Grassburr Leather: Rattlesnakes and Gun Leather

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My brother, Johnny Gardner, who owns and operates Grassburr Leather Works, in Fischer, TX. has built himself up a pretty good reputation for the popular “C-Burr” line of mountable holsters he produces in his shop for customers from all over the country.

Grassburr Leather Works specializes in Western-style holsters, and full gun belt rigs popular with single action enthusiasts. These are all Grassburr designs, and are made in-house. Additionally, being an authorized dealer for both DeSantis Gunhide and A.E. Nelson products, allows Grassburr Leather Works to also sell the latest holster and belt designs for the modern day semiauto pistolero and conceal carry customers. The company likewise offers a variety of other leather goods such as guitar straps and dress belts.

The holster that got Grassburr Leather Works off and running in the industry, however, was what would become the mountable “C-Burr” holster. Now, a lot of popular products out there in the world today, no matter what they are, were born of necessity – a situation existed at some point in time, for which there may not have been a ready solution, so somebody invented a solution. Simple as that. This is sort of how the “C-Burr” holster came to be.

My brother and I grew up in what is known as the South Texas Brush Country. Some farming, but a lot of ranching industry in the area around, and west of the town where we grew up. We were outdoor kids, and we spent a lot of days hunting, fishing, and working a few cows with our dad and his adult friends.

That country in the southern part of the state, has a well-deserved reputation for having, not only a lot of – but also, some of the biggest Western Diamondback rattlesnakes in the country. I can truthfully say that when I was growing up down there, I can remember seeing a huge rattler crossing a country road that had his head in one bar ditch of the road, and his tail in the other on the opposite side of the road. As we used to say in South Texas, ”…now that’s some tall snake!”

Farmers and ranchers hated rattlesnakes, and the general feeling among the majority of them that I knew as a kid down there, was that if you came upon a rattler – or any of the other pit viper snakes – on your ranch, you “took him out.” That usually meant with a firearm of some kind that the rancher would most certainly have with him in his vehicle. The problem was, however, accessing that gun, before the snake could crawl away. Once the reptile made it to grass, or some other brush cover, or perhaps a rat hole, he was lost. A “clean getaway”, so to speak. Ranchers hated that.

My dad had a good friend who was a local veterinarian and rancher. It was on this friend’s ranch that Johnny and I would spend the majority of our time with Dad, hunting, and occasionally working cattle. It was also here, that we would come across some of the largest rattlesnakes that we would ever see.

Dad’s rancher friend always carried at least one gun, and usually more than one, in his vehicle while on the ranch. He kept a pistol readily available for quick access, solely for the purpose of a rattlesnake encounter. He had a crude leather holster, made by a single piece of saddle leather, simply folded over and stitched at the bottom. It looked like a big leather “envelope”, with one end opened to receive the pistol. This was bradded to a metal “U” frame that he mounted underneath the dash of his vehicle. I was always impressed with that concept, as a kid. So much so, in fact, that I made one just like it on my own, when I was in high school, for my dad’s pickup. We used that holster every time we went to the ranch, or to our own little family farm outside of town. Fifty or so years later, to present day, I still have that holster in my box of accumulated holsters.

Johnny also never forgot that holster, or the concept for which it was made. Years later, when he further developed his interest in working with leather, he recalled that concept. He foresaw, not only its usefulness on farms and ranches but also could see how it could be an important resource tool for personal protection in certain applications.

Quick access. That’s what the concept is all about, and you don’t have to look far to see that other holster makers across the country are on board with the same idea.

Sure, there are legal restrictions, as far as where/when you can have a gun in this type of holster in your vehicle, but if you are going to have one, you need to be a responsible enough individual to know when and where legal restrictions apply, especially in the public domain. On private property, the restrictions are certainly less of an issue, but that doesn’t negate an individual’s responsibility for safety, and ethical handling of firearms – especially handguns. That being said, when a potential customer explores the quality, size, color, and material options – plus the two choices of mounting brackets available – for the “C-Burr” holster, including options for a total cover shroud over the entire rig, there’s no doubt that Johnny and Grassburr Leather Works has come up with a winner in utilitarian holster design that is the envy of many other holster makers. A lot of folks are buying them. That’s got to tell you something! JG

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