John Ross Special .500 S&W Revolver Holster Update

by Leroy Thompson

photography by Leroy Thompson

April 16th, 2014


In the time since I did my original evaluation of the John Ross Special .500 Revolver for, I’ve continued to shoot mine a few times a year for enjoyment.   As I watch Life Below Zero or other shows about Alaska, I may fantasize about trudging around the Great White North carrying my .500 S&W, but I still live in St. Louis.  We have a lot of dangerous animals here, but they walk on two legs, and a cocked and locked 1911 carried in a belt holster will usually suffice!


Still, I have given a lot of thought to carrying my Ross Special while watching shows about hunting and living in the wilderness. The Ken Null cross draw holster I originally recommended is still outstanding, but watching a show about the Iditarod I started thinking about a holster that would put a big bore revolver close at hand for the draw when riding a snowmobile or dog sled.  I also considered a draw that would allow wearing a good-sized pack.   When I started researching the type of holster that I wanted, I found, naturally, that it is available from Diamond D Custom Leather. 


Designed to wear across the chest over a parka or other heavy clothing yet allow easy access to the revolver, the Guide’s Choice Chest Holster is perfect for my John Ross Special.  It’s made for Alaskans who carry powerful revolvers as a matter of course, and it carries a heavy revolver comfortably while allowing excellent access without interfering with other gear.  Its design also allows it to be put on or removed quickly and easily.  Although designed for wear outside the parka or other clothing, I was wearing it on a cold snowy day a couple of months ago under a heavy coat as an experiment and found that by zipping the coat about halfway down I could easily access the revolver.


Each Diamond D holster is hand molded for a good fit.  I can attest they are well molded.   I found when mine arrived that I needed to use some of Mitch Rosen’s Leather Lightning on the inside and push the revolver in and out a hundred times or so to get the tradeoff between rapid draw and retention just right.  This is not a criticism, as I don’t want a sloppy holster.  Retention is still excellent when the revolver is in place.  The Guide’s Choice also has a hammer loop for added retention.  


The straps are wide enough for comfort and well designed so, once positioned, the holster does not slip around on the chest.  I also like the quick release elastic strap that fits around the back to hold the holster in place.  A feature I would recommend to anyone ordering a Guide’s Choice is the Reload strip for 5, 6, or 7 rounds, depending on the holster. The one for my Ross Special holds five rounds positioned for easy access on the strap just above the holster itself.  More rounds could be carried in a pocket, but five in the gun and five extra should handle any immediate needs. 


I have been very impressed with the Guide’s Choice and consider it a perfect companion for my John Ross Special.  Diamond D makes the same holster for an array of other big bore revolvers as well.  Retail price is $165.00 and $30 for the ammo carrier.  Given the quality, that’s quite fair.


For more information, visit the website:


Leroy Thompson

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The Guide's Choice, along with author's John Ross Special.



The Guide's Choice positioned comfortably across the chest.



The Guide's Choice allows fast access for one hand, while offering excellent retention.