September 12, 2018
By James Tarr
We live in an era of websites, but back when catalog shopping ruled the earth, the Galco Gunleather catalog was one of the best-looking catalogs of gun-related products on the planet. Beautiful glossy shots of holsters in exotic locations with amazing and unusual props—like one of the first civilian-owned Humvees—just took your breath away.
Galco Gunleather no longer makes a print catalog. Not only because everybody does their shopping online, but also because since its founding in 1969 as The Famous Jackass Leather Company, its product line has continued to expand so quickly. In addition to holsters and magazine pouches, the company now makes belts, slings, gun-totin’ handbags, buttstock shell holders and rifle cases.
Note the word “leather” in both The Famous Jackass Leather Company and Galco Gunleather, yet fully a quarter of its belt holsters is made partially or entirely of Kydex. Let’s look at two of Galco’s most popular “plastic” belt holsters: the all-Kydex Stryker and the leather-and-polymer Quick Slide.
Galco brought out the Stryker about six years ago, and it’s exactly the kind of belt holster I prefer: an “everything you need and nothing you don’t” belt holster. The holster body is constructed of Kydex—and thick Kydex at that. My calipers put it at 0.12 inch. It has what is referred to in the industry as a “neutral cant,” which means as the holster sits on your belt it holds the slide/barrel of the pistol in a completely vertical orientation.
While pistols in neutral-cant holsters may not conceal as well or as easily as those with the “FBI cant” (grip forward, muzzle back), they are generally quicker and easier to draw from.
The holster body has two tension screws down near the pistol’s dust cover to adjust fit. Since the Stryker is molded to fit a specific firearm, I rarely tighten down the tension screws on these types of holsters. Tight tension screws don’t make the gun any more secure; they just slow down my draw.
Guns simply don’t wiggle in the form-fit Kydex body, much less fall out. I’ve done somersaults wearing Strykers and not had the pistol come out. This specific fit, using a material that will not stretch out over time, is why polymer holsters don’t need thumb breaks or other retention devices unless you’re carrying openly and looking to prevent a bad guy from snagging your gun. If it’s concealed…well, the only time anyone should know you have it is after you’ve drawn it from the holster.
The belt loop attachment for the Stryker is connected to the holster body with four screws. There is a simple movable slide on the back of the belt loop that allows you to adjust for different belt widths from 1.25 to two inches.
My advice is to snug that sucker up as much as possible because this prevents the holster from wiggling on your belt and presents the pistol in the same place and at the same angle every time. I like that the belt loop isn’t really any wider than the holster and doesn’t take up any more real estate than it needs to.
Back when I was doing surveillance as a private investigator, I broke several belt loop attachments simply by sitting on them in my car. You won’t have that problem with the Stryker. Not only is the polymer of the belt loop the right thickness, there is some give to it as well, so it will flex and not crack when you put pressure on it. The Stryker has a suggested retail price of $65, which is very competitive.
The Quick Slide is not a new holster for Galco, but it has just introduced a tweaked Gen 2 version of it. Like the Stryker, it is a strong-side outside-the-waistband belt holster with a neutral cant, but the similarities end there.
The Quick Slide is a “hybrid” holster, which consists of a steerhide backer with a form-fit Kydex pistol pocket riveted to the front. Steerhide is a bit thicker and tougher than standard leather, and the first thing I did when pulling the Quick Slide out of the packaging was put my nose on it and take a deep breath. There is nothing like the smell of new leather, and for all the utility of polymer holsters there is just something viscerally satisfying about the smell of leather.
At either end of the steerhide backer you’ll see belt loops. These loops are made of a flexible polymer and include snaps, so you can quickly and easily remove and reattach the holster to your belt. The belt loops accommodate belts up to 1.5 inches wide.
While this is a wide holster (belt loop to belt loop it’s about 6.5 inches long), taking up a bit of belt real estate, it is not a tall holster. It has an open muzzle design, which means the same holster will fit every member in a firearm family regardless of barrel/slide length.
The Kydex pocket that holds the pistol against the steerhide backer is form-fit to the specific pistol. For additional security, there is what Galco calls a “passive retention device.” This is a shaped plastic piece mounted to the inside surface of the steerhide that fits inside the trigger guard of the pistol, keeping it securely in place until you draw. To my mind, the Quick Slide seems to be a modernized, product improved version of the classic all-leather Yaqui Slide (which Galco also makes).
Suggested retail of the Quick Slide is $54, and chances are if you’ve got a compact or full-size pistol in mind, Galco makes a Quick Slide to fit it.