I purchased an Alessi Fieldmaster from R&F Hunting for my S&W 629 Classic .44 mag. I will go on my next hunting trip in a week, and plan to wear it daily. In the meantime, I have been adjusting and wearing it around the house in the evenings. Overall, it's a great holster, but I have a couple of comments.
First, the good part. The revolver fits very well in the holster, the trigger cannot be pulled while the gun is holstered (at least not with moderate effort -- I did not apply undue force), and I like the swivel feature for drawing and reholstering. I also like the protection offered the gun by the outer holster shell when it is in the "tipped in" normal carry position, and the security with which the gun is held in the holster. I jumped around violently while wearing it and the gun remained securely in the holster.
The improvements that could be made are all in the harness. The holster fits very comfortably, but the off-side (right hand side) of the harness tends to dig in under the arm. I have also found that carrying a speedloader in the top compartment is not reasonably possible as it is too far up under the arm and is very uncomfortable. The off-side would be much better if the under-arm leather was made of the same stiff leather as the holster, and was the same width, front to back, as the holster. That is my assumption based on the wearing comfort of the holster. The speedloader compartments could be reduced to one, or else oriented in horizontal rather than vertical fashion, and placed on the lower portion of the suggested stiff piece of leather on that side. There could also be an adjustment for the length of the off-side belt loop leather, to accomodate person of varying torso length.
With those improvements, the holster would be, IMHO, perfect. A bonus is that the gun is well hidden under a wool hunting coat or an untucked heavy flannel shirt because the design keeps the gun so close to the body. That is not the intended purpose, but it's a nice plus because the gun should not have to be left in the vehicle when going into town for supplies or gas. I'm looking forward to field testing the holster on the hunting trip, and to having the weight of the 629 off of my hip!
I had previously posted an initial review of the Alessi Fieldmaster shoulder holster and wanted to provide a follow up after using it on four hunting trips.
Overall, the initial impressions were justified during actual field use. Though I got used to the rather constricting right side of the harness, I may yet modify the right side according to my original post. The shoulder holster carries a heavy S&W 629 Classic very comfortably all day long. I can't say the same for a belt holster. With all snaps fastened, the revolver remained securely in the holster while running, jumping off of logs, and an ungraceful fall-down while crossing a frozen creek, yet was quickly available when needed. It did not interfere with my pack frame and was so unobtrusive that I sometimes forgot that I was wearing it.
Problems were few, but worth mentioning. The holster's belt loop snap is fastened with a small screw, which managed to completely back out early in a deer hunting trip. The screw is a small metric hex head. Ever try to find a small metric allen wrench in deer camp? I could not, so just kept screwing it back in as best I could and putting up with it. When I got home, I put a drop of Locktite Blue on the threads, tightened it securely, and have had no further problems. The same is true for the brass studs and screws in the harness. Luckily, those fell out in the camper where it was easy to find them. More Locktite for those. The holster tends to squeak, which is annoying when stalking, and caused a couple of odd looks in my direction when worn under a coat while in stores shopping for supplies. I have not found a cure for that, but it might involve moving a left-side belt loop on some hunting pants.
Other than the easily-corrected problems with screws, I'm pleased with it. After many years of putting up with the interference between a belt-holstered handgun and a slung rifle, the shoulder holster is quite a relief. Hunters on this forum who like to carry a handgun while in the woods should take a look at the Fieldmaster.
In addition to his Fieldmaster shoulder rig, Lou offers a crossdraw belt holster for big, long-barrelled hunting handguns. It is not typically cataloged, but Lou makes a few for discerning deer hunters in his neck of the woods. E-mail Lou for details.
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