Two Approaches To IWB Leather


While I’m often forced to use Kydex for long days outside in the South Carolina heat and humidity, I’ll always prefer classic leather when most of the day will be spent in more climate-controlled conditions — car, home, office, out and about, etc. Like other materials, leather will eventually create a bit of wear on the finish, but that’s okay. It’s the mark of a well-used gun owned by someone who practices the fundamentals of drawing and reholstering. And it’s hard to beat the feel and comfort of a quality leather holster.

Barranti Leather's Direct Line Summer Classic is a simple, yet well-made and effective design.

Barranti Leather Direct Line Summer Classic

With this model, “Doc” Barranti has taken a more minimalist approach to IWB carry. This “inside-out” leather rig features a single, fixed (no snap) leather belt loop. You can order various loop sizes, including 1.25, 1.5 and 1.75″. The inside-out design (smooth side of the leather inside the pouch and the rough side on the exterior of the holster) not only provides a smooth surface against your gun but adds carry stability as the rough leather maintains a light friction relationship with your clothing. The holster mouth is reinforced with an extra strip of heavy leather to ensure easy reholstering.

Models are available for 1911s or sixguns (Ruger or Colt). When ordering for 1911s, you can specify railed or no-rail models. Of course, with IWB carry, the longer barrel and slide are concealed “for free” as they’re inside the pants, so one really only needs to conceal the grip exposed above the beltline and the belt loop. I’ve been testing this one with a Springfield Armory Ronin 10mm and SA TRP .45 ACP. Both are full-sized, heavy guns, but the Barranti supports and conceals them with ease.

Craft Holsters Lynx Open Top IWB

Available in brown and black, the Lynx is a classic Italian cowhide traditional IWB holster with fit options for a wide variety of handguns. I’ve been using it with the same two Springfield 1911s mentioned above.

I would describe this one as leaning a bit toward the comfort and concealment model, designed to be worn in the 4 o’clock position. Its dual leather belt loops maintain stability, handle the weight of a large pistol and encourage the gun grip to wrap close to your waist. These loops use unidirectional snaps, so you can mount and dismount the holster without undoing your belt. By “unidirectional,” I mean you must open them in one direction only — straight up. All other directions will fail to release the snap. This is a good thing as it is exceedingly unlikely the snaps will release from unexpected pressure or movement.

The Craft Holsters Lynx is a comfortable IWB solution for larger guns, but is available for a wide variety of form factors.

The Lynx is a comfort design. Rather than having a rigid reinforced mouth, this model features a double layer of leather on the outside of the exposed portion of the mouth only, so you get the best of both worlds — some reinforcement, but not a more uncomfortable rigid opening. Other models in the Craft Holsters line offer a fully reinforced mouth if you prefer that style.

This one arrived perfectly fit with no sizing break-in required, but the company does include detailed instructions to size and soften not only the nicely boned gun pocket but belt loop straps, too. The break-in kit contains break-in fluid in a small spray bottle and an application dauber to reach the inside areas. The idea is to soften the leather and allow it to dry to achieve a perfect fit for your gun and belt. There’s also a microfiber cloth for periodic surface cleaning and polishing.

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