I have been familiar with Aker Leather for quite some time now. Although they may not be the biggest holster manufacturer in the industry, they’ve certainly been around a good long time and they products have a good reputation: quality, function, reliability. Recently they released a line of products they call “Black Label,” and, as you might guess, the implication is that it’s a little higher “on the shelf.”
The Black Label line, as I understand it, is going to include a rotating product line that is all manufactured from top end leathers and unique skins. For example, the test set I got combines leather and shark skin. The end result is a truly unique looking, stylish belt and holster set (and magazine pouch too, but I include that in the “set”) that is functional and comfortable. The test set I received fits my Springfield Armory 1911 and, for purposes of range testing, I used D&H Industries 8-round magazines.
As with any holster set, there are a few basic questions that need to be answered in determining its value to the user:
- Does it securely hold your weapon and spare magazines or other accessories?
- Does it, within its design limits, allow for concealed carry?
- Is it comfortable to wear for long periods of time?
Let’s take a look at the answers…
Does it securely hold your weapon and spare magazines or other accessories?
Bearing in mind that the Aker Black Label holster set is not designed for law enforcement duty use, the holster is not a security holster as we think of them. It provides good coverage of the weapon and is cut in a precision fashion that provides for a snug fit of holster to gun. There’s a tension screw that allows you to adjust how tight the holster “hugs” the weapon. I adjusted mine so that, tested with an empty weapon, I could turn the holster upside down and the weapon wouldn’t fall out. That means it takes a good, positive, intentional pull on the handgun to draw it.
Does that slow down my draw? While you might think so, I’m of the opinion that, under stress with a high amount of adrenaline flowing due to a threat, I’d get that weapon clear with no issues at all. Drawing quickly proved no challenge on the range during testing with the holster adjusted this way. The magazines fit snuggly in the double magazine pouch. While I’d prefer the magazine pouches to be deeper, again I remind myself: This isn’t designed for duty use. I won’t be running and jumping, etc. with this on, and if I am? The magazines were held in just fine during the few wind sprints I tried while wearing the set.
Does it, within its design limits, allow for concealed carry?
Yes. Absolutely. The holster itself is one of the few I’ve received that is molded into a properly curved shape rather than flat and needing to be broken in to conform to your body. This design allows for it to fit closer and print less under outer garments. I wore mine under both hoodies and jackets. There were no printing issues and, provided the outer garment is long enough, there’s no barrel-hanging-out-the-bottom-so-your-gun’s-not-truly-concealed issues.
Is it comfortable to wear for long periods of time?
My longest wear test day was just over fifteen hours with the holster set on and the weapon in it. It was a long Saturday of Christmas shopping at a nearby mall. On that particular day I was wearing jeans and a hoody with a t-shirt underneath. It’s imperative that the BELT in any holster set be comfortable both with and without the holster / magazine pouch on it, so I tested that separately as well. The belt itself I’ve worn on several occasions when I wasn’t carrying and it’s not as stiffly uncomfortable as some belts are. It fit just fine. Add on the holster and magazines pouches, holster a fully loaded (8+1) full-size 1911 plus two spare magazines, and if the belt doesn’t fit right to begin with, then you’re going to feel challenges. I didn’t feel any challenges. Excepting that my 1911 is significantly heavier than my other usual carry handgun (a Kahr CW4543), the Aker Black Label holster set was comfortable throughout that long day. I don’t see any way Aker could make it more comfortable and it certainly performed as needed.
My final thoughts? I like it. If I lived in a state where open carry was accepted, I’d feel comfortable using this holster set as my daily carry rig, secure in the knowledge that it looks sharp and performs as required. For officers assigned to plainclothes work, if you’re comfortable with not having a security strap on your holster, it’s a good looking choice.
For more information on it, visit Aker Black Label online and see if they have a set to fit your weapon. Stay safe!