A Gen-X’ers Review of The DeSantis Speed Scabbard

DeSantis Speed Scabbard

Ok, guys, I have a confession. I’m one of those shifty, self-centered, good-for-nothing Gen-X’ers. It’s true. In addition to the other flaws inherent in this condition, I am also one of those guys that doesn’t really know leather. Sure I like the smell of it, but beyond that I’m pretty much lost. Take a look at the photo below. Does that look like a guy that knows the first thing about leather? Nope! So when Gene DeSantis offered to send me DeSantis Speed Scabbard, I said “sure!” but I knew I had to get smart on animal hide pretty quickly.

The author en route to Afghanistan way back in the mid-aughts, aboard a U.S. Navy flat-top.

Getting Educated

So, I called up a guy that knows leather like the back of his hand – none other than acclaimed author and noted revolver nut Mike Wood. Right out of the gate Mike was way more excited about this holster than I was. Like a kid who sees a revolver and automatically thinks “cowboy”, I look at leather and my mind immediately jumps to “outdoors”. Mike saw something different and quickly set me straight. Though you can wear it outside, this is a concealment rig, he told me. So, I started carrying it.

DeSantis Speed Scabbard

First, I started carrying it around the house. A 4″ L-Frame is no small gun, and I’m not a big guy so I questioned my ability to conceal it. After several days I was confident enough to take it out for the milk run. I threw on my loosest t-shirt and headed to the grocery store. Much to my amazement, I was actually able to conceal 39 ounces of steel pretty well. This made me a little more impressed with the DeSantis Speed Scabbard, so I started carrying my 686 a little more often. Now I try to get it out of the house a couple of times a week, and here’s what I’ve learned.

The DeSantis Speed Scabbard

First things first: this is a beautiful holster. The cowhide is evenly dyed, hand-boned, and wax finished. The edges are burnished, and the thread is a durable waxed nylon that is doubled up in some critical areas. The cut is sharp-looking and precise, and mated near perfectly to its intended cargo. Looks are great, and I like good-looking gear. Looks alone won’t win  the day, but as I pointed out in my post about 5-Star Firearms loaders, good looks can be indicative of overall care and attention-to-detail. I can really get behind that.

Desantis Speed Scabbard

Throwing it on the belt it becomes apparent this is a thoughtfully designed rig. The first thing I noticed is how tightly this holster holds the gun to my body. With a gun this big, that is a really important factor. The Speed Scabbard also places the cylinder just above the belt line, which helps reduce its thickness on the waist. Another feature, and the one that really gave me some confidence in carrying a big gun, is the forward “FBI” cant. I am a fan of canting holsters because they let a little guy like me hide some pretty decent hardware. I also happen to like the draw stroke with a canted holster.

The “Wings”

The other big thing about The DeSantis Speed Scabbard: the “wings” that cover the hammer area. These are visually distinctive, and you’ve probably noticed them. The purpose of these wings is twofold. First, the have an inboard bias and provide some passive retention. This doesn’t slow the draw, and it doesn’t require an additional motion to master. Second, the wings protect the cover garment from the sharp hammer and rear sight. All of that is impressive enough, but – they do it without impeding a strong firing grip.

The standard technique levied by holster-makers wishing to leaving the grip accessible is to cut down on material at the top of the gun. That’s cool, but DeSantis seemed to want their cake and eat it, too – the protective/retentive wings, and no interference with the grip. And they have nailed it as far as I’m concerned. I can still come in for a high, firm grip without having to worry about the holster getting in the way. This is no small feat in my book.

DeSantis Speed Scabbard

Important note: the “wings” don’t appear on all models of this holster. They do seem to come on most of the revolver models, however. Some of the semi-auto versions of the Speed Scabbard come with a tension screw instead. I feel pretty lucky that this model has them because they really do add value.

The Bottom Line

Color me impressed. I’ve carried my 686 concealed occasionally, but never in jeans and a t-shirt. Packing the old L-frame is usually a winter sport facilitated by a long, bulky coat more than anything else. To be able to throw this rig on in the middle of summer and leave the house is pretty cool. That said, the 686 isn’t replacing my 640 Pro for everyday carry. However, I am hanging onto this holster and carrying the big gun is now a viable option.

If you’re looking for a rock-solid, American-made, leather OWB check out the DeSantis Speed Scabbard. It comes in and brown and black, for both right- and wrong-handed people. It’s available for a ton of revolvers including S&W J, K, L, and N Frames, Ruger SPs, GPs, and LCRs, the Kimber K6S, and several Colt revolvers. Oh, and they make it for a slew of those newfangled “jam-o-matics” if you lean that direction.

