IWB comfort, concealment: leather or kydex?

IWB comfort, concealment: leather or kydex?

This is a discussion on IWB comfort, concealment: leather or kydex? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Having decided that I will probably use my Kel-Tec .380 for the rare occasion when I actually carry a concealed weapon, my next option is ...

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Thread: IWB comfort, concealment: leather or kydex?

  1. #1
    Member Array 1gunsnowbird's Avatar
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    IWB comfort, concealment: leather or kydex?

    Having decided that I will probably use my Kel-Tec .380 for the rare occasion when I actually carry a concealed weapon, my next option is a Glock Model 23 if I am REALLY concerned about the current events wherever I might be when I get out of my car.

    Given those circumstances, I have been experimenting with concealed carry locations and have decided on 3:30 or 4 o'clock and am leaning toward kydex as a material for an IWB holster for the G23. However, I read many positive reviews of leather (horsehide or cowhide) as a more comfortable holster and I would like to narrow my choices before I drop $60 bucks or so on a holster.

    Is kydex a good option for a Glock or is leather better? Which one will dig into my side the least? Should I get one that offers an option to be 'tuckable' if I have to wear more formal attire (like a golf shirt or dress shirt tucked into my slacks or Dockers? Should I get the 'C' hook or 'J' hook and have it made to fit a 1-1/2" belt (most often worn with jeans or corduroys) and then hope it will work with a dress belt of 1 inch or 1-1/4 inches?

    I expect that most of the time when I go with the Glock, I'll be wearing the holster against my bare skin, so chafing and rubbing will be a factor.

    So far my weight loss program is going pretty well, so I expect the spare tire won't be an issue within a few months. If I can hold off the weight gain, I should be able to consider lots of belted options, but I like the idea of slipping the weapon (and holster) off and on in the driver's seat of my car. So, ease of mounting the gun is important.

    The research I've done to date leads me to consider the Blade Tech and Bear Claw Covert as top choices, with C-Tac Pro Undercover and Mr. Softy as distant seconds and FIST K4 in last place. The fit and finish looks very strong on the Bear Claw and it looks like it would slide into place pretty easy.

    Any experience and recommendations would be welcome.

    The Kel-Tec will remain in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster or an ankle holster (Uncle Mike's or something else?).

    Thanks for the input.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy - Tom Waits


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Leather is the most comfortable for IWB for my taste
    I have tried both and kydex just doesn't have enough give

  3. #3
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    I find a light t shirt or underarmor is needed to prevent chafing. Kydex has less give, but is thinner and stronger. Leather is more comfortable , however.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array MNBurl's Avatar
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    Leather of course!
    MNBurl

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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array maclean3's Avatar
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    I prefer leather for my guns and equally important, I won't buy or carry a holster that doesn't have an offset loop design (MaxCon V, In Cognito, K&D Defender, COM 3, etc.). They're so much more comfortable than the Summer Special "stacked loop" holsters that it's no contest. Some sort of undershirt is an absolute must for me, I wear dark Ts in Fall and Winter and white "wife beaters" in Spring and Summer with an unbuttoned cover shirt concealing the weapon.

    If you go with kydex and hook style belt attachments I highly recommend ordering a set of hooks sized for each width belt you intend to use, they're usually fairly inexpensive and easily swapped out. 1 1/2" hooks on a 1 1/4" belt just aren't going to give the weapon stability you need especially if you ever have to grab for the gun.

    I've got a tuckable COM 3 for my J-frame and while it's my current primary rig, I've used the tuckable feature exactly one time and that was just for pictures of the rig. I generally just use a cover shirt like a normal IWB and it's been fine even under an oversized t-shirt.
    Jack

  6. #6
    Member Array rodeymo's Avatar
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    I've been carrying my USP Compact 9mm in a Comp-tac CTAC holster using the c-clips, with no issues at all. The clips stayed attached to my belt very nicely, so much so that I sometimes have a little trouble getting the holster off my belt.

    Comfort is a different story. I wouldn't say that the CTAC holster is uncomfortable, but I know that it is there, and occasionally, it pinches when my pants are ride down a little. I've also had a leather IWB from Highnoon Holsters for my XD-45 and it wasn't nearly as comfortable as my Comp-tac Infidel.

    Tucker Gunleather has "The Answer" which looks interesting to me in that it has that big leather panel which sits next to your body. I might have to give that a shot one of these days.

    One other thing, I've noticed that loosing weight has made a big impact on my ability to carry IWB. Even just 20 lbs has made a big difference, so I would encourage you to keep that up. It can only make it more comfortable....

