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1791 Ultra Custom Holster: Sous Vide Your CCW [Review]

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.

I was ill at ease, conducting operations in the kitchen.

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…

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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.


You know it’s a good time when a mouthpiece is required!

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.

breaking-bad-jesse-yeah-science

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.

Kitchen Pro

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.

Kitchen tools were in play.

I did have a big pot and a thermometer.

Once I laid out my tools, I grabbed and cleared a Gen 5 Glock 17 and a Sig Sauer P226 Legion.

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.

Oh the rigidity of directions

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.

Classic moment in Rob Roy.

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.

Stop, hammer time.

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.

500
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.

Switching to “3” on a gas range should get you close to 165 degrees.

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.

P226 Perfected
1200
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.

Lessons Learned

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.

After molding, you can see how different this holster is inside.

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.

Nice

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 fit on the Legion was almost too good.

Conclusion

The Ultra Custom is worthy of your attention should you be in the market for a holster that allows you versatility between guns.

Variety of Handguns
Variety of Handguns

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.

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6 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Jonathan

    How complete is the coverage of the trigger guard? In the videos it looks like the whole thing is covered, but in the still pics (yours and the purchase link) I can see some of it uncovered. Or is that dependent on the gun?

    Definitely do NOT get a sous vide unless you want to be able to make the second-best steak you've ever had (I mean, it's not a Traeger...) or the best eggs ever with virtually no prep or cleanup. However, if being able to get melty fat on a medium-rare ribeye without going out for pellets appeals to you, it might be worth looking at :D

    September 10, 2021 4:17 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Jonathan,

      Depending on the model of gun and holster, I suspect it varies. However, I think the coverage is quite good. I would say it is 98% covered with only a slight gap remaining. It isn't something I would worry about as something getting to the trigger from the outside.

      Well that tears it for me! There are few finer foods than the incredible, edible egg, I must fly to a nearby store and continue my eggsperimentation!

      Thanks for stopping in!

      September 12, 2021 12:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John

    "Did I mention there are dire warnings about getting the water temperature too high?!"

    The warnings are because at 165 - 167 degrees Farenheit a chemical change in leather takes place which causes hardening of the leather when it cools down. You don't want the leather in a holster hardened beyond its malleability for forming the leather and it holding its formed shape when it cools down, it ruins the holster and the leather. But on the other hand you need heat high enough to make the thermoplastic inner layer malleable so the holster can be formed.

    At 165 degrees you are right on the edge of that boundary between hardened enough and hardened too much. Watch the temp carefully.

    September 8, 2021 9:17 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      John,

      This makes a great deal of sense, thanks for the clarification. Once set, I was able to maintain 165 with a variance of +2 degrees. The holster turned out perfect! It is supple, yet firm without being crunchy or brittle.

      September 8, 2021 12:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Doug

    How stiff is the final holster? One advantage of kydex IWB holsters is they don't collapse as easily, making registering easier. I've gotten custom leather holsters with metal reinforcement, but if this is comparable to kydex, in rigidity it sounds like a winner.

    September 7, 2021 6:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Doug,

      Great question, thanks for asking! The holster is rigid, yet has the softness of leather. Essentially, it will maintain it's shape without anything in it, but will stay open, ready to receive a firearm otherwise. If you push on it while it's empty, it will collapse like leather, then resume it's shape.

      Having worn Kydex in an office setting, I learned to sit carefully. More than once, I got hung up on a chair and experienced a world of pain in my hip as the unforgiving holster drove the gun into me.

      The Ultra Custom offers the best of both worlds.

      September 8, 2021 9:11 am