needing to buy more pants with a larger waistline (which I'd have to do with any IWB) I can now wear my P239 daily!
For those who'd like to do this, to connect the clips to the bucket piece I used these screw posts which are easy to take off and put on (http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/products.asp?dept=232). I've used these things on those cheap nylon holsters in order to customize the fit for particular guns. They also work well as tension screws. Now enjoy!


Hodrige said...

You are my hero!
I have a very nice S.O.B holster for my G27 that I want to do the same.
S.O.B + IWB is the best in concealment... me think.
I had the same idea, but the bucket is pure genius!

wdc said...

That is a great idea. Seems like it fits pretty well. How is it holding up with daily use?