Bianchi 55L Lightenin' first impressions

I wanted another option for carrying my M640 besides in a pocket holster even though my preference is pocket carry and I feel I’ve got an excellent pocket holster for that purpose,
Besides the Lightenin’ was on sale :laughing:
It is Hencho en Mexico as are all the current Bianchis (now part of Safariland)
You can still get real Bianchi made holsters from Frontier Leather however the old classic Bianchi designs are now apparently the property of Safariland, so there you go!

The leather is good—thick, supple and good smelling. Mexican tanners have a bad reputation from the cheap souvenier leather goods tourists pick up, but wherever Bianchi got their leather from, it’s realy good stuff–no worries!

The 55L has a retention strap that fits over the trigger guard, like a thumb snap but not and my thumb naturally falls higher up on the frame. Being for concealed hammer revolvers, a conventional thumbsnap wouldn’t offer the security needed.

But more on that later.

There are two different versions for this holster for J frames, one is for the 1-7/8" barrel, the 2"+ barrels are different so there’s a heads up----the longer barrel won’t fit the shorter holster,

It is a tight fit and Bianchi recommends that the strap be stretched to fit your revolver and let it sit that way for 24 hours to “set” It really takes a lot of muscle to do this to get it to snap, but I did it so don/t get discouraged. You’ll be rewarded!
My 640 wears Pachmayr Professionals which add some much depth beyond the original stocks but I was still able to stretch the strap to fit. I don’t know if it will work with other stocks, Tylers, or a laser pointer.

The “hand” molding doesn’t look hand molded to my eyes, however it fits the gun tightly so I suppose it doesn’t matter. Being concealed no one should notice anyway

My 55L fits my Hank’s Belt The Gunner 1.5" securely. It is also far more comfortable to carry than any of my IWB holsters.

Now the thumb snap that isn’t quite a thumb snap takes some getting used to. I’ve found that a quick draw takes considerable practice, but in situations where strap retention is important it’s worth the extra work—there simply aren’t a lot of alternatives in leather holsters for the 640.

For an open top OWB, I like the look of the Milt Sparks PMK which rides lower than usual open top holsters, offering a little better security as I’ve found snub nose revolvers can get “top heavy” if you’re moving around a lot, Maybe it’s just my imagination but that’s one more thing that attracts my to having a retention strap, The Bianchi is not a Milt Sparks, but it is half the cost—something to take under consideration if you’re bent on filling up that holster box.

I can see it being useful when I can’t pocket carry and it conceals well under a Hawaiian shirt or sweatshirt,

3 Likes

I just watched a YouTube video on it and it looks like a nice holster and well made. https://youtu.be/jnq3NUMo84Y

1 Like