Inside the waistband (IWB) leather holsters provide the most effective concealed carry method for most people. Many advocates of these holsters also consider them to be the most comfortable way of carrying a handgun. All parts of the holster and pistol that ride below the top of the pants are hidden, making it less likely that the covering garment (shirt, coat, vest, etc.) will be pulled up and expose the holster. The pants and belt hold the pistol close to the body for a flatter profile to minimize printing. When a person decides to carry a handgun inside the waistband, they must consider more than just the holster. It is important to wear a pair of pants that will allow a little extra room for the holder and firearm. A quality made, thick, and stiff gun belt is also advised.
Our Picks for the Top 2 Leather Holsters
As evidenced above, leather holsters has distinct advantages over other types of IWB holsters. Let’s point out the best IWB holsters made from pure leather:
1) Pro Carry LT CCW IWB Leather Gun Holster
First off, the price point cannot be beat. Priced near $20 and with dozens and dozens of positive reviews, this high quality leather holster is a dynamite buy. It does not use imported leather or horse hide, but only 100% American cowhide to bring you toughest and roughest leather holster on the market. The break-in time is minimal and it has a smooth leather lining, helping leave your holster in the perfect working condition. Read the full review of the Pro Carry LT CCW IWB holster here.
2) Galco Tuck N Go Inside the Pants Leather Holster
The Tuck-N-Go by Galco is made from comfortable premium center cut steerhide. It’s built with an open-top design and reinforced mouth that enables both a quick draw and fast reholster. The leather is tough and will keep your firearm secure inside your pants. It comes new with a tuckable J-hook that goes over the pants but behind the belt. If you’re looking for a combination of leather and Kydex, look no further to a slightly cheaper option known as the Galco King Tuk, widely praised and appreciated by thousands of firearm owners.
Why Many Choose Leather Over Kydex
Leather IWB holsters are a very popular option, and there are many different manufacturers and designs. A nicely made IWB leather holster will have the rigidity of Kydex when it is new. As it is broken in, it will soften and bend in key points. The leather will mold itself to your shape, according to the position you wear it in. Wearing a leather inside the pants holster will provide superior comfort for extended wear.
Make no mistake, comfort is important to concealment. As well, it will retain most of that rigidity through the scabbard portion, so that it will continue to provide desirable retention, draw, and re-holstering characteristics. Holsters made from Kydex don’t really break-in very much. A look at any “hybrid” type readily illustrates that makers of them understand the virtues of leather. Otherwise, they’d make their holsters from Kydex only, or some other synthetic.
Working with leather is a technical trade. Holsters made of leather typically cost more money than any other method used to make them. There are generally two types of leather used for holster making: top grain and split grain. The strongest area of a hide tends to come from the shoulder area or hip area of the animal. Just like your elbows and knees, these areas are tough and thicker.
Split grain would be from an inner thigh or belly area, sensitive and thin. Most holster manufactures are using 5 to 6 oz leather, very few use 9 to 10 oz leather. The thicker leather is the very best and heaviest for practical use in holster manufacturing. Heavy duty, top grain leather products typically last the user a lifetime and do not require replacement. In the rare instance that they are in need of repair, the manufacturer can facilitate the repair quickly and inexpensively. There are many examples of 100 year old or older leather gun holsters for sale on Ebay today.
Kydex seems to mar the weapon relatively quickly to the high points of gun to holster contact. Typically people choose Kydex to most alternatives, due to draw efficiency, speed, durability, and less maintenance. For a gun with a rugged finish, such a Glock, Kydex is an excellent daily choice. From a pricing standpoint, a quality Kydex holster is usually significantly less expensive than a comparable, quality, leather/horsehide holster from a well-known and established manufacturer.
Pros and Cons of Leather IWB Holsters
Pros for leather are: appearance and resulting pride of ownership. While Kydex is practical, utilitarian and functional, leather work can be beautiful. As referred to above, it will form itself to the contours of your body over time, increasing comfort. Some cons for leather are: can be sweated through, unless it is made with a moisture barrier of some sort. To maintain rigidity for re-holstering, it has to be made thicker, with a reinforced mouth adding still more thickness.
Also, leather being a natural material, it can degrade over time. Some other factors to consider with leather/horsehide holsters are they can be quieter when drawing and re-holstering. Leather will normally have less marring of your gun’s finish. Most likely it will take longer, and more insertions and extractions of the gun to mar the finish. Leather of any grade worn properly takes years to wear the finish on any quality handgun.