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I rotate between a Glock 19, Ruger LC9s and a Walther PPS M2 all in an OWB Kydex holster. I have Bravo Concealment BCA's with the pancake belt loops and I'm not dissatisfied with them at all, but I just want a good OWB leather holster for at least the Walther. I have never owned a leather holster and my only experience is trying a Galco OWB on my LC9s and it would have been easier pushing a pumpkin through a garden hose than get it to sit down in the holster. I know there is some "breaking in" on leather, but I think a nicer quality leather would be ok.

My main concerns are is the retention going to be good on a leather holster and would I need a thumb break? These features are what I like about Kydex, but a good leather holster might be the same. I saw Eric357's post yesterday about his new Nelsons and dang those things look sweet.

Any input would be appreciated.
 
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Go ahead and go with the Nelson. Lead time is around 10 weeks but they are well worth the wait. I have 5 of his holsters. You also wont find a better person to deal with than James. He is a good guy and treats his customers very well.
 

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I guess I should mention I carry OWB at 3 o'clock. I have tried 4 o'clock, but with arthritis it's hard for me to draw from effectively. I think I want a pancake style, but didn't know if 3 o'clock carry means a different style would be better.
 
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A snap on a holster is not retention. A bad guy who knows what he's doing will take a gun from a snapped holster before its previous owner knows his gun is gone. And yes, bad guys do practice gun takeaways.

I'd shy away from FBI cant holsters. To bad guy who knows what he's doing, a forward cant is an invitation to take a gun.

There is no such thing as a 100% retention holster. It that were true, you wouldn't be able to draw a gun from one.

Holsters involve a lot of compromises. After checking out a lot of holsters, I went with a Galco Avenger: https://www.galcogunleather.com/avenger-belt-holster_8_4_1023.html

You can spend a lot more $$$ on a custom holster that might not be better than a Galco.

Within reason, all concealed guns will print. Now if you want to look like a bag lady, you might be able to conceal a handgun. But more quickly than a jiffy, people would be able to figure out why you're dressed like a bag lady.

When a hand gunner spends a lot of money on a custom holster, he'll attempt to reassure himself by trying to get others to believe that the holster he bought is the best holster. It might be for him. Is it for you?

Ross Perot used to say, "Measure twice, cut once." That is more than apropos when applied to buying holsters.
 

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With just about any good leather holster they are going to be a little tight until broken in good.
Leather stretches so if the holster was a perfect fit from the start it will be to lose once it is good and broken in so expect that tightness for a few weeks.
Once a tight fitting leather holster is broken in it is a perfect fit for the gun.
 

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A quality leather holster will be a little tight before it breaks in, but not that tight. It should have enough retention to hold the firearm in place but it shouldn't hinder drawing or make holstering a challenge.

There's a ton of quality leather holster makers out there so the tough part should be picking which one you want and then dealing with the wait times. Personally, I like Milt Sparks, Eric Hopp and Tim Thurner but there's a bunch of others that make great stuff as well.
 

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A quality leather holster will be a little tight before it breaks in, but not that tight. It should have enough retention to hold the firearm in place but it shouldn't hinder drawing or make holstering a challenge.

There's a ton of quality leather holster makers out there so the tough part should be picking which one you want and then dealing with the wait times. Personally, I like Milt Sparks, Eric Hopp and Tim Thurner but there's a bunch of others that make great stuff as well.
A lot of my holsters are pretty tight until broken in and they do take a little while to break in but once they get there they should last a life time.
I do tend to make them tight so there isn't any stretch left once broken in good.
This is how my Grandfather taught me to build holsters and I am still using on that he made about 75 years ago, still works great.
 

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A lot of my holsters are pretty tight until broken in and they do take a little while to break in but once they get there they should last a life time.
I do tend to make them tight so there isn't any stretch left once broken in good.
This is how my Grandfather taught me to build holsters and I am still using on that he made about 75 years ago, still works great.
Exactly. Since the retention isn't adjustable it's got to start out tight. That way it breaks in and still provides a solid hold. It shouldn't be impossible to get into the holster though, which is what the OP sounds like he experienced.

I've never owned a Nelson holster but your work sure looks good!
 

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I have a Blackhawk Speed Classic for my snub. It's nice quality made in Italy leather. I never really had to break it in because they have a thick elastic, I mean heavy duty sewn in for breakaway. It has a leather piece protecting the band. Nice. As for breaking in a holster, I have a Beretta 92 that I bought a Galco VHS vertical shoulder rig for it. Very stiff out of the box. I watched a video saying the best way to break in a holster is to wrap the gun and magazines if applicable in wax paper. Galco video says to use plastic bags but they are not thick enough. Three sheets of wax paper 1 1/2 times the size of said gun and put it away for 72 hours. It worked great. Galco is quality in my opinion.


 

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Nelson makes great stuff, and will customize the ride height and cant to your liking. Top quality.

For an off the shelf option, I like Desantis. I prefer a thumb break when using a mass produced model, as retention may not be great without it. My primary OWB holster for my EDC P229 is a Desantis. Rides nice and tight to the body.
 
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A snap on a holster is not retention. A bad guy who knows what he's doing with take a gun from a snapped holster before its previous owner will know he has no protection. And yes, bad guys do practice gun takeaways.

I'd shy away from FBI cant holsters. To bad guy who knows what he's doing, a forward cant is an invitation to take a gun.

There is no such thing as a 100% retention holster. It that were true, you would be able to draw a gun from one.

Holsters involve a lot of compromises. After checking out a lot of holsters, I went with a Galco Avenger: https://www.galcogunleather.com/avenger-belt-holster_8_4_1023.html

You can spend a lot more $$$ on a custom holster that might not be better than a Galco.

