Galco's "SOB" Holster

by Paco Kelly

photography by Paco Kelly

July 20th, 2004




Galco Leather Company, located in Tucson, AZ, is well known for making some mighty fine leather products, but the one in the photos caught my eye in a Tucson gun store a few months ago.

I have heard over the years, as most likely you have as well, of "small of the back" holsters, but I've never really had the opportunity to try one. Since I've been having lots of fun with my Kimber .22 on the 1911 frame, I thought it was high time I tested an "SOB" holster.

As you can see in the accompanying photos, the cant and tilt of the leather holds the grip up and in exactly the right place for a quick draw. The holster is adjustable for firmness of fit on the gun if necessary, but mine proved fine just as it came from the factory.

I thought the SOB holster would prove to be uncomfortable for seated carry, such as in a car or pickup, but I was mistaken. You do feel the presence of the gun and holster when you drive, but it is not uncomfortable and the feeling is soon forgotten. As for carrying my 1911s around when going through my day outside of any car or truck, it doesn't even seem like you're carrying a gun at all. The SOB holster is perfect for the larger autos because they don't show like a conventional holster does under a shirt, plus they are not uncomfortable with larger handguns as inside-the-waistband holsters are.

Another plus I have found with the SOB holster is weight distribution. Because the holster is on the back of the belt and widely distributed across the belt (mine spans 5-1/2"), the feeling of weight soon disappears. And because the weight is evenly distributed, you don't feel lopsided like you do when you are carrying a heavy handgun on one side.

While walking through the high chaparral outside our new home in the very Northwest outside of Tucson, a desert rat jumped up. The Kimber was out of its place in the Galco and on that rat faster than I thought it would in just a surprise draw...and you just can't get any better than that!

The Galco SOB Holster retails for $89.99, but you can find them for significantly less at gun stores or gun shows. I paid $49 for mine, but whatever the cost, this is a very well-made holster. It is thick leather, not split, double stitched, formed to the handgun, and double leather reinforced at the wear and pressure points. This holster is designed right and is a nice piece of work.

While I was at the Shootist Holiday in Raton, NM this past June, a number of people asked me if the pretty grips you see in the photos were my work. I used to do cut engraving in ivory and Micarta, but these are not mine. They were cut, I suspect, with a laser because both sides are perfect mirror images of each other, and you can find them in the Brownells catalog.

On the front of the grip frame you will also see cut checkering that looks like it was cut right into the frame, but it is not - it is a piece of flat spring steel reshaped to a curve to fit the 1911's grip profile, and it also fits a few other large-frame autos. I had some pause about it staying put with only the grip panels of the gun holding it in place, but that concern proved to be unfounded. I have tested this nifty little item in my 1911 .45 ACP loaded with Super loads, firing many rounds in may situations, and never did the little checkered steel fitting move. Made by Wilson Combat, these are available in blue or stainless from Midway USA and well worth the $8.95 price.

Paco Kelly

For more info on the Galco SOB holster, click here.

For more info on the Brownells laser-engraved grips, click here.

For more info on the Wilson Combat checkered frontstrap, click here.

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