February 2000:

"It's so hard to accessorize."  How many times have firearms owners heard that phrase used improperly, with respect to fashion.  After all, we know that getting a pair of shoes or some jewelry to properly set off an outfit is a walk in the park compared with the nightmarish experience of obtaining all the requisite supplies to "accent" your firearm.  You need cleaning solvent, oil, grease, patches, rods, and brushes; all of which may be difficult to find at times.  However, the most difficult item to find of all is the right holster for your pistol.
We're not saying that it's hard to find "a" holster.  There are lots of holsters out there.  You can get them in nylon, leather, plastic, suede or canvas.  You can get them in black, brown, blue, white, red, or just about any color under the sun.  You can get them as shoulder holsters, inside-the-waistband holsters, strong side hip holsters, weak side hip holsters, belly holsters, small of the back holsters, holsters that look like underwear, scalp holsters. . . . .you get the drift.  The problem is finding one that not only fits your pistol well but also fits you well.

We have a predilection towards leather holsters.  We're not saying that there's anything grossly wrong with the current crop of ballistic nylon holsters.  They are relatively inexpensive, and they work.  Our issue with them is that like many general purpose items, they tend to do many things (in this case fit many pistols) in a "very not bad" manner, and none of them in an excellent manner.  It's been our experience that if you a) want a holster that will fit your pistol like a glove, b) will hold it securely yet release it when you draw, and c) will let you reholster without going to the closest lavatory to undress, you're talking about a leather holster purpose built for a particular model of pistol.

That's fine, except for the fact that high quality leather holsters are expensive.  Indeed, it's not unusual to see a holster from one of the well known name brands such as Galco, DeSantis, or Bianchi cost as much as a case of .380, 9mm Makarov, 9mm Parabellum, or .40 S&W ammunition!  Unfortunately, if you wanted a high quality leather holster, this was pretty much your only option.

Until now, that is.  Enter onto the holster stage Falco, Karl Bloss, and  Falco is a leather products company based in Slovakia, part of the former Czechoslovakia.  Among their products are leather belt and shoulder holsters (pancake style, inside the waistband, horizontal, vertical, etc.) for pistols such as the Vz-52, CZ-75/85, CZ-75 Compact, CZ-50/70, CZ-82/83, Glock 17, Beretta 92, Colt 1911, and Ruger SP-101.   Karl Bloss is the owner of, a web based enterprise geared towards bringing high quality Makarov parts and accessories, as well as parts and accessories for other popular surplus pistols, such as the Vz-52 and information about Makarov pistols to shooters at very reasonable prices.  Karl works with an importer to bring in the Falco holsters from Slovakia, and then offers them to the public via

We were curious as to the nature and quality of the Falco holsters after seeing them on's Falco Holster page, so we emailed Karl and asked him to ship us a "double rig" horizontal shoulder holster for a CZ-75 in black.  The double rig consists of a horizontal holster on the left side for right handed shooters and a double magazine pouch on the right side, and retails for $65.00.  Positions would be reversed for a rig made for a left handed shooter.  The holster arrived two days later via Express Mail.

Upon opening the box, we were treated to the rich smell one normally associates with fine leather products.  The rig itself consists of three distinct units, the holster, the magazine pouch, and the straps.  The finish on the holster was flawless, and the leather was molded to the exterior contours of the gun.  The stitching was very expertly done, showing no thread edges or weak spots.  The holster is constructed of two parts that are joined so as to make them very much one unit.  The primary part of the holster is what we'll call the scabbard.  This part is molded very tightly to the gun's contours and includes an integral thumb break and retention strap.  The leather is somewhat hard, but supple enough to "give" in the right areas to ensure a snug fit but not one that prevents an easy draw.  The scabbard is finished "rough side in," but the interior of the holster has been boned sufficiently so as to protect the finish on blued guns.  The second part may be thought of as the rigging piece.  This piece is equally well finished as the scabbard.  It is a layered, oblong piece that is stitched to the rear of the scabbard and provides rigging slots for the forward and rear straps as well as an elastic belt tie down.  In addition to being stitched to the scabbard, the upper part of the rigging piece is riveted through to the scabbard via the thumb-break snap, providing an even more secure bond.  Interestingly, the rigging piece and scabbard each have an approximately two inch long belt slot.  Apparently one can remove the holster from the rig and use it as a belt holster if so desired.

The dual magazine pouch is as nicely finished and stitched as the holster.  It has two compartments that open downward and each hold one magazine and are secured by integral leather flaps that snap onto the pouch body.  Riveted folds at the top corners of the pouch secure steel d-rings that allow connection to the straps.  Interestingly, the pouch has two tensioning screws that enable to user to specify how much or how little pressure will be necessary to pull the magazines from the pouch.  This is a very nice feature (and one normally found only on high end holsters), as anyone who's had the rather embarrassing experience of an inadvertently released magazine clattering to the floor can tell you!

The strap system, while very nicely finished, speaks well of Falco's engineering.  The straps are all made of wide, soft leather that nicely distributes the weight of the gun and magazines.  The straps are anchored in the rear to a dual thickness leather cross piece by rivets, such that each strap has freedom to rotate.  Straps thread through the d-rings or slots and double back onto themselves to provide size adjustment.  Each strap is secured to itself by a flat, polished screw/nut combination, another nice feature, which obviates the necessity to stress the leather when adjusting the straps.

In a nutshell, the holster seemed to be very nicely, and more importantly, very thoughtfully made.

After visually examining the holster, we determined to put it through a rigorous, but realistic test.  As it so happened, a perfect opportunity presented itself.  One of our field test staff needed to make a 350 mile drive with two other people.  In this manner, the comfort of the holster, as well as it's concealment properties could be adequately tested.  Our intrepid cruffler wore a t-shirt, followed by the Falco rig with a fully loaded CZ-75 and two full magazines, followed by an unbuttoned flannel shirt that was not tucked in to his trousers.  After both his 350 mile drives, this is what he had to say:

After about five minutes on the road, I forgot that I was wearing the holster and gun.  There was none of the usual "bite" that I get along the top of my shoulders when wearing a ballistic nylon shoulder holster.  In fact, the only times I remembered that I was wearing the rig were when I exited the vehicle and the gun's weight shifted.  At no time during either outbound or inbound journey did the people I was traveling with have any clue that I was wearing the holster.

The fit of the gun into the holster was very tight at first, requiring two hands to fit the gun into the holster and close the thumb-break snap.  I did notice that the more I wore the holster, and the more I removed and reinserted the gun into the holster, the easier it became to slip the gun into the holster and shut the snap with one hand.

All in all, I found the holster comfortable to wear for extended periods of time (8-12 hours stretches), well made, and that it lends itself to concealed carry nicely, even of a full sized service pistol like the CZ-75.

If you are in the market for a leather holster, but have been daunted by the prices, fear no more, as the Falco holsters offer you the right combination of price and quality.  If you do not see what you want, contact by email, as Falco may be able to custom make, at little or no extra cost, exactly the holster you want.  Based on our experience, we highly recommend this product.  If you have any questions about obtaining a Falco holster, please contact

And now, our Buy-O-Meter rating for this product:


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