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Cavalry Draw – Would you have given him what he wants?

Posted by Rob Longenecker on October 16th, 2006

I got a request the other day from a very nice guy who wants a holster I don’t want to sell him. He’s not the first who wanted an S.O.B. holster (small of the back) but he also wanted a left-handed version to use as a right-handed shooter. That set up means you draw with the back of your hand toward your body and it’s called a “Cavalry Draw.”

I really don’t like that setup because it’s inherently dangerous if he ever has to draw under the stress of life and death when there are many instances of unitentional premature discharges.

I wrote back:

“What you describe requires you to draw with the back of your hand toward your body. It’s called a cavalry draw. It’s no problem in practice but in a defensive situation your brain is shouting “shoot, shoot” to your trigger finger and it’s common that people have premature discharges. That’s only important because the cavalry draw often has you point the muzzle at your own midsection accidentally on the way to the target. There are countless examples of people (cops especially) firing rounds near their feet as they do a conventional draw. I’ve seen the aftermath of a shooting in a gun store where the holes in the carpet clearly show several “early rounds” fired. The holes went from just in front of the shooter and walked their way to the target.We won’t knowingly sell a holster to be worn that way.”

Here’s a link to an earlier post on the “Cavalry Draw.”

He responded with:

“Not even if I take full responsibility for myself? I know that we’re entering the last gasp of America’s socialist decline, but will “The customer is always right” still get me anywhere? Is there any way you could suspend disbelief and cater to my comfort?I’ll happily sign a statement that says that I only intend to use the holster with molded rubber gun replicas, for martial arts disarming practice on IWB SOB carriers. “I, being of sound mind and body, wish to risk the potential of a bumbled cavalry draw, in exchange for a virtuoso piece of novelty holster manufacturing.

I am not a law-enforcement officer, nor do I have any intention of ever working in that capacity, seeing as to the sorry state of our current laws…” I could, theoretically, draw the gun (keeping it just above the holster), extend my arm (pointing it down, towards the ground, behind me), twist my arm around my body (still keeping it pointed at the ground), then raise my arm to the firing height, all without hastily pointing the gun at my midsection. I also don’t put my finger in the trigger guard until I’m ready to shoot, no matter how I draw the gun. That’s a part of basic CCW training.I tend to keep cool and do things the right way.

The normal draw in the IWB holster is way more awkward than my IWB in the back. Moreover, the likelihood that I’ll lose clients or my freedom while carrying “the right way” through enemy territory is worth the minor risk that I’ll go bonkers and shoot myself on a “cavalry draw”. Plus, right now, I carry it that way, WITHOUT a holster! Is that any safer than having one of your holsters, which would give you a sale and make me happy?”

I get his point. I don’t want someone telling me how to carry. I know he’s over 21 and I really do like giving customers what they want, but Tucker and I don’t want to encourage something we consider a poor safety practice. I turned him down. Put yourself in my place. Would you have turned him down or given him what he wants?  









13 Responses to “Cavalry Draw – Would you have given him what he wants?”

  1. Patriot's Wrath Says:

    OK so I think you are both right. What if he hadn’t told you how he wanted to use the holster? Would you have been willing to make it then?

    I completely understand your desire to see your products used in a safe manner, but I’d have to say on this one. I disagree with you.

    Look at it this way there is no guarantee that you won’t sell a no cant RH holster that someone will where cross draw from an appendix position and accidentally shoot themselves or someone else.

    For that matter, plenty of people shoot themselves from a strong side normal draw as well. 🙂

    Sad but true.

    So in summary I think you were 100% right on up through sharing your concerns with him. At that point you’ve done your part as a high quality craftsman. From that point on, it’s the customers responsibility to be a responsible firearms owner and shooter.

  2. Joe Allen Says:

    Ironically, that refusal to give a customer what he wants is what makes your customer service so incredible.

    I applaud your decision to “stick to your guns” as it were, and not sell something that you feel to be inherently unsafe.

    You may have lost a customer over this transaction, but all the rest of us that have dealt with you before or who know your reputation… well, it just increases our confidence that you’ll not only stand behind your product – you won’t even sell it in the first place if it’s not the right tool for the job.

    By the way, didn’t the FBI carry calvary style strong side back in the 40s or 50s? Seems like the thinking was that if the agent’s dominant arm was disabled he could cross draw with his off hand.


