Leather Holster Experts - why some so expensive ???

Leather Holster Experts - why some so expensive ???

This is a discussion on Leather Holster Experts - why some so expensive ??? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ok, I see some fairly reasonably priced leather maker holsters - Lobo in Colorado and then there's the Milt Sparks - Davis Leather prices Are ...

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Thread: Leather Holster Experts - why some so expensive ???

  1. #1
    Member Array chiltech500's Avatar
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    Leather Holster Experts - why some so expensive ???

    Ok, I see some fairly reasonably priced leather maker holsters - Lobo in Colorado

    and then there's the Milt Sparks - Davis Leather prices

    Are these expensive holsters worth more or is it reputation? Looks like there is an elaborate order ritual with Milt Sparks and then like a 6 month wait, ***?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array cn262's Avatar
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    I'm no expert, but my Milt Sparks VM2 is both a work of art and the best fitting, most comfortable holster that I own (and I have about a dozen, most Kydex or Leather / Kydex hybrid). If I had to guess, I would suspect that cost differences were due to: increased labor cost (both time and skill); increased materials cost; and then a combination of reputation and demand. I have seen really nice looking leather holsters that appear similar in design to the VM2 and cost about 1/3rd less, so I'm sure that you can get a nice holster for less money without the long wait. But, unless you are confident in the design it could just end-up in your holster drawer (in which case lower price does not equal better value).

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    Senior Member Array ironmike86's Avatar
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    They get the $$ from there name. And They have quality holsters and if ppl keep ordering. They can raise prices to help keep orders down. But if ppl keep ordering prices never go down. Like ammo. If ppl keep buying why lower prices. Supply and demand. I have a Milt Sparks holster and many others so I know the quality

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    Member Array jh225's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiltech500 View Post
    Ok, I see some fairly reasonably priced leather maker holsters - Lobo in Colorado

    and then there's the Milt Sparks - Davis Leather prices

    Are these expensive holsters worth more or is it reputation? Looks like there is an elaborate order ritual with Milt Sparks and then like a 6 month wait, ***?
    OK, just to set the record straight, a Milt Sparks VMII is NOT an expensive holster. Is it a moderately priced holster, absolutely. The quality is better than most and many other custom makers are priced right there with Sparks. If you want to see high priced holsters that are absolutely no better (and some probably worse) in quality, find the list of makers and open up each link. There are makers that start out at $300 and while nice, they surely are not 3x as nice.
    multistage and JoeyG like this.

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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    I dont see 90 for a summer special that expensive for a holster that will outlast me, hayesleather is expensive but its a work of art an worth very penny IMHO image.jpg
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiltech500 View Post
    Ok, I see some fairly reasonably priced leather maker holsters - Lobo in Colorado

    and then there's the Milt Sparks - Davis Leather prices

    Are these expensive holsters worth more or is it reputation?
    No holster "expert" here, though I've got a small drawer of holsters that have quite a few marginal examples that were seemingly of similar designs as the ones folks universally pointed to as "the original" or "The One." Eh. It is what it is. And the difference is in the design, materials and construction. Not everyone can duplicate such things, no matter how good-looking it is, or how enticing the marketing.

    Some holsters simply have designs that don't have many real failings, in terms of performance. Do design that right, and to execute it right (from a craftsmanship standpoint) isn't all that easy. There are a lot of leather workers out there. And then there are some true holster craftsmen who've got a design worth keeping, assembly techniques and methods that, when all's said and done, will truly last a lifetime.

    Beware holsters that appear to be of similar design, but that aren't blessed with quite the same features, materials or build quality. Those things can make a world of difference, in the long run. Particularly on hard-used, daily-used equipment, in which you want it to be functioning as well 10yrs down the road as it was the first week. (Not every holster on the market can say that, nor do many bother trying to even claim it.)

    Of course, finding one to fit your gun prior to buying can be a bear, for many folks. Still, you can put the word out, particularly if you've got a popular gun (ie, a common S&W revolver, or a Glock, or ...). There's a reason many of us grouse about having a small drawer full of previous holsters we've tried out, but where most of them simply haven't lived up to the hype/imaginings.


