Rough side out leather vs smooth side out for holster?

This is a discussion on Rough side out leather vs smooth side out for holster? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Which do you guys prefer and why? I apologize if this is a repeat thread, I searched but could not find anything....

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Thread: Rough side out leather vs smooth side out for holster?

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    Member Array alien319's Avatar
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    Rough side out leather vs smooth side out for holster?

    Which do you guys prefer and why? I apologize if this is a repeat thread, I searched but could not find anything.

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    Rough side out to help retain holster in the correct position when pistol is drawn.
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    Member Array afojc's Avatar
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    Check into Kydex, I have a ITW made out of it

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    Ex Member Array barstoolguru's Avatar
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    tooling (smooth side)out..... show me one holster different?

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    Senior Member Array Dadsnugun's Avatar
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    I tried making a cowboy holster rough side out once, just to see....looks terrible in my opinion...I think it's useful for IWB applications, as was mentioned above, but not OWB or anything you want to show off.
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    Rough out for a pocket holster too, otherwise smooth out.
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    Distinguished Member Array Doghandler's Avatar
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    Doesn't really matter much to me. Smooth out will make you look more polished around the shiny shoe crowd.

    Any holster with a manly pull that keeps casual pickers and knuckle pounders at bay is OK with me.

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    Member Array Crowbait's Avatar
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    Being around cowboy gear as much as I am/have been I've seen what seems just about everything in "rough out". It IS naturally more waterproof, it DOES have more retention/stay put qualities; though I don't see this as an issue unless the rig is not battened down/attached to your belt, pants, etc, but then again I haven't seen a leather rig that doesnt attach to something. The rough out WILL wear down/off, essentially making it just like the tooling side. When all is said and done its probably just about personal preference...I LOVE all my cowboy gear that I have in rough out though.
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    Senior Member Array WoodLark's Avatar
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    I have both and have never noticed any advantage to one over the other.
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    Pending on holster, you can do a little of both with the inner panel smooth and the outer panel rough. The rough side can increase friction.


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    Member Array Denster's Avatar
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    In my opinion there is no real advantage to rough out. Any perceived extra friction is soon gone from burnishing either in the pocket or IWB and they just look bad. A properly designed pocket or IWB doesn't really need any help staying in place. It is a good way for holster makers, of which I am one, to use leather with flaws on the grain side. YMMV

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    Member Array Palumbo3284's Avatar
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    I have read (have no direct experience) that smooth side in (thus rough side out unless two pieces of leather sewn together rough sides together) reduces finish wear on your pistol over time. Anyone confirm/deny this based on experience?

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    VIP Member Array MNBurl's Avatar
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    I have different models mainly IWB where some are rough side out.

    Rough side out benefits:
    1. Keeps a single connection type holster from moving around.
    2. Smooth side against the gun to add in drawing.
    3. Marginally less wear on the gun.
    4. Good for pocket carry
    MNBurl

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    Senior Member Array rednichols's Avatar
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    What we think of as 'rough-out' holsters was really just an easy way of 'lining' your holster to leave the smoothest part of the leather against your pistol. The 'rough' side of the hide is known to leather tanners as the 'flesh' side, and in the vegetable tanned hides used for holsters and belts, is typically smoothed by 'pasting' so that both sides of the hide are equally smooth. That means that any holster maker can choose a hide with a pasted flesh and eliminate any concern about having the flesh side against your pistol. That said, a maker might choose an unpasted flesh and put it on the outside, because a 'rough-out' holster doesn't show rough wear (scraping against branches, for example, if you're a horseman) like having the smooth 'grain' side out; but it does soil easily and is impossible to bring back to a like-new appearance. In fact, both a rough-out or pasted flesh holster will be so kind to your pistol that lining them was always the solution to a non-existent problem, to quote Jeff Cooper; but which was popularised by the likes of Neale Perkins at Safariland (remember their green 'elk' suede linings, which ironically were the flesh side against the pistol?). The rough-out holster's contribution to keeping the holster in position in an inside-waistband holster is non-existent (keeping it in position is a function of holster design); but it does set the breed apart from its belt counterpart and so makes you look like you're among the cognoscenti. So as long as your holster maker is using a pasted flesh on the inside, it'll be safe against your pistol.

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    Al Stohlman ~ an incredible leather craftsman and leather carver actually did some tooling on the flesh side of vegetable tanned leather.
    The flesh side was hand sanded first to give it an even suede appearance.
    He did mostly silhouette type designs that were stamped down with a backgrounder tool and then dyed (usually dark brown)
    I once saw one of his "rough out" western saddles that was as magnificent looking as it was atypical.

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