I’ve rocked kydex holsters almost exclusively for the past 15 years, from the time I picked up a Bladetech ‘scabbard’ for my Glock 26. For those of you late coming in, kydex is a PVC thermoplastic that comes in sheets and is easy to form into holsters , mag pouches, knife sheaths and other similar gear holders. It is chemically inert, sturdy, holds its shape, is easy to work with and inexpensive. I also feel there is a certain cosmic balance to carrying a plastic gun in a plastic holster.
While all of those are positive features, the one thing kydex isn’t, is pretty. You’re never going to look at a kydex holster and say: “Oh! That’s gorgeous!”. Kydex doesn’t have the warm look or feel of leather and kydex is not as comfortable to wear against the body as leather.
I just had the opportunity to review a couple of leather holsters from R. Grizzle Leather. The models that I worked with were the ‘Working Man’, an outside the waistband, strong side holster and the “Town and Country II”, an inside the waistband holster. Both were set up for 1.5” belts and have muzzle back cants.
The first thing that struck me was that these two holsters are beautiful! The materials are first rate with no flaws. The workmanship is likewise flawless. No scratches, over runs, missed or loose stitching.
Next I checked the fit. Both of the holsters fit the gun perfectly to the point that the pistol almost ‘snapped’ into place. While snug, the fit is not so tight that you needed extraordinary effort to draw the gun.
Both holsters allow a full firing grip. Both also held the pistol securely, even when I held them inverted and shook them. Two critical factors in a holster meant for serious use.
When ordering a holster from R. Grizzle, you can customize it to your preferences regarding width of belt loops and cant. It is important that your holster matches your belt so it stays in place and is properly supported. Being able to order either a forward cant or a straight drop gives you a holster that fits your preferred position on the belt line.
The Working Man is an outside the waistband sheath based on the Bruce Nelson
“Professional” holster. I first used a Professional to hold a Colt 1911a1 while attending a course at Gunsite back in ’92. This design allows the comfortable carrying of a full sized pistol all day long. While it is an OWB holster, it conceals well under a light weight garment, due to the extra belt loop on the trailing edge, which pulls the butt of the pistol in towards the body.
The Working Man is a very good copy of the Professional, with an important addition: a reinforcement band around the mouth of the holster. This keeps the mouth open and allows easy one hand holstering. Working some draws with the Working Man, I was able to easily get a full firing grip and present the gun on target quickly and smoothly. Reholstering with one hand was easily accomplished. The ‘Working Man’ sells for $90.00.
The Town and Country 2, an inside the waistband holster (IWB) is priced at $115.00. Inside the waistband holsters have an advantage in concealed carry because a large portion of the gun is hidden inside your pants. Your covering garment has to ride a lot further up before anyone can see your pistol. The downside is you need a little extra room inside the waistline of your trousers to accommodate the gun. I have to buy pants 2” larger to comfortably use an IWB holster.
The Town and Country showed the same good looks and fine craftsmanship that I found on
the Working Man. This version had a sharkskin accent around mouth. While very attractive, it is a little bit abrasive when worn against bare skin.
The belt loops it came with are meant for 1.5” belts, but they are easily swapped out for the narrower 1.25” loops, which you can order for an extra $10.00. The loops are widely spaced which gives the holster good stability and distributes the weight of the pistol over a longer area of your belt.
The Town and County 2 is different from the regular Town and Country by having a reinforcing metal band around the mouth of the holster, covered by a second piece of leather. This is an important feature for those that train frequently. When you draw your pistol from an IWB holster, your belt will collapse the holster, making it difficult to reholster your gun. The reinforcement band keeps the mouth open so you can easily put the gun away with one hand only.
I had not heard of R Grizzle Leather before, as I am primarily focused on kydex holsters. To say I was favorably impressed is an understatement. Great designs and excellent workmanship combined with beautiful materials add up to a functional and beautiful piece of gear that you will be proud to wear. Check out these and many other products at rgrizzleleather.com
Disciplina Renumenor Fidelis!
Peter Burlingame is a nationally recognized instructor in the dynamic use of firearms. In addition to running his own school, The Self Defense Initiative, based on St Thomas, in the Virgin Islands, he also volunteers his services providing instructor development classes for the International Association of Firearms Instructors and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. You may contact him at via email.