The best leather holsters for concealed carry

It seems like in the era of 20+ round semi-automatic pistols with red dot sights and weapon mounted lights that leather holsters have gone completely out of vogue. But there are still plenty of people who use them, and plenty of people who for a number of reasons don’t want a kydex/polymer holster. Today we’re going to indulge in our inner Fudd a bit and tell you about the best leather holsters for concealed carry.

Now if I was feeling lazy I’d just make a list of five solid holsters, but instead of doing that I want to help you understand the criteria for what makes a good leather holster for concealed carry. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus entirely on traditional IWB holsters that are worn on or behind the hip. There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is that people who want to carry appendix also usually want a kydex holster. However, if you do want to carry appendix in a leather holster, 5 Shot Leather is your best bet (I hope you like long wait times).

On to business. What makes a leather IWB holster “good”? There are some important features that a quality leather IWB holster needs to have, the first is the holster mouth itself. Quality leather holster designs are all going to be fairly similar in design to the OG of the OGs: the Milt Sparks Summer Special.

Milt Sparks Summer Special, from Milt Sparks

Whether it’s the Galco Summer Comfort, or the DeSantis Inner Piece, all of these holsters share similar design features. The most important of these design features is the reinforced holster mouth, which you can see clearly on the pictured Summer Special above. The point of the reinforced holster mouth is simple: keep the holster from collapsing under the pressure of the belt when the gun is removed. This was the gun can be safely holstered with one hand, and if necessary (although not recommended) without looking. Additionally, all of these holsters use snap in belt loops to attach the gun to the belt. Loops like this are far superior to clips, especially if you’re trying to retain the gun during a struggle or some type of close-in contact fight.

Interestingly, that list above actually makes up my recommendations for the best leather holsters for concealed carry. Let’s break down each choice, because while they’re all very similar, there each have unique characteristics that may influence your choice. This list isn’t presented in any particular order.

  • Milt Sparks Summer Special: The OG of OG leather holsters. Of all the holsters on the list it’s probably the best in terms of construction and quality, however it’s also the most expensive and has a current wait time of 24 weeks if they don’t have one available in the shop.
  • DeSantis Inner Piece: This holster features a reinforced mouth for holstering, and unlike the other holsters also has adjustable retention, which is a neat feature. Its party piece is a stabilizing fin that goes in the pants to help tuck the grip of your gun closer in to your body.
  • Galco Summer Comfort: This is basically a clone of the Summer Special, as the name might indicate. It’s greatest advantage over the Milt Sparks is that it’s usually easier to get and is available for a wider variety of guns without having to resort to custom construction.

Regardless of which of those three holsters you pick, you’ll be getting a quality product that designed for serious concealed carry and self defense. If you’re not yet ready to make the jump to appendix carry, these three leather holsters will be your best choices for every day carry.