Those of us in the gun world see the term “revolutionary” frequently. If you’ve been in the gun space for any length of time, you’re sure to this term thrown around casually.
More often than not, the product in question doesn’t quite live up to that term. But sometimes, we are occasionally impressed.
Enter the 1791 Gunleather Ultra Custom Holster…launched in 2020.
This holster promises the user the ultimate in customization, placing the responsibility of the fit on the user.
But how does it do this and does this process actually work?
Well, we got our hands on one to find out. Follow along as I sous vide this holster, fit it to some guns, and see if it lives up to its hype.
By the end of this article, you’ll know whether the 1791 Gunleather Ultra Custom holster is as “ultra custom” as it seems…
Table of Contents
A Modern Approach
I remember the first time I melted a custom mouthpiece like it was yesterday. Standing in the kitchen with my mother, boiling pot of water, anticipation, and a little apprehension.
I recall sticking the hot, bulky, hunk of plastic in the water, watching it go limp, then putting it in my mouth and biting down.
The heat radiated as my teeth sunk into the squishy plastic and then I felt it harden as it cooled.
Fast forward to today and I’m back in the kitchen, hovering over a pot of hot water.
The idea behind the Ultra Custom Holster is similar to that mouthpiece.
This high-quality leather holster hides an internal thermoplastic — the company refers to it as Memory-Lok technology.
You can’t feel it, but it’s there.
Stick the malleable gun holder in hot water for five minutes, remove it, insert your gun into the holster, then mold the leather to the gun with some supplied tools.
Voila, you have a custom-fit holster!
And one that at any point in the future could be remolded to fit an entirely different gun of roughly the same size.
Don’t let my waistline fool you — I have more time and expertise in the garage than I do the kitchen.
So, I do not own a Sous Vide (pronounced “sue veed”) machine.
I’m not that fancy.
If you’re like me and don’t have one, my experience may help you out. If you have one, please report what that life is like in the comments below.
I did have a big pot and a thermometer.
With a few other implements, I was ready to go.
Reading the instructions is normally a secondary, “oh no, what did I do wrong?” type maneuver for me.
But since this involved hot water, guns, and a foreign area of operations, I figured I’d try them upfront.
I soon saw the directions called for a Sous Vide machine and heating the water up to 165 degrees.
In reality, this was the most difficult part of the challenge for me.
I heated up about a gallon of water but struggled to get it exactly at 165. Did I mention there are dire warnings about getting the water temperature too high?!
Once the water was at optimal temperature, I loaded up the holster in the supplied Ziplock type bag.
A YouTube video suggested adding a weight…so I stuck a rock in the bag. I drained the bag of air, then placed it in the water.
The result was still a floating bag with a rock and a formless holster.
Eventually, I ditched the rock, sucked all the air out of the bag, but used a hammer to weigh down the holster.
Once sunk, I set a timer for five minutes and watched as the Ultra Custom slowly relented to the combined heat of the water and the weight of the hammer.
At the timer’s signal, I pulled the package from the nearly boiling water and dried it.
After opening the bag, I removed the holster and inserted the G17.
I used the tools from the kit to clear a channel for the sights and pressed in the recommended areas, around the trigger guard, the ejection port, etc.
Once this was done, I allowed the holster to cool before I tested it out.
The fit was surprisingly snug. I inverted the holster to see if the Glock would slip out…it didn’t.
I even shook it a bit and was impressed when it did not budge. I saw a few places where I felt like the fit could have been better so I repeated the process.
Back into the hot water went the whole package, the leather holster, in the plastic bag. One eye kept a keen watch on the temperature of the gas range and it was maintaining 165 degrees.
The other eye scrutinized the timer I set, waiting for five minutes to pass by.
Finally, I pulled the holster out, inserted the Glock, and used my fingers to press the leather snugly into various places.
I felt the thermoplastic sinking in and settling where I pressed.
Eventually, I had a good, snug, fit I was happy with.
I liked the idea that I could basically erase and restart my effort if I was not satisfied with how it ended up.
So, I moved on to the next phase.
The Sig Sauer P226 Legion is a full-size pistol that is about the same size as the G17, but shaped much differently.
I placed the Ultra Custom back into the bag, and once more into the hot water!
This was the third time I had molded the holster after warming it up and by far, it was the best outcome.
I came to find myself enjoying the process, the craftsmanship involved, and I learned little lessons on how to improve with each attempt.
The final test with the Legion almost proved too good!
The gun snicked into place with an audible click and did not want to come out.
After working with it for a while, I was able to find a happy compromise between retention and drawability.
As anyone who has been into carrying guns for a while can attest, you tend to end up with a lot of holsters.
The 1791 Gunleather Ultra Custom might just check a few boxes for gun owners.
First, the process, once you get the water properly heated, is actually fun.
Second, the final product is a solid, quality, holster.
And finally, depending on your needs, you will have a holster you can customize to fit several different guns.
I have a friend who has decades of experience with guns. He suggests always keeping holsters because you never know what new gun they might inadvertently fit.
There’s wisdom here.
However, there can be little doubt a custom fit holster is generally the best route to go.
It helps with two of the most important factors in a holster — retention and comfort.
In those categories, 1791 Gunleather hit a homerun with the Ultra Custom. The product is quality.
The leather is very nice, supple, and smooth to the touch and the stitching is secure and well done.
This holster looks like it will provide years of service, though it begs the question of how many hot baths and re-shapings the product can survive.
It felt secure in my waistband with a strong clip that was adjustable for cant. Not to mention, the leather was comfortable against my skin.
A sweat guard protected me from direct contact with the guns and aided in holstering.
The Ultra Custom is worthy of your attention should you be in the market for a holster that allows you versatility between guns.
While the model I tested was an inside the waistband (IWB) for concealment, 1791 makes a variety of options for different sized guns and outside the waistband (OWB).
All the Ultra Customs feature an MSRP of $99.99.
Have you sous vide a holster before? Let us know in the comments below. Looking for more holster options, check out our round-up of the Best Concealed Carry Holsters.