Thursday, March 4, 2010

Holster review: Galco JAK Slide

There is a true-ism concerning people who carry a pistol for personal defense. It involves the search for an ever better carry solution, and a 'Big Box 'O Holsters'. It seems everyone who carries will eventually build up their own box full of holsters tried out over the years, never fully satisfied and always yearning for something just a little better. We at Castle Carteach0 are not immune to the phenomenon, and have reviewed some of the various efforts in the past.

Well.... this review is of yet another holster... although it's a design with a 35 year proven track record. Now made by one of the top holster makers in the country: The Galco JAK Slide. This holster was originally designed by the 'Jackass Leather Company', predecessor to Galco Leather (the same company designed the only shoulder holster I own, a 'Miami Vice' rig).

I first stumbled on this minimalist piece of carry gear when I bought a S+W M+P 9mm compact. The pistol was a new model, and the holster industry simply hadn't caught up yet. The result.... no listings for the pistol in the holster catalogs, and this author standing before a humongous wall of holsters at Trop Gun Shop. I had to literally open each package on anything that looked likely, and try them out one at a time. The plastic-fantastic kydex rigs were right out. Those things are designed for one pistol model, and really don't do well with change. That left leather, and leather is expensive.

Very expensive, leather is... which is why the Galco holster was one of the last to be tried. Not only was it made for the 1911 pattern, but it cost almost $50. That works out to a 'per ounce' price higher than silver! Still, if the M+P 9c was to be carried, a holster was needed, and the JAK Slide came out of it's package and onto the belt.

The fit to the pistol, to be blunt, was pretty darned impressive. 'Like a Glove' might be one way of putting it. The little M+P is wider than a 1911, but the holster seemed to take that in stride nicely. There was a suspicion the wider body of the M+P would stretch the holster out, but that later proved not to be the case.

The Galco JAK holster rides inside the belt, and outside the pants. Not an IWB, (inside the waist band) but perhaps an IB (inside belt) rig. This has the wearers belt snugging the pistol tight to the body, keeping it close like no outside the belt rig can possible accomplish.

It's certainly not a range holster by any means, and competition shooting is right out of the picture with this rig. That said, in the three years I have owned and used the JAK Slide, it has proven itself to be a valuable CCW holster all out of proportion to it's size and cost. While there was an initial concern over weapon retention, several years of frequent use has shown the design to work. Not once has any pistol even worked loose, let alone fallen out.

On top of that, it's a comfortable carry with shirt tucked or not. All day wear is not an issue, and the weapon is securely held even while fading into comfortable obscurity on the belt.

Please notice in the above paragraph, where it says 'any pistol', and here we arrive at what might be one of the JAK Slide's nicest unintended features. Perhaps because it is pliable leather, and certainly because it's placement inside a tight belt makes it secure, this holster can be used to carry more than one model of pistol!

Yes, it is designed and fitted to the 1911 pattern pistol, and it works remarkably well in that duty. That said, we already mentioned it's use for CCW carry of a S+W M+P. Add to that list of pistols a Ruger P-85, and now a Glock G-30 SF. Yes, this author has successfully and happily carried four very different models of pistol in this holster, for days on end.

There is very little more to be said about the Galco JAK Slide holster. It's a simple rig, built to high standards, that does it's job well. After three years of constant use, there are no other concealed carry holsters in use at Castle Carteach0. Sure, there is a box of range and competition rigs, but only the JAK Slide see's daily use. The JAK slide rules that niche, and has earned the position.


Danny said...

If you used more than one sidearm for a carry weapon would you buy a separate holster for each?
If you carried a 1911 for 3 months then switched to a Glock wouldn't the holster be formed to the 1911 shape?
So would a separate holster for a Glock would be better?
I hope that makes sense.

Carteach0 said...

Traditionally, yes. That is why I make the point... this holster has done an excellent job carrying several weapons over the course of years. I think it's the 'under belt' design that keeps the fit snug and secure.

Anonymous said...

I have a pair of old SNICK holstes (one for HP, the other for 1911) that are really slick rigs. But they are specific to those guns - this one fits various ones. Cool.

Anonymous said...

Does this holster work with a Glock 30 SF? A Galco rep told me the Jak holster wasn't available for the G30SF.

Carteach0 said...

Well, if Galco says it's not suited for the G-30SF, then so be it. They are the experts and I wouldn't doubt their word.

I, on the other hand, carry my G-30 SF in this holster without any issues. I do take care not to snag my trigger when holstering the Glock, and I can see where that might be a problem. People take that risk upon themselves using a holster not specifically designed for the pistol.

Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to see the proof that sometimes simpler is better. I've been considering this holster for a short time now. And it looks damn good too, if you don't mind me saying so. The proof of versatility is quite intriguing, especially since I have a Glock 23 and Springfield Champion. I am somewhat of a minimalist and am not one that wants to have a whole box of holsters, although it might end up that way ;). Your reviews are quite professional, unbiased and informative. And for that I thank you, sir!

Justin said...

Holsters like this one that are made well with good leather are interchangeable and will last a long time.