A couple months ago I was asked to write an article on the best holster for conceal carry. As part of that article, I reviewed the pros and cons of Kydex and leather holsters. Even though I had worn leather holsters in the past, my more recent experience had been Kydex.
by Dan C., contributing writer
A while back I was contacted by Craft Holsters out of Salt Lake City to give them some feedback on their leather holsters. So it was time to put it through the paces.
My Sig Sauer 320 and Craft Holsters
Craft Holsters sent me an Open Muzzle Inside the Waistband (IWB) leather holster made specifically for my Sig 320 compact. On my first inspection I was more than impressed. The holster was exceedingly well made and consisted of thick leather with double stitching. The belt straps were stout leather, connected with robust snaps and sized to fit any type of belt. They even stamped my initials on the outside to the holster. Very impressive holster from the get go.
As with all leather holsters, I went to place my Sig 320 in it and it was a very tight fit. So I placed a sock around my handgun and let it sit in the holster for a couple days. This loosened it up some, but still a tight sticky fit as expected with a leather holster. Over time it became a more snug less sticky fit. This particular holster did not have any specific retention device, such as a strap with a thumb break. It does have a retention screw that allows you to alter the tightness of the holster to some degree.
Wearing Craft Holsters
So at this point, the next step was to wear it. I wear my holster at the 4:30 position and I like a slight cant forward. This is more anatomically correct for me and enables me to grasp my handgun naturally.
My first experience was completely unexpected. This holster was not only very comfortable and far less irritating than my Kydex one, but it held my handgun very close to my body and made it feel very snug.
Furthermore, and equally important, I felt no need to constantly adjust my holster as the strong straps and snug fit made it secure against my body and held the holster in place. I felt the spacing between the belt straps significantly contributed to the comfort and security of the holster to my body.
Next it was time to take it to the range for some outdoor tactical shooting in the hot Florida sun. I shared the holster with several of my shooting buddies and they all were impressed at the look and quality of the holster. There was no question it was a good-looking holster with excellent craftsmanship.
I went to practice drawing from my holster and it was still sticky. Even though it was IWB, the holster still moved more than I like to with drawn the holster. I then proceeded to perform some quick draws from concealment and shot a standard target. As I practiced, I became more comfortable with drawing from this holster and got quicker. I did experience one problem repetitively; I could not easily reholster my weapon as the leather collapsed when the firearm was withdrawn. This is a common problem with all IWB leather holsters that I have worn.
Craft sent leather loosening kit that is designed to address the tight areas of the holster very effectively. However, since I had not drawn from the holster in real time at a range, I have not used it yet. I wanted see where if any the holster’s sticking points were, if any existed, as I mentioned above, I was concerned that if the holster was too soft I would not be able to re-holster my handgun. I am a little uncertain if I will use the loosening ointment at this point until I break in the holster more. But clearly having it available is a plus as if I need it I have it.
My Experience with Craft Holsters
In a “work” environment where you are going to get wet, dirty and roughed up. I feel Kydex is the go-to holster and will be advantageous in those settings. But even in those settings, IWB Kydex holsters can be unstable, cumbersome, and uncomfortable. On the other hand, in a “non-work” environment, I love my Craft Holster and it will be my go-to holster in most settings.
To my surprise, this is an excellent leather holster with many positive features that make it a great holster. I feel the stickiness of drawing from it will decrease over time and use. However, I feel the ability to re-holster will be a problem with all IWB leather holsters and is not isolated to this one.
Overall, it is comfortable to wear, has been less of a problem when wearing a car seat belt, is well-made. It secures my handgun well against my body and keeps it snug in the holster.
Equally important is the cost. Craft holsters, and this one in particular, are very competitively priced. You will be impressed at the cost of these finely made holsters – I was.
PS: Thanks to Kurt M, Karl W, and Alan N