Leather vs. Kydex Holsters – Ultimate Comparison Review

There are two kinds of materials that are the most popular for holsters: Kydex and leather. But which one of the two is better? There may or may not be a wrong answer. It depends on who you ask. But we’ll be taking a look at three of the best holsters made from each material so you can find the holster that best fits you based on your preferred material.

This will be easy for you to find a holster since there are so many that are flooding the market. The last thing you need is a holster that will not be the best in terms of quality (and you won’t have to deal with any snagging like some holsters). Before we get to the list, let’s talk about what aspects you need to consider before buying a holster.

Comparison of the Best Leather and Kydex Holsters

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Relentless Tactical The Defender Leather IWB Holster

  • Best overall leather holster
  • IWB design
  • Designed for most pistols
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Concealment Express IWB KYDEX Holster

  • Best Overall Kydex Holster
  • IWB design
  • Available in both right-hand or left-hand orientation
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LANZON Leather IWB Holster

  • Runner-up for best leather holster
  • IWB design
  • Designed to fit most pistols
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We The People IWB Kydex Holster

  • Runner-up for best overall Kydex holster
  • Fits inside the waistband
  • Designed to fit most Glock, S&W, and other pistols
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Fast Gunman IWB Leather Holster

  • Best leather holster for the money
  • Made from high-quality leather
  • Includes a solid clip for keeping it in position
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B.B.F Make IWB KYDEX Holster

  • Best Kydex holster for the money
  • