Good things are worth waiting for. When my 12 gauge side-by-side shotgun arrived in 2008, it obviously deserved a worthy case. A breakdown case- finely made and fleece lined- seemed just right. Problem was, I could never find one that fit my minimal criteria: a) it can’t be chintzy, and b) it can’t break the bank.
Well, not until last fall, when I was at a writer’s conference. While I was ogling his array of gorgeous handgun holsters, Mike Barham from Galco casually mentioned something about a shotgun breakdown case, also made by Galco. As soon as I could pick my jaw up off the floor, I pumped him for more information. He told me what he knew and showed me a picture. It was a thing of beauty, and I couldn’t help but notice the price point was reasonable. He informed me they were on backorder but I didn’t care- after waiting 11 years, I could wait a few extra weeks.
Galco Gunleather hit it big in the 1980s when Miami Vice star Don Johnson wore their leather horizontal holster on the show. You know, the strappy one that kept his handgun under his left arm and magazines under his right. Galco makes many more styles today, and I assure you they look and feel as good in person as they do in any photograph.
Their commitment to American craftsmanship and components is strong. All of Galco’s manufacturing is done domestically in Phoenix, Arizona instead of other countries, and they buy their leather from the very best of what’s available in America. They even have their own foundry for producing their brass components. Now, that’s impressive.
This all-American company passed the 50-year mark in 2019, and is going stronger than ever. Its name was not derived from President and Founder Richard N. Gallagher’s surname, as I initially assumed; rather, it’s an abbreviation for “Great American Leather Company.” After learning of the degree to which they keep their business in America, I think perhaps “great” isn’t an understatement whatsoever.
For the Sporting World
Galco’s Sporting Collection is a natural branch of their product line, geared toward hunters and shooters of long guns. It offers slings, cartridge holders, bags of all sorts, cases for long guns both scoped and unscoped, belts, and much more. They even have a fly rod case that should be the envy of any fly fisherman. Not surprisingly, quality American parts and craftsmanship shine through in every last item of the collection.
This, of course, extends to the breakdown case, which Mike describes thusly: “Galco’s Field Grade Breakdown Case is constructed of durable, water-resistant khaki cotton duck. We line it with acrylic fleece to protect the shotgun during transport. Finally, we trim it with genuine American-sourced leather in a rich, dark havana brown color. All hardware is solid brass, which we cast in our in-house foundry here in Phoenix.”
At Long Last
When I finally laid hands on my new case, I was of course very satisfied. But it reminded me of something. I ran downstairs on a hunch. Sure enough, my favorite rifle sling turns out to be the Tapered Rifle Sling from the Sporting Collection. I’d forgotten that. My experience with that sling assured me that my new shotgun case would not be a short-lived accessory.
After using my new case for the duration of the bird hunting season last year, I am happy to report it met all expectations for functionality and durability. Its craftsmanship is indeed top-notch and it looks as good today as it did when it arrived. From the cotton cover to the leather and solid brass parts, Galco-grade quality is apparent and sets this case apart from the many I’ve looked at in retail stores. The ample fleece lining cradles my gun’s components in separate compartments and assures maximum protection while in transit. I also came to appreciate the side pocket, as it is just the right size for my choke tube case or a big handful of shotshells.
And every time I stuffed it into a nook in the back of the car for another trip up north, I was reminded how much easier it is to pack a shotgun when it’s only half as long. I mean, I knew that would be a useful trait in a gun case, but I underestimated how useful.
Makes me wish it hadn’t taken so long to find it.