Leather: Still a Good Idea for Firearms

holster2-234x300 My fellow trainers note that some people eschew leather and have never even owned a holster that was not plastic. These people are missing out on one of the finer parts of firearms carry!

While I am biased toward leather for my CCW needs, I do use Kydex for my duty rig. I have also used many of the major manufacturers’ offerings with great success and highly recommend them if they fit your carry needs.

  • Things I like about leather holsters:

  • The feel and smell of leather. Sure, I’m an old romantic at heart—I just love the smell and feel of nice leather.
  • Leather is easy to care for—a quick wipe down is all that’s needed. (Look for an article on leather care in the future.)
  • Leather is quiet: there’s no loud “snick” during the presentation.
  • Long term comfort. When broken in, leather has that “feel” that is not achieved by synthetics.

  • Things I like about leather rifle slings:

  • The feel when going into a slung shooting position is so much better than the synthetic offerings.
  • Field carry is very comfortable.
  • When shopping for a leather holster, figure out what your specific needs are. Try your friends’ holsters. See what works for you. Hit the range and try everything. Remember that one holster might not suit all your carry needs. I wear an OWB in the winter, an IWB in the summer, and can be found with different rigs on at other times depending on my mission.

holster1 How do you choose a holster maker? Many people are making holsters and are offering some quality gear for decent prices.

When contacting a holster maker, consider it a long-term relationship for your defensive needs. You are entrusting him with your life. Make sure he is aware of this and has a background in defensive use of firearms. You don’t want a leather worker who makes holsters in his spare time.

Interview the maker with specific questions about your needs. If he does not offer what you need, ask him to recommend someone who does. Oftentimes we holster makers are in touch with others whom we like and who can assist in finding the correct leather for you.

Don’t forget eBay, Gunbroker and online forums for finding a holster. I have found some superb deals online.

Do ask holster makers about cancellations. Some customers will cancel orders, leaving a “hole” in the maker’s schedule. He can easily put your name on a rig, cutting the wait for a custom holster. I keep a couple of slots open each week for soldiers/police/shooting class attendees for this sole reason.

Leather for firearms is not just my business, it’s my passion. I look forward to sharing more on this topic with PDN readers in the future.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

3 Responses to “Leather: Still a Good Idea for Firearms”

  1. Charles Dwyer

    I have been carrying with a leather holster, and carry belt, from Versacarry for years. The Premium water buffalo leather is awesome, the work is excellent. The customer service is very, very good. You should reach out to Versacarry for some products to review (not that minimilist thing they do, I can't stand that) and check them out. For the record, I have tried a number of other holsters, finally cleaned out that drawer and use it for storing things I might actually use. The versacarry line are very hard to beat for EDC in my environment.

  2. Daniel

    Unfortunately, I remember when Kydex first appeared on the holster market. I purchased one for a Model-39 and tossed it soon after. I suppose if I had a plastic gun it would be easier for me to embrace. It does offer benefits that are practical, but I’ll stick with leather until my carry days’ are over.

  3. amacro

    I'm waiting on an andrewsleather holster for my colt cobra I called and they had an "opening" so will be receiving it in less than 1 week-I also like the feel of leather and having a colt cobra makes me somewhat of a romantic - hey I'm allowed valentines day is tomorrow-anyway my gun is blued and I've heard -urban legend?- that leather will cause wear marks on guns Thanks for the article Al