A.E. Nelson Leather of Scio, Oregon
By David Tong
In my continued quest to find good quality leather goods for carrying pistols, I stumbled upon A.E. Nelson. While perusing a used holster bin at a local gunsmith’s shop, I found one of their products and it appeared quite workmanlike, simple, elegant and functional.
It intrigued me enough to visit their shop several months ago and I have become a repeat customer. Gary Struckmeier and his wife Catherine (Kitty Nelson) Struckmeier own and operate this third-generation small business with just three other employees and they indeed build good kit.
The holster pictured below is one they made for me for a pistol that will be the subject of a forthcoming article for the Guns and Shooting Online readership, the little-known Browning BPM-D 9mm. After I acquired it, I found out that it was built for only two years and in very limited numbers. Its related cousins, the Models BDM and BRM were also in production less than a decade, so it is unlikely that any major holster company will ever bother to build something for them, leaving only the custom makers.
I am a great admirer of the late Bruce Nelson’s (no relation) “Summer Special.” It is an inside-waistband design of two-piece construction and features a rough-out natural finish for its natural friction within the trousers and a stiffening additional piece of leather, often with a steel reinforcement, to allow one-handed re-holstering of a discreetly carried concealed handgun. In addition, the leather strap pivots about its “one-way” snap to allow for some angle adjustment within one’s waistband, for both comfort and concealability.
While A.E. Nelson had not made a holster of this design before, I entrusted my Browning to them for use as a pattern and two weeks to the day later, my holster was completed. This sort of service is unheard of by any other holster maker with whom I am familiar.
Moreover, the leather they use is Hermann Oak, a type and thickness of leather that is ideal for long, useful life. The holster is comfortingly familiar. I have carried a 1911 in a similar holster from an out of business maker for over 20 years and this example is simply superb.
I highly recommend the company and its products, without reservation. You can reach them at 38492 Gilkey Road, Scio, OR 97374, phone 503-394-3412 and visit their web site at www.nelsonleather.com
Please let them know you read about it on Guns and Shooting Online. I am very grateful that this small business exists to support the shooting community with fine work and excellent customer service.
Copyright 2009 by David Tong. All rights reserved.