Leather Vs. Plastic

the Winner is …

BLACKHAWK! (left) and Ryan Grizzle (right).

Fightin’ It Out

On websites and gun ranges, all across the world, the battle over which is better (leather or kydex) continues. It’s a debate almost as beat to death as the 9mm vs .45 forever-dispute. Of course I have several opinions on both arguments, but for now I’ll keep the latter to myself.

I have a friend, who considers it blasphemy to carry a handgun in anything but hand-tooled leather. In some respects I agree with him, but the practical side of me believes in using the best tool for the job. My day-to-day carry holster I use most often is made of leather. Carrying a large handgun isn’t the most comfortable thing ever. Ask Clint, he’ll tell you it’s about the comfort of being well armed — and trained.

I most often use leather because for concealed carry, leather holsters simply feel best to me. When properly broken in, leather holsters conform to me as much as my pistol conforms to the holster. Leather is quiet when I bump into something, and when you get right Milt Sparks down to it, it’s a personal choice. I choose leather — most of the time.

Sidearmor (left) and 5 Shot Leather (right).

Milt Sparks (left) and Blade-Tech (right).


You’re probably now thinking to yourself, Sammy has lost his mind, he’s standing on the fence and doesn’t want to commit to which he likes best. Hear me out, I do favor leather holsters for my guns, when carrying concealed, but prefer to use kydex for my mag pouches.

When teaching on the range all day or spending quality time practicing, I use a kydex holster resembling the leather one I mainly use. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, I take the KISS principle to heart (Keep It Simple Sammy). The more basic things are, the less chance of Mr. Murphy jumping on my back.

Kydex gear can take a beating and then some, yet it keeps coming back for more. The quality of holsters made today is astounding. There are color-options galore. Also, I’m willing to bet there’s one designed similar to your favorite leather holster, at a price tag less than the custom rig you wear every day. This means you can practice as much as you want, and not worry about wearing out your leather holster. But don’t leave that plastic rig on your dash in the middle of summer. It will melt, or at least soften and lose shape.

Leather will always be my first love; I won’t deny it. There are some amazing holster makers, creating works of art from leather. I am, however, learning to be more practical and open minded and have accepted “plastic” holsters as a respectable member of the family. It’s good gear that makes sense. Imagine that.