The Beltster Holster
From Gun Guide 1999, By Wiley Clapp
let's look at a unique holster system that can be made up for almost any
pistol or revolver but seems particularly good for the P10. The holster
is called the Belster and is made by Bandera Gun Leather (Bandera, TX
78003). The rig works on a principle much like that of the famous Yaqui
slide, a slide-on holster existing of two pieces oiled leather sewn together
to form a belt slide that's open at top and. bottom. Beltster designer
Scott Key took the same concept step farther by simply making the holster
integral with the belt. Mine is a 1. 75-inch-wide belt of high quality
leather with an extra thickness of leather about eight inches long sewn
to the inner side of the belt at a position over the right hip. The stitching
that positions the extra material in place is shaped to form a pocket
right on the belt. The pocket (holster) accepts the P10 and holds it securely
against the body. Unlike other holsters of the same general design, the
Beltster pocket is wet molded in such a way that it will not collapse
and thereby make reholstering difficult. In use, the gun rides securely
against the hip, draws quickly, and simply does not look like a holster
after the gun is removed...
Excerpt from the “HandgunLeather” column by Roy Huntington
in American Handgunner, Sept./Oct. issue, 1997.
Tired of hip holsters that often weigh as much as the new
generation of lightweight guns they're made to carry?
It seems Scott Key, maker of The Beltster holster-belt had noticed this
too. He said he basically "stumbled onto the idea" one day,
but allow me to digress first.
The Beltster is, in a nutshell, a leather belt with an integral holster
sewn into it. It's best described as a kind of Yaqui slide rig, but without
the Yaqui. It's simply a place on the belt where Scott doubles the thickness
of leather, sews the outline of a customer's gun, wet-molds it and finishes
it all in some pretty colors.
Scott likes to call the style "belt integral carry" as opposed
to "inside the pants" (ITP) or "on the belt" (OTB)
methods. He brings up some good points.
With the OTB mode, it takes a combination of a quality belt, a well-designed
holster and learning to live with the selection before it can become comfortable.
Even then, you often have bulges to contend with (other than the bulging
over the waist kind of bulges).
This is not to mention the added weight that the holster contributes
to your carry load for the day. If you can carry with the ITP method,
bully for you. I can't.
The Beltster, which retails for $60, handles the carrying of a concealed
handgun with panache and simplicity. Total added weight is probably less
than an ounce worth of leather and stitching. Bulging is kept to a minimum.
Comfort, concealability and ease of carry is well up on the "I Can
Live With This" scale.
The very best, hands down winning deal with the Beltster is the fact
that once you slip the gun out, you're wearing what appears to be an attractive
belt. There is no need to participate in the daily "put stuff on,
take stuff off' routine of a standard belt holster.
When you get to work, you simply take Mr. Gun out of the slot and you're
good to go. Fast, easy, efficient. I wore one for a solid month and quickly
got used to it. I also quickly got spoiled with the convenience. My old
favorite mode is a paddle holster for the ease of "off-on,"
but the Beltster wins, hands down.
The Beltster comes in oil tan, cordovan, brown and black with either
a nickel or brass buckle. Widths can be either 1.5" or 1.75"
and if my samples are any indication, the quality of the leather and workmanship
is first rate.
One caveat, however. Scott pointed out something he's noticed when it
comes to the Beltster. When cops order one, they usually specify that
the holster portion ride directly on their hip, while most civilian's
order it for the just-behind-the-hip position.
I would hazard a guess that since a cop wears a gun in the strong side
hip position upwards of 10 hours a day, it's hard to get used to one in
any other position. A civilian, on the other hand, can pretty much do
what he likes.
If there's a down-side to all this, it's just a little one. In order
to get exactly the carry you want, you might have to move a belt loop,
but that's no big deal and five minutes with a needle and thread handles
Scott will make you a Beltster for just about any auto pistol and many
revolvers. The covered trigger guard makes it dandy for Glocks and Sigmas
and a lightweight 1911 disappears when worn with a Beltster. Scott's design
makes an interesting alternative to the standard methods of carry and
is worth looking into.
Give him a call regarding how to measure yourself because there is a
critical measurement from the buckle area to the location you want the
Scott sent a little 26" version for my wife, made for her Colt Pocketlite.380.
She found that with jeans it couldn't be beat and let her get away with
a very small handbag since she didn't have to conceal a handgun inside
Suzi pronounced it very comfortable and said it lent itself to a woman's
curves and such, with no prodding of the tender spots. Suzi is usually
a pretty critical customer and this endorsement is about as high in the
recommendation category as it goes.
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Excerpt from Handloader Magazine, December 2001, Page
"Bandera Gunleather", Edited by Dave Scovill
while back, Scott Key Shelton at Bandera Gunleather (PMP 300403, Bandera,
TX 78003) Forwarded a couple of interesting products. Having sewn my fair
share of gun leather over the years, testing various designs and leather,
I’ve become somewhat opinionated about what works and what does
not. Bandera seems to have hit a couple of nails square on the head with
the BeltsterTM and an inside-the-waist holster.
The Beltster is designed to accommodate a 1911-style pistol, and I suppose,
besides the Colt and its clones, the Beltster would provide a snug fit
for any pistol that has a similar trigger guard/slide profile.
In practice, the Beltster is worn like a belt, with a separate section
sewn onto the back of the belt to create a slot that forms a rather firm
fit on the midsection of the Colt 1911. The tighter the belt is cinched
around the waist, firmer the grip on the pistol.
