Leather or Kydex? Picking the Right Holster


    Since my early days of shooting, I’ve always felt like it was a struggle to find holsters for the guns I used daily. This issue started for me when I was 11 years old shooting in IDPA and USPSA. I was shooting an HK USP Compact and since it was 2003, the holsters were crude Kydex style plastic or leather holsters mostly. I used a Fobus for the first few years because I thought it was better than leather. It turned out the holster wasn’t very well made and beat up my gun up over time.

    This issue is a journey many people go through when they begin shooting and the more advice I give to people, the more I wish I could set people in the right direction. This article will hopefully help people at the beginning of their journey, so they don’t waste time and money like I have.

    Kydex Holsters

     Fast forward 16 years, now I am finally happy with my setup and I’m very confident in how I carry my gun daily. I’ve gone through leather, Kydex, cloth, shoulder, and every other type of holster you can try. I have finally settled on inside the waistband Kydex holsters. Now, this is a really popular choice to pick when it comes to holsters but not everyone decides to go with this setup.

    I personally am a huge fan of ANR Design LLC when it comes to Kydex holsters. They provide high-quality holsters that last. I have met a number of guys across the pond who love ANR holsters and carry them on deployments. There have been several movies as well that go to ANR Designs to find a custom fit for their actors in the movie. Peppermint with Jennifer Garner is one example where they needed a form fitting holster for Garner in the movie so they called the owner of ANR for his help. There are several other companies that make high-quality products. In the end, though, I personally trust those guys to make all of my holsters.

    Leather Holsters

    A lot of people in the shooting world love leather holsters, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Usually, the people who use mostly leather holsters are older shooters and concealed carriers. Leather isn’t a bad option, but it can be temperamental at times. When you first get a leather holster, it can be really tight on the gun where it won’t fit. There’s a break in period before the gun will properly fit. If you get creative you can typically break in a leather holster between two or three days with the right tricks.

    Leather holsters can be supportive for a long time, but once they become worn out they are not a viable option anymore. Without that stiffness from the leather, the gun does not have proper retention. There have been some incidents where people have had their guns fall out of the leather holster. This is the worst case scenario when it comes to concealed carrying. With the introduction to Kydex into the market, I am not willing to take the risk with leather.

     Decide What You Need 

    Personally, it took me a very long time to figure what exactly I wanted. I have been through each style to see what one is best for me. I personally decided on Kydex because it has more advantages without the disadvantages of leather or cloth. In my mind, I think the option to include a light or laser attachment onto your carry is a huge advantage. Leather and cloth holsters do not have great retention when it comes to accessories. It’s really hard to find the right holster with each attachment if you look for leather and cloth.

    Overall I think Kydex will continue to grow and become the standard for holsters in the near future. If this entry can do anything, I hope it can help people figure out what would work best for them. I hope this happens without wasting money and time on inferior products that won’t fill the individual’s needs. If you guys have any more questions on the matter feel free to email me or comment below. As always stay safe out there. 


    We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.

    I’m an avid shooter and love educating whether it’s at my job or in the shooting community. I’m an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions.
    I’m active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator.