After almost three years, 5 Shot Leather LLC, is ready to announce the official release of the SME. The SME is a purpose built appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) holster.
The process was simple. I told John Ralston, the head guy at 5shot, what I wanted the holster to do, and he came up with a way to get it done. John did all of the heavy lifting. He built 15 some odd holster prototypes, a bunch of belt loop prototypes, as well as completing most of the design work. I tested each and every prototype. If I liked the development, the version went in the mail to Todd to see if it worked for him as well. The current holster looks nothing like the original idea. Again and again, we scrapped a line of thinking and started over, to make what you see now as simple and mechanically correct as possible. Considering I am 5’ 6”, 150 pounds and Todd is 6’, 230 pounds, John had his work cut out for him. This holster is designed for full sized guns, under realistic and minimal everyday clothing. I have yet to see any other holster do the job as well.
For several years, Todd and I had hoped to get a really functional leather AIWB holster. The over-riding reason is that leather is tougher than kydex. Period. I’ve seen just about every brand of kydex holster break at one time or another, in a class, or out for real. Leather is not only tougher, but many of us find that it has a slight edge in weapons retention. Where a kydex holster has the gun either “locked in” or not, a leather holster can add useful drag during the whole draw. That’s especially true if you are in a compromised position, and the gun is slowly being pried out of the holster. That extra drag can help you retain the gun in a fight, where a kydex holster would not. Surprisingly, that extra drag doesn’t slow the draw down at all when you intend to draw it fast. There are faster guys on this board than me, but I can consistently hit a 1.1 second concealed carry draw with this holster (8” circle at 7 yards), and Todd has gotten down to the mid .8‘s. A leather holster is also MUCH harder to break or rip off of your belt.
Enter the SME, the simplest AIWB in design, and a holster that gets the job done. Simply put, it gets it done better than anything else I have worn to date. I’ve been wearing the final version now for the last 8 months. It is extremely concealable, very fast to draw, holds the gun very securely, and as a bonus, is perfectly comfortable. When I say perfectly comfortable, I mean not only for walking around town, but for 14 hours in the car as well. If you’re bigger than me, it will be even more comfortable and concealable. I spent a week in a precision rifle course a couple of months ago, laying on the holster everyday. That was the only time I even knew it was there. I run with this holster several times a week, both short and long distances. Crossfit with it on is also not an issue, though I don’t usually wear it for that.
To sum it up, I find that this holster is the most concealable, fastest, most secure and most comfortable AIWB I have ever used. It is made of top quality materials, hand built by one man, John Ralston. If you’re the kind of person who appreciates the benefits that a top quality leather holster provides, this is the one for you.
I'll let John take any questions about ordering it, or options, but if you have any other questions, shoot. I'm sure Todd will jump in here and help out as well.