Subscribe now to get the latest news on guns, gear, gun rights, and personal defense delivered straight to your inbox daily!

Required fields are bold...

Email Address:
First Name:
Zip Code:

Lockerdome Poll: Leather vs. Kydex Holsters in a Dead Heat!

(courtesy The Truth About Guns)

I prefer the unchanging firearms retention capability and reholsterability of a well-made Kydex holster. Kydex also snugs my gun closer to my body than a leather rig; a key consideration for us OFWG outside-the-waistband types. And Kydex holsters are the dictionary definition of low maintenance. But our completely unscientific opt-in online poll reveals that TTAG readers like rocking it old school. I get it. Leather holsters offer gun owners personality, tactility and stealth (no noise when unholstering). I’m not sure how hybrid holster wearers vote, but I am sure this one’s going down to the wire. Get your vote in before Sunday, when we’ll offer another dynamic duo for your opinionator.



  1. avatar Mark N. says:

    I like beautiful holsters–and I have never seen a beautiful kydex holster. I spent $300 today on a Sacramento Rose 49’er Slim Jim for an 1861 Colt, lined, hand carved, and stunning. And I am willing to wait 6 months or more to get it. All of my holsters are leather, and I intend to keep it that way. My guns are works of art, and they should be shown in the same as well.

    1. avatar Katy says:

      I get where you are coming from, which is why I use kydex. I carry a Glock, and it’s a tool. If (make the “When”) I acquire a gun that qualifies as art, and that I choose to carry, I’ll end up getting a leather holster to go with it.

      1. avatar HandyDan says:

        Yes, leather holsters can be beautiful, and my showoff guns have beautiful leather holsters. But my EDC sits in an IWB Aliengear, and thanks to the beauty of their swapable shells, I have shells for all my carry guns. As a former IWB leather holster wearer, Kydex allows a much slimmer, better retaining, holster.

  2. avatar Lhshtr says:

    Kydex for high performance. When SHTF I may not have leather soap in my bag?

  3. avatar Bigdiogi says:

    Kydex holsters are a crime against nature. If God intended us to use kydex holsters, he would have made cows out of plastic.

    1. avatar Rabbi says:

      I don’t care who you are. That right there is funny.

    2. avatar John Dennis Tan says:

      x 100!

    3. avatar tsbhoA.P.jr says:

      and trees out of fiberglass…

  4. avatar William Burke says:

    Plus Kydex smells nicer when it gets wet. Except it doesn’t get wet.

  5. avatar Timmy! says:

    I bought a Kydex holster once… threw it away.

  6. I already had my GLOCK 19 and was carrying in an Uncle Mike’s nylon holster just to make do until I got what I was going to use long term when I overheard an old man behind the counter at my LGS say “if the gun is plastic, get a plastic holster. Well, being the rebel that I am, I got a leather holster.

    1. avatar defensor fortismo says:

      …so, leather gun?

  7. avatar Nate H. says:

    I have a hybrid. The leather on the back is nice because it’s less abrasive on my skin when I’m carrying IWB, although it does get a bit clammy (I don’t wear an undershirt, can’t stand the feeling of two shirts). The kydex is nice because it offers very good retention and won’t wear out like leather will given the same amount of use over time. But like many have said, I carry a Tupperware pistol. And with the stainless slide I don’t have to worry about it wearing the finish off my pistol.

    1. avatar HandyDan says:

      Kydex actually wears less then leather. I was under then misunderstanding that Kydex would wear more then leather, but I started to do research and found out that Kydex wears in the same place all the time, where leather wears in different places, causing more widespread wearing.

      1. avatar Nate H. says:

        That’s pretty much what I meant with my post. The leather breaks down from repeated use and the salt from your sweat gets in there and causes premature break down and it’s starts to “stretch” in a way. Science to back that up? None, just what I’ve noticed over time.

  8. avatar gemalo says:

    I’m gonna throw a wrench in the monkeyworks: I recently purchased an N82 (Nate squared) tactical holster. The skin side is suede leather for comfort, with a leather backing for the firearm. There is a neoprene sheet between the two to prevent sweat from getting through to the gun. So, I guess I’m in the leather camp, but these holsters are super, super comfortable.

  9. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I love kydex for the woods. Like the Gunfighter Kenai chest rig that carries my G-20.
    But my new BBQ gun deserved a finely tooled Ted Blocker. Like Mark N above, I’ll gladly wait.

  10. avatar Asdf says:

    Kydex holder with a leather backing. Comfort and feel of leather, grip and durability of Kydex.

  11. avatar Jeff in Tacoma says:

    I prefer Kydex for in the waist band and leather for out of the waist band, except in more extreme conditions then Kydex is best.

  12. avatar Bob says:

    Mine’s an IWB for my XDs which is a hybrid of kydex and leather from So I can’t vote

  13. avatar Ken in TN says:


  14. avatar C.S. says:

    If you’re worried about printing, is there anything better than kydex?

  15. avatar Dean Carpenter says:

    I like kydex but all my friends at the old west replica shows laugh at me when I shows up with my 44’s wrapped in plastic.

    1. avatar Nate H. says:

      Yea, I’m kinda with your friends on this one. A revolver needs, no, deserves a nice leather wrap if that’s what you carry. And they definitely didn’t have Kydex back in the old west, so I imagine your plastic holster is pretty out of place in this instance.

  16. avatar DaveC says:

    I like my weapons wrapped in leather, just like my woman.

  17. avatar joseph says:

    I’ve tried both and carry Galco.

  18. avatar tsbhoA.P.jr says:

    horsehide, people.

  19. avatar SpeleoFool says:

    Voted for “kydex” since that’s the stuff doing the retention on my hybrid IWB carry holster, and that’s the one that gets the most use.

    I also have a Safariland ALS for open-carrying my 1911. SafariLaminate may not be kydex, but it sure as hell isn’t leather.

    However, if/when I get around to finding a holster for my (stainless) Ruger Blackhawk it would be an absolute sin to house it in anything but leather.

  20. avatar Newt says:

    I don’t know how to vote on this one. I like em both. Competition and rough housing definitely kydex but if I’m going out dancing I’m packing my dancing pistol along with my dancing knife in some good looking leather. I just recently ran across the best of both worlds as for the utility of leather and kydex. Garrett industries silent thunder. Leather lined kydex that protects the finish,good retention while still fast. Dead quiet and very concealable.

  21. avatar RickP says:

    I can’t figure out how to vote as I don’t see a link.

    I prefer leather for EDC. Kydex has its place and normally what I use on the range.

Leave a Reply to C.S. Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email