I have not used a leather holster in a long, long time. When I started carrying two decades ago I used leather exclusively. While kydex was certainly around, it was not the standard that it is now. Once I switched to kydex I never looked back. Kydex, if made well, is rugged, requires little break-in period, and is impervious to sweat. All of these things are potential negatives for leather holsters. However, leather still has a significant advantage: it is more comfortable to wear. Leather holsters of any configuration conform to the body and are comfortable. They also have a significant cool factor, but that is another issue.
I recently acquired a Craft Holsters Open Top Leather OWB holster for a Glock 19. I seldom use on-the-waistband any more, as I conceal carry inside-the-waistband in the appendix position. However, I do still carry strong-side, outside-the-waistband, when I am in the woods, most typically during hunting season, since it is far easier to do than truck up and down the hills with a gun in the appendix position. I also use an OWB holster for IDPA shooting.
My favored OWB holster of late is the Raven Concealment Perun holster, which is made of kydex. Upon receiving the Craft my initial impression was that it hugs the gun tight, even tighter than does the Perun holster. For me, this is a very good thing, as even when I wear OWB in the woods I do so concealed. I was also immediately pleased with the craftsmanship, stitching, and finish of the holster. Upon initially placing the gun in the holster it was very tight, as to be expected, as leather holsters are not adjustable for retention and they must start off tight if they are to provide enough retention going forward.
I used Craft’s break-in kit on the holster to address the initial tightness. Per the instructions, I put some of the holster oil on the inside of the holster and put the gun in a plastic bag, inserted it into the holster, and left it that way over night. The next day the retention was good to go, still being plenty tight, but workable.
The best attributes about this particular holster is how tight it holds the gun to the body, and how absolutely comfortable it is. It conceals better than the Kydex Peron holster, by a significant margin, and it is more comfortable to wear. As it turns out, the cant of the holster is similar to the Perun, so the draw stroke is almost identical.
Working with this holster has reminded me that leather is certainly not an obsolete material for holsters. In particular, it remains a great option for concealable and comfortable OWB carry. This Craft holster will probably be my woods carry option going forward. Highly recommended.
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