Forward Molding vs Traditional Pancake Molding
Galco offers several models for each of the two belt-holster design styles. Although holsters have been made in the pancake style for several decades (and we still make them) we have found forward molding to offer some advantages over the more traditional design, assuming one uses a proper holster belt of sufficient thickness and a well-made full-grain holster.
On a traditional pancake design, the belt weaves in and out of the holster, causing considerable belt bulging both in front of and behind the holster, thus inhibiting concealment. The pancake holster can also be difficult to put on the belt and thread through pants loops. This will eventually be minimized with many hours of wear (break-in), and the issue reduces proportionally with a larger waist since the larger the circle, the flatter any fixed length on the circle becomes.
A forward molded holster does not require as much cinching to eliminate the belt bulge. The lack of bulging and a more narrow side profile results in better concealment. Some will argue that molding on one side results in a thicker holster and thus a less concealable profile than having half the molding on each side. However, if one adds the thickness of the gun and the thickness of a piece of leather on each side of the gun, then simple math shows that the overall thickness of the gun/holster combination doesn’t change, which invalidates this argument.
As for comfort with a forward molded design, the curved and smoother surface on the rear of the holster (as opposed to a molded center area for the gun as found on a traditional pancake) is generally more comfortable – especially on those individuals who do not carry as much of their own “built-in padding.”
Concealment is enhanced with the forward molded design, because it tends to pull the butt of the pistol closer to the body than a traditional pancake design, as seen in the illustration below.
Forward molded holsters require more work to design and construct. The vastly different shapes and sizes of the front and rear pieces of leather take additional time and skill to glue and stitch prior to molding. This added labor results in additional cost, but the forward molded design’s increased concealability and comfort over the traditional pancake holster make these costs justifiable to many.
On the left is a forward molded holster. On the right is a traditional pancake design.
Shoulder Holster Model Comparisons
The Miami Classic and Miami Classic II shoulder systems have the same holster component; the differences are in the harness and magazine carrier. The Miami Classic harness is made with all four straps being of equal width, where the MCII harness becomes wider over the shoulder area. Many believe the MCII wider harness is more comfortable, as it spreads the weight over a wider area. Small-framed people, or those with larger builds, tend to do better with the Miami Classic harness.
The SSH “wide comfort” harness, as used on our VHS series and also available separately, is yet wider than the MCII harness. Again, this helps distribute weight, but can be more difficult to conceal and sometimes less comfortable in hot weather.
The Jackass Rig is less expensive due to the harness being premium center cut steerhide instead of smooth surface top grain leather like in the Miami Classic harness (MCH) and MCII system harness (MCIIH). In addition, the construction method for both the holster and ammo carrier is riveted, rather than stitched as on the Miami Classic and the MCII. Another difference is that the Jackass holster component is designed for diagonal carry, with the muzzle tilted slightly up, due to the patented swivel keeper being placed under the muzzle rather than above the muzzle as in the pattern used on the holster component for the MC and the MCII systems. This diagonal style of carry often helps smaller people conceal larger pistols.
If you want a genuine Galco shoulder holster system for part-time or occasional carry, the Classic Lite is for you. This complete system – holster, single ammo carrier and JRH harness – gives you the comfort and versatility of our professional rigs. We use the same patented and trademarked connectors and hardware to achieve the same great fit and design. Instead of full grain steerhide we use premium center cut steerhide, which has a proven track record in our Jackass harness and Carry Lite IWB holsters. With a reduction in labor and material costs we can offer you a very reasonably priced alternative.
The optional tie downs for each rig are made from the same leather used for that particular rig’s harness. Tie downs are sold in sets, one each for the holster and ammo carrier.
Watch a Galco video on shoulder holsters systems here.
Sig 1911 Contoured Slides
The 1911s from SIG-Sauer have two different types of slides. The first is the "contoured slide" that preserves a common appearance with other non-1911-type pistols in the SIG line. Guns with these slides will fit only in the holsters we designate for "contoured slides."
The second slide type is the more traditional flat-sided/slab-sided 1911 design, very similar to the original Colt. Guns with these slides will fit in any of the holsters we offer for the traditional 1911s from Colt, Kimber, etc.
Gun Laser Fits
Many Galco holsters are compatible with handguns fitted with Crimson Trace Lasergrips. Some Galco holsters are designed to fit guns equipped with triggerguard or rail-mounted lasers from Crimson Trace, LaserMax, or Viridian. If you have a question about lasers in a particular Galco holster, please contact our Customer Service department by phone (800-874-2526) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Belt Sizing Instructions
Keep in mind: if you will be wearing a holster and/or magazine carrier inside the pants, it may change the belt size. Your measurement should be made while wearing those items.
Identifying What Gun Your Holster Fits
Galco holsters are generally identified with a two-part code stamped or molded into the body of the item.
The prefix identifies the holster model. For example, the FLETCH model's prefix is FL, the Royal Guard's prefix is RG, and so on.
The numerical suffix identifies the particular gun the holster is intended to fit. For example, the 212 suffix indicates a 5" 1911, the 224 suffix indicates a Glock 17, and so forth. A "B" or "H" at the end of the code indicates color. B is for black, H for havana brown, and no letter indicates tan.
Thus, an FL212 would be a tan FLETCH to fit a 5" 1911, while an RG224B would be a black Royal Guard for a Glock 17.
Holsters intended for the Miami Classic and Miami Classic II shoulder systems only have numbers that correspond to guns. A Miami Classic holster intended for a Walther PPK, for example, would simply read 204.
In the unlikely event an * (asterisk) appears in the model code, it designates a custom barrel length with the number after the * being the length. For example, a WG166*5 indicates a WheelGunner made for a 5” barrel, cut down from the 5 1/2” 166.
You may also use the search field on the homepage of our website to locate a holster’s fit. Simply enter the product code found on the item (FL224B, for example) in the field.
California Compliant Pistols
Pistols with California-compliant loaded chamber indicators that protrude substantially from the slide may not fit in some or all of our holsters. Please contact Galco customer service with questions on specific fits.
Galco Belts and Their Differences
Galco’s belts can be categorized into three types: heavy duty holster belts, pants/IWB belts, and over-belts (for Western rigs and shell pouches). Our belts are available in leather dress and casual styles, or in nylon for a casual/tactical appearance.
Galco’s heavy duty leather holster belts are designed to carry the weight of a handgun, whether in a belt, paddle or IWB holster. Leather holster belts are constructed of two layers of premium grade, full-grain, vegetable-tanned steer hide, grown or tanned in the USA. Examples in dress belts include the CB3, SB1 and SB3, while casual belts include the SB2, SB5 and SB6.
All of Galco’s nylon belts are double thickness and suitable for all-day carry of belt, paddle and IWB holsters. Examples include the Cobra Tactical, EDC and Instructors Belt series.
Pants/IWB belts are made from a single layer of leather and are suitable for carrying a defensive handgun inside the waistband, where belt pressure and the pants themselves combine to provide sufficient stability. Examples include the SB14 and SB18.
Over belts are intended to be worn atop other belts to carry holsters or ammo/shell pouches. Examples include the 1880s Western cartridge belt, Adjustable Shell Pouch Belt and Field Grade Culling and Seven Hole Sport Belts.