Bell-Charter Oak’s inside-the-waist band holsters include the Chicago Rocker, the Summer Heat, the Mae West II, and the Deep Drop Bandit. All of these holsters feature Bell-Charter Oak’s unique spring steel belt clip. The clip is designed to prevent the holster from coming on out along with the snub on the draw stroke. I was originally dubious of any spring clip regardless of how innovative the designed and would have been thrilled if they would offer a leather loop alternative. Fortunately several police trainers, friends and former US government employees whom I trust and respect assure me that these clips are exceptionally secure.
So despite my original hesitation regarding holster-to-belt spring clip mounted holsters what make Bell-Charter Oak snub holsters worth special note? The answer is physics. Bell Charter Oak’s holsters position the top of the snub’s cylinder either parallel with top of the wearer’s belt (see Chicago Rocker) or below top of the wearer’s belt. (see Summer Heat, Mae West II, Deep Drop Bandit) This single feature demonstrates an acknowledgement of the importance of designing specific holsters around the snub’s unique center of balance.
Lefty Lewis, Bell-Charter Oak’s chief designer and holster builder has several unique advantages he has brought to the designs of their holsters. First, he has over 30 years of practical experience as a policeman and detective also has lent a great deal to his understanding of what works in a holster design, and what does not. Second, he has studied, researched and collected snub revolvers and their subtle changes for multiple decades. Mr. Lewis knowledge on the subject is near encyclopedic. Third, he knew, befriended and learned directly from the great Chic Gaylord. He in fact wrote the newest forward to the third re-printing of Mr. Gaylord’s text Handgunner’s Guide for Paladin Press. In my opinion, Mr. Lewis’ understanding of the importance of center of balance considerations in designing a concealable snub holster is superior to 99.9% of his over-the-counter competitors.
It is worth noting that unlike the majority of mass market holster designers, Bell Charter Oak does not create one holster design for a particular snub model then scale it up or down in order to fit near or similar models. They build specific holster models around the subtle differences of specific snubs. Note that the Summer Heat is built for the J- and D-frame snub but not for the K-frame while the nearly identical Mae West II is built for the K-frame snub but not for the J- or D-frame. This is also why such classic holsters as the Chicago Rocker is available for the J- and D-frame snub but not the K-frame. The balance point of the K-frame will not work in the Chicago Rocker so Bell Charter Oak does not produce it in this model. This dedication to detail and physics also applies to the Deep Drop Bandit (J- and D-frames) vs. the Hidden Asset (Ruger LCR.)
Subtle differences offer large performance gains. If you are looking for the thinking snub owner’s no-compromise choice between concealment, security and draw stroke snub holster, then you couldn’t do better than an the inside-the-waist snub holster from Bell-Charter Oak.