Nelson Holsters

By:Dave Spaulding


It’s safe to say Kydex has taken control of the concealed holster world. While there are some loyal fans of cow and horsehide, many gun-toters appreciate the tight fit, speed of draw and thinness of the synthetic material. Admittedly, I agree with this assessment with the exception of one area…the Inside the Waistband or IWB rig. While I do not dislike the role Kydex plays in this application, what I like about leather is the way it softens and molds to the body as it is worn between the body and belt. Yes, there are hybrid holsters where a Kydex pouch is mated to a leather back panel and I have tried them, but I just do not achieve the level of comfort I do from an all leather holster in this lone application. My favorite? The Milt Spark Summer Special as designed by the late Bruce Nelson, of course! This holster set the pace for all others that followed and I remain a loyal fan. This is why I was interested when I was contacted by a company called Nelson Holsters that promised to make the most comfortable IWB rigs ever.

Fairly new to the holster arena, James Nelson started making concealment rigs for friends and the word of mouth just grew from there. James was a firefighter/EMT for 13 years before taking leave to care for his ill wife. Looking for a way to make an income while doing so, James turned to his love of holster making and the rest, as they say, is history. James has supplied holsters to both Clint Smith and Massad Ayoob, both of whom have favorable experiences with his rigs and you can now add me to that group. I have been wearing two of James’ rigs interchangeably with my Glock 19 over the last few weeks and they have really grown on me. The first is called The Nelson Classic and it is a true rendition of the Bruce nelson design made famous by Milt Sparks. Made from premium cowhide and reinforced at the mouth band for easy one hand holstering, the Nelson classic rides low enough to keep the gun stable while leaving enough of this grip exposed for quick access. The dual snap straps lock the gun solidly in place eliminating any grip heavy wobble that can occur from the weight of a fully loaded magazine sticking up beyond the waistband.

The Phoenix IWB rig was designed with comfort in mind. While the Phoenix will not stay open like the Classic, it does have a reinforced mouth band so the gun can be reholstered with one hand with just a bit if effort. The Phoenix is currently in use by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and is a mix of several popular IWB rigs including the Versa Max, Milt Sparks Summer Special and those from Crossbreed. The Phoenix has smaller “footprint” than most making it easier to wear all day long, but has a wider backside to contour to the users body without having that double layer of leather that can poke when you least expect it.  Some of the features built into the Phoenix include:

  1. Medical grade Neoprene backing with sweat wicking material that provides padding   and comfort for the user as well as a sweat blocker that stops sweat from getting to the weapon.

  2. Wide loop attachment points to distribute the weight of the gun onto a larger area but without having a much larger holster body.

  3. Reinforced mouth for ease of reholstering.

  4. Thinner body than most IWB holsters. No sharp edges to poke you.

  5. Sweat shield with combat cut to allow a full grip on the weapon.

  6. Flatter back with most of the weapon away from the body (not a completely flat back but close) for comfort.
      Holster holds gun tight to the body for better concealment.

  7. Pull the dot snaps for security.

  8. Hand sewn with the saddle stitch for more strength than a sewing machine lock stitch can provide.

  9. Cant can be adjusted from roughly 12 to 27 degrees.

  10. Full length molded sight track.

If you are in the market for a comfortable and concealable IWB rig, give Nelson Holsters a try…I think you will be glad you did!
Nelson Holsters www.nelsonholsters.com