by John Markwell | Contributing Editor
We find it hard to give up on a good thing; even an old holster like our Rhodesian. Made by Thad Rybka in 1985, this holster, and an assortment of 1911s, has accompanied us on many an adventure over the last 30+ years. The TR Rhodesian has true “character” that only well used and well cared for leather can have. It is our opinion that, unlike the human body, good leather only gets better looking with age. And so, this is another holster story.
In June of 2015 we linked up with Erik Little of Rafter-L Combat leather to do some prairie dog shooting near Buffalo, WY. As is our habit when in the dog towns, we were carrying our Kimber Rimfire Target 1911 chambered for the 17Mach2 cartridge. Being a student of holsters, Erik instantly homed right in on our old Thad Rybka Rhodesian holster. Rybka holsters are not commonly found as Mr. Rybka makes very few every year and for years has been, at times, hard to get a hold of as he only communicates by US Mail.
Erik offered to buy my old Rybka Rhodesian on the spot. Somewhat disappointed at my refusal to sell my old companion, he took the holster home to make a pattern off of it. Now Erik will be the first to admit that his holster designs are refinements of some of the old classics like the Bruce Nelson #1 Professional. A plan was hatched to offer a Rafter-L version of the Rhodesian.
The new holster is now on Erik’s website (www.combatgunleather.com) as the #6 Selous Scout with a very interesting history written by Ken Hackathorn. Highly detailed and of typical Rafter-L quality, the Selous Scout is a great rendition of the original and we were thrilled when Erik delivered to us one of the first two he made at the SHOT show in 2016; our buddy Ken got the other one.
Built for a full sized 1911, these first pre-production Scouts were just about perfect; adding about 3/16 of an inch to the length of the rig was the only change we could recommend. Built from premium grade vegetable-tanned steer hide, sewn with polyester thread and hand boned, Erik’s holsters are not only beautiful they are bomb-proof.
We toted our new holster west for dog shooting during the summer of 2016 and could not have been more pleased with its utility; it rode solidly on the belt and was secure yet fast for presentations. Fast forward to the winter of 2016/2017 and another Selous Scout arrived at our doorstep just prior to this year’s SHOT Show. We were working on an evaluation of the new Wilson Combat Ultralight Carry Commander Compact pistol and Erik provided us with one of the first Commander-sized Selous Scout holsters to go with the pistol. As this is written we have been carrying the new Wilson Commander Compact in our new Commander-length Scout for about a month and a half. Although not quite as concealable as the Rafter-L #1, the #6 Selous Scout is very comfortable for everyday carry and conceals pretty well under our normal winter garb, which usually includes a Filson wool vest. With just a tad of length added below the muzzle, this latest holster is perfect.
Both of our new Rafter-L Selous Scout holsters are slowly developing the “character” of well used leather gear. Hopefully, we will be able to put as many miles on these new renditions of Thad Rybka’s classic as we did on our original Rhodesian holster. Our old Rhodesian has been retired and is now in Erik Little’s collection of classic leather gear and has been replaced by Erik’s new Scouts.
The Rafter No. 6 Selous Scout holster has an MSRP of $175. If you visit their website (combatgunleather.com), you’ll get more information from Eric Little as well as a detailed history about this and other Custom Gun Leather holsters, including why and how they were made.
We still have a few adventures planned and these new Selous Scout holsters and 1911 pistols will play a role as they unfold. We think Mr. Rybka would approve. Good shooting.