[su_heading size=”30″]For more than 50 years, Triple K has been a ‘go-to’ manufacturer for American-made magazines, grips and leather products.[/su_heading]
STORY AND PHOTOS BY FRANK JARDIM
Scores of ﬁrearms-related businesses have come and gone, but family-owned Triple K has produced their American-made core product line for more than 50 years.
Many shooters know the California-based company for their popular civilian and police holsters and leather equipment, and gun collectors worldwide know them as the ﬁrst, best and often only source of replacement magazines for vintage autoloading pistols and riﬂes.
More recently, they’ve developed an equally solid reputation for reproduction rubber and wood grips and buttplates for all manner of historic handguns and shotguns. The company’s slogan is “If it’s rare, obscure or collectable, Triple K has you covered,” and they truly do. I called them once for magazine for a century-old Belgian Bayard pocket auto. Not only did they have it in stock, company president Kurt Krasne knew the part number by heart.
A Triple K employee creates one of the company’s leather holster products at the factory in San Diego, Calif.
HIS FATHER, JERRY KRASNE, CREATED Triple K in 1963, and named it after his children – Kim, Kurt and Karen. In 1946, Jerry’s father and grandfather had started a family department store that sold inexpensive men’s clothing and World War II military surplus, and Triple K was originally an offshoot of that business. Jerry graduated from Stanford with a BA in economics and joined the business in 1952. He expanded the store to include ﬁrearms and sporting goods. They were increasingly successful, but Jerry recognized there were bigger business opportunities outside their local retail market in manufacturing.
The early 1960s were the heyday for the importation of collectible firearms, and Jerry saw barrels of otherwise great World War I-era Spanish Ruby automatic pistols coming into the country that were virtually unmarketable for lack of magazines. He decided to get into the magazine manufacturing business and sought out the skilled workmen and machinery he needed to do it.
The ﬁrst magazines he manufactured included models for Beretta 1934, Browning 1910, and Walther Model 4, and he sold them from a one-page catalog sheet. Today, Triple K makes and stocks about 1,100 different magazines, and continues to seek out vintage pistols so they can reverse engineer the magazine and add it to their line. They have produced over a million magazines and are the largest maker of obsolete magazines in the world.
Triple K’s next major product line was leather cowboy holsters and gunbelts. At the time, the Western was the most popular ﬁlm genre in America and it seemed like a good idea to feed the market Hollywood had created for buscadero rigs. Jerry bought a single sewing machine and hired a man to run it, and gradually acquired more equipment and know-how by buying out closing businesses. The family department store also had a lot of police customers from the local station on their street, and soon Triple K was manufacturing all types of leather duty holsters and equipment for law enforcement.
This pair of replacement grips for a vintage Colt pistol is one of thousands available from Triple K.
ALL OF TRIPLE K’S LEATHER PRODUCTS begin as 100-percent American vegetable-tanned leather hides, which are inspected and laid out by hand on pneumatic presses for die cutting, then dyed, and sewn into holsters, belts, slings, saddle bags, cartridge belts, ammo pouches, shooting bags, concealed carry purses, riﬂe scabbards, handcuff cases, baton carriers, and dozens of other ﬁnished leather products for shipment to distributors worldwide. They offer most leather products in walnut oil (brown), plain (natural), and black ﬁnishes, and in plain or basket-weave pattern.
Not only do they still make those low-slung cowboy-movie buscadero rigs, but they also make a replica of the holster worn by Han Solo in the Star Wars movie franchise. You won’t ﬁnd that one in their catalog, though; it’s one of many private-label leather products they manufacture for many other retailers, including Cabela’s.
In 2013, Triple K acquired Vintage Gun Grip Industries Inc., a Florida company that specialized in reproduction grips for collectible ﬁrearms. Vintage had even more grips products than Triple K had magazines. Each grip set is hand-poured and cast from precise molds made from the thousands of original historic grips in their reference collection. Need a set of black hard-rubber grips for your 1892 Colt New Army Revolver, Frommer Liliput, M1934 Beretta, or Remington .41 rimﬁre double derringer? Triple K will make them for you, and if you need the screw hardware, they can sell you that too. Screw hardware cost between $5 and $16.