  3. Walter Says:

    With all due respect, I think you\’re overstepping your bounds and (uncharacteristically) underserving your customers with this \’I know better than you\’ arrogant attitude. Look, you can\’t mother someone into doing the right thing.

    And if you made him aware of the risks and he\’s willing to take responsibility and he STILL wants to order one — fine. Sell it to him. It is not irresponsible to let people make their own decisions and practice functioning as fully-enabled adults.

    It\’s that kind of \’we\’ll make the decisions for you because we know best\’ that belongs on the unhinged far left and Cindy Sheehan, and I know you\’re not in that crowd.

    Call him back. Apologize profusely for acting like his mother and make the sale. A guy that determined will find someone to sell him what he wants, so he may as well be sporting a Tucker, right?

    And enough with the moralizing and hand-wringing. Bleeech! Remember, the whole of having a gun in the first place is to stop bad guys.

  4. Steel Talon Says:

    Hello Rob.

    My grandfather had a saying, “The customer may not always be right. However, without them we are nothing” so its up to you. If you say no than so be it. He’ll fill his want somewhere else.

    Who’s to say that any holster is truly safe on the draw, during retention or re-holstering? Its truly about the user and their understanding. With a behind the back draw it’s the same effect of the muzzle crossing the torso.

    FWIW.. You made your decision based on your sound judgement stick with it. You did good!

    Steel Talon

  5. brianinca Says:

    Saw your post on GT, didn’t want to get in the mix. Been in business for myself since right out of college (13 years). I learned early enough that there is good money and bad money. If you have a bad feeling, it’s bad money and no amount of it will make it better.

    If someone comes to you for your expertise, asks the question, and then argues about the answer, they’re not a customer – you’re selling your expertise in the form of a physical product, but it is still primarily your expertise that is the “value add.” In rejecting that, they have declined to become a customer in the first place. No harm, no foul, have a nice day.

    It’s kind of amusing to read the “give him what he wants” argument – you gave him what he asked for, your professional opinion based on your professional experience. He didn’t want that, cool.

    If you don’t like the answer, don’t ask the question.

    Brian in CA

  6. Rod Campbell Says:

    In juxtaposition with “the customer is always right” is the principle of choice. You choose what products you will sell and support. If you feel you cannot, in good conscience, stand behind a product, there is no moral imperative requiring you to compromise your standards.

    Too many times, products are sold that are known to be substandard. Too many times, poor solutions are sold to a customer who didn’t know any better. I think it’s commendable that you stuck to your own ethical standards, even though it cost you a sale.


  7. Blake Shelton Says:

    I agree with Brianinca about the bad money. I also partly agree with Walter. Rob fulfilled his obligation by informing the customer of the dangers of the cavalry draw. I think it takes a better man to go above his obligations and make a call on what he really feels is right. Unless you’re a doctor or an officer of the law you don’t have to stop at the scene of a car crash. You can just call 911 and be on your way. That’s all your obligated to do. But many of us have taken emergency first-aid courses and know how to help even though we aren’t legally obligated to. Does that mean we should just drive on? Should we say to ourselves, “Well, I’m really busy and there’s nothing in the law that says I have to stop and help?” Rob is a man who knows what he is talking about. Him and Tucker have both been there and done that. If Rob chooses to go above his legal obligations and do what I like to call “the right thing” then that’s absolutely his choice as the seller. And if it were me, I would have done the same thing. ~Blake

  8. Don Gwinn Says:

    Nope. Rob’s got every right to control what his mark gets stamped on. There’s no reason why he has to have a holster he thinks is unsafe out there on the market with HIS trademark on it. The customer can take responsibility for owning the thing, but he can’t take responsibility for making it. That’s Rob’s responsibility, and all he’s done here is refuse to pass the buck.

    I actually agree with the customer as to the draw itself–I don’t think it’s that much less safe than a lot of other common draws that also, in the real world, end up with you either pointing the gun at yourself or having very little real muzzle control (like shoulder holsters) but again, it’s not my name on the holster, is it? So my opinion, to be blunt, doesn’t really count here.

  9. Bob John Says:

    I see two separate and distinct decisions that have been made.

    1. He acknowledges and is willing to accept the greater risk of shooting himself.
    2. You are unwilling to supply unsafe holsters.

    Both of you have a right to your decisions; each remains separate and distinct.

