Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holster Hoarders...

...what is it about them that causes them to buy many more holsters (or other accessories like gun belts, handcuff cases, magazine pouches) than he or she will ever need? I suppose I just don't get it when it comes to holster hoarders, I mean me, I buy one for a gun and use it. If it turns out to be a piece of junk, well I usually get rid of it. I don't put it away in the closet like placing it into a shrine where it will remain forever entombed to be eternally adored by me, then by another, and another and yet another for the same gun as if they can be had at 75% off Christmas Eve accessory sales at Macys' Department Stores. Nor do I put them into a box or on a rack just waiting to see if I can someday become known as the Imelda Marcos of the gun leather world! Just like I don't need more than a few pairs of shoes, I don't need more than a few holsters. Well maybe I need more than a few holsters, but that is only because I own more than a few handguns. I don't even own a holster for some of my pistols, or some of them share a holster with another similar pistol I own. Then again, for one or two of them, I may actually have 2 holsters each but I am nowhere near the extreme that some others go to when it comes to holsters and as I said, I just don't get it.

I mean why would anyone keep an old worn out holster that they used and maybe even abused for years. Take for example a friend of mine way back when I was in the Border Patrol, he was an Accessorizer Holster Hoarder. He had a fine collection of handguns, probably 15 or more. He also had holsters for each of them. No not a holster for each pistol, but multiple holsters for each. Why - who knows. I do know though that when he would carry something like his S&W model 66 he would wear it in a strong side high rise hip holster when wearing a jacket, but then would wear it in an old west style quick drawer holster rig if going out on a picnics or something like that, and if he carried it to a poker game you could almost bet it would be in a shoulder rig of some sort. He was that way with all his handguns. Now that I think of it he was sort of like a woman with her handbags. He had more than one holster for every gun and more than one for every occasion, just like having a purse for each occasion, and of course he had a source of income other than just that of his job as a Border Patrol Agent to afford them. If I remember rightly mommy and daddy were rich. He fits right in with the next type of holster hoarder.

Besides the holster for every occasion type, we also have the 'gotta have the latest and newest type' hoarder, also known as the 'Rodeo Drive Holster Hoarder' (if you do not understand the reference to Rodeo Drive - well Google it or check Wikipedia). You know that kind of person, the kind with money to burn, and I mean that literally, and who just has to have it when she sees something new. It's not so much a fashion statement, like it was with the gun owners described above, but is more of a 'I am better than you' kind of a thing. Yep these are the type of persons who have to flaunt their wealth at every opportunity. If a rhinestone studded cross drawer shoulder holster rig comes out for her Colt Anaconda, you can bet she will own one before they hit the stores.

Then we have yet another type of holster hoarder - the Tactical Tacticool Guru. Don't confuse this type with the Mall Ninja (yet to be discussed). The Tactical Guru is the type of gal or guy who just has to have the most tactically and technologically advanced holster system that is out there - no matter what. it does not matter if they can afford it or not, they are going to get the most advanced tacticool rig they can wear so that they can show it off at the range. Why? Well because it will just go to show others how tactically aware they must be. After all how would it look if they preached tactics day in and day out to the rest of us while wearing last year's tactical rig? I mean to whom are you more likely to listen:

A guy with classroom, range and practical experience who knows what he is talking about, but who wears a tee shirt and jeans along with a sturdy well made holster that he has owned for years


A guy dressed in military fatigues wearing a tacticool nylon holster rig with holster strapped to his thigh and secured by Velcro - and who has about 8 or 9 different accessories attached to his gun belt.

I mean isn't it really the smarter guy who keeps buying all that new gear as soon as it comes out? Smarter because he takes advantage of every new fangled piece of junk tacticool piece of equipment out there. I mean he has all that neat gear - and since he has it all - he must know how to use it right? Well that is the way the Tacticool Guru thinks anyhow. Ever wonder what happened to all that other gear he used to wear, the stuff he had before he bought his latest holster? It winds up in his closet because no one else will buy it, and because he is so knowledgeable as to know that it never hurts to have extras even if it was made in a basement do it yourself shop in China. Yep some guys dress like that and also know their business too, although most are not more than one step removed from our next variety of holster hoarder.