Most grip sets cost $34, which represents the labor to make them more than the material. Many are in stock, but if they have to pull out the molds, it will take a couple days to get them poured, cured, sanded, cleaned and shipped to you. Be patient. You could not do it yourself for less or any faster.
MANUFACTURING BUSINESSES don’t typically run three distinctly different operations, but Triple K is far from typical. For founder Jerry Krasne, the business was simply an extension of his hobby, and to this day the company mirrors his passion for gun collecting, shooting and hunting. In order to make a magazine properly, you need to have the gun it ﬁts into, so Jerry sought out examples of every vintage autoloading pistol in existence and created one of the largest and most varied reference gun collections in private hands.
Eventually, he started recording information on the weapons, along with excellent line drawing, and published them in The Triple K Encyclopedia & Reference Guide For Auto Loading Guns. Now in its 16th edition, it remains a key reference guide for collectors. Looking through the book, it is nothing short of astonishing to realize that Triple-K makes magazines for virtually every pistol and riﬂe in it.
Kurt, Kasey and Jerry Krasne represent three generations of Triple K.
Magazines vary in cost but generally run around $38 to $44 for the rarer vintage guns. These are usually made up in runs of 40 to 50 magazines and stamped from laser-cut blanks, which are then hand-welded. I asked how many years it would take to sell 50 1910 Izarra magazines, and Kurt informed me that sometimes he is quite surprised at how quickly what seems like a lifetime supply is depleted. They will sell one or two now and then, and out of the blue collectors can start ordering ﬁve at a time and then the company has to make more. Fortunately, their manufacturing process is now so reﬁned they can quickly set up the tooling to efficiently make small runs.
Magazines for more common guns generally cost less because they make a lot more of them and use more efficient production methods, like ﬁne blanking and automatic welding. For example, a standard magazine for the 1911 Colt is $16 and $30 for the German P08 Luger. Triple K also has magazines for weapons still in current production (for example, Glock, SIG, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, AR-15 and AK-47). They stock no fewer than 17 different magazines for .45 ACP Colt 1911s.
For more information, visit triplek.com, or call (619) 232-2066. ASJ
Posted in Industry Tagged with: Company Spotlight, Frank Jardim, Grips, holsters, Leather, Made In America, Magazines, Triple-K
[su_heading size=”22″ margin=”0″]An Interview With Jeremiah Savoy Of SAVOY Leather[/su_heading]
The American Shooting Journal spends a lot of time with different products and one of the things we do is look to our readers for the latest greatest guns and gear out there. One of the names that kept coming up over and over … and over and … you get the idea, is Savoy Leather holsters. What surprised us the most was that people from all facets of the shooting industry favor these holsters: tactical gurus, CCW carriers, cowboys, hunters and some who fit all of these categories. It is not often we find a product that seems to be equally coveted across such different groups. Savoy Leather falls into that category and we needed to know who these people were and how they did it. I reached out to Jeremiah Savoy who was nice enough to share a few of their eastern Oklahoman secrets. You’ll need to fill out some documentation before we disclose this classified information, but go ahead, it’s worth it. We will wait.
American Shooting Journal Who founded and owns Savoy Leather?
Jeremiah Savoy My wife Jerri and me. I am the president and she is the vice president.
ASJ So it’s a family business. Can you tell us a little bit more about your backgrounds, where you came from and how you became interested in firearms?
JS I was raised in south Louisiana and spent most of my life there. In 2013, my wife and I moved to Oklahoma where we thought we would have a better opportunity to grow our business. We chose Weleetka, where Jerri had previously enjoyed living.
ASJ This is my favorite question to ask: What was the spark that eventually started Savoy Leather? Many people have a great ideas, but those who take the steps to make them happen, well, these people are driven. Why were you and Jerri so passionate about doing this?
JS I felt I needed to focus a bit more. I was filling my time with random activities and wanted a new hobby. For my birthday one year, Jerri gave me a set of leather tools and some blank leather. I started making all kinds of things. The more I created, the better I became – people started requesting things. At first, I would just purchase more tools and give everything away. At that time things were financially tough. One day Jerri nudged me and said I would have to either slow my hobby down or start selling my creations. And so began our leather business.
