Friday, July 22, 2011

Holster Review - Dragon Leatherworks

I had been watching other bloggers brag about their holsters from Dragon Leatherworks last year and I was insanely jealous. Then Dennis contacted me to talk about making one for me. I didn’t take him up on it because I couldn’t think of anything other than the shoulder rig that I was currently using that would work with my rather odd proportions and my Springfield XD-9. I’m six feet tall, but am extremely short-waisted. My limbs are ridiculously long. My inseam is half my height. My elbows rest on my hip bones. I only have one carry pistol, so it’s not like I can choose to carry something smaller if I want to carry on a waistband. 

Here. Look at this picture of me and Weer’d. Granted, I’m in high heels, but look where his waistline is. Now look at mine.

I had the opportunity to meet Dennis at the NRA convention in Pittsburgh this past spring, and he had an idea. He’d make a holster for another short-waisted woman and thought it would work for me. A few weeks later, this showed up in my mailbox.

He custom-dyed it to match my belt and shoulder rig. At my request, he kept it very low key. The workmanship was beautiful. The retention was perfect. I could hold the holster upside down without my pistol falling out, yet the draw was smooth.

And I couldn’t find a single place on my belt where I could wear it. 9:00 position? Not a chance in hell. It rubbed on my less-than-subtle hipbone. The 10:30 position was the most comfortable, but the top of the holster leaned out, and the top of it came up past the bottom of my bra.

Dennis had refused payment until I had received it and was happy with the way it worked. I reluctantly sent it back this week. He is now on a mission to find something that will work and is already plotting planning his next design.
I can unreservedly recommend Dragon Leatherworks for both the high quality of workmanship Dennis produces and his oustanding customer service. As he told me "... my job as a holster maker is to deliver what the customer wants."

(Hey, FTC? Did you read where I SENT IT BACK? I received nothing in exchange for my comments. Really. I can show you the receipt from the post office when I returned it.)


  1. I feel your pain--I always hit my elbow on my XD when I wear it on my belt because my arms are so long. Been loving the pocket revolver thing I've been doing this summer.

    The other alternative is to wear saggy pants like a gangbanger so it's so loose and low that you don't have to worry about it (most likely because it fell off and you left it on the ground somewhere; but I digress).

  2. Women's pants don't have pockets big enough. At least not the ones I've found with a 36" inseam.

  3. Wow. Dragon Leatherworks sounds like a top notch company.

  4. WB's waist isn't where it should be, & Dennis is an all around standup guy who'll make it right, whatever it takes.

    Both of these comedians will be here at the ranch in a couple weeks, & I'll give them the what for.

  5. Heh Doubletrouble isn't wrong at all. I was telling the same story to the wife and she pointed out that I have a long torso and stumpy legs!

    Glad you like the holster!

  6. Holla back!

    I wear my 1911 at roughly the 4:00 position IWB, and can darn near scratch itches on the bottom of my shoulder blade with the beavertail.

    Thus far I've been lucky to retain enough mobility in my shoulders that drawing isn't too much of a problem (it could definitely be faster, but part of that is caused by wearing it far enough back that I can reach around and draw with my weak hand if I need to...)

  7. Tam,

    I can very comfortably reach, what - the 7:00 position? Behind my back, weak side. The closer the the 9:00 position it is, the easier it is for me to reach. I still think that a drop leg holster might be the way to go. There's plenty of room, and I can wear it darn near down by my knee. *grin*

  8. Sister Nancy, knowing that you are also an Active Mommy, and may have to carry Sweet Daughter around when she's tired, plus other things like bags and purses, I think there will be some Field Engineering being done at the Shoot. Knowing Dennis, I think if he can De-Bug this challenge, lots of other Ladies will be able to take advantage of your situation. See you up there.

  9. Nancy!

    First off...thank you for the kind words. I'm already twisting this problem around in my head like a virtual Rubics Cube, and I do think that I can come up with something viable...two different designs have popped into my head, so I may do *both*, and let you be the judge/jury. Hell...together we may well come up with a design for curvy short-waisted women everywhere!

    Saddly, tho...I will not be able to make the Blogshoot...mice, men, best laid plans of, etc...sometimes life tosses a curve at you, and all you can do is lean that bad-boy into the curve, roll the throttle, scrape the bejesus out of the pegs and shave another half inch off the chicken strips, all the while hoping that there ain't a semi coming at you from the opposite direction. :-)

    (Motorcycle lovers will get the reference...the rest of you, not so much...)

  10. BH Les, I can, and do carry my pistol under my left arm, my purse on my left shoulder and 50 lbs. of Sweet Daughter on my left hip and it's not a problem.

    Dennis: I got the reference -- and a lovely visual it is. I have my motorcycle endorsement. I am not at all proficient or safe, but I am legal. *VBG* Learning to ride in Northern VA was not my idea of a way to extend my life expectancy.

  11. I was confused for a minute until I realized that you were right-handed and wearing it crossdraw. :o

  12. Old NFO,

    Yes, but can he change the laws of physics? He can't magically lengthen my torso, or change the size of my pistol. I do believe, however, that if there is a way, Dennis will find it or drive himself crazy trying. *grin*

  13. I'm still thinking the best option may be 7:30 or 8:00, nearly centered (vertically) on the belt, muzzle to left and butt down, raked so the angles of the slide top and grip are nearly equal. Basically, a low-ish ride, severely raked (like "driver's rig"), LEFT-handed crossdraw, worn 180 degrees from where it was designed to ride. . . or something like an upside down Galco SOB.

    Why? Well, that's where Nancy's right hand ends up when she reaches behind herself to belt level -- hand oriented with her thumb side UP. (As opposed to the thumbside down orientation most of us strong side behind the hip people use with our SS-II and pancake type holsters.)

    Shorter Half

  14. Nancy,

    Have you looked at duty holsters like cops wear? I'm talking about the belt holsters that aren't high-ride types like everyone else makes; they fit onto the belt but instead of pulling the gun in close, they sit really low and stick out just a little bit. They're not as low as a thigh holster, but they keep the grip right at or just below the belt. Safariland has a bunch of them under their duty holster linel. Just a thought.

  15. Nancy, have you thought about appendix carry? Because you've got a short torso, it might actually be a good way to carry your XD because the bulk of the gun is down the side of your right leg.

    Of course, appendix carry isn't for everyone because of the higher risk factor involved in holstering. For more info, I'd suggest checking out this thread at Pistol-Forum.

  16. OK, this is way-late and all but how can I look at Weer'ds gut-line when I'm busy looking at your legs? :-) Besides he looks like the kind of youngster that goes around with his JCrew boxers showing.
    As a non-carryer I can fit the IWB Milt Sparks at about 4:00, same as the Galco OWBs.

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