Finding the right holster is like finding the right pair of shoes — it takes time to find the one that fits you and your style. Blue Ridge Holsters is a relatively new player in the holster game and they’re coming out swinging with a nifty outside-the-waistband hybrid holster design that incorporates both hard kydex and soft leather to try and give you a “best of both worlds” kind of experience and all for $55. They sent me one to review and after a couple months of carrying with it I’m finally ready to voice my opinion . . .
When it comes to outside the waistband carry, there are three basic styles: the traditional all leather construction holsters, the slim kydex plastic rigs and the mammoth “tactical” retention holsters. Each one has their benefits and weaknesses, fitting a specific purpose and carry style best. Blue Ridge Holsters, with their Urban EDC Hybrid design, has tried to bring together the best features of each in the hopes of making a superior firearm carrying device and, in general, it works as advertised.
The kydex material is perfectly formed to fit your desired firearm and securely hold it in place. In the case of my 1911, they went the extra mile to mold in a tab and an indent for the manual safety. It’s a nice touch, and really helps keep the gun securely. The real benefit to a rigid holster material like kydex is that the holster retains its shape after the gun is removed, making re-holstering a breeze. It also allows the gun to “snap in” to the holster, giving it some retention in addition to relying on pure friction as with a leather holster.
The benefit of some level of retention is big on my checklist for a holster. If it were feasible, I’d run a Safariland ALS holster for every gun I carry. But when you’re trying to not draw attention to yourself, the ALS holsters don’t really fit the bill. There’s a trade-off between holster size and level of retention that you need to make with your choice of rig and for concealed carry kydex hits the nail on the head.
While the hard plastic shell is great for retention, it’s not so great for comfort. Specifically, the holster can rub against your body if you don’t wear anything between your heater and your hip. That can chafe and get annoying. It wasn’t bad enough to want to make me stop wearing the Urban EDC, but it was present enough at times that it was noticeable. Then again, you’ll get that from wearing any kydex style holster.
The biggest drawback with a kydex holster is that it doesn’t flex. So if you’re using an all-kydex design and you want to sit down, your holster won’t bend to accommodate your new position, and that hard plastic will start to dig into your body. That’s why people lean toward the leather. Blue Ridge tried to fix this by adding leather panels to the sides of the hard kydex sheath, allowing it to flex like an all-leather holster while still having the rigidity to hold the gun securely.
The only problem with the leather sides is that they allow the holster to droop a little more than I’m used to. The single layer of leather attached to each side isn’t quite rigid enough to hold the gun – especially one like a full-size 1911 – in place as firmly as I’m used to. That’s not to say that it flops around like a freshly landed trout, I just prefer my holsters to feel like the gun is welded to my side rather than more loosely attached.
Nevertheless, the holster still keeps the gun nicely concealed even when wearing tight shirts. It keeps the gat in place even during moderate physical activity. And it allows for a smooth and easy draw stroke when you need your gun in a hurry. In short, where it counts, it’s an excellent holster.
I’ve only seen one or two other companies take this route in an OWB design and Blue Ridge Holsters’ offering is on par with anything else out there. It’s an interesting combination and for those who want the security of kydex with the flexibility of leather it’s a great option. That said, ultimately it’s not for me. I can’t put my finger on any specific reason, but it just isn’t my style. In the same way that you’ll never see me in a pair of bright pink pumps, this holster just isn’t my cup of tea. But if this holster sounds like your dream come true, at $55 the price is right to give it a try.
Model: Urban EDC Hybrid
Colors: Black, green, brown, tan and tan-ish ACU pattern.
Price: $55 from Blue Ridge Holsters
Ratings (out of five stars):
Comfort: * * * *
While it wasn’t for me, it was definitely comfortable. When I sat down in my car it needed significantly less adjustment to be comfortable than my other holsters. That said, it did have a tendency to rub against me at times and it was a bit loose for my tastes.
Value: * * * *
Price-wise, it’s right in the middle of the range. There are pure kydex holsters that go for much, much more than this one.
Concealability: * * * *
The gun disappears… mostly. There were moments when my 1911 flopped around a bit that I worried it wouldn’t be as stealthy as I wanted.
Overall: * * * *
While it wasn’t my cup of tea, the Urban EDC Hybrid holster is a well-made and nicely designed piece of kit that would serve well in its designated role. For those so inclined, give it a try.