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Old July 3, 2011, 01:14 AM   #1
Departed402
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Holster Material

I was wondering what the advantages and disadvantages of different holster materials are based on: comfort, funtionality, wear to the firearm, and anything else that seems important. This isn't about the design on the holster, just the material it's made of.
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Old July 3, 2011, 01:24 AM   #2
govmule84
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I have found plain old horsehide works best for me. Thick, tough, and durable. Ny lon gets floppy, and cheaper leather stretches too easily. I've not used Kydex extensively, but that stuff makes me sweat something fierce.

EVERYTHING a holster can be made out of wears on the gun. I really wouldn't even let it be a factor, personally. If you're not comfortable wearing the finish off a gun, then it is probably not going to make a good carry piece for you.
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Old July 3, 2011, 06:30 AM   #3
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Holster material seems to be a "to each his own" decision. I prefer leather myself. I find it the most comfortable and form fitting to both myself and my gun. That, in my opinion, allows for slightly easier concealment.

Leather has worked well for a long time and I don't see Kydex and nylon as real improvements. With that, they all work.

As far as wear, any holster will wear your gun. I think leather wears the least but it still will cause wear.
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Old July 3, 2011, 08:15 AM   #4
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The "to each his own" thing is pretty much it. You have to decide if what you choose is going to work for you.

Until kydex showed up, I used leather because it was all that was available. I suffered, my guns suffered, and I went through a lot of holsters.

If you carry IWB, are active and sweat, you dont want leather. It gets wet, stays wet (they dont dry out overnight), and you and your gun suffer. Wet leather will rub you raw with every movement if your tee shirt rides up and the holster ends up against your skin. Add to that the chemicals used in tanning the leather, and the burn begins. Kydex on the other hand, slides smoothly across wet skin, and has no chemicals that will aggravate that raw spot. Kydex is also impervious to sweat, so your gun stays dry too.

As far a wear to your guns finish, kydex usually wears in a couple of specific spots, where the holster contacts the gun. Leather on the other hand, wears the guns finish more overall, as its contacting it more over all. Kydex doesnt normally allow dirt and debris to embed and is easily cleaned by rinsing it in the sink and drying it with a paper towel, ready for instant use. Leather on the other hand, does tend to allow things to get embedded in the leather, which arent easily removed, if at all, and tend to accelerate wear to the finish. Trying to clean one doenst really accomplish anything other than getting the dust bunnies out.
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Old July 4, 2011, 01:37 AM   #5
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I prefer leather holsters. A good quality, wet-molded holster will hold a gun firmly in place and the wear won't be as "broad" as a "one size fits many" leather holster. Kydex will absolutely wear on the high points of a gun much faster than leather.

Wear from tanning chemicals shouldn't be a concern in better leather holsters but might be in cheaper ones.

As AK103K mentioned, Kydex does have the advantage over leather when sweating and wearing IWB.

I recently purchased a Silent Thunder leather lined Kydex holster from Garrett Industries and have been pleased with it. The idea is to take advantage of leather when it comes to wear on a gun while the Kydex shell prevents the leather from soaking up sweat.
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Old July 4, 2011, 08:48 AM   #6
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the only issue

I find certain leather holsters (and belts, and boots) can squeak/creak enough to preclude their use for stealth operations.
I still personally prefer leather, but I maintain numerous other options, although ALL my current 'wear guns' are sitting in leather.



At my age and station it isn't really too relevant any longer
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Old July 4, 2011, 09:35 AM   #7
EdInk
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Leather or Plastic? (In pleasant grocery store bag boy voice.)

Those are the two choices I consider to be the best too. Leather will "form" to your body better and be more comfortable. Kydex allows a quicker draw and is more durable. Both work very well and as others have said it comes down to preference.

A third popular material is nylon. I would pick it last because of durability. However, it is very comfortable and lightweight. IMHO it is best suited for things like ankle holsters. (Depending on the style, you can sometimes melt loose strings or smooth wear spots with a lighter like you do on a web belt, sneaker shoelace tips or adjustable backpack straps.) Bianchi (and some others) make some "rigid" nylon OWB holsters that fit specific firearms that seem pretty well made.

