Gear & Stuff


This Back Country Leather chest holster carries a Freedom Arms Model 83 for all-day adventures providing safety and comfort.

Mainstream leather companies provide a wide selection of products, from holsters to slings, cartridge carriers and more. There are occasions when the customer is looking for something a little different, perhaps more custom or filling a void the big tents do not cover. I have been searching for holsters designed to carry large, scoped, hunting handguns on my chest for easy accessibility. Since I couldn’t find exactly what I was searching for, I reached out to some boutique shops.

Nixon Leather has over 230 mold guns to craft various holsters. Lance Nixon
provides premium leather products in some eye-pleasing, functional holsters,
cartridge carriers and more.

Nixon Leather

When a new custom shop BFR revolver arrived, I knew it would be challenging to find a suitable holster. The BFR was chambered in .460 S&W Mag with a 10″ barrel plus muzzle brake, making the overall barrel length around 12″. When scoped, it’s a heavy gun, to say the least. I contacted Lance Nixon of Nixon Leather to design a chest holster to carry this beast.

Lance subscribes to the concept — the primary purpose of a holster is function and comfort. Lance utilizes hide from Thoroughbred Leather in Tennessee. He incorporates 7- to 8-oz. vegetable-tanned leather for the main body and adds another layer of 3- to 4-oz. tanned leather when lining projects warrant. All the patterns used are created individually by hand in Lance’s workshop. One feature I appreciate is the double stitching that makes Lance’s work recognizable. His preference for hardware like rings and snaps is stainless steel. It’s gorilla-proof.

Nixon Leather also does some eye-pleasing exotic inlay. He doesn’t do an overlay but rather a raised inlay, which helps prevent raised edges on the holster that may snag, leaving a cleaner appearance. Nixon Leather chest rig straps receive a beeswax-based leather conditioner, allowing them to flex and better fit the shooter. Lance informed me there is a common misconception that leather is soft. His quality leather holsters are formed and put through a sealing process and should not be oiled. He offers a variety of options in color and stamping for a one-of-a-kind custom look.

Lance has an inventory of 230 or so mold guns. While he specializes in revolvers, if he can get his hands on a mold, he can make a holster to accommodate. I carried the hefty BFR in Lance’s chest rig for 10 days while hunting in Africa and was pleasantly surprised by how comfortably the holster managed the weight of this revolver. Lance can be reached through his Facebook business page — Nixon Leather.


This well-crafted chest holster carries a revolver most comfortably. Mark packed a heavy BFR revolver for days in Africa with Lance’s chest rig without discomfort or fatigue.

Back Country Leather

Another hide-stretcher who has recently launched into the leather business is Randy Miller of Back Country Leather. Randy is a serious handgun hunter and knows what hunters are looking for. His dad started him out on a leathercraft kit from Tandy. Their first project was a wallet and Randy’s work has evolved into making first-rate holsters for the most discerning hunters.

Back Country Leather specializes in custom holsters with function and longevity in mind and all are made for specific customer requests. When you consider the number of variables, such as a wide selection of make/model of firearms, different optics, strong side, cross-draw, bandolier, chest rig, color, thumb break or safety strap, tooling preferences, and the list goes on, you can see a variety of specific needs for a custom rig. Randy can make your solution a reality.

Randy employs Tandy Leather for most of his holsters. He starts with 9- to 10-oz. vegetable tan leather with quality hardware when building his handgun hunting holsters. The type of leather and thickness may change depending on the specific firearm and application. Randy’s hands craft every item leaving the shop. He also integrates industrial-grade stitching machines and will use whatever hardware it takes to produce the most durable item possible. Randy has spent much time in the field testing his products to see if they are comfortable and safe.

Recently I received a beautiful chest holster from Back Country Leather designed specifically for a scoped, 10″ Freedom Arms Model 83. If all goes well, I’ll be wandering around South America in a few months wearing this rig. Randy can be reached at or on his Facebook page at Back Country Leather Goods.

These smaller boutique shops fill a void in the holster market. Whether you’re packing a 4″, iron-sighted revolver for hiking around the hills or carrying a dedicated, scoped, long-barrel model, these hide-stretchers have the bases covered. When nylon or Kydex doesn’t cut the mustard, there’s something special and unique about a quality, well-made leather holster — especially when crafted in America by hard-working Americans!

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