Holster that Sig Part 2 and Part 3

Holster that Sig Part 2 and Part 3

“Holster al Dente” Cooking up a custom rig

By Dennis Adler

Holsters for the M17 with the Sig Sauer reflex sight are becoming readily available which is especially good news for those who have the CO2 model. I found drawing from the leather 1791 belt rig was very smooth and it was also easy to re-holster. The high speed camera caught this shot as I was firing five consecutive rounds (the slide doesn’t lock open on the Sig CO2 model!) and it is hard to catch the slide in motion even at 5-frames per second. With the low recoil of the CO2 pistol (snappy but linear) the reflex sight is really easy to keep on target even in broad daylight.

Most people who have a lot of handguns (or CO2 pistols) have a lot of holsters, it goes with the assumption. Getting a good holster for an air pistol can range from as little as twenty bucks to as much as the air pistol cost itself and really good holsters, ones you would feel confident in using with a matching centerfire pistol range from $60 to well over $100. The new P32/M17 rigs from 1791 Gunleather fall into the latter category. Even the Kydex holster Sig Sauer markets for the P320/M17 (with and without optics) is in the $60 to $70 range, so there’s no cheap way to holster an M17 ASP with the reflex sight, and if you have the centerfire model and actually carry it, you don’t want the least expensive rig, you want one that is well made, comfortable to wear, and above all holds the gun firmly while still allowing a clean draw.

For the series of photos showing how easy it is to mount the paddle holster, I started by clearing the gun and removing the magazine, which is why you will see in the photos that there is no magazine in the gun. Normally I wouldn’t do this but this is just to make a point about safety when mounting the holster with the gun. This is really much more important with the Ultra Custom IWB rig, which we will get into later in the article, because with that one the triggerguard is completely exposed.

Before I get into the third M17 optics ready holster, I want to go into a little more detail about the two paddle rigs I introduced in Part 1. I have a personal preference for paddle holster designs which some of you likely share because if you actually do carry a firearm (with a CCW permit) you know there are times when you have to leave it behind when you enter some buildings. Removing a belt holster is a pain, and leaving an empty holster on your hip is the best option. With a paddle rig you simply (well not simply but fairly easily) remove the holster from your waistband. A well made rig makes it easier to put on and take off with relative ease. The 1791 pair for the M17 falls into that category.

For the series of photos showing how easy it is to mount the paddle holster, I started by clearing the gun and removing the magazine, which is why you will see in the photos that there is no magazine in the gun. Normally I wouldn’t do this but this is just to make a point about safety when mounting the holster with the gun. This is really much more important with the Ultra Custom IWB rig, which we will get into later in the article, because with that one the triggerguard is completely exposed.

As the series of photos show, the paddle slips over the waistband and belt and then can be moved into the most comfortable position. Body weight and build are more often deciding factors. I prefer the 4 o’clock position but that doesn’t always give you the best advantage for drawing. Of curse, it only takes a moment to shift a paddle holster forward to the 3 o’clock position. I found the Kydex 1791 rig better suited for the behind the hip position for ease of draw while the leather holster worked smoother from 3 o’clock, but that’s me. You may have a totally different result. The rounded catches make it easier to remove the holsters while keeping them just a securely mounted as rigs with flat edged, squared off catches that grab fabric and make it harder to remove. (I have had a few that were so stuck I had to open my pants to get them off the waistband and my belt. Advantage of the paddle holster over belt holster lost).

And it is just as easy to remove by pushing your hand behind the paddle to pull the clips away from the pant waist and belt and lift it out. This is actually the easiest handling paddle holster I have ever had tested.
Even easier than the 1791 leather paddle rig is the Kydex model which is just as quick to mount and remove but keeps the gun even closer to the body.
The fit of the gun is glass smooth for drawing and re-holstering.
I have done this sequence a lot of times for the camera and on the shooting range, but clearing the 1791 was remarkably easy with the low recurve for the reflex sight. The sweat panel is also softer against your side than the gun’s slide. Piece of cake!

What’s cooking?

This excerpt from 1791’s press release about winning Guns & Ammo’s Holster of the Year will give you an idea of what’s cooking, and I mean that quite literally.

And now it is time to open the Ultra Custom box.

“1791 Gunleather has changed everything we know about leather holsters. With the Ultra Custom, 1791 Gunleather was able to blend the benefits of a hard-sided Kydex holster with the comfort of a premium leather soft-sided holster. The Ultra Custom is a moldable, shapeable, IWB holster made with two layers of premium steer hide leather blended with 1791 Gunleather’s exclusive Memory-Lok™ technology.  It is the world’s first moldable and re-moldable holster ever produced.”

Inside is the holster on a cardboard panel that covers the rest of the kit used to reform the Ultra Custom to your gun. The set comes in various sizes; this one is made to form to the P320 and M17 as well as a 1911 with a 3-inch barrel, the Bersa Thunder .380, Glock 42, Glock 43X, Kimber Carry Ultra, Ruger LC9, SR22, and Walther P22. In other words this “raw” pouch can be shaped to fit a lot of different guns that fall into the Size 3 range.
Inside the box are the instructions (the recipe if you will), wrapped inside the plastic bag for heating the holster in hot water, two sight channel tools for different guns, which also double as holster forming tools, two different IWB mounting clips and a set of screws. You will have to supply your own thermometer to check water temperature, and the instructions recommend a rock to put inside the holster to help keep it submerged in the cooking pot.

al Dente   

The perfect pasta (Angel Hair in particular) is cooked at a precise temperature and for a precise amount of time, that is al Dente (literally, to the tooth, or cooked so as to be still firm when bitten.) So we’re going to cook a holster? Well, yes we are.