FWIW I prefer an OWB holster. Not as easily concealed but much more comfortable. Plus, you don't have much/any skin contact with the actual holster. Which means you don't have to worry as much about sweat and oil from your skin ruining the holster.
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Old July 4, 2011, 09:48 AM   #8
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Uncle Mike's fabric holsters give as good service as can be had. They work well and are/were reasonably priced. They are, however, as uglier than sin.
Kydex beats the fabric in the uglies department and are hard and uncomfortable.
Leather can be criticized but, in the end, is the material of choice. Can be made to look very handsome and fell nice to wear.
I have, and make, some of my own holsters from leather but also have several Uncle Mike's that serve me well.
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Old July 4, 2011, 10:00 AM   #9
egor20
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I have to agree its personal choice, for me its leather, leather and more leather.
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Old July 4, 2011, 10:44 AM   #10
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Horsehide. No one sweats any more than I do, and sweat never penetrates to the inside of my holster. I take my Gun out at night, and by the next morning the holster is dry on the outside.
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Old July 4, 2011, 10:48 AM   #11
KyJim
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Quote:
I find certain leather holsters (and belts, and boots) can squeak/creak enough to preclude their use for stealth operations.
Ninja mode?
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Old July 4, 2011, 10:52 AM   #12
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didja know?

There really are actual Ninja warriors.
Really.
In real life.


Not me; I'm just a sedentary wordy old fart....
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Old July 4, 2011, 10:54 AM   #13
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No, NOT just at the mall.....
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Old July 4, 2011, 11:16 AM   #14
l98ster
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For carry, I definitly like the leather better. The only time I use Kydex is when I am in competition.

The leather holsaters seem to "form fit" to the gun and your body better. They are also tighter to the body. I have a leather holster for my j-frame. It has an adjustment screw for draw tension, and is an open top design (no thumb flap).

I use my kydex holster for competition (USPSA/IDPA). during competition, it is more or less an open carry situation, and the kydex is further off my body for a good fast draw. There is also less drag with the kydex holster. Ultimately, the kydex is very good, but much harder to conceal and is not as comfortable.

-George
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Old July 4, 2011, 01:07 PM   #15
AK103K
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Quote:
Kydex beats the fabric in the uglies department and are hard and uncomfortable.
I dont really care about "ugly", as I carry IWB and no one sees it. Kydex is hard, but really no harder than thick/stiff leather, which is where a leather holster should basically be. Uncomfortable? Not at all, and if anything, much more comfortable in some circumstances.

Quote:
Horsehide. No one sweats any more than I do, and sweat never penetrates to the inside of my holster. I take my Gun out at night, and by the next morning the holster is dry on the outside.
I suppose some of us might sweat a "little" more than others. What you do for a living and where you do it can also have a big impact on what goes on too. I work outside year round, and summers here are in the upper 90's with very high humidity. Im usually soaking wet from sweat by 9am most days, and stay that way for the rest of the day in the summer and early fall.

The last couple of years before I found Blade Tech kydex holsters, I used to rotate through two Galco Royal Guard horsehide holsters each summer, usually chucking one at the end of the summer. They were usually both constantly wet and soaked through the whole time too. Once soaked, they do not dry out over night, or even in a couple of days. I even tried duct taping, and sealing the side against my body, with no good result.

After switching to kydex, the only part of my gun to get wet and ever show signs of rust again, was around the left/inboard grip panel, the only spot the sweat guard didnt protect. Pretty much instant satisfaction with that first holster. I used that holster everyday too, for over the next ten years and still have it. Its well worn, and a small piece of the sweat guard broke off at some point, but its still as serviceable as the day I bought it. Doing the math, over ten years, that one Blade Tech holster saved me a bunch of money too. $55 for ten plus years, vs $140 +/- a year (or around $1400 for ten years), for the Galcos.
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