Making Change: A Less-Lethal Coin Purse from Mean Gene Leather - ITS Tactical

Shop the ITS Store!


Making Change: A Less-Lethal Coin Purse from Mean Gene Leather

By Bryan Black

I never thought I’d write a review of a coin purse. However, when Gene of Mean Gene Leather told me about his newest product, the “Hot Tamale,” I was thoroughly intrigued.

Gene’s website description for the Hot Tamale states that it’s intended for spare change, but can also be used for personal defense. We joked here that it could be used to make change, both at the store, or to your situation.

Hot Tamale

Designed to store $10 in quarters, the Hot Tamale is handmade from a selection of different U.S. leathers and made to be worn on the belt. Using a fold-over design, the Hot Tamale wraps over a belt and secures to itself with a directional security snap that prevents accidental release if snagged.

Its zippered opening accommodates the $10 in quarters, or another variation of items. It’s super simple to pop the directional security snap and pull the Hot Tamale for use. I haven’t had one instance where the brass snap came undone unless I was purposely unsnapping it.

The size of the Hot Tamale is very low profile, despite its overbuilt ruggedness that Mean Gene is known for with his handmade leather belts. The brass zipper utilized is also a quality made YKK zipper and had no issues opening at the wrong times.

This is much like I always say with carabiners, “screw down so you don’t screw up.” MGL used this same philosophy when designing the Hot Tamale, ensuring that the zipper would move towards the closed position with gravity, rather than away.

Measuring 3” wide at the change storage end and as wide as 2” at the tail, the 1 1/4” taper between these is comfortable to grip as you’re removing it from your belt to make change. The leather measures in a 1/4” thick where the two pieces that make up the Hot Tamale are joined together. 1/8” thick pieces of leather are stout for this coin purse and it’s worn in nicely as I’ve carried it (around the house.) It weighs 3.2 oz. empty and 11 oz. filled with $10 in quarters.


I’ll get the legal questions out of the way now and say that you definitely need to check with your local laws and ordinances before you go carrying this around outside your home or vehicle, whether it’s filled or empty. The big deal here is that as a coin purse, it could be misinterpreted as a “Club” aka “Blackjack,” or “Sap.”

In Texas, a “Club” is defined as “an instrument that is specifically designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with the instrument…” That being said, Texas only deems it unlawful (committing an offense) when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry a “club,” on or about his or her person outside of their own premises or premises under the person’s control. Vehicles are ok too, provided you’re inside it or directly en route to your own vehicle or one that’s under your control.

You can see by reading this, that here in Texas, for example, you’d have to prove you were carrying a change purse and not a “club” if you were out and about. I’m certainly not trying to take away from the utility of the Hot Tamale, only trying to fully disclose what you need to be aware of. Please don’t take what I wrote though as legal advice, I’m only stating my interpretation of the Texas Penal Code that I feel covers this.

Here’s what Mean Gene Leather has to say about the legality: “Each consumer should be familiar with the state and local laws in the consumer’s jurisdiction before purchasing, carrying, or using this product.”

Parting Thoughts

I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve had with the Mean Gene Leather Hot Tamale and it beats carrying around a roll of quarters, albeit it having a larger footprint. You can pick one up directly from Mean Gene Leather in your choice of seven different colors of leather.

Are you getting more than 14¢ of value per day from ITS?

Thanks to the generosity of our supporting members, we’ve eliminated annoying ads and obtrusive content. We want your experience here at ITS to be beneficial and enjoyable.

At ITS, our goal is to provide different methods, ideas and knowledge that could one day save your life. If you’re interested in supporting our mission and joining our growing community of supporters, click below to learn more.


  • Scott Martin

    Outstanding……..craftsmanship. Yes…the, uh… stitching is impeccable.
    I must procure one of these for my change.

    • Scott Martin

      No no no, your honor… it’s a coin purse. See?!?
      😀 😀

  • Jay Renegado

    Looks like a paddle for BDSM (lol) or whupping ur kid.

    • Andrew Vetters

      Funny you should mention that, he’s posted some special projects to his page…

    • Jay Renegado

      My 2nd grade teacher back in 1980 would have loved it, since she paddled about 4 kids (mainly boys, including me) per year.

