When testing the Rock Island Armory 1911 I found a classic holster to go with it. While shoulder holsters may be cool for Hunter and Kojak, I thought a more modern approach.  Mark from Squared Away Customs made an offer impossible to resist, and built us a custom Kydex holster and double mag holder, called Oscar and Delta.  We at Spotter Up love stories of people who make thing better, and find a way to do so outside the box, and usually out of necessity.  Squared Away started exactly this way.


You can read more about Mark and his business at www.squaredawaycustoms.com There seems to be some talk in professional circles about major Kydex gear manufacturers.  Who’s better, who endorsed them, and more importantly – why are they so freaking expensive.  But some people want to quietly build awesome holsters, and be good at it.  Mark’s passion for his craft is evident from start.  He answers the phones, manages the web traffic and oh, he builds all your gear.  Quality of that gear is evident from the start.  Ours came in Carbon Fiber Coyote.


A color which would make even a Bengal Tiger blush.  The Kydex Mark uses is  .080 inches in thickness, and it’s evident when you hold the product.  I have seen some Kydex holsters where light almost comes through the plastic, because of the desired cost savings.  When you’re bargaining with weapon retention, that should not be an option.  The Oscar is solid.  It doesn’t bend or give, which is nice to know before you even insert the weapon.  Mark bases his designs off actual weapons, not plastic replicas of them.  The resulting fit is perfect.  Snug, with just a little force required on the draw.  Running and rolling with the holster on still leaves the weapon secured.  Even flipping it upside down is not going to make dislodge it.


The combination of screws and rivets securing the holster looks great, and achieves the right amount of retention, but still allows for the draw to be smooth.  I also appreciate the fact that there is no extra or unnecessary plastic and corners.   Even with a full size 1911 I had a fit that was close to the body, and minimized the outward imprint.  The Oscar is an Outside-The-Belt model, and ours came with full belt loops.  I am a big fan of that option.

While paddle or open loops may allow for a faster removal of the whole rig, if you’re using it for 8 hours plus, the last thing you should worry about is if the entire rig is secure enough on your belt.  Squared Away offer a countless array of options.  Aside from some unique colors, you can request different speed clips, MOLLE clips, or Inside the Waistband loops.  Another great thing of dealing directly with the guy who makes your gear, is that you can ask for customization, and know that it gets done right.


Our Oscar has a slight cant forward, which makes for a beautiful draw of the Rock Island Armory 1911.  I love the fact that the weapon doesn’t just slide into the holster, it snaps into it.  I see a lot of guy use battle belts with these types of holsters in full kit.  If I wasn’t sure the weapon was positively seated, I would second-guess myself during certain evolutions, when you can’t necessarily feel your secondary weapon system.

Squared Away can also make you a custom holster for fixed blades, AR magazines and Electronic Control Devices.  Our double mag holster has a low profile, and retains the single stacks securely yet quietly.  There is no free play, and the magazines are easily indexed in and out.  Even if utilized with another belt accessory, the integration of Oscar and Delta are seamless.  Cost is always a factor when buying and comparing gear, and I usually refer to it in the reviews.  I think to the end-user it makes a lot of difference when comparing options.  So when I see the quality offered by Squared Away Customs at 1/3 less that the big name competitor, and I know it’s made by a guy I can shake hands with rather than a machine, here in the US of A, I will always bring it up.


A couple of tips to the end-user, regardless of where you order.  Research your options, and figure out where and how you will use your holster.  The fit and environment will determine what options you will need, and one size will not fit all.  Be patient.  I was very impressed with a few week’s turnaround time from Squared Away.  A holster for your weapon is not like a pair of pants for you. You shouldn’t have to deal with extra loose, when you wanted a straight fit.  But sometime its hard to know what you’re getting, until you have it in hand.  This will not be a problem when buying from Squared Away Customs.  Stay tuned for a video on Oscar and Delta.

By Rab

Rab has been in public service for some 17 years, holding several specialized assignments, and becoming a law enforcement and emergency services instructor. He has 10 years in the military and currently serving as a reservist, fire team leader and medic. He enjoys learning, writing, doing grunt work, and helping other vets in need. To further that goal, they started Grunt’s BBQ and Easy Company. A future mobile chow hall, coming to an AO near you.

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