Nest up is the Mall Ninja. Do you know the type? These are the wearers of the square badge, and often of the smoky hat. They patrol your local malls, and while in most places they are unarmed, in some they do carry handguns. This type of guy starts buying holsters long before he even owns a gun. As a kid, when playing cops and robbers, or cowboys and Indians, this was the kid who always dressed the part and that included a holster - and yes the holster he owned back then were real. When this kid was a little older he learned the art of spit shining and also learned about patent leather. He then went out and bought holster in both for the guns he someday hoped he would own. He keeps all of this gear in meticulous condition hoping and praying that maybe someday, just maybe, he will wear a uniform and carry a gun. Then either when a senior in high school, or more likely when trying to work his way through a criminal justice degree at college, he gets a job as an armed security guard. The first day he shows up to work he brings along 5 of his holsters all with a high gloss finish either spit shined to perfection or patent leather, and he is shocked to learn that yes he will carry but in a nylon rig! Of course this does not deter him and he runs out and buys everything they have on the shelves at his local gun store to go with that rig such as: the holster and belt, an ammo or magazine pouch, a mace/pepper spray holder (whether or not he will be authorized to carry pepper spray or mace), a handcuff case, a baton holder (whether or not he will be authorized to carry a baton), a radio holster, belt keepers, a key ring holder, a key ring, and a few extras of each so as to always be neat and presentable. Of course in his excitement he probably buys a lot of the wrong things and has to go back and buy more. Does he turn in the stuff he bought already as an exchange - heck no because he knows what he bought is better than what work wants him to buy or what they issue. As time goes by he will try to sneak a piece, one at a time, onto his rig until slowly but surely he will be using the stuff of his choice at work. Being that his job security is tenuous at best, especially with his being such a kook, he winds up at job after job and continually adds to his collection of Mall Ninja accessories - and that of course includes holsters. He is very much like the Tactical Guru, and if he actually visits the range now and then he can usually morph from Mall Ninja to Tactical Guru at ease. As a matter of fact mall Ninjas often grow up to become Tactical Gurus to one extent or another.

Next in line we have the LEO as in Law Enforcement Officer. Yes they too have many among their ranks who are holster hoarders par excellence. Some LEOs who are holster hoarders started off as Mall Ninjas and many will become Tacticool Gurus too it is just natural progression though it does not happen to everyone. (Even I worked in department store, hospital and hotel security while in college, although I never quite made it to becoming a mall Ninja or Tacticool Guru.) The thing about LEOs though is this, they have reached the point of having a career. Unlike most Mall Ninjas, most LEOs a bit more mature (heck the male LEOs can for the most part grow facial hair and actually need to shave whereas most Mall Ninjas still have pimply secretions instead of whiskers). Those who have jobs as police officers, sheriffs, corrections officers, game wardens, federal agents and so on have found themselves in a career. Most have completed college (at least a 2 year degree nowadays), and many already are married with families. They own a car, maybe 2, have health plans, pay rent (no longer living with mom and dad like most Mall Ninjas and some Tacticool Gurus) or pay mortgages, have car payments, auto insurance payments, food bills, utility bills and so on. Do you see where this is going as far as holster hoarding is concerned. LEOs, for the great majority, own every holster they ever paid for or that was issued to them by their agency or department. Why? Because holsters, good one anyway, are expensive. It wind up that most of them, with all their other bills, cannot afford new ones as can the Mall Ninja or the Tacticool Guru or the Rodeo Drive Hoarders. So every time a cop buys a new holster, the old one goes into a draw, a closet on a shelf or into a box in the basement. (After a few years the guy with his holster in the box in the basement usually learns to move them, or at least newer ones, into a closet upstairs thanks to mold and mildew.)

Even the department issued holsters get the same treatment since most departments don't ask for old holsters back. Yep that means that even bureaucrats who run those departments realize that old holsters are just so much worthless junk. of course the cop who is working out on the street, and who may have his holster literally ripped off of him in a fight for his life, is fairly wise to keep an older one in reserve until he can replace the lost one with a brand new one - and that costs money and money takes time to save when you have all those bills a family man or woman has. How often does it happen that holsters are replaced by a department or agency? Well let's see, in my thirty year career I have probably been issued at least 15 holsters by my agencies, and I probably have bought at least several holsters to replace some that I was issued when I thought I could do better than what I was issued by the gooberment. My agencies issued holsters for each weapon they issued, and sometimes replaced holsters with better and safer designs, or simply because a holster was worn out. I also have received at least one or three holsters as gifts for my issued guns. If I kept em all, I'd have quite a few, but that would not be all the holsters I would have, not even for just my issued guns. You see the regular LEO who carries while off duty often goes out and buys an off duty holster - something in which he can carry concealed. If it is a good one - great it can last for years. If she made a bad choice the officer probably will head out and buy a better one sooner or later as she can afford it. The thing is that officers, with all those bills that Rodeo Drive types never worry about, have to feed their families and often wind up buying less than the best, or even less than good quality holsters when they need one. Even when they realize they were a bad choice they go into the drawer for later use if ever, it is all part of a back-up ideal by which officers protect themselves and one another. They are taught to have a back-up handgun, back-up ammunition, back-up handcuffs, a partner for back-up, to call for back up before going in, and a back-up provide for the family life insurance plan in case they ever are taken down - so why not a back up holster. In addition many LEOs keep their first holster, or their lucky holster, or their best ever holster, or the one in which they carried a gun with which they shot a bad guy saving another life, and they keep em for whatever superstitious reason you can think of. Then one day, maybe just before retirement, the officer gets nostalgic and look in the holster drawer and is shocked to find out just how many holsters he had stashed away. All those holsters, just like dust bunnies under a bed, seem to multiply all on their own unless you clean em out now and again. If only he had sold em all, maybe he could have afforded one that would have lasted 10 or 15 years without needing replacement, or maybe he could have afforded to have taken that fishing trip he had wanted to with his son when his son first learned about how expensive things are.

