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Thread: S&W500 backpacking Holster from Westwoods Landing

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    Member aa7jc's Avatar
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    Default S&W500 backpacking Holster from Westwoods Landing

    I made comment in one of the other threads that I had purchased the "West Woods Landing" chest holster and I would offer a brief review once it arrived. Well I figured that it might deserve a new thread so here goes. First of all it was a pleasant experience to deal with these folks. I was able to quickly determine what I needed just using their web site catalog but just to be certain, I wrote them a comment on my order explaining what guns I was buying for and they quickly wrote back the same day (on a Saturday) telling me that they adjusted my order to a better fitting holster for one of my two guns. The S&W500 holster I had selected was OK, it was the 2.5 inch S&W629 "backpacker" that they adjusted.

    The Holsters arrived within about a week and I finally got around to giving them a review today. I was amazed at how well the harness connects to my backpack and it truly removed the weight off my shoulders. The stability of the gun withdrawal was very good as long as the gun was pulled straight up. The thumb break strap is good. The soft interior lining of the holster is very nice. The holster I bought came with an integrated ammo pouch that holds five 50 caliber rounds.

    A very nice system of quick disconnects make it possible to quickly move the holster off the packpack and on to a supplied chest harness that fits over the shoulders like a pair of suspenders. Therefore when you take off the pack, you can still wear the gun.

    Worth mentioning, the holster for my S&W629 is a perfect fit, so these guys knew what they were doing when they adjusted my order.

    Over all, it seems to be near perfect for a backpacking holster.


    Here is a photo of it with my four inch S&W500. Notice that the trigger is protected.


    Here is looking (from above) at the ammo pouch and the thumb break.
    Last edited by Brian M; 04-05-2008 at 14:49. Reason: fix some typos

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    aa7jc:
    Not to be contentious as someone once said, but I hope you don't mind my critiquing your new holsterís design.

    First of all, it appears to be made of canvas, not leather, so there is no way it can hold the gun tight enough to prevent wear, of bluing if you have a blued gun, or wearing of the canvas. I am, of course assuming that there is some, perhaps slight, movement of the gun inside the holster, as you walk, or move.

    This type of holster requires that you use a retention strap and it must be connected at all times, (which BTW, is a Thumb Break, that is on the Wrong side from where your thumb is), so your gun doesnít fall out when you bend over to shuck your pack.

    Since it is connected to the straps of your pack, you are required to ďmove the holster off the packpack and on to a supplied chest harnessĒ, so you CAN shuck your pack. I would consider it a down-side to have to jump through that hoop every time I wanna shuck my pack. Itís important to me to be able to get my pack off in a hurry. Thatís one reason, I donít ever use a waist strap on my packs.

    Also, I wonder how quickly you can access your gun. If the holster moves a lot from itís hanging position, that would certainly impede your draw. I did notice the strap there at the bottom.

    Lastly, your gun is hanging out there where it can get rained on. Iím not familiar with the ďsupplied chest harnessĒ, but perhaps you could use it over your shirt, with the holster attached, and put your rain jacket over it, and your pack over your rain jacket.

    Granted, these observations are based solely on the pictures and what you have said, and hopefully, the objections Iíve outlined are not so bad, that they cannot be overcome.

    Thanks for the information about this holster. Itís helpful whether one likes it or does not.

    Smitty of the North
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    Member aa7jc's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments! Good observations, Thanks for sharing them.. especially on the retention strap because I never even bothered to set it up correctly (probably because it seemed easy enough to free the gun the way it was). It would devistate & scare me to drop a gun.. I would hope to be more resposible than that. Yes , having a loaded double action 50 cal strapped to your chest is nothing to take lightly. That is why I was very pleased to see that the trigger is protected.

    The same holster is available in leather, maybe I should have gotten it in leather... I selected canvas due to personal preference (based mostly on weight). The inside of the holster is lined with some sort of real soft material that probably is OK for most guns. Mine are both stainless steel but I still don't want them micro scratched.. I guess time will tell.. Yes, I am with you on that.. I like my guns to look (never fired) new.

    I carry four to five days worth of food and provisions. I always use the waist strap on my pack because it allows the pack to properly distribute the weight I am carrying.

    The holster uses quick release clips. They look like this:


    Here is a close up of the holster unclipped from the backpack..
    You just have to unclip one of the two clips to swing the gun to the side and egress from the pack.



    So far in my limited indoor testing, the gun stays put on the chest (at least to my satisfaction). If I find out that the gun hangs willy nilly when I am out in the field with a full load, I will certainly report about it. I hope that this will not happen. My current findings are that the holster is stable even when pulling out the gun but clearly you need to pull it straight (vertically) out.

    I agree about the rain. Both my guns are stainless but still I have no desire to let them get wet if I can avoid it without compromising security.

    Again thanks for the comments. This is a great board.

    Ken Lotts
    aa7jc


    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    aa7jc:
    Not to be contentious as someone once said, but I hope you don't mind my critiquing your new holster’s design.

    ........

    Thanks for the information about this holster. It’s helpful whether one likes it or does not.

    Smitty of the North
    Last edited by aa7jc; 04-05-2008 at 19:31. Reason: typos

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    Member aa7jc's Avatar
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    I should have reported on a minor? issue that could easily be improved on with this holster.

    Only one set of quick release clips are provided but you need two sets to accommodate both the backpack straps and the shoulder straps.. (?!!) You have to choose which one you want them on. Not a good situation.

    Since I bought two complete holsters, I simply removed the quick release clips from the second suspender strap and that left me with a fully equipped backpack strap as well as a fully equipped suspender strap that I could use for either holster.

    The only other solution would have been asking the distributor to sell me a second set of clips. These clips are available for cheap at a lot of outfitting stores but sometimes they are hard to get the exact size or design that you need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aa7jc View Post
    I should have reported on a minor? issue that could easily be improved on with this holster.

    Only one set of quick release clips are provided but you need two sets to accommodate both the backpack straps and the shoulder straps.. (?!!) You have to choose which one you want them on. Not a good situation.

    Since I bought two complete holsters, I simply removed the quick release clips from the second suspender strap and that left me with a fully equipped backpack strap as well as a fully equipped suspender strap that I could use for either holster.

    The only other solution would have been asking the distributor to sell me a second set of clips. These clips are available for cheap at a lot of outfitting stores but sometimes they are hard to get the exact size or design that you need.
    Why don't you contact them? I'll bet the second set of clips being left out was accidental, or at least they may thank you for the feedback and just send you some. I would.

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    Why don't you contact them? I'll bet the second set of clips being left out was accidental, or at least they may thank you for the feedback and just send you some. I would.

    Brian

    Thanks for the nudge. I wrote them and suggested that they include a second set of clips. They liked the suggestion so they are sending me a set and they will include them in the future.
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