There is a reason the top end holsters cost more $$ and comfort is high on the list!
This is a discussion on Holster Angst within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I would like to buy a holster for my Sig 229 (and another for my Walther PPK/S) and I'd like it to be a IWB ...
I would like to buy a holster for my Sig 229 (and another for my Walther PPK/S) and I'd like it to be a IWB or IWB/OWB type.
Do I order a high-end, hand made, custom leather beauty that draws oohs and aahs from all who see it (think HBE, MS or the like) or would I be better off with something a bit less expensive like a Supertuck?
My fear is that I would order the more expensive and beautiful holster, only to find myself preferring ( and getting more practical use out of) the less expensive, more basic, who cares what it looks like or if it gets sweaty holster?
Pretty straight-forward if it was OWB only, but seeing as this would be buried against my skin and not visible to anyone but me, I struggle with the decision. Comfort and concealability are primary factors. Buying both is possible, but then one would sit idle in my drawer and that would really be a waste of money.
Have any of you regretted your decision (for either one selected) or do you have both and find yourself using one more than the other?
Thanks for the trouble, I hate to post yet another "which holster" but I have searched and read much here but still do not have a clear direction/decision.
There is a reason the top end holsters cost more $$ and comfort is high on the list!
Custom leather or bust. Can't beat the comfortability. The fit and finish is just an added perk.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
It never hurts to have more than one holster for each gun. Whether that's an IWB and an OWB or two of the same style it's still a good idea. When my primary carry gun was a 5" Mil-Spec I ended up with two MaxCon Vs for it. For my Glock 19 I've got a MaxConV and a cheaper, mass produced, OWB pancake holster. I've got a MCV for my Nighthawk T3 (my current primary) and I'm still considering an OWB for it, I'll probably opt for a Def-Con soon.
The point is, if something happens to damage your primary holster, you're going to need some sort of backup carry rig. I personally only use leather holsters for my guns as I find them much more comfortable, I've tried different kydex over the years and I've disliked them all. I prefer custom leather from small shops though mass produced holsters do serve a purpose and I've owned a few of those too.
For an immediate need, I'll usually place an order with a custom maker for the rig I want and then cruise the various forums' classifieds to find something that will work until my custom leather comes in. Once I get the custom, the other holster goes in the drawer as a back up.
Well, you're sort of starting out with an incorrect assumption that members who buy custom leather from the "top of the heap" holster makers are just buying them for the "oohs and aahs" and...what the holster "looks like" and that is not the case.
Some folks order a custom OWB or IWB holster with exotic leather trim but, not because they are trying to impress others.
They have firearm that they depend on and trust with their lives and so they may "splurge" a bit when they order and add a "fancy touch" for their own personal satisfaction. That is normal human behavior.
For MOST people though that is not at all the primary reason why they choose a particular maker.
They also know in advance that any daily carry rig (no matter how beautiful or expensive) may get scratched up, sweaty, or banged around.
When you finally get the chance to buy your brand new Dream Car...(of course) you know (in advance) that when you take it out on the road and drive it - the tires are going to get dirty and birds are going to poop on it and bugs are going to get smashed on the windshield.
That is no reason to not buy the car that you want if you can afford it.
There are reasons why professional people and folks who carry every day choose holsters that are made by top makers and the most important of those reasons have nothing to do with impressing anybody.
Though admittedly the ultra~fine craftsmanship and the extreme attention to detail are very much appreciated by the buyer.
Not everybody NEEDS an uber-high quality carry rig.
That is probably true but, once you own one you certainly will appreciate having it.
I personally carry in the best that I can afford and I do not "baby" my holsters at all.
They are "serious working rigs" and I love the fact that I don't have to baby them because I've purchased the best.
The leather itself is the best of the best.
The rigs are perfectly "boned" and molded to the firearm and the leather remains firm even after countless numbers of practice draws and re-holstering.
The leather finish is the best and that keeps the leather structurally sound.
The slots are perfectly positioned and so the holster continues to pull the firearm in close to the body.
I could go "on & on" but, I think you get the picture.
I need to know that I can always depend on my firearm and the holster that houses it.
As to if the wait and the expense will be worth it to you personally - I guess that is something that you'll need to decide for yourself.
To give you a short answer to your one question, I have never regretted buying the highest quality leather for daily carry.
Personally I never will buy a holster for the ooohs and aaaahs or the "bling" factor. You should buy for the quality and value which means fit, finish, and functon. Part of value is how much you get of those three things for your money. Now I do have a high quality gun belt and some nice holsters and they match and I do like how they look but a quality holster means more comfort and more security for a loaded weapon so needless to say it's real important!