Jeremiah Savoy designs and creates each holster by hand and says that he is happy to work one on one with customers if they have their own design in mind.
ASJ Sometimes we do not realize the number of folks it takes to put out great products, and for so many nationwide. Who makes up the team at Savoy Leather, and why have you chosen them?
JS Well, Jerri and I work at the shop every day, and there are currently nine other full-time employees with us. They are all local folks from the Weleetka area. We are trying to help this little town come back to life and employing them is the first step. We are trying to create an atmosphere where people love to work and enjoy creating heirloom-quality products. Our motto is “Let our family create an heirloom-quality product for yours.”
ASJ In all of the designs you have, Savoy Leather offers a lot of patriotic styles. Were you in the military?
JS Neither of us have been in the military, but we support our troops and enjoy making patriotic themes.
ASJ Looking at your leather goods you have a couple things going on: 1) I’m pretty sure I would be able to tell a Savoy Leather holster from someone else’s holster because yours has a very specific look and feel; and 2) There is a lot of diversity in the designs. Who makes your designs and can people submit their own?
JS I am the artist behind most of the designs, but we welcome original ideas from customers. Sometime people may not realize that their creation simply can’t be made in leather, or, more to the point, it will not look good, so we work with them to create the design they love and one that works.
Savoy Leather uses 100 percent American-made materials and all of the holsters are created in Weleetka, Okla., east of Oklahoma City.
ASJ What has been your favorite piece to create and why?
JS My favorite piece was one I created for the Lone Survivor Foundation, founded by Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell. It was a fun challenge to create that piece, and best of all, it was for a great cause. It is always an honor when we are asked to create an item for a foundation that we believe in.
ASJ What have you tried to make that you have not perfected?
JS I am passionate about everything that I do. I’ve attempted to work with wood several times, but I am just never satisfied with the outcome.
ASJ Where is the furthest you have shipped a product?
JS There are a couple guys in Guam who started out as customers, and ended up as friends. That has, thus far, been the furthest we’ve ever shipped anything. I always laugh when I talk to them on the phone. With the time difference of almost a full day, I feel like I’m getting a call from the future.
While most of their customers hail from all corners of the US, shipments have been made as far away as Guam.
ASJ The gun industry is very broad. There are tactical shooters, competitive shooters, hunters, law enforcement or work-related shooters, collectors, historians – it goes on. What group do you feel is your largest demographic within this industry?
JS We have tailored our work, a bit, to each group. A lot of these shooters have several guns and most carry on a daily basis, so even if someone is more inclined towards one group or another, people seem to have guns that they are proud of and like to show off. You don’t want to pull your awesome gun out of a funky holster. It should compliment the gun and show a glimpse of the owner’s personality.
Jeremiah and Jerri Savoy started Savoy leather as a hobby that has grown into an 11-person, holster-making company.
ASJ Looking ahead, what are your goals?
JS Our one-year goal is to get the word out about our products. We would like to see them in more gun stores, and we are currently putting together a wholesale plan for dealers. Above all, we want to make sure we continue the same level of quality. All of our holsters are made with 100 percent American materials right here in Oklahoma. As our products hopefully become more popular, we would like to have a production rate that can employ as many as 50 people. We have a love for this area, and we want more Americans working.
ASJ Do you have any charities that you support that you would like to share with our readers?
JS Other than the occasional holster donated to auctions for charities, we do support our friends at Trinity Outdoor Disabled Adventures. This is an awesome group who take the disabled on fishing, hunting and camping trips, just to name a few. They have dedicated their time, effort and hearts to sharing the joy of the outdoors with people who may not have the ability to do so by themselves.
ASJ What is a personal motto or thoughts you and Jerri try to live by?
JS Our personal motto is “Put the Lord first and he’ll take care of the rest.”
ASJ Thank you, Jeremiah, and give our love to Jerri.
JS Thank you for the opportunity. ASJ
Posted in Industry Tagged with: Artistic, Cowboy, designer holster, Jeremiah Savoy, Leather, Oklahoma, SAVOY Holsters, SAVOY Leather, tactical