First Gear | Galco and ETS: Simple, Inexpensive And Good

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posted on September 17, 2017
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A1F Staff

If you followed our NRA Carry Guard Expo coverage from Milwaukee last month (here and here), there’s a chance you’ll recall a sort of IOU for numerous items we saw on the Expo floor. Very much as promised, Galco Gunleather came through with transporter-like speed to furnish us with their “Pocket Protector” holster. Ergo, we can now cash in at least one of those digital chits for you.

We’ve used it almost exclusively with a Glock G43 for going on three weeks now, and have a problem—the temptation to pronounce it “perfect.” The hazard is perhaps a familiar one; the moment anything gets such a positive benediction, a contradiction­—however silly or obtuse—inevitably lurches into view. So we settle for saying that if there’s even a teeny-weeny, itty-bitty thing wrong with this pocket solution, it got by us altogether.

The reinforced top of the Pocket Protector is genius—helps with situating the holster initially, and makes reholstering laughably easy—and safe. Photo by A1F Staff

Pocket carry can be a thorny business on several grounds. Beyond argument, however, is the urgency to protect the trigger. Foreign—read here any other—objects are utterly banned from co-residence in the chosen pocket, and conscientious practice in safe retrieval are two must-haves of this style of carry. Another is that the holster stays in the pocket during and after the draw, lest your wherewithal present still sheathed, and with the trigger inaccessible. This is only comic in the imagining. If it occurs in a defensive encounter … suffice it to say we shudder.

A nice-to-have is easy reholstering. This desirably includes one-handed simplicity to prevent both flagging/sweeping, and allow for the manipulation of a cover garment.

Quite simply, the Pocket Protector made a hash of all obstacles. Trigger coverage is more than adequate, but also not obsessive. This means we can see trigger position without unholstering (we can visually confirm a deactivated, rearward trigger), and have holster clearance enough under the trigger guard to allow for solid gripping (assuming the pocket itself permits this—jeans perhaps not, but a cargo type, definitely).

Another attribute we especially liked was the thinness of the center-cut steer hide. More than adequate to obfuscate the shape of our Glock, it didn’t transform pocketing into a struggle (front or rear), nor the positioned pistol into an obvious tumor. Though personal anatomy has a lot to do with pocket holster comfort while sitting, the Pocket Protector was a clear winner here, too—at least for us.

The tooth (or “rough-out” in Galco terminology) of the steer hide, we think, is the key to the Galco remaining in the pocket in the wake of every draw, and we quite simply couldn’t outfox the finish. Even drawing from a seemingly loose holster in a decided baggy, cargo-type pocket, the holster stayed put as well as upright. Whether this last is a result of the tabbed (or “finned”), hooked lower half or another attribute of the material, we simply don’t care.

Lots of eventualities make pocket carry of smaller pistols appealing, and a better holster than our Galco is difficult to envision, especially at the sub-$30 price point. Though we’ve yet to try it, we wonder if it might not prove viable for some off-body eventualities too, but we’ll get back to you on that.

Before you ask: The Pocket Protector model is by no means a Glock-specific item. We abandoned a count at well over 80 fully-ambi models for firearms from 22 manufacturers, and yes, there’s a matching magazine holder.

Visit Galco Gunleather at galcogunleather.com; pocket Protector holster, $29, mag holder $24

Elite Tactical Systems C.A.M. Loader

We’ve had a go with Elite Tactical Systems gear before, as you may recall, and found it much to our liking. We’re still hammering away on some magazines they’ve sent, and results are good indeed in a couple of interesting contexts. We’ll get to these before long.

At present, however, we think their C.A.M loader is past being worthy of a look: For some folks, it’ll prove a definite “buy.” The device in question is an odd-looking two-piece system for loading either pistol mags or AR-style rifle mags, but don’t let the externals distract you—it is both lifetime warrantied and satisfaction guaranteed. That’s about as close as you can get to being win-win as can easily be contrived.

The unit as received; remember to lubricate as suggested. Set to go on either single or double stack mags. If tension is too high early on, just load five rounds at a time. Photo by A1F Staff

One component holds the magazine and picks up multiple rounds from ammo trays or boxes (by the extractor groove), while the other is a simple high-leverage plunger. Once you understand how the system works—look at the very complete instructions here—and break-in of your device is complete, you’ll be astonished how quickly loading can proceed.

Unsurprisingly, we think the loaders are at their absolute best with ETS mags, but have used it with others. A mini test with a mixed batch of trays and ammo into their 10-rounders impressed: About 85 seconds to stuff our belt (five mags) for a Production/Limited 10 Division Glock (either 9mm or .40) run.

How bad can it be? Remember, if you don’t like it or can’t master it, back it goes. But if you do your part (and especially if you remember to occasionally lube as ETS suggests), you’ll be loading almost as fast as you can shoot.

Find Elite Tactical Systems Group products here; either 9mm/.40 or .223/5.56, $30.

Frank Winn has been studying arms and their relationship to tyranny, meaningful liberty and personal security all his adult life. He has been a firearms safety/shooting instructor for more than 20 years, and earned state, regional and national titles in several competitive disciplines.

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