I met Rob Leahy a couple of years ago at the annual Shootist’s Holiday at the Whittington Center in Raton, N.M. His fledgling company—Simply Rugged Holsters—was aptly named. The holsters he had on display were simple in design and execution but clearly very rugged because of the thick, tough cowhide they were made from. His work was honest, yet plebian. The heavy and rugged linen stitching looked like it would never wear out, but close inspection revealed a stitch here and there that wasn’t perfectly straight. They were, in fact, simply rugged holsters.
There are a lot of holster makers out there—and by holster makers I am referring to those who make their products from real leather. Most of them are excellent, so it is a very competitive market. The larger companies have evolved into regular production makers, capable of turning out dozens of holsters each day. But their products, while excellent and very serviceable, lack the subtle refinements that can only hand-made holsters can provide.
Rob, however, is a gun guy, first and foremost. Like me, he is an aficionado of .44 Special revolvers. He is also a dedicated man with a passion toward improving his craft and his products. During these past two years he has concentrated on refining his work to become noted as one of the best hand-made holster makers, and he has succeeded.
I was on my way to visit with him at the SHOT Show when my little interruption occurred. We got together on the phone a few weeks ago, and I asked him to build me a Sourdough Pancake holster for my 3-inch barreled Smith & Wesson .44 Special. Because I really like good leatherwork I asked him to add some floral carving to the rig. It arrived yesterday, along with a matching Most Versatile Ammo Pouch and a set of Quick Strips.
Old guys—like me—are often difficult to impress. We’ve seen a lot, done a lot, and most of us figure there’s really nothing new under the sun. However, this old guy really gets a kick out of seeing younger folks improve and mature. Rob’s work may be simple and rugged as his company name implies, but it has also made great strides forward in terms of its quality and sophistication. For those of us who still truly appreciate leather holsters, Rob Leahy has earned himself a place as a master leatherworker and holster maker. Congrats to Rob, and welcome to the fold!