S&W L Frame holster - exposed trigger?


December 27, 2012, 08:19 AM
Without paying too close of attention I bought a high ride thumb break holster from a seller on ebay. It's a Tex Shoemaker and Sons holster for my S&W L Frame 686+ 2.5". It's decent quality for what I paid, but to my surprise, the entire trigger area is exposed. I usually carry semi autos, so the whole idea if an exposed trigger really doesn't sit well with me. I did some looking though and it seems like this arrangement is fairly common. With the thumb break fastened it would be difficult to have anything hangup the trigger enough to cause it to fire, but if the thumb break unsnapped the gun could much more easily be fired in the holster, which I obviously DON'T want :). Who uses a holster like this? I'd like to hear any pro/cons to this setup.

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December 27, 2012, 09:11 AM
Just as an experiment, with the gun in the holster and empty of course, squeeze lightly on the trigger....then a little bit harder....if the holster fits the gun properly, you'll soon see how the cylinder isn't gonna turn while in the holster very easily, if at all.
This may or may not give you a little more peace of mind...
Personally, I favor the trigger unexposed, but you're sure to hear/see that others' opinions will vary.
Someone gave me this holster for my 642 (although I don't use it), and it fits like a holster is supposed to, and I can't squeeze the trigger home on a bet.

Old Fuff
December 27, 2012, 10:07 AM
If you've got a Glock pistol (or any other that has a lever in the trigger fingerpiece for a manual safety) you'd better cover the trigger guard. Otherwise it doesn't matter so much, especially when you consider that double-action trigger pulls generally run 10 pounds or more.

December 27, 2012, 10:51 AM
It is possible to fully cycle the pistol in the holster, but it is difficult. I'm new to revolver carry, so maybe I'm just being paranoid. I appreciate the feedback that this type of holster is normal.

December 27, 2012, 08:38 PM
People (including myself) carried revolvers in that type of holster for a lot of years and I have never heard of anyone having their revolver discharge in the holster. That didn't start happening until we all switched to Glocks. (just kidding) You have one of the safest carry guns ever made.

December 27, 2012, 10:39 PM
The holster you are describing was the most common revolver duty holster for LE many years and is an evolution of the Bill Jordan Border Patrol holster


...we didn't see covered trigger guards until we started seeing breakfront holster, whose development ended in the Hoyt Break Front


Jim K
December 27, 2012, 11:32 PM
I carried this one for a lot of years and still have all my toes.

The gun is a square butt Chiefs Special, with a 3" barrel; the holster is a Bucheimer Federal Man, quite possibly the finest and fastest thumb break ever designed. In those days, it was considered OK to draw with the finger on the trigger. I have a picture someplace, taken from a movie frame showing me with a Combat Masterpiece (out of another Federal Man holster) coming up on the target and the hammer half way back. Today a safety-first range officer would have fits, but the hammer fell just as the gun came on target.



The Lone Haranguer
December 28, 2012, 09:46 PM
You aren't going to pull a 10 lb. trigger through a 3/4-inch arc by mistake. And even with the strap unfastened to let the hammer move, there will be additional friction between the cylinder and the holster. If the holster is also molded closely to the cylinder flutes, the cylinder should not be able to turn at all. I think this would still hold true even if someone else tries to grab the gun.

December 28, 2012, 09:57 PM

Standard operating procedure for most "modern" high quality revolver holsters for most of the 1900 - 1990's.

A fitted holster like a Tom Threepersons:

Or an Austin:

Or a Thumb-Break without the keep snapped:

None of them would allow the cylinder to turn inside the holster before the revolver lockwork broke from pressure on the trigger or hammer.

If the cylinder can't turn, the hammer cannot be cocked, and the revolver simply cannot be fired by accident.

The present day "trigger must be covered" holster thing all started with the Glock pistols trigger safety.

In that case, yes, the trigger MUST be covered to be safe.


December 28, 2012, 10:06 PM
I loved my Hoyt Break Front. It was slick as snot. So fast to draw and return. This was my primary holster for years with a 586 smith. But weapon retention was poor.

December 30, 2012, 06:04 PM
An awful lot of us old geezers managed to trundle our way through a LE career with one of those holsters without shooting ourselves or anyone else.

A well fitted holster will not allow the cylinder to turn while the gun is holstered.
There was a couple of times that a hammer strap or covered trigger might have got me kilt just a little.:eek:


So far, so good.

December 30, 2012, 09:21 PM
Beautiful old rig Iggy!!

Who made it?


January 12, 2013, 09:54 PM

Just ran across this thread again. Rig was made by Dave Keith
He makes a batch of different rigs.

See link.


January 13, 2013, 11:34 AM
I like the trigger covered on a SA gun like a Hi-Power or 1911. I carry condition 1 and if the safety is somehow knocked off, I don't want an exposed SA trigger.

A DA revolver, though, I have no worries about it for all the reasons above.

And Iggy, those are beautiful rigs. I really like that mag pouch.

January 31, 2013, 04:30 AM
A properly designed holster covers the trigger guard IMHO. Stuff happens. Things can get snagged.

Old Fuff
January 31, 2013, 11:43 AM
Everyybody has their own opinion, but I have carried double-action/hand ejector revolvers with exposed trigger guards with no problem for well over a half century, and over that time span don't know anyone else that has. If in addition you have a thumb-break safety strap behind the hammer/under the cocking spur the trigger can't be pulled.

A Colt SAA revolver carried in a similar rig with a safety strap located the same way prevents the hammer from being cocked, and so long as it is down on a empty chamber it is completely safe regardles if the trigger guard is exposed or not.

This business of having the trigger guard covered started with Jeff Cooper, who was dealing with cocked (and hopefully locked) pistols, and it's unquestionably true with Glock or Glock style pistols that have the manual safety as a little lever inside the trigger fingerpiece.

But between the different kinds of handguns holster requirements can be, and are, substantially different.

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