Leather vs Kydex Holsters

Leather vs Kydex Holsters

One of the popular discussion points among firearm enthusiasts is the type of holster used for carrying. The two more popular holster materials are undoubtedly leather and kydex and while both have their advantages and disadvantages, leather holsters have been around longer than Kydex and are definitely the tried and true option. Go ahead and call us biased, we certainly are, but leather offers a durability, comfort and class that is second to none.

Leather pistol holsters

Leather holsters have been around for centuries and are often seen as a classic choice for gun owners. Their durability is such that, if properly cared for, they can literally span multiple generations and there are leather holsters found in museums and attics across the country that are well over 100 years old but still in "working" condition. Used by private citizens, law enforcement and military since the inception of the gun, leather holsters offer a carry modality that has withstood the test of time. Whether crafted from steer hide or exotic leather, they offer a comfortable fit that will mold to the shape of your body and your firearm over time, making them ideal for everyday wear. One of the biggest benefits that leather holsters offer is the comfort during wear. Unfortunately, materials such as nylon or kydex can cause irritation and soreness when rubbing against your skin, whereas a leather holster is comfortable, has a natural feel to it and will not rub your skin raw. Leather holsters also provide a more traditional look, which can be appealing to many gun enthusiasts. Furthermore, leather holsters offer a range of looks and styles that cannot be matched. Leather holsters can be clean and simple, heavily decorated and tooled, painted or crafted using exotic leathers. 

Despite all of its positive traits, leather holsters do have their drawbacks. A poorly crafted or cheap leather holster can be a victim of "holster collapse", often rendering the holster unsightly and dangerous. Leather holsters also typically have more friction upon draw, which can be helpful for passive retention, but can be undesirable for those seeking speed. Leather holsters are also not water-proof. While leather can be treated to be water resistant, they are best kept away from excessive moisture. True quality leather holsters are also much more expensive than their kydex or nylon counterparts, due to the material, longevity, durability and meticulous craftsmanship that goes into them. 

Kydex pistol holsters

Kydex holsters are made of a thermoplastic material that is lightweight, rigid and quite sturdy. They are typically molded very precisely to fit the specific make and model of a firearm, which ensures a secure fit and easy, nearly frictionless, draw. Kydex holsters are water-resistant and easy to clean, which makes them a popular modern choice for law enforcement and military personnel. Kydex holsters are very budget friendly as well, offering a safe carry option for a wide-ranging population of people. They have proven themselves to be a very secure and safe way to carry your firearm and are suitable for a variety of carry styles. The modern materials of the kydex holster also allows manufacturers to offer many different interchangeable parts which increase the holster's versatility in carry style, orientation and retention. Furthermore, kydex can come in a huge variety of colors, patterns and prints, allowing the wearer to express themselves without a high price point. 

However, despite seeming like the modern answer to every gun enthusiast's prayer (versatile, perfectly fit, waterproof and cheap), it is important to keep in mind that kydex holsters do have a few negative traits that should be considered. They are far less comfortable to wear than leather, especially when worn for extended periods of time. The hard plastics and metal mounts can chafe and rub the skin and leave you raw and full of regret. Kydex is also a very "loud" material and the act of drawing your firearm reverberates across the room with clicks, clacks and scraping, possibly drawing unwanted attention. They also tend to be less forgiving when it comes to fit, which means that finding the right holster for those rare firearms, "odd-ball" pistols, or antique guns can be nearly impossible. Kydex also lacks the longevity of leather, since over time and exposure the materials can become loose or brittle and there is no option for long-term care that would extend the life of your holster (such as the oils and conditioning that can be given to leather).

Pistol model and intended use determines the holster type

From our experience, there are certain handgun models that tend to point the firearm owner towards a particular holster type and material. Choosing between a leather and kydex holster ultimately comes down to your individual needs and preferences. If you prioritize heirloom items that have longevity, comfort and a classic look, a leather holster may be the best choice for you. If you value a low price point, water resistance, and a precise fit, a Kydex holster may be the way to go. More often than not, folks who intend to conceal carry modern pistols, are budget conscious and utilitarian trend towards kydex holster options due to their fantastic fit and low profiles. 

At Hellhound we offer top of the line custom leather holsters that are guaranteed to impress. Our popular firearm and holster models are for the 1873 Colt Single Action Army (also famously known as the Peacemaker) replica holsters, Colt Python holsters as well as Colt Anaconda holsters, Ruger models (Ruger Vaquero holsters, Ruger Blackawk holsters & Ruger Redhawk holsters + their Supers, Ruger Single Six holsters and Single Seven holsters etc), the famously popular S&W revolvers in every frame size (S&W K Frame holsters, S&W L Frame holsters, S&W N Frame holsters, S&W X Frame holsters most commonly) along with the Schofield Model 3 American holsters, as well as Taurus Judge holsters, Taurus Raging Bull holsters, Taurus Raging Hunter holsters. We also offer a range of beautiful holsters fit to the different 1911 frames. Customers who are looking for wearable art, durability that lasts generations and a very impressive quality need look no further.

As we like to say, "Nothing pairs like leather and steel."

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