Not all universal holsters come from the $10 bin at the local gun show. Some are legit concealed carry holsters, worthy of being in your shoebox of holsters because, hey, it’s universal. The benefit, obviously, is that you can carry more than one gun in it. Of course, the minute we hear of something being “universal,” we think of it as a lesser option than something specifically made for a certain make and model of gun. Surely, there’s much to love about holsters that fit one gun and no others.
But universal holsters aren’t universally awful. Some, like this Galco Jak Slide, are pretty decent. You know Galco Gunleather. This stalwart holster company makes and has made hundreds of handgun holsters. Some models persist. Others get dropped from the lineup. This particular one appears to be no longer available (wonder why?), but is a worthwhile addition to your collection if you can find one.
The P-07 worked fantastically in and out of the Jak Slide, as did a few other mid-sized pistols. Larger pistols and some revolvers did OK. Small guns moved around too much. Still, the holster fit multiple guns — what’s not to love? If you’re a minimalist or really need to get by with one holster, you might be able to do it in the Jak Slide. And, despite being universal, it’s made from premium leather and, for all intents and purposes, is a high-quality holster that will last a lifetime. It doesn’t provide a lot of grab on its own, but your gun is held in place by the tension created by your gun belt. Theoretically, you’d think you could cinch up your belt enough to handle a smaller gun, but the reality is smaller guns will just slip lower in the holster than you want them to, regardless of belt tension. So, stick to the mid-sized pistols and a few larger ones and this will work great.
As with many things, this holster’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Because it can accommodate so many different guns of varying widths and other dimensions, it doesn’t consistently grab on to any of them. Most of them stay, but some of them play, meaning they move fore and aft in the holster or they sit higher or lower than other guns. So you’re going to really have to train up to draw effectively from this rig. Another factor of this holster’s universal-ness is how it installs. It slides onto the belt, and it’s something between an inside-the-waistband and outside-the-waistband holster. It sits outside your pants waistband but inside your belt. You can flip it and wear it as a true OWB-style holster, but I wouldn’t recommend this. Since the Jak Slide sits where it does, the muzzle of your gun is outside your pants or shorts, exposed. That’s not a big deal if you have the right covering garment, but it’s something to be aware of if you have to raise your strong-side arm.
The Jak Slide is a comfortable holster. The leather on both sides of the holster is fairly thick, protecting you and your belt from pokey edges. With a gun installed, the holster does take up a lot of space inside your belt (but outside your waistband), so be sure you have a gun belt that has an extra couple inches to give and still buckle properly. Also, while you can wear Jak Slide just about anywhere on your belt, I found it to work best at 3 o’clock. A 1.5-inch belt slides through the cutouts nicely and offers a very stable and secure platform. With the back edge of the holster providing room for fingers, you can easily get a combat grip on your gun while it is still in the holster.
Hate: Hassle to Install
Finally, as with most belt slides, the Jak Slide universal holster is a hassle to install. Not that it’s a big deal to unloop your belt a bit and run it through the cutouts; it’s just that most other concealed carry holsters clip on or snap on or drop in or whatever. So there’s a bit of added complexity to wearing this holster. And about the gun belt, again: If you don’t have some extra space to give, then this holster solution may not work out too well. It could turn out to be an even greater hassle.
Back in the day, the Galco Jak Slide came in tan or black and retailed for about $65. I haven’t seen many variations on the universal holster since then — at least not one that functions like the Jak Slide. What say you? Do you use a universal holster of some kind? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.
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