  • Simon Fournier

    Fred, Sébastien…Ca fait furieusement penser à une copie de quelque chose qu’on utilise depuis pas mal d’années, non? Ça pourrait être intéressant de faire remonter l’information…

  • Lawrence Irish

    Perfect for bikers in areas with tolls

  • Trenton Ray

    I gotta give them credit for being creative!

  • Rick Gonzales

    That’s awesome. Too bad I live in Kaliforniastan where “saps” and “blackjacks” are illegal since the ’99 weapon’s law 🙁

    • Rob Joyce

      But this is just a coin pouch bro. Its only to store your quarters safely.

    • Chris Janquart

      Good luck explaining that to a LEO…
      If you need to carry something like this, just get a small flashlight with a decent strike bezel…because it’s a flashlight.
      Or do the old “carry a roll of Lifesavers instead of a roll of dimes” trick.

    • Rick Gonzales

      Yeah, “it’s a novelty so and so!” You can’t possibly think that LEO are stupid. On top of that, for the sake of “safety”, they can just charge you and let the DA decide. Even if you win, you’re still a loser.

  • Barry Winn

    Hell I’m too broke to put change in the damn thing for it to hurt….guess I could use it in the bedroom some of them love taps

    • Micah C Fitzpatrick

      That’s a big 10-4 on that first part, Kimosabe. As regards to the latter part…..Kinky….like stampeding Bison through the Vatican. ;P

  • Chad Snyder

    A legal Blackjack.nice.

  • Scott Davis

    Looks like a prison weapon

    • Jay Renegado

      More like a sex toy to give to ur partner.

    • Scott Davis

      In prison… I wouldn’t call it a partner. I’d call it an adversary

    • Scott Martin

      It is a prison tool, actually. You use it to get in to prison. 😀

  • Scott O Tolbert

    good idea, bitch slap

  • Hans John Addicks

    That’s actually pretty cool lol

  • Bill Kortenbach

    One slap upside the head with this = instant KO.

  • Vilhelm See

    You’ll probably go for the ride and hopefully beat the rap.

  • Craig Melchiano

    That’s awesome. U0001f44dU0001f3fcU0001f44aU0001f3fcU0001f3c6

  • Chad Mugzy Sanders

    Shit you could beat the shit outta something with this!

  • James Cox

    This falls into the same category as “solvent trap kits”. We all know what you’re making, we know what it’s for, and so do the cops and the courts. Good luck if you get caught with it in a place where blackjacks and saps are illegal.

  • John Douglas Guild

    A purse and a sap, all in one.

  • Sean Trammell

    Thanks but I’ll stick to my Glock.

  • Bill Young

    Pretty sappy if you ask me lol

  • P Willy

    Officer: “That looks like a blackjack to me.”

    Me: “Well, would $10 in quarters change your mind?”

  • Uriel Nunez

    Can it double as a BDSM accessory?

    • Colton Reml

      Anything can double as a BDSM accessory, just gotta be creative.

    • Uriel Nunez

      I know that ..I’m just making small talk lol

  • Peggy Sanders

    well, let me say that a woman’s purse can be (and has been) used as a good defensive weapon.

  • Jack Starr

    I got one when they first came out. I have it filled with quarters. Who would ever think you could protect yourself with a wimpy change purse that turns into an old fashioned black jack. High quality leather work too.

  • Chris Lee

    Doubles as a sap?

  • Lester Wilson

    Fill it with coins and it’s illegal in NY (Penal Law 265.01(1)).

  • Zane Keller Bryant

    Terrence for the list of things we need…lol

    • Terrence Keith Billingsley

      I’m retired…..keeping it “loaded” might pose a problem!

    • Zane Keller Bryant

      I still got a lil Obama ‘change’ left…lol

  • John Kelly Butler

    Yeah, saps and blackjacks are illegal in a lot of states. Most of which have wording to cover stuff like this. Bummer, that’s a really awesome idea.

  • Levi Burtner

    One’s on the way. Gene’s an awesome/crazy guy lol

  • Andrew Vetters

    A pretty good video of dynamic payments in action

  • Steven Vincent

    A good idea but still skirting the law. “Black Jack or any device shaped in the fashion of a black jack to be used for the purpose of striking, hitting, or clubbing”. It would be felony and more severe charges depending on the extent of the injuries you inflict with it.

