Gould & Goodrich B897 Leather Holster.
In the time of Kydex and other holsters, some makers cleave to the old ways and make scabbards of good old fashioned leather. This is not a bad thing, and a reminder was found in Gould & Goodrich’s new B897 Tension Belt Slide Holster.
It’s geared for strong-side hip carry, with a very slight forward tilt, also known as “FBI tilt” (a homage to the holster designed by famed FBI instructor Hank Sloan in “the time of the ancient ones”). In keeping with the Sloan-style heritage, there is a tension screw located at the rear, just below the triggerguard, hence the name of the product.
For those who prefer an open-top scabbard—which indeed seems to be the overwhelming choice in the CCW market today—one downside of leather is it tends to be too tight early on. After a while, it breaks in nicely. And then, over time, the leather stretches a tiny bit, and suddenly it’s too loose—a big reason why many turn to synthetics.
The tension screw solves this problem nicely. The test holster came out of the box as if it was set up for super-fast draw. We weren’t sure it would retain the pistol in, say, a backward somersault, (once the test in certain “combat matches” back in the day for a good reason). The gentle touch of the screwdriver quickly brought the B897 to where it still allowed quick clearance, but would hold the loaded pistol in place upside-down.
The sample holster was for the .380 ACP Glock 42, which caused me to audibly whimper. It’s a caliber thing, not a gun thing. I think the G42 is one of the best .380’s ever made, and for many shooters, the best, but .380 is not my favorite caliber. Whenever I have to test a .380, I feel a bit like Ralph Nader testing a Corvair.
Gould & Goodrich B897 Tension Belt Slide holster, with Glock 42 .380 ACP inside (above).
Thanks to the tension adjustment, the pistol stayed in the holster even when held upside-down.
Gail Pepin gave the holster a high rating after a week of concealed carry. It was quiet on
he draw and equally as quiet to reholster (below).
Fortunately, petite Gail Pepin, the producer and editor and therefore PR editor of the ProArms Podcast (proarmspodcast.com) took pity on me after a day of my carrying the .380 in the Gould & Goodrich holster as backup, and a .45 in a shoulder holster as primary, and offered to be the “test driver.” My one day with the G42 on my hip had taught me it was so light and comfortable it felt like it wasn’t there, and I had to keep checking with my forearm every now and then to make sure there really was a pistol at my side.
Ms. Pepin, however, was a better tester. Her decade of pistol-packing has seen her win multiple Woman Champion titles in IDPA and top female a couple of times at the National Tactical Conference shoots, she has carried everything from 1911 .45’s to the full-size, 20-shot Springfield XD(m) 9mm. While she shoots exclusively TKW Kydex gear in competition, she has learned to appreciate good leather for daily CCW.
She explained, “I liked this Gould & Goodrich B897 holster a lot, and started to love it,” she said. “It held the gun close to my body. It was easy to wear, with the little Glock 42. It was extremely comfortable. It was very easy to conceal!”
And, she added a particularly meaningful point: “I like that it’s silent. The gun doesn’t make any tell-tale noise when it comes out. And it doesn’t make any noise when it goes back in, either.”
The belt loop (above) is designed to accommodate a belt as big as 1.5 inches.
The tension screw (below) gives this holster its name, and enhances its function.
This is an important tactical point many people miss. Plastic and Kydex holsters are noisy. The first one becoming popular, back in the early 1970’s or so, was actually called the “Snick” because of the noise it made when the plastic parts of its breakfront design snapped back together as the gun cleared. In real-world danger situations, there can be many situations where the Good Guy or Gal wants to surreptitiously draw their gun—unseen, and unheard—when things are uncertain and they don’t want to draw attention to the fact they have a gun out. When the gun returns to the holster, once the danger has passed, many of the hard-shell synthetic designs will emit another audible “snick” as the pistol secures. That can sometimes be problematic, too. With a leather holster such as the Gould & Goodrich B897, you just won’t have that problem.
Price is reasonable at a suggested retail of $45.32, quality is high, and so is function. Check out the B897. I like it, and after testing this one, I’m in the mood to buy one… for a larger-caliber Glock (but that’s just me).
By Massad Ayoob
Gould & Goodrich
709 E. McNeil St., Lillington, NC 27546