Valkyrie Review Pt Deux

A little over a month ago I received a Valkyrie holster from Dragon Leatherworks for an evaluation and review – you can read it HERE.
What Dragon didn’t count on was me doing a secondary review after the initial “HOLY SHIT!!!” appeal wore off, after I’ve had a chance to find out what I don’t like about it.

I’ve had it about 5 weeks now and have worn it as much as possible, both around the house and out and about. Dragon cautions that it’s not a concealable weapon but I haven’t had a problem at all with my build and manner of dress. That and the fact that this is the cool season so a bulky jacket is not unusual. But hell, I’ve worn just a Redhead camo hunting shirt over it to the Savemart and had no problems.
It drives well. It did get in the way of buckling and unbuckling of the seatbelt in the jap car, but it was just a matter of changing the way I did it. It wasn’t a problem in the truck at all. Once I was seated and strapped in, it was like it wasn’t even there. It didn’t jab or poke me at all. Retention was excellent, even on the worst roads it didn’t budge even though the holster sits almost horizontally when you’re seated.
My draw was an issue in the first review and I knew then that was my issue with hip holsters, not the holster itself. It ain’t no more. As a matter of fact, I’m kinda diggin’ it now. When you put this holster on, it stays where you put it on and that’s good for muscle memory. Come up, grasp, pull up, level, front sight, press. It’s smooth and consistent, and reholstering is so easy I’m not even going to give it another mention.
Okay, after a month of stressing the holster and the gun going in and out of it daily, I checked it out for wear. Not even any sign of any wear on the stitching, the screws attaching the holster to the paddle were still snugged and the finish is still simply fabulous – fabulous I say. It looks like the goddamned thing is still new. Oh, there’s a couple of light creases next to where the trigger guard is but to be honest with you, I couldn’t tell you if those were already there or not.
There were some wear marks inside the holster. Not a problem, I would’ve been surprised if there hadn’t been. The most noticeable one was from the front sight. But more importantly, there were no (new) wear marks on my 45. I couldn’t tell about the top of the front sight, I had neglected to black it out before I started wearing the holster. Admittedly, the gun is 30 years old and has never been refinished, but I know that gun. If there were any shiny(ier) spots that weren’t there before, I would’ve noticed.

Okay, Dragon told me not to gloss things over. There are a couple of things about the holster that I have issues with, kinda sorta.
The first one is not an issue with the workmanship of the holster, but the design. It is not an easy holster for me to remove. Like I said in my previous post, I have never owned a paddle holster before so maybe it’s just me, but I have a hell of a time taking it off. I mean it slides on nice and easy but coming off it gets hung on my pants and belt at the same time because of the paddle maker’s (Blackhawk) retention measures. I know that it’s a good thing, otherwise it could fall out in a scuffle or while you’re taking a dump but it’s still a pain in the ass. And remember what I was saying about the holster staying where you put it on? That’s why. Again, this is something I’m just going to have to deal with. Will being able to take it off quickly and easily influence my decision on whether to wear it that day? No? Not that big a deal then.
And I do see he offers what looks like a belt holster in the Valkyrie but again, there’s that body retention thing.

Now comes the second thing.
It’s pretty. Oh my God, it’s pretty. It’s so pretty that I worry about fucking it up. Dragon says this is a Sunday-go-to-meetin’ holster, I know, but goddamn I would worry about fucking it up on the pews. By the time I got finished speaking my mind, motherfuckers would be catatonic.
Don’t get me wrong, Bro. I appreciate the fine craftsmanship and skill and especially the labor you put into it making it special for me (how’s that for some major ass-kissing?) but I’m a utilitarian kind of guy as far as my gear goes. I know I’m going to fuck shit up.
But if I was going to order one, it would be your plain jane black on black style except in brown and embossed of course. And despite my bitching about struggling to get it off, I’d still go with the paddle. It does have it’s advantages.

Okay. It’s a great holster, he’s not bullshitting when he says it’s top of the line. It’s gotten quite a bit of wear on my hip and it’s held up really well. Yeah, I was worried about scratching it but that doesn’t mean I went out of my way to protect it. For one thing, that shit’s a dead giveaway when it comes to carrying a concealed weapon.
Warmer weather will be here in a month and it’ll go into my closet until next fall, except for weddings and funerals. And I hate to say it but I’m almost hoping somebody does die so I have an excuse to show it off to family members that I don’t see any other time.

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12 Responses to Valkyrie Review Pt Deux

  1. Roger says:

    when the summer arrives, you can use Dragon’s Fugly IWB holster. Easy to re-holster and very comfortable. I’be been using them for several years, excellent quality and easily concealed, even with a 1911.

  2. Dragon says:

    Well shit…thanks for the follow-up review! Lets see if I can help with the “taking it off” part.