  7. #7
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    I have both leather and kydex for a number of weapons...leather is much more comfortable...and I never have the holster touching my skin...
    I will wear a summer T-shirt (wife beater) under a regular T-shirt if is is really warm.
    I seldom use the kydex for anything other than a great pocket holster because it is so thin.
    My leather holsters are not cheap ones...boned leather fit to the specific weapon...mostly IWB.

    Stay armed...stay safe!

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    I must preface this with a disclaimer: I do not own a Kydex IWB holster. I own a few Kydex paddle holsters, which are fine for what they are. That being said, I prefer IWB and I cannot imagine wanting to wear a Kydex holster IWB...just my $0.02.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Eric Larsen's Avatar
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    Well good one you for losing the extra "s...... :D
    As far as Kydex...personally, there is NO COMPARISON! NONE!...Nothing against the Kydex guys out there! But the guys who have had an IWB Kydex and a good! leather setup will probably come in @ 90% leather over Kydex. Picture a brick (gun) between you and your pants and a hard pc. of plastic vs a pc of leather that bends with you and moves a tad.
    Look at an Offset loop design IWB...com3, maxcon5, etc...and see what you like. Go from there....or just take what Im saying as a sales pitch and look at kydex........
    Shoot well and god bless
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice..........Rush

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    New Member Array jablade's Avatar
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    Hello. New member. Is this working?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array cockedlocked01's Avatar
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    I'm sure some will tell you kydex is great & comfortable. It's definitely a subjective thing, but it would stand to reason that leather "should" be more comfortable. Personally, it is.

    The companies you listed seem to make single clip holsters. If you're considering wearing IWB at 3:00-5:30, you might consider two clips/belt-loops on each side of the holster body. It's comfortable & thinner. If a single clip still interests (Maybe for quicker on/off ability), I suggest UBG holsters. He's quick & inexpensive for a custom made holster.
    "Use human means as though divine ones didn't exist, and divine means as though there were no human ones." Baltasar Gracian
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    Glock 19 & 26, Kahr CM9 & P45, Para P12, Kel-Tec P-32, S&W 442, & Dan Wesson 14-2.

  12. #12
    Member Array 1gunsnowbird's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses so far. It appears to not even be an issue ... leather gets all the votes for IWB. However, the ease of putting it on and taking it off, make it more appealing that I use one clip instead of two. And, I especially don't see myself taking off my belt in order to thread it through two loops. Perhaps an 'easy-on' and 'easy-off' holster doesn't exist. Only Bear Claw (kydex) promotes one-handed use. Any leather out there with a single hook ('J' or 'C') that's still relatively thin?
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy - Tom Waits

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Eric Larsen's Avatar
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    Well...for the thinnest look for an offset clip/loop design. There are plenty of makers who offer these designs. Look around and see what appeals to you.....I know UBG and myself offer them, along with many other makers.

    Shoot well and god bless
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice..........Rush

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array cockedlocked01's Avatar
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    I have a UBG holster's single clip IWB that Nate also made "tuckable." I like it so much, he's making another one for me for my new Taurus PT145.

    You can holster it one handed & it's an easy on/off affair. The clips he uses (& Mr. Larsen at HBE holsters uses them, too), work great. They will not come off. I normally carry the holster clipped to my pants & thread the belt over it. If I use the tuckable option, I clip my cell phone onto the belt in front of the clip.

    I was wearing my Kahr PM9 in it with my shirt tucked in last Friday & went to see our rangemaster about another gun of mine. He never knew where I was carrying it untill I untucked my shirt & showed him the holster! & he's seen alot given that he's our full-time rangemaster for a medium sized Dept. & we do training through our indoor handgun/rifle range for many nearby Dept's including some State Dept's that are stationed nearby. It's the third holster down under the IWB section.
    "Use human means as though divine ones didn't exist, and divine means as though there were no human ones." Baltasar Gracian
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Array Rotorblade's Avatar
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    Comp-Tac Infidel

    Up until 2 months ago I've always been a custom leather guy. I've used holsters from Sparks, Kramer and Tucker, all great holsters. I never thought I'd even be interested in a "plastic" holster but I needed one rather quickly and ordered an Infidel from Comp-Tac. Got the holster in a week, think I paid around 55 bucks (cheapest holster I've owned). I carry an XD-9 subcompact in it and it's the most confortable holster I own. I didn't get the fancy clips just the 2 belt snaps. I'm your typical slightly pot bellied middle aged guy, easy to put on and take off plus the weapon retention in my opinion is better than leather. I'm not sure how well the setup would work with a larger weapon but anything in the compact range should be just fine. I love the look and feel of leather but if it's IWB nobody see's it anyway!
    Just thought I'd give you my 2 cents as 6 months ago I'd would have told you that kydex is for the cheap guys that don't want to spend the money on a nice rig! I was wrong.......

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