Let’s talk about gunbelts and holsters for outdoor work. No concealed-carry stuff here – let’s discuss rigs for carrying a heavy, powerful belt gun for serious work.
But before we do that, let’s talk about the gun.
While I favor my Glock 36 for everyday concealed carry, for outdoor work I like a big-bore wheelgun. When woods-bumming, I usually have either my S&W 25-5 or my Ruger Vaquero, both in .45 Colt. If I take it in my head to carry a semi-auto, it’s either the 1911 or the Glock 21, both (obviously) .45 ACPs. In the revolvers I like 8 grains of Unique behind a Lasercast 250-grain hard-cast flat point. That load will blow through a railroad tie and knock a big handful of splinters out the far side, and will easily lengthwise a big mulie or a cow elk.
For the .45 ACP I like the 200 grain Lasercast semi-wadcutter. Like most Glocks, my 21 will feed almost anything; the 1911 is a little fussier but will feed SWCs fine with a good magazine. I use Kimber magazines, and the 1911 will feed empty cases with those.
The gun belt and holster should be comfortable and solid. Choice of material is up to the shooter; some like nylon web belts and holsters, and there is certainly nothing wrong with such a rig; I’ve used many myself. But it’s hard to beat good leather. Heavy harness leather should be used in the belt, and good stout bullhide in the holster. A heavy leather rig will start out very stiff, but wear and the application of a softening oil, like neatsfoot oil, will soon make the rig softer and more wearable.
For my belt guns, I like the America’s Gun Store #110 Wyoming Drop belt with the #114 Cheyenne holster, which rig hangs the but of the gun at about wrist height when your arms are hanging naturally. I find this near perfect for being able to get the gun into action quickly; as long as you use the leg tie down to hold the holster in place, you can wipe off the holster’s hammer loop with the shooting hand’s thumb just as your fingers wrap around the grip. Train yourself to keep your finger off the trigger while drawing; cock the single-action or start the double-action pull after you have cleared leather and are already pushing the muzzle of the piece towards the target.
Lots of folks like the Threepersons holster as well, and the same statements apply.
If your stomping grounds tend to be wet and snowy/rainy, like the Pacific Northwest or Alaska, Great America’s also makes their very nice K #17 flap holster, which keeps weather off the gun but makes it take longer to bring the piece to bear.
Whichever rig you choose, keep it clean (saddle soap and water) and softened, and it will give many, many years of solid service.