HBE for example is high end quality and they aren't cheap but that quality means its fits the weapon perfectly, it's a good design which helps you to carry the gun well and that's super important.
So I don't go in for exotic skins because I carry concealed which means concealed which means why pay extra? But I'll have to admit that a shark skin holster sure looks good.
So, what can you afford? If you say 70-80 dollars are you willing to save until you can pay $120? for a high quality holster? If you can only afford $70-$80 there are a lot of good mid-range to higher quality holsters available but remember you get what you pay for and that's very true in holsters.
With critical equipment, you're normally better off getting the best you can and a holster and gun belt is definitely critical equipment. If you're simply going to strap on a gun for a weekend at the range, that's one thing, but if you're going to carry all the time then a good rig is worth the money you'll spend.
Now in my opinion you don't have to spend $169 and wait a year to get it. I belive that's ridiculous unless you have the time and money and like the brand but you don't want to get a $30 dollar mass produced holster to carry every day with.
Do your research and you'll find basically three tiers:
1. Low end mass produced; Like Don Hume Holsters, Fist, and even Galco. These can be cheap like Don Hume or even higher end type Galco holsters for $90 or more. The're in stock on web sites for many guns. They can run between $30 and $100 and you can find some good holsters in this group that will serve you well. I've used Don Hume and Fist holsters and they're just well, good simple, good value holsters.
2. More custom and middle level; In this category you have some holsters like K&D, UBG, HBE, AJ Concealco etc. You'll find guys just getting started in making holsters breaking into this category and thy can be a little rough out of the gate, but you can also find guys like the three I mentioned who's quality rivals the very best out there and many would argue that these guys are the high end but I put them in the middle because they still have reasonable prices and somewhat reasonable lead times. I have holsters from all three of these guys. I think this category represents the best value or balance between looks, function, cost, leadtime, etc.
3. High end more elite; makers such as Milt Sparks, Del Fatti, possibly Kramer, etc. These guys can cost a lot; $125 to over $190. Their fit and finish is simply the best out there.
Now there's a lot of overlap between these three categories as i would put HBE holsters in the 3rd group but on price and lead time I keep then in the 2nd group.
I think that at some point there just isn't enough difference between the quality of a cat 2 and cat 3 holster to justify the price and the waiting a year or more to get one.
I'll say this, once you try a holster from a guy in cat 2 and put it on with an actual gun belt made for the purpose, it'll make some of the lower end stuff seem like a joke and it'll ruin you! I have a $80 Galco I bought used and it's an okay holster but it really doesn't compare to a similar design from HBE or even UBG who IMHO is a step below HBE but who is catching up!
This is all VERY subjective but my advise if your serious about regular extended concealed carry is to get something from the cat 2 type of maker and understand that I only listed a few guys in each categories, there are many many many more!
If there is another category then it incudes kydes holsters and combination leather and kydes holsters which I hear some good things about but I like leather for my guns finish and I do like the looks better.
Unfortuantely you can't try before you buy. No way around that. Even a great holster that is perfectly made might not quite fit well on you. I had a Kramer Horsehide OWB for a J frame. it was a work of Art cost $119 and it'll last a life time but it just didn't work for me so I sold it.
IWB will always conceal easier than OWB and OWB is usually a bit more comfortable but not necessarily. I would recommend that you start out with IWB for CCW which means you may need pants one size larger although for jeans I find that's not normally the case.
Read a lot on these forums and you'll see the same names coming up again and again, stick with one of those and you'll have a better chance of success
If you do buy a holster that doesn't work out, you can usually sell it on this forum and recover most of your money if you don't mark it up while checking it out and keep the packaging, etc.
Get what you like that holds the gun secure and fits you well so you're as comfortabe as possible. I'm convinced leather is always more comfortable and don't worrry about any one elses impressions of your leather.
And someday you'll be like the rest of us who were in your shoes, who now have a box full of assorted holsters
Well I just got an excellent COM III for Valentine's day...It is definitely worth every penny. Been wearing it all the time possible, since I received it. However, if you don't wanna dive right in to custom leather prices but wanna experience custom leather quality...try FIST. There is a link here on the mega holster link page. They seem to be a good "get your feet wet" holster. Some swear by them. They seem to have a lot of different models and variations too.
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Thanks all. Exactly the input I was hoping for. I am not into the bling factor so much as the utility and that is what drove my concern about paying for a Category 3 holster which might not be as practical as a lesser holster. From what I gather here, a quality leather holster is never a bad purchase and it looks like HBE is a great way to get that without "over-spending". I really wanted to get an HBE but I also wanted to be practical.