A lot of holsters on the market are made from modern plastics. While these have their benefits, I’ve spent more time carrying pistols with leather gear.
The strengths of the old-school approach may not be as widely known to newer generations, but there are several good reasons why shooters may want to give it a try.
We can agree a good holster is critical to successfully carrying a handgun. And when we recently connected with Craft Holsters, our aim was to find out if their products fit that role.
We’re going to share our findings with you below and tell you why you may want to go leather.
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Craft is a family company versed with decades in leathercraft whose goal is producing high-quality, custom-made, leather holsters for responsible gun owners.
Part of their success can be attributed to sourcing the best materials, such as German threads and Italian leather.
Once obtained, they work with skilled manufacturers in Europe to create a wide array of holsters fitting most guns.
Craft believes everyone should enjoy the benefits of a quality, custom holster.
I’ve got to hand it to Craft, they know how to make a presentation. I’ve received holsters in cardboard boxes with no more fanfare than air blisters to keep them from rattling around.
This was so much more.
Upon opening the box, I was treated to a welcome message on the inside flap, and the holster was neatly tucked in a cloth bag with a drawstring.
The Premium Holsters Care Kit was included in a paper bag, and all the contents were secured in the box with wood shavings, leaning in heavily on that Old World craftsmanship aesthetic.
I removed the holster from the bag and was instantly impressed with the quality of both the leather and the stitching.
Its hide was supple yet rigid where it needed to be and had a deep reddish-brown hue with a nice sheen on the surface. The stitching was uniform, tightly secured, and accented the piece well.
I have a bunch of leather holsters, and stitching is one area where they can fail, with the line fraying or popping out over time. The Craft holster appeared well laced and capable of standing the test of time.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
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The holster Craft sent was an open top, outside the waistband (OWB) that fit a 1911. So I pulled an old duty gun out of retirement for testing.
The Kimber Warrior served me well for many years, and it fits nicely right off.
There is a fine balance with leather holsters. Too loose and the gun can fall out — too tight, and you may not be able to get it out when you need it.
The leather was shaped for a Picatinny rail and created a “just right” amount of tension on the Kimber. This is crucial for leather holsters that don’t have a thumb break or some other type of retention.
To further test this, I held the holster upside down with the gun still in. It stayed in place despite the heavy gun, providing the custom fit Craft prides itself on.
Drawing the gun from the unbelted holster, I could feel a bit of resistance just before the muzzle smoothly slid free.
The final step would be actually wearing the OWB and drawing from it since belts can change the pressure exerted by leather holsters.
Strapping the Craft holster on with a thick leather belt, I found the belt loops of the holster to be just the right size. When I cinched the belt down, the holster did not move in any direction.
Here, I began drawing my Kimber repeatedly and noting the feel. There was a slight bit of resistance that was easily overcome with a firm pull.
This is the retention that keeps the gun in place despite the holster being upside down. Once initiated, the gun pulled free smoothly.
On the reverse stroke, I appreciated the custom fit molding to the 1911. The Craft OWB displayed further quality by holding shape and not collapsing, allowing me to easily re-holster with one hand.
Benefits of Leather
We carry firearms for those worst-case scenarios where we may have to defend our own lives or the lives of others. At a minimum, holsters have to reliably store and produce your firearm when called upon.
It’s all the other life scenarios that make you appreciate a leather holster. Because the material itself is supple, leather will allow a little flex.
This is a good thing when you’re sitting down in a chair, or your gun catches on something while conducting otherwise mundane tasks. Rigid plastic can jam your own gun into your hip with enough pressure to make things exciting, not to mention painful.
Leather is quiet. Well maintained, a good holster will allow you to draw and sheathe with no audible scrape or click.
Craft Holsters sent out an open-top OWB for us to test, and I found it to be a fine example of both quality materials and excellent craftsmanship.
The fit was excellent and held my 1911 in place securely while also allowing a smooth draw.
Anyone considering a high-quality, quiet, carry option that will provide years of service would be well served to browse the wares of Craft Holsters.
Are you ready to try a custom, quality leather holster? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out Craft Holsters!