    One designers examples and tips to consider as you're mulling all of this: Red Nichols. He's a member here on the forums. Some of his contemporary products can be found at High Noon Holsters. And he's written a few FAQ / Decent Holster Design Aspects type threads from time to time. Worth reviewing, if only to compare/contrast with other holsters' features and quality that you've seen previously.
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    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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  7. #7
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    Looks like there is an elaborate order ritual with Milt Sparks and then like a 6 month wait, ***?

    Milt Sparks. One of the best holster makers in our Solar System.

    There is not a 6 Month wait just because people love ordering a SPARKS holster and then waiting 6 Months for it to arrive.
    They are going through that "ordering ritual" and waiting 6 Months because they are "folks in the know" and what they know is that the SPARKS holsters are very worth the wait. Trust Me...they are reasonably priced.
    And truthfully Tony K. could ask twice as much for a SPARKS holster and there STILL would be a 6 Month wait period.
    But, Tony is a fair and honest guy with flawless personal and Company integrity and he wants his Finest Quality holsters to stay affordable for the average person.
    The reason that Sparks has an ordering ritual is because they refuse to take orders that they cannot fill in the specified amount of time.
    Sparks refuses to take shortcuts and they will never keep customers hanging in mid air wondering why their holster was not delivered on time.
    And they are always (understandably) extremely BUSY so...you just need to follow the ordering procedure and get your John Hancock on the waiting list.

    My suggestion would be to NOT order a SPARKS until you decide (for sure) what gun you will want to carry daily. Because you'll not want to wait and then decide that you want to carry some other firearm.
    Basically your Sparks holster will last you for years upon years and still remain functionally perfect so they are not really expensive at all when you look at the price in that light.

    Is Sparks the ONLY great holster maker out there? No...of course not but, they have a LONG established reputation for perfection and flawless functional serviceability and durability and that really counts for a lot in the holster business with folks that carry firearms seriously and professionally.
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    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    Amen. Sparks builds, in my quite informed opinion, the best holster for the money you will buy.

    In fact, I say they build the best available.

    There is a reason for the six month wait: they are swamped. Their holsters are made from the finest material available. Their prices are extremely reasonable for what you get. Break in time is minimal, if at all. The boning is perfect, as is fit. No mistakes. These guys are animals.

    No, I am not in any way affiliated with Milt Sparks. But I have built a lot of holsters, and know what is involved. They can be a pain to make. Sparks has set the standard for all other makers. Tony Kanaley employs seven or eight guys, and they are still several months behind. Yeah, the wait sucks. But when you pull that holster out of the bag, you are glad you waited.

    You're not buying a name or status symbol. You're buying the best carry holster made.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    My suggestion would be to NOT order a SPARKS until you decide (for sure) what gun you will want to carry daily. Because you'll not want to wait and then decide that you want to carry some other firearm.
    Still, one bright spot about ordering a MS holster for a relatively popular sidearm is: there's a great resale market consisting of folks who don't want to wait. Easy to find a buyer.
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    Senior Member Array rednichols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiltech500 View Post
    Ok, I see some fairly reasonably priced leather maker holsters - Lobo in Colorado

    and then there's the Milt Sparks - Davis Leather prices

    Are these expensive holsters worth more or is it reputation? Looks like there is an elaborate order ritual with Milt Sparks and then like a 6 month wait, ***?
    And that is the focus of my forthcoming book "In the Shadow of Bond -- How to Recognise Your Holster When You See It".

    A poorly designed and constructed holster is a bag, and does not more than your cellphone pouch.

    A good holster carries your pistol safely and that's the best that can be said of it.

    A masterpiece? That's not only beautifully made (materials and workmanship) but beautifully designed (performance); the designer/maker has created something that controls your pistol, rather than the pistol controlling the holster. That is how excellent motorcycle riders differ from us ordinary riders: they're not riding -- they're directing.
    ccw9mm, Bacon and QKShooter like this.
    Red (Richard) Nichols
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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    Mitch Rosen also makes a good holster. And I'll vouch for High Noon holsters, too.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the difference between comfortable and concealed and snug and functional is often just a few fractions of an inch. But oh, those fractions are so important.
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    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    I own two VM2s and three Minotaur M-TACs. I also have one Mitch Rosen holster that I PAID for and WAITED for and do not like. I have two DM Bullard Dual Carry holsters that are darn fine rigs.