The DeSantis Speed Scabbard lists at around $80 bucks†, but you can pick them up beginning closer to $50 on Amazon. When I realized I could get a holster for what I’d spend on two double-half-caf-soy-lattes and a six pack of organic, cage-free, grass-fed, micro-brewed beer in biodegradable cans, that felt like a steal to this Gen-X’er!

†For a 20% discount on orders from DeSantisHolster.com, use offer code GAF20 (I receive no compensation for the sale of any DeSantis products). Thanks, Greg!

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Author: Justin

Justin Carroll is a former MARSOC Marine and veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaving service after eight years in the U.S. Marines, Justin continues his involvement with a variety of government agencies to this day. Justin began RevolverGuy.com in late 2016 with an simple idea: provide an source of high-quality information for revolver enthusiasts.

26 thoughts on “A Gen-X’ers Review of The DeSantis Speed Scabbard”

  1. Depending on which date range you use, I am either a young Gen-X’er or an old Millennial (and either option is detestable to me), but I grew up with leather. My dad made many of his own holsters and knife sheaths, so I naturally started doing the same when I began owning handguns. There are a few specific things that you can do with kydex that you can’t with leather, but for most uses a leather holster can be made that works right and looks so much nicer. Congratulations on finding a holster that lets you carry the 686 and that has the class of traditional materials.

    1. Revolvers definitely look better in leather! I won’t be turning in my Kydex anytime soon, but I definitely love the look, feel, smell, and – yes – even the creak of leather on the belt!

  2. Ah, well, we like you anyway…

    Still think revolvers sit best in leather, but then I’m a sentimentalist. I’ve even given up kydex for my Glocks because it just carries more comfortably for me even if it doesn’t release the gun as quickly… guess I’m just weird that way.

    Nothing wrong with DeSantis and good for them for reaching out to you. Sneak a peek at Mitch Rosen if you want breathtaking leather, or, my standby, El Paso Saddlery for stuff that’s been working for over a century.

    1. Thank you, David. There’s probably some sentimentality, but leather also has some benefits. And if it works for you, that’s all that really matters. I doubt Mitch Rosen or El Paso be interested in working with a two-bit operation like RevolverGuy, but I might reach out to them and see if they’d be willing to send me something. And not to start rumors, but we might be seeing a review of Tex Shoemaker’s Jordan rig from Mike Wood pretty soon…

      Thanks again,

  3. Great article Justin – thanks. Here is a promo code you and your followers can use anytime on the DeSantis website store. GAF20. It will get you 20% off the DeSantis online price. ENJOY!!!

  4. When I got to the end of the article I was ready to order, but alas, no support for a 3″ N-frame S&W.

  5. John, call them up. You’d be surprised what they can do to help you with a special order like that. Good folks, there.

  6. I have to put a plug in for DeSantis. I lost a screw for one of my Second Six Speedloader pouches. I didn’t see the part on the website. Called customer service and told them I lost a screw and offered to buy in whatever size pack they come in.

    The lady in customer service wouldn’t have any part of me paying. She said I’ll just call the warehouse and we’ll just sent you some.

    Week later a pack of 4 arrived, no charge. Really impressed me.

    I now use a drop of Blue Loctite on the screws.

    As Mike said, Good folks there….really good folks.

  7. You are not old enough to use “Jam-O-Matic”. I first heard that from a well worn police officer when I started my adventure into policing in 1982. He started the job somewhere back in the 60’s.

  8. Haha! That’s funny, Jack!

    As the honorary Vice President and Assistant Grand Poobah of the RevolverGuy Sanitation Division (I empty the trash bins), I must draw your attention to Section 19, Article 357, of the RevolverGuy Bylaws, which states:

    “A RevolverGuy, regardless of date of manufacture, is allowed to use any and all derisive terms to describe firearms of the self-loading persuasion, to include, but not limited to, the following:

    1. Jam-O-Matic;
    2. Self Chucker;
    3. Square Gun;
    4. Pistolus Jammus;
    5. Semiautomaticus Boringus.”

    So, I think he’s in the clear. ; ^ )

    1. When I was thinking of buying a Walther PPQ, a revolver toting friend of mine (45-70 BFR, S&W 629 and Highway Patrolman) said he guessed we could still be friends even if I adopted an “alternative gun lifestyle”!

