Cow Hide or Horse Hide?

This is a discussion on Cow Hide or Horse Hide? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm looking at ordering the Milt Sparks VM2 for my Springfield 1911 Operator (have not bought yet but going to put the order in for ...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16

Thread: Cow Hide or Horse Hide?

  1. #1
    Member Array SnubMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    157

    Cow Hide or Horse Hide?

    I'm looking at ordering the Milt Sparks VM2 for my Springfield 1911 Operator (have not bought yet but going to put the order in for the holster -- I have heard they take 6 months!). So.... is there a difference between cow and horse hide. Should I get one over the other or does it make no difference???

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    Member Array dmorris68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    NW Georgia
    Posts
    313
    Most of the holster maker websites, including Sparks' IIRC, explain the difference.

    I'm sure our resident holster experts will chime in with their opinions. From what I understand, horsehide is a stiffer, harder, tighter grained leather. Being less porous than cowhide, it retains less moisture which means less opportunity for rusting your blued weapons due to sweat absorption or weather. Likewise, it also absorbs less dye so you tend not to get the consistency of color/tanning that you do with cowhide (some actually prefer the look of inconsistency, though). A thinner piece of horsehide can be used to make a thinner holster with the same stiffness of a thicker cowhide holster. Being harder & stiffer, it also tends to take less boning detail than cowhide.

    I'd say if you're in a harsh environment that subjects a holster to the elements or a lot of wear & tear, horsehide will be more durable and probably outlasts cowhide. However for most of us, a quality cowhide holster is plenty sufficient and often looks more attractive due to the finer detail and color options possible. I've heard it said that the stitching on either will likely give out before the leather does (for a quality holster, that is).
    David

    Kimber Pro CDP II Colt Combat Commander Glock 26 GNS Ruger Mark III 22/45 Kahr CW9 (sold)

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    McKinney, TX
    Posts
    3,496
    I know when I bought my SuperTuck I was told horsehide was better at withstanding sweat than cowhide was. Other than that I knwo it also adds $ to the bottom line.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

    -Paco
    http://www.shieldsd.net

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Over here now!
    Posts
    3,615
    I thought the VM2's were (or could be made) with horse on the skin side and cow on the outside of the holster.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

  6. #5
    Ex Member Array Silver Wolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    275

    Horse vs. Cow

    I am no expert but I have recently started making more and more horsehide holsters.
    It is much tougher, denser, absorbent, etc than cow. (My arms are gonna look like Popeye's before Jan. LOL)

    I made my first horse holster for myself and it is much different than my cow holster, that is almost identical. I think it is a bit smoother but I like horse; I have been a fan of Kramer holsters since I started shooting. I do not push it with my customers, I merely state the facts and let them decide for themselves.

    You may want to look at Holsters for Handguns, Firearms and Concealment at holsters.org and see Andy's thoughts on horse. I am sure if you Google the differences, you will find alot of opinion out there.

    I have seen the difference in a cow and a horse holster after 25 years. An instructor of mine has one of Kramer's first BSCAB's in horse and it looks and works great, other than the usual wear and scratches. I saw a customers 25 y/o cow holster and it looked like it had been run over and was loosing some of it's shape and just looked bad. With the cow, it may have been a lower grade of leather, I dunno but I didn't think it was too safe.

    With a VMII, you won't go wrong either way. You may want to do the horse back and the cow front though. I know a number of people who have done that. Heck, I recently did something similar for a customer and he likes it.

    I dunno if I helped. Good luck.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Phoenix
    Posts
    4,244
    I have both in Sparks' VM2, and have not yet worn either out. The horsehide does seem to wick less moisture than the cow here in our extreme heat. I can without a doubt recommend Kramer's horsehide work. It's like nature's Kydex. Thin, well boned, and comfortable, unlike the plastic alternative.
    Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Array the_fallguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Southern Missouri
    Posts
    544
    Personally, I think that good quality cow hide makes as good (and often better) a holster as horsehide. When I began making holsters, horsehide soon became my preferred medium. I liked the way it looked and took finishes, and it was easier to make a stiffer holster with horsehide.

    Times have changed (and I'm sure I have too). I personally have not been at all satisfied with the quality or consistency of the horsehide I have purchased for the last year. It may have varying thicknesses in short distances, or be very dry and cracked, etc.. I was so dissatisfied with the quality of horsehide that I discontinued full exotic holsters (for which I almost exclusively used horsehide as a backing).

    The leather that is produced in today's tanneries is pretty different than the leather that came out thirty years ago. I can honestly say that the cow hide I use now is, in my opinion, superior to horsehide. I'm not being lazy or trying to save money either - I spend more for my cow hide than horse hide costs. I use it because I believe it makes a better holster.

    The folks at Milt Sparks really know what they are doing, and I'm sure they have much more resources (and pull) to get quality products. That being said, I would opt for cow hide unless you prefer the look that horsehide gives you.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    Where self preservation is concerned, if you're not cheating, your not trying...

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Phoenix
    Posts
    4,244
    Jeff, thanks for your note. Except for the look, do you think that horsehide provides a better moisture barrier for your gun?
    Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array the_fallguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Southern Missouri
    Posts
    544
    Honestly, with the treatments that a lot of holster makers use anymore, there really isn't much difference. Most holsters sold to day are treated with acrylic, or wax, or a combination thereof. I have even begun adding a leather-friendly rust-preventative and moisture-shedding lubricant to the inside of my holsters (after applying the initial acrylic finish) to protect the pistol's finish and speed up the break-in process.