    I do not know of a principled business professional who knowingly contributes to another person’s loss, risk, injury, or death. THAT is why you made the decision you did; I would not have expected anything less from you, Rob. Your decision has nothing to do with bad customer service; it has everything to do with maintaining principled customer service.

  10. Allen F. Mills Says:

    Thank you.
    I had considered that holster myself. I was advised against it by a range master for safey reasons, but he did not know why. Now I know why.
    By the way…calvalry holsters were worn on the right side w/ the butt forward not so people could do the “cavalry draw” but because the pistol was usually used w/ the left hand, and the draw was crossdraw. This was because the dominant hand was for the calvary saber. It had to be worn on the left side as the draw of a long sword had to be cross body. The usual mode was saber in the stong hand, pistol in the weak hand. There also was no room on the left side for a gun holster, as there was a saber scabbard there. If the pistol was used in the right hand, then the “cavalry” draw could be done. If a man had had cavalry service he wore his holster that way into the civilian world.


    Allen Mills

  11. Jim Linch Says:

    I think if he is aware of the risk and he’s a big-boy then it’s on him.

    Do you know that customers are packing your holster at 1:00 position in the newest fade called APEX carry? The muzzle is pointed straight at the femoral artery. Gabe Suarez and other well know instructors are encouraging this carry method and your cantable IWB is one of the preferred designs.

    No less dangerous than calvary draw. Do you ask them how they will carry the IWB? Would you deny them if they told you APEX mode?

  12. Jake Witmerq Says:

    It seems I’ve generated a controversy! I’m the guy who asked for the “cavalry draw” holster to begin with. I was returning to the Tucker site to see how their conventional tuckable V-clip holsters compared with the competition, and after noticing that they look pretty good, the link to this forum caught my eye.

    To clear things up: I never once believed that Tucker should be forced to make the holster for me, or that he didn’t have the right to refuse. Of course he has the right to withhold business from me or anyone else FOR ANY REASON HE SEES FIT. ANY REASON.

    He is well within the right regarding his decision, it’s only a question of whether he acted in good business sense or rational self-interest.

    In all truth, I’ve decided to save money for another month or so and get a couple of “non-cavalry-draw” holsters from Tucker (if he’s not too upset with me for questioning his wisdom 🙂 ).

    And it’s not because I’ve entirely abandoned the SOB IWB lefthanded crossdraw (which, according to Alan Mills is not technically the same thing as a “cavalry draw”). The reason is simple: I’ll carry “cross-draw SOB IWB” when I’m wearing a long jacket in Non-CCW police states (like CA, IL, etc… which is also something that both Tucker and I could likely agree is something to avoid, IF BETTER THAN THE ALTERNATIVE), and in the majority of my time out west, I’ll carry on my hip (with my suit-jacket on, with small weights to get the flap to always cover the hip), the way “I’m supposed to”. Why, you ask? …If I’m tucking the thing, it’s not like I’ll be doing a speed draw anyway… I’ll need to be untucking my shirt before I draw, so if I’m not slow and cool (when the crazed gunman walks into a McDonald’s and starts blowing away all the poor, disarmed sheeple), I won’t be doing anything for myself no matter how I’m carrying it. Tucker’s holsters seem to be cantable and adjustable, so maybe I’ll work on the awkwardness of BOTH ways I want to carry.

    My only concern regarding the Tucker holster at this point is this: how does the leather/kydex combo work on “The Answer” -I imagine it would be pretty nice, but not quite as nice as kydex on both sides (so the gun goes in fast, and smooth, with a satisfying “click!” when it’s snugly in place).

    Then again, I got a clip-on leather Don Hume holster for “lefthanded cross-draw” and I’m not drawing the thing really fast anyway, since the tight grip of the leather slows it down. it seems to be OK (I’ve never once put my finger inside the trigger guard by accident this way, and I’ve also never pointed the gun at my side/gut. The muzzle is only pointed at my left and right asscheeks as I draw it, which is unavoidable. The only slight awkwardness in my draw is when I am rotating the gun upright –away from the ‘sideways’ gangbanger style– to correct shooting position. In my opinion, this is less awkward than bending my arm backwards and up at an extreme angle on the initial draw. –A friend of mine who’s a martial artist agrees with me, and showed me how he could get to the side of me and control me with my gun arm if the conventional manner of rear-of-hip strong hand draw was too slow. He can step forward and in with one hand on your gun hand, the other on your elbow, point your arm behind your back at the innocent bystanders to the left of you, as he possibly forces your finger to squeeze off ND rounds, and then break your arm at the shoulder by lifting up, and take your gun. We both agree that my manner of draw is less awkward/noticeable, and slightly more difficult to grab my elbow and pivot my arm. Plus, it’s way more comfortable, and the handle of the gun sits comfortably in the small of my back all day, even when I’m driving–).