Surprisingly, the pistol is readily available but hardly, noticeable,
unless the rear target sight gets into the fleshy part under your shirt,
just above the belt. I had no problem with that, but some folks might.
At any rate, I hardly ever carried a 1911 in a holster over the years
because of the additional weight and bulk, but the Beltster has changed
my mind about woods bumming with a 1911. An added bonus is that the Beltster
hides a 1911 under a short jacket exceptionally well. I’m impressed.
The other holster is an inside-the-waist design, which in my sample is
for a Colt Single Action. As some folks know, who have read my ramblings
about the Colt SAA over the years, I favor a 43/4 barrel, mostly because
it fits in my back pocket and, unless I happen to be doing somersaults,
is pretty secure and protected. In short, I like to carry a handgun, but
I don’t much care for bulk leather, especially the rigs that are
designed for longer barrels.
The inside-the-waist design just about takes care of most of my objections
regarding gun leather. It’s light but made of heavy enough leather
to afford ample security. Moreover, it leaves at least one of my back
pockets empty for more stuff, like coyote calls, knives or whatever.
Specifically, the design is pretty much an abbreviated single action holster
with a loop on the outside, the loop is simply unhooked from the stud
at the top, slipped under the belt, and hooked back on the stud. The only
part of the outfit that is visible outside the waistband is the outside
loop and the end of the stud. Overall, the concept is fairly comfortable,
considering it puts the sixgun on the inside of your waistband and adds
an inch or so to the waist measurement. The idea of the loop to hold the
holster in place has been improved somewhat by simply sewing a loop to
the outside of the holster. It serves the same purpose and eliminates
the stud. At any rate, it provides a snug fit on the sixgun.
I also like the added touch of putting a tab on the front of the holster,
in front of the hammer. Scott tells me the tab has been eliminated, but
I will trim mine down and use it as a hammer block for now.
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Excerpt from the “Gun Leather” column by Bob Campbell
Handguns, June/July 2003
At Bandera Gun Leather, Less Can be More
Recently, I was contacted by an associate who asked if I had seen the
leatherwork being done by Scott Key. Working under the trade name Bandera,
and based in the Texas town of that name, Key has gained a reputation
for solid value and innovation. While a number of traditional designs
are offered, he has added some fresh examples that are applicable to modern
times. No shortcuts are taken, and the maker seems to have mastered several
styles of leatherworking.
The popularly acclaimed Beltster is Key's most popular rig. This is a
holster that is well made and practical with a. minimum of fuss. Key refers
to John Bianchi's seminal work, Blue Steel and Gunleather, as inspiration
for this design.
"The least amount of leather that will do the job is often the best,"
The Beltster is an everyday carry rig. A gun belt has quite a bit of natural
tension. The Beltster features what can be termed an integral belt slide.
The two-layer belt has a holster in the design, allowing the user to slip
the gun into the holster component of a well-made Western-style belt.
When a gun is not worn, the Beltster does not appear to be a holster at
all. At first I was resistant to the concept. I was concerned with proper
security and draw angles. After a few weeks of daily use, my fears were
put to rest. The concept is indeed appealing, and it works.
The belt's tension is adequate to hold a heavy, long service gun in place,
and it also keeps the gun riding close to the body. A sharp draw is possible
with practice. In fact, the Beltster wears better than most belt slides.
Instead of being hung on the belt, it is part of the belt. I like it very
At press time, the Beltster sells for about $65. That is a reasonable
price for a well-made belt alone, but this one carries a holster as well.
My 5-inch-barrel High Standard .45 fits well, but so does the short-barrel
Para-Ordnance Companion. Depending upon the outer concealing garment,
long- and short-barrel .45s can be worn comfortably with good concealment.
My favorite Beltster configuration is a special-order model. The belt
is available crossdraw and lefthand, but my belt features two holster
pockets. One pocket is for crossdraw with the cut just in front of the
left hip. The other pocket is cut for the normal right-hand FBI tilt position
with the gun worn just over the kidney on the strong side.
The weight is well distributed when wearing two .45s. The design offsets
weight better than most double-handgun rigs. With a single gun, this variation
offers situational carry. This is far better than switching holsters or
buying an overspecialized "driving holster." The gun could be
carried on the right hip normally and the crossdraw considered vehicular
When carrying two guns, tactical options are not doubled. They have gone
up exponentially. I never carried one handgun on a raid in 22 years of
police work. Most often I carried a pair of .45s, sometimes a .45 and
a magnum revolver, occasionally a .45 and a .40-caliber Glock.
When working with this agency, the patrol lieutenant, an FBI type, enforced
the "9mm double-action rule." I wrote a three-page argument
for the .45, offering to qualify to a higher standard than normal and,
of course, supply my own .45. The chief was from California. His reply
was, "I never said you couldn't carry a .45. I thought we were under
the 'big boy rule' in the South. If you can shoot it, you can carry it."
Our lieutenant did manage to limit the .45 to a SIG P220. I was fairly
pleased with the SIG and considered this time to be a broadening experience.
Sometimes my second gun was a compact pistol such as a Star PD or Colt
Commander. For those still working in such an environment, the Beltster
is far simpler than anything I had to work with and is a good choice for
two full-size .45s. Arguably, it is the final word in beltslide holsters.
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