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Hello. A few days ago, Mr. Eric Larsen contacted me advising that he's going full-time into the holster business and was working on a prototype holster that he wanted me to test and evaluate for him. I agreed to do this.

On Saturday, I received the holster in the mail and upon opening the package, noted a really "concise," good looking holster for a Pre-B CZ-75, the outline of a short-rail model nicely visible through the leather as was the round trigger guard. (Initially, I thought it was for a Browing Hi Power, but soon saw that this was an obvious mistake on my part!)

Mr. Larsen provided me with detailed information on the hoster and how it's made and I'll share what I can with you in this post, but you have to understand that hosters are not my strong point; I just like 'em to do what they're supposed to do and be comfortable. While this report cannot give long term results, it might give an indication as to whether you might desire to own one of Mr. Larsen's products.

FWIW, I emailed Mr. Larsen today and advised that I'd done some initial "testing" of the prototype holster he'd sent me and did have some suggestions. I didn't mention what they were, but did ask him if I should just email him or go ahead and do the report. He told me to do the report so here it is. (I think it speaks highly of the man as he will be seeing this for the first time on the boards.)

The Holster: This one is an outside-the-belt holster that has the option of being carried with two different cants via belt slots in the rear portion of the unit. It was finished in an attractive black and the finish was evenly applied, front and back. It is not lined and there is no retention strap or thumbreak. Obviously designed for carrying a service size handgun concealed, it would also be at home at the range for casual shooting or an IDPA match.

Here's some of what Mr. Larsen wrote to me in his own words. "The shape/idea, designs, patterns, cutting, stitching, molding and finishing are all hand done. This honestly is a compromise in some regards. The "machine pressed and molded" holsters people are used to...such as Galco, Bianchi...etc., have a smoother and more consistant finish to them at times. Doing everything by hand does not offer the same "assembly line" look and feel. However, I don't feel this is a negative type of situation...just different." I agree and will tell you right now that in my opinion there was nothing that looked "bad" on the holster I received for testing in terms of finish. Hopefully, the pictures taken will relay that clearly.

Pistol Used: As mentioned, the holster was designed for a CZ-75 "Type A" or "Pre-B" model. These have a rounded trigger guard and smallish front sights.


The CZ on the right has the small, factory fixed sights and these are the sights the holster's built to accomodate. I did not use that pistol, but opted for the one on the left for two reasons: (1) I wanted to do my testing drawing for most shots and wanted to see if the higher front sight would work in the holster or not and (2) I just like to shoot that one more as I can see the sights better at speed! Cutting to the chase, while the gun does fit tightly in the holster, it works fine and there's no undue wearing on the higher front sight.

Test Procedure: I went to the gun safe this morning and grabbed the Wickman-modified CZ-75 and stuck it in the Larsen holster. It was a very tight fit. Holding it upside down, the pistol stayed firmly in place. With some effort holding the holster in my left hand, I withdrew the CZ several times. No bits of leather came out or were sheared from the holster. At the range, I loaded the pistol with two types of 115-grain ball ammunition, PMP (because I'm wanting to get rid of it), and Fiocchi. I took 191 rounds. I did not shoot any long strings of fire, most being a single shot per presentation, with about 1/3rd being a controlled pair per presentation. All strings began with the pistol holstered. Distance was approximately 12 yards.


I used the holster from the position as shown. It did not move and I found it extremely comfortable. I also did 3 draws weak hand from the front and three draws weak hand from the rear. (That was sure easier some years ago when I wore a size 34 pant!) Despite Mr. Larsen's holster providing a very snug fit, these weak hand draws presented zero problems in getting the pistol into action. I also appreciated the way the holstered turned the butt of the gun slightly inward toward the body to reduce "printing."


The holster is reenforced at the top and I was easily able to reholster the pistol with one hand. An officer needing to cuff or control a subject that had been patted down, could easily reholster with but one hand. Again, here are Mr. Larsen's words: "The opening/mouth is reinforced with real Stainless Spring steel. It is initially shaped, glued and stitched into the design."


Here you can see the stitching in a close up picture. Notice that there's plenty of room between the holster and the front of the pistol's front grip strap to allow for solid purchase. There were no problems at all in this regard. At the front of the trigger guard on the holster, it appears that the trigger guard has torn through the leather; it has not. That's just the way it looks due to reflection. I could have air brushed that out, but felt it was more important to be able to say that these pictures have not been "doctored." Again, the holster is in fine shape and NOT torn there.


Shown is the back of the holster so that you can see the stitching and construction.


Each of the bullet holes shown represent one draw from the Larsen holster. No problems with it all all.


This target shows the results of some controlled pair work. The pistol was drawn one time for each pair of holes.

Observations: At least for this initial "test," the holster worked fine and I was and am pleased with it. Here in Texas, we're moving from "summer" to "super summer" and it got pretty hot pretty quickly, enough so that I was soon sweating through my T-shirt. Checking where the holster had been in contact with both my shirt and pants, there was not a trace of black and it did not try to shift position or bind when I was drawing the CZ. Checking the front sight, there was no wear visible nor was there any on the rest of the pistol.

As mentioned, the night before I'd held the holstered pistol upside down when I initially got the hoster. I repeated the same thing after today's shooting session.


By the end of the session, the pistol could be reholstered with a firm push, but was still securely retained by the fit when held upside down.

Suggestions: First, keep in mind that the holster sent to me from H.B.E. is not the finished design. Overall, I am very favorably impressed with it, but do offer a couple of suggestions:

1. Make the piece of leather that goes behind the belt a bit thicker. While it will most likely not need to be, I still think it would be a good thing.


I respectfully suggest that this piece be a little thicker. A police officer friend offered the same observation.

2. This T & E prototype has plenty of clearance for the gun's sights that it was actually designed for. However, this sight track clearance is minimal for the Novak fixed front sight on my gun and as others with Pre-B CZ-75s who'd be interested in this holster might very well have had similar sights installed. I'd just increase the clearance for the front sight a small bit.


Even though it works fine as is, on the finished design I'd allow for a little more clearance at the front sight as many owners might very well have added higher front sights.

I mentioned earlier that I liked this holster even if it's not the finished product that's been made as good as it can be. I'm buying this one.

In closing, I'll post another portion of the communication sent to me by Mr. Larsen: "Anything that can be imagined can become a holster....with certain criteria in mind.....first and foremost it must function everytime and all of the time. Second it must not compromise grip access and must enclose the trigger guard. This is not an option and is how ALL HBE leather is done. From there...I can work with most people's idea's."

For those who are interested, HBE will soon have a site, but should you want the particulars on Mr. Larsen's holsters, I'd drop him a line at:
[email:3nbwhmmi][email protected][/email:3nbwhmmi]

Best.
 

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I’ve been meaning to post something about the holster. First, I’d like to thank you for testing it out and presenting the results of your tests here. Like many on this forum I have had the pleasure of handling and owning fine holsters and some downright junk. I’m very happy to see a new company offering such a well-made holster.

Maybe Mr. Larsen may be interested in having his new line of holsters carried by AmBack. Something for him to consider.

Thanks again for introducing us to his work!
 

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Thank you for the kind words...Id like to discuss this with you.
Email me if you [email protected]

My site is temp. at http://www.imageseek/hbeleather/

You can see a couple of different styles there.......

Mr. Camp did an outstanding job on the review. The Modifications mentioned are included in the finished version of the holster. Ill have pics up of the site soon.....Thanks again.

Shoot well, Eric
 
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