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 The SoB Holster

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PostSubject: The SoB Holster   Tue 30 Jun 2015, 10:40



The Small-of-back holster [S-o-B], also known as the Centre-of-back, or, the Middle-of-back, is a type of carriage option that polarises the firearms community. Basically, you either love it, or, hate it.
In this short overview I’ll give my experience with this method, and outline the good, and, bad points.

HORSESHOE LEATHER
My first SoB rig was ordered for my H&K P7M8 from Horseshoe Leather. Andy Aratoonian had established a reputation as being a top-rate leather craftsman, and his designs had taken the British market by storm. He termed his small-of-back design the Skyway Security Special, as it had been adopted by an aviation security unit. After the usual wait for a handmade item the package arrived, and I started dry drills with the Heckler.



At first the small-of-back position seemed strange; as with any new holster position, but I persevered, and came to like the system. I have a deep curve to my lower back, and concealing a weapon there is ideal. The combination of this, together with the slim profile of the P7 made covert carriage an easy task.


[Skyway holster in Cape Town]

I used this on contracts in several countries. After one such training gig, I returned a year later to find the entire team had converted to locally made SoB rigs.


[Author on range]

When I bought a Glock-19 I requested another rig from Andy, to match this weapon.



GALCO
Warren Buttler, a Federal Air Marshal, and Instructor put me onto a design from Galco, that placed the weapon in the small-of-the-back, but with the slide parallel to the belt, and the grips vertical. Warren, who wrote a holster column for SWAT Magazine,  had tried the design and found it worked for him.



Many people advise against SoBs for use within vehicles, but Warren had found that he had no problem wearing the Galco for inflight operations.



I ordered on for my SIG-228, and found it quite a viable option.

POSITIVE POINTS OF THE SMALL of BACK DESIGN
Firstly, for me, and my physical type, the system conceals very well.
Secondly, the position allows for a very natural access draw, with no shoulder lift. If you face a large mirror and touch your kidney area, as if drawing from an FBI position carriage, you will notice your shoulder rise quite a bit. Now reach for your spine, and you will notice it’s a very smooth action, with no shoulder lift.
For VIP Protection, when wearing a suit jacket with the usual side-vents, a weapon carried in the FBI position with be constantly “flashing” as you get up from tables, or, exit vehicles. The solution is to either opt for jackets with a centre-vent, or, transfer to using small-of-back carriage.


[Royal bodyguard exposes his Glock]

NEGATIVES
The draw is slower. Because your hand has to reach back further, then bring the weapon back from the spinal area to the aim, this takes longer. With a timer I found that at least a tenth of a second was added to the draw.
Retention. In VIP Protection we use an unobtrusive “weapon protection position” indexing the strong-side elbow on the weapon. You can do this with a side scabbard, or, FBI position, but not with the SoB.
Re holstering. On a firing line there can be an issue with muzzle sweep when re holstering to this position. The shooter usually needs to turn 90 left in order to re holster without compromising safety.
Seated. In truth I never found a problem with comfort while seated, in chairs or vehicles. Accessing the weapon, however, is a different story, and the s-o-b is not the choice for vehicle ops.
Falls. There is speculation that the spine could be injured during a fall, or, similar impact. Since fighting is by definition a violent activity, and we can never predict what may befall us during an encounter, this could be a consideration.
For me the negatives eventually outweighed the good points and I abandoned the small-of-back carriage, albeit somewhat reluctantly.
Andy Aratoonian still hand makes superb holsters [url= http://www.holsters.org/]Horeseshoe Leather[/url]

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