The truth be told, there is yet another type of holster hoarder, and this type is the Eternal Optimist Holster Hoarder. This is the type of person who incessantly plays the stock market and loses money instead of taking a more secure route to seeing his finances grow - no matter how bad the market. This is the holster hoarder who despite seeing the value of his holster decrease as they get older, hold onto them in the hopes of someday getting back most if not all of the money he paid for each of them, and maybe a little profit too. So those holsters, needless to say, just keep piling up somewhere in the house. The fact is I have never seen a used holster sell for more than it did when originally bought in a store; as a matter of fact I have never seen one sell for anywhere close to the initial retail price. Holsters, once bought, whether used or left in the package, seem to depreciate in value as fast as rail road bonds, or as fast as ponzi schemes once discovered to be frauds. Of course the Eternal Optimist does not want to believe that his hand tooled kangaroo leather holster, lined with silicone impregnated buffalo suede, and custom fitted for a high gloss Browning High Power will never sell for more than a mere fraction of the original selling price, so he keeps it stashed away waiting for the day he can sell it on an online auction for 5 times its original value. Thing is that day isn't coming in this lifetime!

Now that brings us to a practical reason as to why holsters build up in that drawer or on that closet shelf. They are worth more than that for which they will sell. Well at least to they who own them. Well truth be told, not to all of us who own holsters. Recently I threw out a few holsters. I also sold a few. The ones I threw out were the ones I could not sell, trade or give away. Heck I almost decided to give away the holsters I sold because they went for so little, but then again I figured why be a knucklehead - getting something for them was better than getting nothing. As for giving away the others, well I actually had to throw some of em out to make room for other things for which I simply needed the space. Yes folks, even when trying to give away used holsters it is not easy so I threw some away. You see, either the person you are trying to give it to already has one or more holsters for they type of gun it fits, or just sold that gun and no longer needs a holster for it, or the person figures why take your junk (the last reason being the one as to why used holsters are rarely if ever bought by Rodeo Drive, Mall Ninja and Tacticool Guru types of hoarders). Yep they look a gift horse in the mouth so to speak and are suspicious of you for trying to give it to them and figure why would you give away something if it was not junk. Now after all, are they wrong in being suspicious, I mean in today's who among us in his right mind would give away, as in free, a holster that may have cost $50, $100, maybe even as much as a few hundred dollars just because he was having a hard time selling it for $5.00, and he figured a friend was more deserving! I would that's who, and I wound up throwing out a few holsters just because of that type of thinking after I offered them to friends because I could not sell em first.

No, I am not a holster hoarder, though I do have a few stashed away here and there. Maybe that makes me weird, my getting rid of them for chicken feed or less, but I need more room for ammo than I do for holsters. Right now my ammo cache is just about bursting out of the containers in which I have it stashed away and space is at a premium so out with the holsters and in with the ammo it was. I wonder, does that make me an ammo hoarder? Nah - couldn't be. Anyway, ammo hoarders are a whole nuther sought of people - aren't they? More on them later, enough said on that subject for now, nod - nod - wink - wink - know what I mean.

All the best,
Glenn B

They Promised The Worst Snow Storm of the Season...

...but all we got was about 1/4 inch of snow and frozen rain as far as accumulations went. I suppose that is a good thing too, especially since I have to drive into work today. Of course, plenty of you got hit by much worse in the storm of yesterday and the day before. Chicago and Cleavland and surround areas seem to have been whacked badly as it seems so too was northern PA. With more snow promised for some places tomorrow and Tuesday, it sounds like getting to work then will not be a joy. For me today, it should be pretty easy on the highways. The local streets will be another story as they are pretty icy - yes even a 1/4 inch of ice can make it tough to drive. I always get a kick out of the nuts in their SUVs. They think they can drive faster because they have 4 wheel drive. As my brother pointed out years ago, these folks in SUVs seem to forget that they may have to stop on dusty, wet, snowy or icy conditions and it just will be harder, much harder, to do so because they were driving too fast. So if you ever wondered why you hear about so many accidents involving SUVs, well it's probably not the fault of the vehicle.

Me I plan to be careful driving today. Stay safe.

All the best,
Glenn B
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