Thursday, 24 December 2015

Review: MGLW Hammershot Holster

Some time back I was contacted by Merchant Green Leather Works, offering to send a review sample of one of their products. I chose a Hammershot holster since my Sweet Revenges already have holsters, and some of my friends use Hammershots.
Many thanks to MGLW for sending this holster to me for review. As with all other reviews in such circumstances, their contribution will not bias the review.

This holster is very different to the sort of holsters (and tactical gear) I normally look at. Unlike my cordura Sweet Revenge holsters, this holster is made from a single piece of leather (as the business' name would suggest).
This particular holster is in the "fox brown" colour, with "hammered lines" tooling. I don't know the first thing about leather machining, but to me the machining on this holster looks pretty darn good.
Though the holster relies primarily on friction fit, there is a retention tab at the bottom that stops the muzzle of the Hammershot going any further.
A look into the pocket of the holster.
The holster has a solid belt loop at the top, which is large enough for regular belts and has quite a good friction fit.

This holster has a single leg strap at the bottom, which is not found on holsters for smaller blasters. Since this leather is relatively stiff, small holsters don't flap about much, hence leg straps are not totally necessary. The Hammershot is large enough to requisite a leg strap though. It blends in relatively well with the rest of the holster.

Naturally without a retention strap, the friction/tightness of the holster is vital to making the holster usable. Up until this point, the holster is pretty loose, however beyond this point the friction of the holster becomes noticeable.

At this point, the friction goes from noticeable to quite significant, and requires a reasonable amount of force to keep going.

Further still and the holster becomes even tighter, requiring a pretty serious amount of force to get the rest of the way. At this point the Hammershot is held in well enough by friction, and is not likely to fall out without some extreme movements.

Hammershot all the way in. The tightness of the holster is more than enough to keep the Hammershot holstered properly in just about all regular situations. However, I personally feel that the holster is perhaps a little too tight, as inserting the Hammershot into the holster requires quite a bit of force, much more so than my thumb-break strap Sweet Revenge holsters. The amount of force required tends to shift the holster quite a lot, shifting the position of the leg strap a fair bit (or maybe I've just been wearing leg straps wrong the whole time).
Leaving the Hammershot holstered for a long time (ie several days) does loosen the holster up nicely, but it still does require a fair bit of force to insert and draw.
A look at the bottom of the holster with the Hammershot in. Naturally the muzzle retention tab has been designed to allow for darts to be retained in the blaster without issue.

So here's the Hammershot holstered. It fits well, there's enough leather and friction to easily keep the Hammershot in place, while not completely obscuring the Hammershot itself.
Like with most pouch-style holsters, the holster bulges out slightly when the Hammershot is in. This isn't much of an issue as the leather retains its shape quite well, and is already shaped for the Hammershot's body.
A look from the bottom, the Hammershot is mostly exposed from underneath.

The holster has ample space for the hammer, and allows for the Hammershot to be holstered both primed and unprimed.

This picture sort of shows the grooves that are cut into the holster by the Hammershot being in it for an extended period of time. The presence of the grooves demonstrates how tightly the holster fits the Hammershot.
One small issue I've come across is these metal pins not being completely obscured by the leather, and scraping along the side of the Hammershot as evidenced by this scrape:
This was simple to fix, just get a set of pliers and push the edges down until they are submerged under the leather. It's something to watch about if you are concerned about the paintjob on your blaster.

Here's the Hammershot holster on me. It works quite well, it doesn't shift about much and sits in quite a good spot. The leg strap is easily long enough to fit my leg, although MGLW will adjust the strap length to your needs anyway. I find that with a lot of movement the leg strap does tend to shift downwards, though I'm not sure whether this is due to the leg strap or me just not wearing leg straps properly.

Here's me reaching for and drawing/inserting the Hammershot. It's in a good position to draw/insert, low enough to be comfortable, but not so low that it significantly impedes movement. The only possible issue here is the tightness of the holster. While this is fine for drawing, holstering the Hammershot does take quite a lot of force, which I find does tend to shift the leg strap downwards a fair bit. Obviously leaving the Hammershot holstered for extended periods of time to loosen it up does help, but it is still quite tight.

The Hammershot holster is available at the Etsy store for 55USD + shipping. In the current financial climate, this translates to around 80AUD + shipping, which is possibly the most expensive Hammershot holster I've come across. What you're paying for is a complete leather product, that (as far as I can tell) is well machined and tough, as well as having some choice over colour and the machining detail. While it works perfectly fine as a holster, the reason for such a high price is the leather. From my very brief research on leather holsters, 55USD is not actually notably expensive.
Naturally being leather, extra care may be required to keep the holster in good condition, more so than the fabric of regular tactical gear. 
I'd say that whether you should buy this particular holster hinges a lot on whether you want the leather or not. The leather bumps up the price but does give the holster a lot more character, and quite a good look if you're using it for cosplay. Since I'm more of a tacticool/practicool guy, I personally probably wouldn't buy a leather holster, but as with all tactical gear, it's all about personal preference. If you are looking for a leather Hammershot holster (or other leather goods for that matter), MGLW is certainly worth a look.

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