  9. Not having any experience with DeSantis, I will admit to loving leather holsters though they do have a nearly imperceptible ‘slow the draw’ factor simply inherent in the materials grip.

    That said, I’ve housed my Police Six in the Jordan designed Kirkpatrick Border Patrol for decades. When the GP100 snuck into my gunsafe, it came housed in– you guessed it– a Kirkpatrick Border Patrol. Am looking forward to any reviews of Jordan style rigs since the man is one of my gun ‘heroes’.

  10. I enjoyed the first Speed Scabbard I purchased for one of my round butt S&W K frame snubbies that I bought one for each revolver I have. Of course, the (now) adult kids that “selected” a K frame Smith as their first EDC from Dad’s safe also poached the matching speed scabbard. Just ordered one more for my latest one needing a good home. These are excellent concealment AND comfortable holsters for driving/sitting driver/passenger positions, and for the few times I had to ride a desk.
    While kydex does have a place in my holster lineup, my revolvers and special pistols only get leather.

    1. Malcolm,
      Thanks for writing in! I’m glad to hear you’re happy with the Speed Scabbard(s) – it’s always great to hear from other users. I’m also really glad to hear your kids are into packing revolvers! Send ’em this way, would ya?
      Thanks again,

  11. I like both the looks and description of this holster. Unfortunately they don’t make one for my 4″ King Cobra.

    1. Back in the day, I found that holsters sized for the 686 usually fit my King Cobra very well. Give DeSantis a call–I’m sure they can let you know if that’s the case with theirs.

  12. While I am a semi-auto toting gen-nexter (32yo) guy (grew up with Glock and have genetic degenerative neuropathy so I can’t handle the double action triggers, not possible) I am a firm believer in leather over kydex. It’s more comfortable, looks better, feels better to the touch and rides so much better than any kydex holster can. I do have an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB that is comfortable but not nearly as good as my speed scabbards.

    I’ve owned speed scabbards for every gun I’ve ever owned (Glock 20, XD45 Mod 2 Service, M&P 9 Shield, my wife’s Taurus 85c from before I was born) and I’m waiting for my newest addition (being delivered today) that holds the Walther Creed (picking up tomorrow) and they have all been flawless. The tension screw is useful although I’ve only ever needed to adjust it once on my Glock 20 because it was my first pistol and I was a little paranoid about it not being tight enough. They come factory perfect though and I won’t ever shell out the extra cash for a Galco or any other brand because there’s no need.

    1. Welcome Dan! Thanks for writing in. I’m glad your experience with the DeSantis Speed Scabbards has been so positive.

      Can you safely handle cocking a hammer on a single action revolver? I know it wouldn’t be a great choice for a defensive gun, but with all those autos in your battery, it sounds like you would enjoy having some more revolver in your life. ; ^ )

      The Creed is a super gun. I think it’s a sleeper, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Be safe, and thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  13. I have a 3″ S&W 686 Plus that I wouldn’t mind getting an OWB holster for; it seems this holster is worth considering. I actually have the Thumb Break model for my Ruger LCR. One of my favorite holsters for it but I’m not brave enough to wear it just under a tshirt, especially with the LCR’s standard handle .

  14. As someone that fits the categories of “Old School” & “Revolver Guy”, I’m far more in tune with leather gear than I am with plastic and other synthetics. Once we narrow the field to leather gear we must address the fact that not all leather is created equal. Some leather gear is worthless and some leather gear is excellent. If you play with leather gear and guns long enough you learn that there are some manufactures that you can trust to turn out quality products. DeSantis is one of those companies that you can rely on to turn out a good product.
    Back in the days when all law enforcement gear was leather, certain companies emerged from the pack to fill the needs of law enforcement and became trusted sources of leather gear for both uniformed and plain clothes gear.
    Names such as Don Hume, Bianchi and Galco became trusted sources of leather gear. Interestingly, some regional preferences also emerged. A person in the western U.S. was more likely to be seen with Bianchi or Tex Shoemaker gear. A east coast guy was more likely to be equipped with DeSantis, Bell Charter Oak or Mitch Rosen gear.
    In any event, it was the “Leather Part of the Gun”.

  15. Just a question, before I get to researching all this, do you know whether, or suppose, they may have this available for the S&W SS 686 Powerport w/6″barrel?

    1. I looked that up for you on DeSantis’ site for you. They only list the Speed Scabbard for the 4″ L-Frame.

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