    I would like the speed of kydex though. (If I could have my druthers, I think I’d have a thin piece of kydex in front of the leather portion on “The Answer” this would stop the gun from wearing away the leather on the draw, and also lock the gun in place more smoothly for re-holstering). Even if “The Answer” doesn’t have this piece of kydex, it looks like it is a superb holster, and I really need something that’s more tuckable and less visible than the holster I have now.

    Sooooo, as soon as I’ve saved up another few hundred into my ‘gun account’, I’ll be giving Mr. Longenecker a call and seeing if he wants to do business with me as he normally does.

    Who knows? Maybe he’ll sell me so much on the idea of conventional carry that I’ll never go back to my “IWB SOB strong-hand draw”. Maybe I’ll just move to Arizona, stop traveling, and walk around “open carry” for my remaining days.

    Also, Brian from CA makes an incorrect assumtion in his criticism of my letters. I never asked for Mr. Longenecker’s advice about carry. I asked him if he would make me what I wanted, so that there wouldn’t be any misunderstandings about my order, and so I wouldn’t receive it canted the wrong way. I’ve found out the hard way that this is necessary if one is ordering anything outside the normal, online. I didn’t call Rob for advice. I called him to order a custom holster. My wallet is now $80 lighter, and I have something that works, but not something that is PERFECT.

    “The Answer” does seem like a nearly perfect holster, and one well worth purchasing when I get some more money. As I get more money, I think I’ll order a right handed conventional “Answer” and a Left-handed conventional Answer for my p-85 9mm backup.

    To Tucker’s great credit, it seems as though he’s one of 2 holster makers who fully services the Springfield XD-45 5″, which is my primary weapon. Perhaps as my weapons collection grows, I will begin giving Tucker my business.

    There’s a lot I like about Tucker, and I almost gave him my business last time anyway. I like the V-clip system, and I like the tuckable side-stabilizing-flaps. I like the thick leather and adjustable cant system with kydex’s lockability. They look like rugged holsters.

    I also like the fact that Tucker put this question to his fan base, and kept it up even though many of his fans have sided with me. That displays a true dedication to the truth, even if he did lose his first sale with me.

    Also, in the future, it might be good to call my style of carry/draw “Alaska”, because half of my friends there carry that way. They do so for comfort, concealablity, and ease of draw. None of them are in a cavalry, and only one of them -to my knowledge- draws lefty, so they can get at their sabers. I watch people all the time in AK, and try to see who’s carrying. By pure chance I saw a gentleman in the post-office’s jacket ride up in back, and he was carrying my way too. He pulled his jacket out, and the gun disappeared again. Will anyone ever go postal in AK? Probably not if the people in line are _comfortable_ while carrying, enough so that they actually carry.

    Of course, I’m not suggesting that my way is right. It depends on your body-type, how limber you are, how easily you keep your cool under pressure, how much you “follow the book”, whether you prefer graceful decay under duress (multiply-redundant backup plans), whether or not it means a prosecution if you’re noticed (in states where self-defense is illegal), what you feel comfortable with, what any corresponding martial arts training you’ve had works with, whether you’ll be driving with your system as well, as well as whether you’ll have the opportunity to alter your system before you start driving, etc… It’s a personal decision.

    I tend to be objective about “doing things the best way possible” given my circumstances. This makes me sympathize -to some extent- with Mr. Longenecker’s initial rejection of my transaction when I told him how I intended to wear the holster (in order to make sure he provided me with what I wanted). But hey, it’s HIS business.

    If he wants to do business with me in the future, now I understand what his limitations are.


  13. Mark Williams Says:


    I know this post is old but just wanted to say that it appears that both you and Mr. Longenecker are both stand up guys. I personally think it shows some class to come here and set the record straight.

    Seeing how they do business here, I’m getting serious about placing an order.


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