Caution When Ordering: Updated Dec 12, 2019
As an unbiased reviewer, I've heard enough recent issues with order fulfillment and customer service responses that I feel the need to give an update and a caution.
As you can see in the reviews below, some customers are experiencing issues with receiving their radio straps. I've also received an email or two from his unhappy customers. If you follow JP Custom Leatherworks on their social media, you can see that he's still working and fulfilling orders. My guess... he's a little too busy for the orders he's taking, leading to delayed fulfillment and the inability to get to customer service requests as needed.
I still believe in the quality of the radio strap I received. I've continued to be very happy with the quality of my radio strap and how well it's held up over the last two years.
I'm stoked to be able to write about the amazing customer service and stand out product from Joe at JP Custom Leatherworks! I worked with Joe on a custom firefighter radio strap and radio holster, something different than the standard Boston Leather and something more reasonable than the Second Alarm radio strap. A handful of guys I work with at the fire department already have some radio straps, a few different brands, but nobody had ventured into Joe's products. I couldn't wait to see how his products compared, and I couldn't be happier!
As a fire department, we use Motorola portable fire radios. When we find ourselves in an IDLH (Immediately Dangerous for Life and Health) environment, this could mean a smoke filled room and/or a hot environment, we have to be prepared. This is where firefighter radio straps are becoming popular. Traditional placement of fire radios are in an exterior coat pocket, and the cord of the mic is exposed to the dangerous environment. Recent changes and studies have shown benefit to protecting the radio in a holster and doing so with it under your bunker coat. Then, the mic can be run through the opening of the bunker coat, exposing just what is needed, instead of the full length of the mic cord. This has led me to try a radio strap in training and during fires.
After a couple emails back and forth, Joe and I had decided on a leather type, stamps, and colors for the stamps. I was really happy with the turnaround time as well. All of the custom leather companies are 6-8 weeks out for custom radio straps, and JP Custom Leatherworks was no different. Want to know what was different with Joe? He actually emailed me a couple times throughout the process to let me know how the process was going! I've mentioned this to a couple of firefighters I work with and they are all floored with this! None of the other companies kept them updated.
Some of the other firefighters I work with have ordered the Second Alarm radio straps. They are really nice, but WOW do you pay for them! The standard radio strap will run you $165, and depending on options and add-ons, it goes up from there. I couldn't justify spending over $200 for a radio strap.
I could have gone with the standard Boston Leather model, but it isn't the best quality and the radio holster is questionable at best...
As you can see, the radio holster is rough, and I've seen many of them break within a couple uses. The strap itself is plain jane, and certainly not custom.
A friend of mine recently purchased a radio strap from an "undisclosed company", which I'll call Company X. After close inspection, there are all kinds of little problems with the radio strap. I've included a couple pictures that illustrate the lack of quality and lack of details in the little things.
The radio strap he bought was a "thin red line" model. The red line is painted/dyed through the center of the strap, but the line isn't straight.
These wavy dye lines are consistent throughout the whole strap. The gallery below shows a couple more of the small issues. The first shows a button that allows a cord holder strap to be wrapped around the mic cord. This is nice, but the button extended out passed the edge of the holster is rough. Next up is the American Flag stamp, covered by another belt keeper. This is caused by the adjusted length of the strap, but... Then, lastly, you can see some of the rivet marks in another belt loop. I'm not sure where these came from, but when looking close, the multiple marks stand out.
My coworkers radio strap has some great stamping of his name and department number. The stamps are painted in the center, then painted another color for the outline. When looking closely, you can see how some of the dye has bled over. At a distance, you can see the "pink" color created from the bleed over.
The bleed over is really noticeable in the stamping for his name, but I kept those pictures out to protect Company X and my coworker. I love the look of the two color stamping, with the outlining, but when the colors bleed over, it ruins the way it should pop!
I didn't really notice the difference in my coworkers radio holster, until I received mine from JP Custom Leatherworks. I was blown away at the quality and detail of Joe's radio holster, compared to Company X.
See? It looks okay, but upon closer inspection, the unfinished edge and the way the radio holster is formed, it just looks cheap to me. I'm sure Company X's customers are happy, and they provide a quality strap that lasts for a long time, but when I received my radio strap from Joe, I couldn't have been happier!
JP Custom Leatherworks Radio Strap
The first thing that stood out was the color and quality of the strap. It hit me when I open the box. The saddle tan is gorgeous!
I can't wait to see how this leather ages with some use. I really think it's going to get more beautiful as it gains some character after a couple fires and some daily use.
So I liked the idea of a black theme, hence the black lettering and black shamrock. I tried to find a problem in the painting, but couldn't! Look at the detail in the letter stamps and the shamrock! The attention to detail is absolutely stunning! You can get a close look at the black stitching, which I really think adds to the strap. The stitching is also spot on, not a bad stitch on the whole strap!
Speaking of attention to detail, take a look at this painted American Flag stamp!
You gotta be kidding me! I couldn't imagine the time it takes to put in that kind of detail and quality!
Joe added some blacked out hardware, which really adds to the strap as a whole. This, along with the brass/copper rivets, really stand out. I'm excited to see how the rivets age as well!
Last but not least, the radio holster the Joe makes is beautiful. The way the black stitching stands out with the saddle tan holster really makes me love it! When comparing the radio holster of Company X to JP Custom Leatherworks, well, there really isn't any comparison!
See! No comparison! And the new Motorola radios we just started using fit really well.
So, if you are looking for a firefighter radio strap and radio holster, JP Custom Leatherworks is where you need to go! Joe is a fellow firefighter, and one that obviously cares about quality, customer service and doing things the right way! I couldn't recommend Joe and JP Custom Leatherworks more!
Joe also has other products for sale. See below!
Jack of All Trades, Master of None