A good old pasta pot on the burner, the holster, tools, plastic bag for heating, and a nice river rock to weigh it down in the water.

The construction of the Ultra Custom when heated in hot water (roughly 140 to 180 degrees for 5 minutes) softens the leather and polymer inner liner (between the leather) so the holster becomes malleable. As the instructions explain, the holster is placed in the water tight plastic bag that comes in the kit, is immersed in the water at roughly 140 degrees for five to seven minutes (it took seven) and the temperature rose to 180 degrees by the time I removed it.

The recommend temperature to start is 140 degrees. It is just below boiling as bubbles begin to form on the bottom of the pot. It takes about 1 gallon of water to cover the holster and most of the bag.
The holster sealed in the watertight plastic cooking bag needs to cook for five to seven minutes. I had the burner on low to bring the temperature up slowly and not to a boil. I set a timer for five minutes. Then did a quick check, not quite soft enough, so back in for another two minutes by which time the temperature had reached 180 degrees. Don’t get it any hotter, 185 is the maximum but you don’t need to get it that hot. When I pulled the bag out of the pot you could feel that the holster was soft to the touch.

After checking to see if the holster was soft, I removed it from the bag (let the rock I had placed inside as a weight drop gently into the sink) and then immediately pushed the M17 into the holster. It now pushed in easily up to the triggerguard (when it comes out of the box the M17 does not fit the shape of the holster), and then I inserted the sight channel rod included with the kit. This is used to reshape the leather to the top of the M17. The tool has a channel that fits over the front sight and as you push it into the holster it rides over the top of the slide creating the sight channel.

As soon as the holster is out of the bag, push the gun into it and then insert the sight channel rod.

After that you can use the other tool included along with your fingers (I went with fingers entirely) to begin shaping the softened holster to the contours of the M17. This takes about five minutes and as the holster cools it begins to take the form of the gun as you continue pressing the leather around the M17. When the shape was well defined (as shown in the photos), set it down to begin cooling.

With the rod all the way to the front of the reflex sight you are creating a top contour for the holster. Using the other tool or your hands begin to press the leather to form around the contour of the gun. This can take up to five minutes of pressing and forming the shell around the curves of the frame and slide. The more you work it the closer it comes to taking the gun’s shape, but you have to work fast as it is already beginning to cool.
After about five minutes I have shaped the holster to the M17. It is a good fit.

After a few minutes I removed the sight channel rod, pulled the gun from the holster and then reinserted it. A perfect fit. I let it cool for about another hour before attaching the belt clip, and then headed out to try on the new custom fit IWB M17 holster.

Holster is served. Fully cooled and hardened, the pouch is now a perfect fit to the M17 ASP. Now all you have to do is decide which clip you want to use (one sits the rig a little higher than the other).
The clip is mounted and I have given it a slight cant (it is adjustable forward or back as desired) before tightening the screws.

While I am not a big fan of IWB rigs, this fits exceptionally well. (While not mentioned often in the world of IWB rigs, you can place it between your belt and pants waist with the clip still securely locking the holster to your belt. It is more comfortable, especially for all day carry with a large semi-auto like the M17, though not quite as concealable. It’s an option if you find tucking the gun and holster inside your waistband uncomfortable. I have been using this technique with my smaller .380 and 9mm carry guns for years.)

Like I have said before, I am not a big fan of IWB holsters but this one turned out to be quite comfortable even with a comparatively large gun like the Sig.
As you can see the holster sits pretty low and even with a big pistol like the M17, it could be well concealed by a light jacket. Generally speaking if you’re going to carry a gun this size in an IWB you need to go up one waist size. The Jeans I’m wearing (Levi 514) have a little stretch in the waist and I just moved my belt back two holes to fit around the gun. If you’re going with an IWB holster, the 1791 rig is about as custom as it gets.

So, the 1791 holsters for the M17 ASP with the Sig Air reflex sight are all perfect in every way with three very good options. I like the Kydex paddle rig best (no surprise there), but there’s really no bad choice, and with the Ultra Custom you get to do something you’ve probably never done before. Cook a holster!

This article covers Tuesday’s and Thursday’s Airgun Experience, but don’t miss Saturday, it will be the debut of an all-new CO2 pistol for 2020!

One thought on “Holster that Sig Part 2 and Part 3

  1. Hi Denis
    I have had the P320/M17 pellet pistol for 2 years now. About 10 months ago while rumageing around on Amazon I came across a polymer paddle holster specifically for the P320. Putting 2 and 2 together I figured the M17 would fit this holster as well so I bought it for CA$27.00 – about US $18.00 at the time.
    I was right, it was a perfect fit and at the time I didnt even notice the cut out on top. I thought it was just part of the design as the reflex sight would not be available for another 9 months and I hadn’t thought about it.
    I used the holster a lot in the last 9 months and it wasn’t until I mounted the new Sig Reflex Sight two weeks ago that I realized what the cut out was all about.
    The holster and gun combo are a match and I’m happy as I don’t have to go out and find a holster that fits!
    BTW the first group I shot with the M17 w/Reflex Sight was under ⅞” at 7 yards with Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets.
    One of my better days I guess as I havent been able to do it again. Must not have drunk too much coffee that morning.
    The gun is slightly modified with a forward slide shim from Jeremy Irwin (YouTube). This removes most of the vertical slop from the slide for a tremendous increase in accuracy. As well all the interior slidey bits have been levelled and dry lubed with teflon to eliminate drag on each cycle.
    The M17 is well broken in now with about 1000 shots on it so far and is a real pleasure to shoot!
    Cheers
    Red


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