RKBA Holsters is a small firm making leather pocket holsters for Smith and Wesson J-frames, sub-compact Glocks, and the North American Arms .22 Magnum mini revolvers.
Owned and operated by Stephen McElroy, RKBA Holsters specializes in making pocket holsters, holsters that are specially designed to conceal and securely carry a firearm in a pants pocket. The ideal pocket holster will hide the shape of the gun, making the pistol or revolver appear as a wallet, cell phone, or one of the other numerous things we normally carry around.
The good pocket holster will also keep the firearm in position, regardless of your activity, so if you need the gun, it will be in the same place every time you slide your hand into your pocket.
Over the years, I have tried several different styles of pocket holsters in both leather and synthetic materials. Let me cut to the chase and tell you that, without a doubt, the RKBA Holsters version is the best I have used. The bonus is that it is the least expensive leather holster I have ever bought.
I stumbled across the RKBA Holsters in a post on the Smith and Wesson Forum. Intrigued by some of the comments about the holsters, I decided to purchase two of the leather holsters to evaluate. One was a plain, no frills pocket holster for my S&W 642 J-frame. The second was a gift for my father: a stained and monogramed pocket holster for a NAA .22 Magnum mini revolver. The total cost for two holsters (including one customized) was a mere $57 including shipping!
In less than two weeks, both holsters were made and shipped to me. That is fast service!
Both holsters arrived exactly as I had ordered them, without any flaws. Packaged in simple plastic bags, the holsters had an instruction sheet with directions on breaking in the holsters. Amazingly, both of my holsters were perfect fits as they arrived, and while each held their guns securely, I did not need to do any stretching or breaking in of the holsters.
The J-frame holster I ordered with a rough finish on the exterior. The NAA holster I ordered with a smooth finish on the front, as this holster was designed as a presentation gift. I did not find that the rough exterior enhanced the holster’s security in the pocket, as the holster design is excellent and doesn’t need any additional help. The smooth exterior, which was also stained and imprinted with initials, was very nice. The feel of the leather is very nice, and the imprinted initials were well formed and attractive.
Stitching was also top notch. Thread is available in a variety of colors, allowing you to match thread to stain if you like. No loose threads or ends were present.
So, fit and finish were excellent. How well does it work?
I carried the J-frame pocket holster every day for a month. I wore shorts, jeans, and Dockers doing everything from mowing the lawn to carrying the kids around Disney World. From the first moment I slipped it into my pocket, the RKBA holster became my favorite pocket holster I have ever tried.
The RKBA Holsters pocket holster completely disguised the shape of my 642, making it almost disappear. While an intent observer can see there is something in your pocket, there is no way they could ever tell it is a firearm. A casual observer would never even notice the gun.
The things that make this holster the best pocket holster I have encountered are the “ears.” The RKBA Holsters use ears on either sides of the holster, which allow the center portion of the holster opening to be cut lower on the gun. The ears are what keeps the holster in the pocket when you draw the firearm. The lower cut allowed me to get a full grip on the pistol before ever drawing it.
The two problems I have encountered on other pocket holsters are the ability to draw the pistol without dragging the holster along with it, and obtaining a proper grip. The RKBA pocket holster beat both of these problems. I practiced drawing from my pocket and regardless of what kind of pants I was wearing, the holster always stayed in the pocket and I was always able to instantly obtain a proper grip with the gun still securely in the holster.
Now, the only drawback you might be able to pin on the RKBA Holsters, is they are not as “slick” as some of the other custom manufacturers. You can’t get a RKBA Holsters pocket holster in shark skin or horse hide. I don’t imagine you’ll see any on display at an art museum. However, they do look good. More importantly, they are well made, inexpensive, and they work.
If you are in the market for a pocket holster, check out RKBA Holsters. Also, Stephen is very responsive to e-mail, so send him a question if you have one.
Update: Things are changing at RKBA Holsters. In 2017, Stephen sold the shop to make more time for his family. The new owner is focusing on Kydex rigs. Currently, the site is down and the company is not taking new orders. However, I’ve reached out to the new owner, and he assured me that the new site will be up shortly.