    Paddle holsters are notoriously grippy, ie: they don’t want to let go. And they shouldn’t, because if you are ever in a DGU situation when the adrenaline kicks in, muscle memory takes over, and fine motor response goes out the window, you don’t want to draw the gun and see the holster still attached to it.

    That being said, the Blackhawk paddle is a particular pain in the ass, but remember, the design came about by someone who was in combat situations who wanted his sidearm to stay where he put it.

    Try this for removing:

    1) Remove the gun from the holster and set it aside.

    2) With your draw hand, grab the muzzle end of the holster with said muzzle end resting on the base of your middle finger.

    3) Using your free had with palm facing your body, reach inside your pant and slip your fingers under the bottom of the paddle.

    4) Pull the paddle TOWARDS your body while at the same time pulling the muzzle end AWAY, opening up the clamshell effect of the paddle by about an inch to an inch and a half.

    5) Now just lift straight up making sure that the two teeth that grab your belt are cleared of the belt. The paddle should let go without a hitch.

    As for hoping that someone dies so that you can show it off at a funeral…not really sure that brown is a funeral color. One should go with straight up black for funerals, brown for fall events, red for the spring and summer, and a completely decked out red/white/blue rig for Federal Holidays.

    • Angel says:

      I will pay for, with bonus, a pink holster for wirecutter.

      • Dragon says:

        Must. Fight. The. Urge.

        I’m up for making ANYTHING that someone is willing to pay for, but me and Wirecutter have hit it off real well, and I don’t want to screw that pooch.

        Of course, I need to pay the bills and all….

        Decisions, decisions, decisions….

        What kind of bonus are we talking about here?

  3. ed357 says:

    Blackhawk paddles are just like that……..

    holds the gun in place on your waist like you used “lock tight” or “super glue”…..

    but a bitch to manly take it off your pants/belt……

    Does it have a finger release….like the Serpa models?

    BTW… Serpa came with the paddle and a belt loop type retainer.

    • Dragon says:

      Hi Ed357,

      The finger release you’re talking about is the latch on the trigger guard, correct?

      I’m not aware of a finger release to enable you to remove the paddle from your belt/pants….

      • ed357 says:

        Sorry I wasn’t being clear……

        On the Blackhawk Serpa there’s a finger release that i was referring to…..releases the weapon so you can draw it……….and I always want a holster that a bad guy can’t just jerk your weapon out or push it out onto the ground…...

        My Serpa came with an attachment option that converts it to a “slip on” the belt rig…….but it requires a phillips and some time to move from “paddle” to “slip on”.

        • Dragon says:

          Hi Ed,

          No, just because I use the Blackhawk paddle doesn’t mean I make my leather rigs like Blackhawk makes their plastic ones.

          You can’t put in a Serpa-style release when the holster is made of leather…just can’t be done. That being said, the military adopted the Serpa Level-2 rigs because they didn’t want the sidearm to bounce loose in the rough environment of the sandboxes. Had nothing to do with keeping it on-body and away from someone who wanted to steal it.

          The cops adopted it because some lawyer somewhere told them that they had to do it or else they could be sued by someone who was shot by a perp that grabbed the cops gun when the cop wasn’t paying attention…sorry, but if the cop isn’t aware of his weapon and doesn’t train properly in tactics to keep that weapon out of reach in a scuffle or a crowd, then he should hang up his badge because he ain’t a properly trained cop.

          For the rest of us pleebs? Extra retention is wholly unnecessary. Sure, if it puts your mind at ease and you feel safer, go ahead, but the whole purpose of a properly-fitted holster, worn between 3 and 4 o’clock, with not alot of radical cant angle to it, is to make the gun bind up in the holster and NOT come out unless it is drawn in the proper motion.

          Thats why we all need to practice our drawstroke (read Wirecutters posts about my holster….his first concern was learning the new drawstroke, and after a couple weeks it became second nature). Putting lead on paper and being accurate enough to hit your attacker is important, sure, but if you don’t practice the drawstroke, you’ve lost the gunfight because that gun will bind up as tight as an elephant with its dick up a gnats ass when you try to draw it under stress.

          As I said, I’m not knocking those folk who want to have extra retention…go for it. I just find it unnecessary, and I don’t make any of my holsters with extra retention, thumbbreaks, snaps, trigger buttons, etc.

  4. singlestack says:

    I carry a full size 1911 (Kimber Custom II) in a Stoner paddle holster at the 3 o’clock position on my right hip. I put it on and take it off twice every day. I’ve found that the easiest way to put it on is to slip the paddle into my pants in the front and slide it to the carry position; taking it off in reverse.
    Beside the ease of putting it on and taking it off, I like the paddle because I can place it in whatever position I need it without regard to the belt loops. My BUG is a snubbie revolver that I carry in a RH paddle crossdraw on my left hip.
    After looking at the webpage for the Valkyrie I will be buying one soon.
    Dennis, seeing that you offer the square and compass decoration (esp the past master option) is it safe to assume that you’re a traveling man?

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