    When the treatment wears off after a lot of use, I would venture a guess that the horsehide is more water resistant. Keep in mind, however, that when cow hide gets old it tends to soften. When horsehide gets old it can tend to dry out and crack.

    In learning about holsters and leather, I discovered that Bruce Nelson believed a holster should be replaced after three to five years of use, because they just don't really retain their proper qualities beyond that. I tend to agree, for the most part.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    Where self preservation is concerned, if you're not cheating, your not trying...

  11. #10
    Administrator
    Array QKShooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Off Of The X
    Posts
    35,059

    Post The Milt Sparks Official Opinion

    Here is the Milt Sparks opinion on Whinnie VS Moo.

    All credit to Tony and Milt Sparks Holsters.
    Copied from the Milt Sparks answers to "Questions" page.

    What is the difference between cowhide and horsehide?

    "One of the more notable properties of horsehide is its natural ability to repel moisture. This is due to the dense cell structure of the hide thus limiting its porosity. This natural ability to repel moisture makes it very useful for certain applications, particularly for use inside the waistband.

    Unlike with cowhide, horsehides non-porous nature reduces its ability to fully absorb the casing solution during the forming process, making it much more difficult to get good crisp detail of the weapon when molding around the gun. Also for the same reason horsehide tends not to absorb the dye and finishing materials as evenly making it in my opinion, somewhat inferior in that respect to good cowhide.

    On the durability issue there has been much BS circulating on the mythical wear characteristics of horsehide. I will not argue that a well made horsehide holster will give you many years and possibly a lifetime of good service, but with proper care a good cowhide holster will last just as long.

    Some of our holsters combine the use of both horsehide and cowhide, taking into advantage the desirable attributes of each material. So which material is better?? That is a personal preference issue. Where horsehide is available as an option, the choice is yours."

  12. #11
    Sponsor
    Array mtcraigco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    253
    Pretty much the same answer from us as most others here. Horse resists moisture ALOT better. And as we do IWBs almost exclusively, that's a big consideration. The downside, it's stiffer initially and requires a bit more time for break in, it is also harder and harder to get, so it costs more.
    Mark Craighead
    Owner/Founder
    CrossBreed Holsters LLC
    http://www.crossbreedholsters.com

  13. #12
    Member Array Jaystekan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    492
    Well, I ordered a horsehide for my Defender from Milt Sparks a while back. On week #16 or 17 now of the wait. When I called I asked the guy taking my order what the difference is. What I was told by Milt Spakrs was that there really isn't a huge difference. He said that some people have said that the horse is a little stiffer, resists moisture a bit more, and takes a color dye a bit differently. He also said that the VM2 in horsehide has rapidly become their most-ordered holster they make, lately outnumbering the number of custom orders for the VM2 in cow. I was going to get a cow VM2 but I had ordered a dakota defender in cow that same day, so I went with the horse in order to compare the 2 of them and see which I liked better. Had I not ordered the defender in cow, I most likely would have gone cow for the VM2.
    Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

  14. #13
    Senior Moderator
    Array Tangle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chattanooga
    Posts
    9,657
    Here's this from Mitch Rosen:
    Q: Is there any advantage to horsehide?

    A: There is absolutley no advantage to horsehide as a material for high-quality holster manufacture. All of our standard products are constructed of best quality cowhide. However, we do keep some horsehide in stock for those who have been successfully advertised to.


    Bullhide a bunch of bull.

    The latest fad among some gun belt makers is bullhide. Bullhide is an extremely low quality leather imported from Mexico at low cost. Bulls are killed for their hides at a much older age, and therefore the leather tends to be raggy and full of fat wrinkles (soft spots in the leather). You will observe that many bullhide belts have stiffening "inserts" in them to overcome the leathers deficiencies. This is completely unnecessary with best quality cowhide, and is clear evidence of bullhide's inferiority.
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  15. #14
    Member Array dmorris68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    NW Georgia
    Posts
    313
    Interesting note about bullhide from Rosen, considering the Beltman uses bullhide for his belts, and by all reports they are of top-notch quality. He doesn't add a stiffener insert unless you want one and pay extra for it, and says in his FAQ that they're really only useful for the narrow 1.25" belts when carrying a heavy firearm.

    Anybody ever made a comparison between a Beltman bullhide and a Rosen cowhide belt?
    David

    Kimber Pro CDP II Colt Combat Commander Glock 26 GNS Ruger Mark III 22/45 Kahr CW9 (sold)

  16. #15
    Member Array SnubMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    157
    Hey All,
    Thanks for your responses, i think I will go w/ the cowhide! Anyone got recommendations on belt/mag carriers?

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. Horse hide for hot humid climates
    By bowzette in forum Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: March 25th, 2010, 08:35 PM
  2. Dogs love horse hide
    By gogamecocks in forum Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: January 21st, 2010, 08:38 AM
  3. SuperTuck...Leather or Horse Hide?
    By mikcap in forum Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: December 21st, 2009, 10:39 PM
  4. Hide Away Knives
    By whitetrashfarm in forum Defensive Knives & Other Weapons
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: February 17th, 2007, 12:43 AM

Search tags for this page

bullhide vs cowhide
,
cow leather vs horse leather
,
cow vs horse holster
,

difference between cowhide and horsehide

,
difference between horse hide and cow hide
,
difference between horse hide and cowhide
,
difference between horse leather and cow leather
,

difference between horsehide and cowhide

,

horse leather vs cow leather

,
horse vs cow leather
,
horsehide vs cowhide
,
milt sparks vm2 horsehide
Click on a term to search for related topics.