    • Mike Ray

      Yeah, but given a choice, would you rather have my blackjack to your head or my .45???

    • Bob O’Krogly

      Oh, but a woman can slam you with her pocketbook that’s filled with change? What’s the difference?

    • Steven Vincent

      That’s true. It might be a good basis for defense if this item were ever used.

    • Joel Boswell

      It would be the local D.A.’s call first. If this item or any other item were used such as blades, firearm, belt, closed fist, etc …(insert imagination) to save one’s life from an attacker I doubt the D.A. will rule against the victim in “most” states. The bottom line, if it saves your life or others who really cares. The last thing on my mind in a self defense situation is “Skirting the Law”.

    • Steven Vincent

      Skirting the law is a my mind. I live in a liberal state that frowns on self defense items. CCW is almost impossible and even a BB gun is considered a firearm.

    • Seamus Bradley

      Carry a framing hammer. Big heavy and will definitely get the job done in a hit or two.

    • Michael Pinon

      Judged by 12 instead of carried by 6 statement applies here I would think. Reality is people will be a victim or go beast mode and do whatever and use whatever to defend themselves.

    • Tnt Hofer

      print a guitar on the back to justify the shape would help..

    • Dave Stevens

      You just have to look at it this way. Use of this item is probably going to be considered use of lethal force, as it is considered a lethal weapon where I live. However, as long as this weapon isn’t deemed illegal, you just need to be sure that the use of lethal force is justified before grabbing this thing and going to work.

  • Darren Lanier


  • Fred Vela

    Lol, my palm works just as well. But that’s a cool tool to have around!

  • Timothy Witmer

    That’s skirting the ban on blackjacks isn’t it?

  • Larry Adkins

    They’re kinda pricey. I’d get one but then I couldn’t afford to pay the fine if I get caught carrying it.

  • Dana Miller

    Dam!!! That would straighten out the snowflakes real fast lol

  • Mike Ray

    Tim, we JUST talked about these lol

  • Jake Bowser

    Scott N Shellie Colvin if you start making these keep me in mind

  • Scott N Shellie Colvin

    When I saw this, I thought to myself. I know what I will be trying to make and see how it turns out. My only problem is you know I will need to put my own personel touch on it like a cool ass design.

  • SE Noon

    Kelvin N. Williams

  • Dane Griffith

    Looks like a slap jack I’ve got in my car

  • Steven Hutton

    Ken Ken Clark

  • Joshua Lepselter

    I love mine

  • Jeffrey P Wessel

    Kaitilin this is a real cool idea!

  • Colin Reid

    Holy punctuation, Batman!

  • Andy Duckworth

    If someone has messed up to the point where I’d be willing to hit them over the head with that thing, they’ve probably already arrived at the point where shooting them would be an acceptable option.

  • Jake Rogers

    Just like those little “bottle opener” knuckle dusters. Looks cool, but any cop, judge, or juror is going to know exactly what that is.

  • Ucity Trae

    This makes me so sad/angry; because I live in Texas. What madness, that I can openly carry my Glock 20; but be arrested for carrying a slap!

  • John Hutchings

    It looks like a miniture size “soft case /gig bag ” for a guitar! Musicians dig it!

  • Benjamin Watkins

    Eric my thoughts are that this would not be legal in MN.

    • Eric Reetz

      It’s illegal for police to carry a sap. However, as a personal defense tool from a personal attack, I think you’d be just fine.

  • Aaron Cook

    Much easier to carry than the sock full of pennies I usually lug around. Ha

  • Cory Cepelak

    Maybe, Colin, but he saved me the trouble of looking up the CT statute. Thanks Glen!

  • Arnold Smith

    Never bring a coin purse to a gunfight

  • Igor A. Panteleyev

    No matter how you will call it, it’s bloody black jack… Felony will fallow automatically

    • interlopersb

      What’s a ‘fallow’?

  • DavidHMalin

    Ordered two of them….thanks

  • Pete

    I got 1. Tuff as hell. Comfortable.
    I love it

Do you have what you need to prevail?

Shop the ITS Store for exclusive merchandise, equipment and hard to find tactical gear.

Do you have what you need to prevail? Tap the button below to see what you’re missing.