Tuesday, December 23, 2008

OWB Kydex Holster for a Beretta 92FS

When I first got into guns several years ago my brother-in-law bought a Beretta 92FS. Shooting his was my first experience with this well loved firearm. I was taken by it's good looks and easy accuracy. Since then I've never really had a chance to own one myself mostly because I tend to lean towards smaller more concealable handguns, but I still love the look of it. A while back my brother-in-law mentioned he was interested in getting a holster for his Beretta. He doesn't CCW, so he was just looking for something he could carry it in comfortably. This Christmas I drew his name for presents and decided I'd try my hand at making that holster for him. This is my first attempt at a OWB (outside the waistband) kydex holster.
I got inspiration from Comp-tac's belt slide holster since it is a fairly simple single sheet design and looked to be stable & comfortable. As I don't own a 92FS I luckily have a coworker that was gracious enough to lend it to me for a night to get the fit just right.
The split loops had to be cut using a dremel so they aren't as clean as I would like, but they are functional and solidly lock onto the belt. The sex bolts (yes, they are really called that) I got after searching around Ace Hardware and if the holster were going to be used for CCW I'd probably paint them black.Here it is worn. It really is nice and comfortable and with this long sweater I could probably get away with wearing it concealed except for a bit of the bottom showing. As my first OWB holster I'm very happy with it and I hope the B-I-L likes it as well. I think I'll have to make one for my wife's Ruger, maybe a paddle holster this time...I swear I must be addicted to kydex fumes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tokarev IWB Kydex Holster with J-hooks

Ok, I got around to putting together a carry holster for my Tok (Norinco 213). At first I flirted with a complicated IWB crossdraw design. It involved a trailing support arm that could have been made of either leather or kydex and would have to be angled just right to allow concealability, comfort & a good draw. It's an intriguing idea, but overly complicated and though I might mess with it in the future today I just wanted something easy that I knew could work. In the end, I decided on a very simple IWB scabbard design using a single piece of kydex. The dual J-hooks add a little bit of stability by being able to straddle a belt loop. I used the thinnest kydex I had (.63) to minimize any added width which as an added benefit gives the clips just a tad amount of flexibility so that they can be maneuvered onto the belt. It surprised me how light it ended up.

The outside of the holster has the majority of the molding while the inside is fairly flat since that's the side that's against the body.
I canted the holster a little rearward so that the barrel lays comfortably along the inside of my thigh when worn at the appendix position. It's still high enough to allow me to get a solid grip.
It also works in other IWB positions, but I really like it at the appendix spot.
I wore it this evening for a few hours at the mall and though I noticed it, it never hurt to wear. Now I have a way to carry my Tok concealed so I call this one a success.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thin is IN! - Tokarev Grips Update

This is an update to this previous post.

In the world of concealed carry handguns, thin is most definitely in! Anyone will tell you that it's much easier to conceal a thinner gun than a f--, um thickness challenged one (those Glocks might be listening). Whether it be in your pocket or IWB tucked, a flatter pistol carries better. It's one (of the many) reasons why the 1911 platform is still so popular with the CCW crowd. I just peeked at BOB O's pocket pistol pdf on mouseguns.com to check out what rates as thin these days. My PM9 shows that it's 1.10" in width overall and measured at the slide it's about .90", pretty thin for a 9mm don't you think? Well, according to my eyeballing with the tape measure my Chinese Tokarev clone measures at a measley 13/16" or under .82" at the slide. Lately, I've been considering carrying the Tok, partly to give it some exercise and partly because I love it's ultra simple design. It's pretty close to a 1911 design that was stripped of everything that it didn't need in order to shoot (though it does sport an external extractor). There's no beaver-tail, no grip safety, no firing pin safety, really no safety to speak of if you don't count half cock. Most 1911 folks scoff at the thought of such a thing, but in a way I find it refreshingly simple. In original form it's not exactly a thing of beauty with it's awkward grip angle and dull finish. Those clones from the Chinese like mine sport so many tooling marks it looks as if all the parts were cut & milled just enough to fit together and that's it. I like it though. It's like that 5 lb hammer you use to bang stakes in the ground. It's scarred up, dirty, maybe a little rusty, but it does exactly what you need it to do and when you swing it just right and hit that stake square all it takes is one whack.

A while back I fabricated some ultra thin grips for the Tok to maximize it's flatness. They worked, but made it look a bit like a Radom and made the grip stick out a bit. So after seeing a bunch of bobbed 1911's I thought I could easily do something similar to my Tok. So a couple of minutes cutting, molding & sanding and here you go. You'll notice that since the last effort I've gotten an untrimmed Hogue slip on grip to hold it all together and give a nonslip surface to hold on to. I'm really digging the profile now. Isn't Kydex great?

Check out how thin those grips are! Notice that I took a little bit of metal off the backside of the hammer to keep hammer bite at bay. I'll see if any more needs to be removed after my next range session. One of these days I my try my hand at refinishing to give some more corrosion resistance than the original faded blue gives it.

Pondering the differences between my Tok vs. my EDC Sig P239 I'm struck by many of the similarities. Yes, the Sig is DA/SA with a decocker and sports a short 3.6" barrel, it looks squat & chubby in comparison to the Tok's long & lean 4.5" barrel. In the end, though they both contain an equal amount of firepower, 8+1 in 9mm, with no added on safety levers/switches/buttons. Granted if used for CCW I would never carry the Tok cocked with one in the chamber so it will have to be cocked on the draw.

Guess it'll need a holster so that I can practice with that...hmm another project.