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Thad Rybka custom leather.

He's been thought of in the leather maker's world as something of an enigma. No Internet Website; no fancy, full-color brochures, he doesn't even publish his phone number. But, every leather maker I've talked with has nothing but respect for Thad Rybka and his holsters. His attention to detail and period authenticity are second to none. That's why Rybka's western rigs have appeared strapped around Tom Selleck in his last two western movies.

Thad says he cannot give the task at hand the proper attention if he's running over to answer the phone every 10 minutes. And, when you buy a Thad Rybka holster, you will appreciate that attention to detail. You'll wish he made your car instead of your holsters.

Rybka started making holsters back in 1959 while still in high school. Chic Gaylord and Andy Anderson were his role models and had great influence on his work. Gaylord was the author of the 184 page Handgunner's Guide and perhaps the most influential designer of modern concealed carry holsters. Anderson was a giant in the Hollywood western holster arena and one of the most sought after and copied makers of his time.

Old Time Quality

Thad runs a one-man custom shop. "I've always been a one man shop and I always will be a one-man shop", Thad told me. Due to his passion for detail and quality, Thad prefers not to have his phone number out to the general population. Perhaps this adds to the mystique. But, if you want a Thad Rybka holster, you will need to write him at his Springville, Alabama shop. Break out a pen and paper; write down what you want; put it in an envelope: place a 37-cent stamp on it and put it in a mailbox. He'll contact you shortly.

Rybka resists naming his holsters because each one is different. The exception to the rule is the Rhodesian, as the first one made was shipped to Rhodesia. He cuts all the leather by hand and doesn't use standard clicker dies. You will find he uses only vegetable dyes and of course hand finishes each holster. The finishing detail is where his holsters leave the others behind. His minimalist style with clean lines, fine finishing and detail leaves you just staring.

Understated Elegance

Don't confuse minimalist with plain here. The Rhodesian and his other holsters exude an understated elegance I've found nowhere else.

The Rhodesian's light brown roughout finish, white stitching and unbelievable hand boning show the quality you come to expect from Rybka. This holster's straight design lends itself to a rapid and sure draw cycle. The fit is as precise as they come. Leather coverage keeps errant fingers from the trigger. It leaves a slight channel to protect the front sight from scraping leather from inside the holster and possible damage.

Thad Rybka initials and dates each of his works. It shows me that this is a maker who is proud of the quality and attention to detail he puts into his work. Funny, I can't find the initials of the guy who made my SUV anywhere on the vehicle no matter bow hard I look.


Thad Rybka Custom Leather Equipment 2050 Canoe Creek Road Springville, Alabama 35146
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Title Annotation:Out Of The Box
Author:Douglas, Dave
Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Feb 1, 2004
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