    VM2 is a 6 month wait and over $100. It does ride a little higher than I typically like, but holy mac it is a great holster. Extremely well made and a genuinely perfect ride for a Colt 1911. Tony from Milt Sparks once replied to an inquiry I read stating that they only take a specific number of holster orders each month because they are a smaller shop of dedicated craftsmen that perform to exacting standards. They could make cookie-cutter holsters cheaper and faster by hiring a bunch of people and turning them out super fast, but the potential for lower quality was not what everyone at Milt Sparks was willing to accept. They remain a small shop that produces exceptional quality products. They customer service is out of this world. I hope I did justice to Tony's explanation.

    I guess it is kind of like custom ordering a high end 1911. Do you really want any idiot working on your product or do you want the guy that turns out the best product?

    The Minotaur M-TACS is a pretty fast turn-around and under $100. It is a great daily carry rig, versatile, hybrid leather/kydex, and best of all, it comes with smarties candy. They do have excellent customer service.

    I ordered a Workman Holster from Mitch Rosen when I first started CC and didn't know a whole lot. Mitch took my order and told me how the Sig P229 (non-rail) was such a classic and should conceal pretty well for the size of the gun and that I really needed to buy his gun-belt also. He up-sold me a belt. He also advised me that I needed his holster lubricant, leather-lightning, which ended up in the trash. The rig squeaks to this day, scoots back and forth on the axis of the tuck point, and does not conceal well. The belt, while nice, is not as nice as the beltman belt I got faster and for less. Fast-forward to just after I get the holster and at the same time a S&W 66-7. I call Mitch looking for a Workman for that revolver. Mitch must have been having a lousy day. I tell him I am looking for the workman for said revolver, to which he replies that he does not make them for such a large gun because after all, "nobody tucks a k-frame." I will add that he tossed attitude at me in the process as if I , his customer, were a nuisance. He will, however, gladly make one if I want to pay an additional $200 for a special cut plus the $170 for the holster (before shipping). I hung up (and will not use him again) and called DM Bullard. He made me a Dual Carry which arrived fairly quickly, did not run an arm and a leg, and tucked effectively. The DM Bullard Dual carry is a damn decent rig.

    The lessons:
    Spending a ton of money might or might not get you the best.
    Spending a little less Might get you a great product that you can use daily and will arrive pretty quick.
    Do not be afraid to hang up on a "master" to find someone who will out-master the master.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Cold Shot's Avatar
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    Fine leather goods are expensive. Good leather breathes, is durable in a variety of ways, and ages well. Hand crafted items are also expensive.

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Richard58's Avatar
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    I have four milt sparks holsters and they r all great. Two SS2, a watch six, and a older IWB SS with one strap for my j frame. I really need to sell or trade one of the SS2 since I never did use it.
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    Senior Member Array cn262's Avatar
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    Something else to consider is that "expensive" is relative. I started cheap on holsters ($35-$40 range) thinking it did not matter much. After my first half-dozen holsters that I did not like (~$300) I listened to a friend and ordered my VM2. The wait wasn't so bad and now I wear that holster daily - all day and night long. With extra snaps the VM2 came to around $150 - expensive from the perspective of a $35 holster, middle of the pack for a good leather holster, and a great value to me as it was about half of what I spent on my early holsters. So, there are many ways to frame it.

    An analogy is EDC knives. I started out with $50-$60 Kershaw, SOG, and Spyderco knives. Not bad, but not what I wanted. Then I found a Benchmade Presidio for ~$200. That was a big jump from what I had been spending, but now i have three Benchmade knives for different purposes and view them as being a great value. It's easy to find similar knives that are 2x-3x more expensive.

    For now I feel that i have found the sweet spot with both knives and holsters, but that will likely evolve over time. One person might look at my purchases has high-end, while another views them as a the lower end of OK. To each his own. But, something quality like the Milt Sparks holster or Benchmade knife can be sold pretty easily if you decide that it is not for you. I would rather loose a little money that way than increase my holster drawer collection.
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