Within reason, all concealed guns will print. Now if you want to look like a bag lady, you might be able to conceal a handgun. But more quickly than a jiffy, people would be able to figure out why you're dressed like a bag lady.

When a hand gunner spends a lot of money on a custom holster, he'll attempt to reassure himself by trying to get others to believe that the holster he bought is the best holster. It might be for him. Is it for you?

Ross Perot used to say, "Measure twice, cut once." That is more than apropos when applied to buying holsters.
No offense, but how often does this happen randomly? I mean a BG trying to take your firearm. I've heard of maybe 2 cases in the last three years of a random gun snatch. He can always carry appendix. Just MHO, mechanical retention slows down everything, especially if the man has arthritis.

I'd also be willing to bet more people negligently shoot themselves with a mechanical retention holster than BG's randomly grab guns.
 

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AHolsters involve a lot of compromises. After checking out a lot of holsters, I went with a Galco Avenger: https://www.galcogunleather.com/avenger-belt-holster_8_4_1023.html

You can spend a lot more $$$ on a custom holster that might not be better than a Galco.

Within reason, all concealed guns will print. Now if you want to look like a bag lady, you might be able to conceal a handgun. But more quickly than a jiffy, people would be able to figure out why you're dressed like a bag lady.

When a hand gunner spends a lot of money on a custom holster, he'll attempt to reassure himself by trying to get others to believe that the holster he bought is the best holster. It might be for him. Is it for you?

Ross Perot used to say, "Measure twice, cut once." That is more than apropos when applied to buying holsters.

I beg to differ. A lot of the custom holsters on here don't cost much more than an off the shelf. My Nelsons didn't run me any more than my Galocs. Also you don't have to look like a bag lady in order not to print.
 

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I was just at the Nelson site. They look like a really nice product. Anyone carry a snub IWB? Curious how the comfort is. One of them, the cheaper one has neoprene backing for comfort.
 

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Hi Eric357,

I'd say that you're right: some custom holsters are not much more expensive than over-the-counter holsters, depending upon comparison. From what I've seen, custom holsters, though, can range from 50% more expensive and much more depending upon holster professional and quality of materials. The added problem is delivery delay. Some professionals have many months' delivery time.

I'd have no problem paying twice as much as a Galco if I carried every day. But I don't. In fact, I can't remember that last time I've carried even though I can wherever I want. Were I to carry every day, I'd go with a professional who'd craft a holster to my exact specifications. But as it is, a Galco Avenger is perfect for my use. While no holster offers 100% concealment 100% of the time, an Avenger with an untucked shirt is pretty concealable. I do have a Galco Fletch that I really like. But I like avenger more.

If I were able, I'd have Galco go with 1.5" belt loops. But I'm good with 1.75 belt loops.

For urban carry, I like a top draw holster for retention techniques purposes. I do have two urban carry holster with snaps, but I'd never rely upon a snap to retain my holster. And when I do carry a handgun, I am extremely cognizant of my surroundings and who's within reasonable reach of my gun. Bad guys look for off-duty cops before they do bad things. Bad guys can be pretty good at spotting what we think are concealed holsters.

Using a triple checked unloaded gun, I'd encourage all hand gunners who carry concealed to practice gun retention techniques. That way, should a bad guy try to disarm a good guy, muscle memory of the good guy should, hopefully, enable him to retain his gun.

I personally know a cop who smacked a bad guy on his hand with a full blow baton (3rd growth hickory, not a PR-24) strike as he reached for another cop's holstered duty weapon. I'm sure that the cop broke the bad guy's hand. Had the bad guy took the cop's gun, the cop who struck him with his baton would've had to kill him. That's the benefit of having more than one good guy when confronted by one bad guy. In contrast, non-LE guys are usually on their own, which is almost always true with off-duty cops. So they should know proven handgun retention techniques. And the absolute best technique is to never allow anyone who arouses suspicion to get close to a good guy's gun.

Check out this link: Holster Lessons Learned Expensively

Two of the posters are professional holster craftsmen. One is the designer of the Avenger holster. An excellent point made by the holster professionals is that holsters involve compromises. The part of using an excellent quality gun belt is great advice.
 

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No offense, but how often does this happen randomly? I mean a BG trying to take your firearm. I've heard of maybe 2 cases in the last three years of a random gun snatch. He can always carry appendix. Just MHO, mechanical retention slows down everything, especially if the man has arthritis.

I'd also be willing to bet more people negligently shoot themselves with a mechanical retention holster than BG's randomly grab guns.
We don't know how often it occurs. The guy who tried to take a Las Vegas cop's gun at a Trump rally assuredly made international news due to circumstances. But more often than not, we won't hear about attempted gun takeaways.

I have no clue how many people shoot themselves trying to draw from any holster. Again, it's probably an event that doesn't make it to media.

I can tell you that bad guys do practice gun takeaways. Many, many years ago I watched a training video of San Quentin inmates practicing gun takeaways.

At the time of the Rodney King arrest, ~25% of all murdered cops were murdered with their own guns. At that time, I had access to murdered law enforcement officers stats. I do not know if that statistic is still valid. But a few years ago, a Riverside cop was murdered with his duty gun.

Bad guys, especially gang bangers and outlaw bikers, practice taking holstered guns from good guys. Maybe a Google search might shed some light on this topic.

I saw a dude at a So Cal mall who looked like an off duty cop. He had a girl walking next to his strong side, which offered protection of his gun. I looked to his belt line where I saw the print of his handgun. Bad guys look for that same print. Bad guys are bad guys because they practice being bad guys.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/16/local/la-me-riverside-officer-20101116



Best of luck to you,

Surfer
 
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