Is the old-school single-action revolver completely obsolete? I guess this is an argument worth having. Whenever I dig into the relevance of a firearm, I have to consider who would carry it, and why. And the Colt 1873 Army falls short in many categories. But maybe it is more a question of holsters. Meet the DeSantis Wild Hog.
First, the single action needs to be cocked in order to be fired. Unlike a 1911 that can be carried cocked and locked, the 1873 has no extra safety to reassure those carrying it cocked.
The second would be the sights. Most guns in this family have some rudimentary sights. They shoot straight and are easy to use, but they’re not known for one-hole accuracy.
The third goes back to the first point, in an odd way. Without a safety, and with a long travel on the hammer, there’s the outside possibility that the hammer could get snagged on something and pulled back far enough to pop a primer on its unplanned return. That would, as they say in the parlance of our times, suck.
Are those reasons not to carry a Peacemaker? Hell’s bells, no. This is a kickass piece of Americana, genuine living history, and a blast to shoot. And, as if you needed a legitimate reason, the Peacemaker is a rock-solid design.
Maybe it is the holster and not the gun. A good holster can make all the difference.
So what’s the best holster for the job?
I’m on this quest. My first stop was an antique store. My son—the one who likes to carry the Taylor’s Gunfighter—found a San Pedro Saddlery holster for sale. This left-handed OWB did the trick for him for a while. But he shoots right-handed, so there was a limit to the practicality once the novelty wore off.
He carries this gun when we’re hunting. I’m picky about how he carries it—I don’t want it in a traditional western-style open-top holster. That’s not good for climbing into deer stands, or anything that might require lots of bending and movement. He needed something more secure.
I landed on this DeSantis holster, almost by accident. I went looking for a traditional leather holster for a 1911 with a light, and found the Wild Hog—which isn’t for 1911s or guns with lights.
The DeSantis Wild Hog Field and Range Holster
The aesthetic pays homage to the old open-top designs, but there’s a big difference. This has a retention strap that buttons onto both sides, which makes the design ambidextrous.
The Wild Hog can be worn strong-side. It can be worn cross-draw. The size of your belt will determine how effectively anything other than strong-side works.
Here’s why. The slots are cut for a 1 ¾” belt. But that’s the max, and belt width will limit this. My 1.5” belt was a snug fit (and it is thick). In the cross-draw position, I didn’t have a place to put the tail of my belt. I had to wrap it over the holster.
Thinner belts with narrower widths will allow for much more adaptation. The way the belt slots are aligned gives you the option of a straight-up draw stroke or a canted draw.
The DeSantis Holster Build
The belt slots are cut into a strip of top-grain leather that is sewn over the split leather (what DeSantis calls center-cut steer hide) of the holster body. In order to produce the clean leather most prefer for holsters, boots, and such, the entire hide is cut to a uniform thickness. What’s leftover is still leather, but it has been split from the top grain. This split can be split to a uniform thickness and is incredibly useful, just not as shiny. It almost looks like suede—but is not as soft.
Splits are inexpensive and utilitarian. Ideal for a field holster. You can run through the brush and scrape against saw briars and bark and know the gun is protected and the holster is gaining the right kind of character.
This isn’t a molded leather holster, though. So many of the old designs were loose-fitting. In order to make a true molded leather holster, you need to wet-form the leather to the gun. As the leather dries, it shrinks to fit perfectly. It also gets your gun wet (unless you get really creative).
And the retention system will do its job, too. The strap comes completely off, so if you want to get all SASS at the range, you can. But in the woods, or on the move, there’s a strap to wrap up your Peacemaker (or really any similarly sized pistol).
The snap even has a reinforced plate on the back so you’re not stressing the leather at the point of the snap. It provides extra leverage for the break, too.
How does it stack up? Pretty damn well. I wear holsters every day, and I’ve got no issues about wearing this one. And the best part is the price. The Wild Hog is selling for $52.99.
Why Wild Hog?
Some questions are better left unanswered.
Nomenclature aside, this is a solid holster. DeSantis has some exceptional holsters in their lineup. If you appreciate classic leather, this is the place to start. And they have made a holster that you won’t baby—one that is meant to be worn for hard use, without apologies. And they made it affordable.
David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. David is a former backcountry guide in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Boundary Waters Canoe Area who was a college professor for 20 years. He ultimately left behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry and was (among other editorial positions) the Managing Editor for a nascent Mag Life blog. In that Higginbotham helped establish The Maglife’s tone and secure its early success. Though he went on to an even more practical firearms industry profession still, he continues to contribute articles and op-eds as time and life allow.
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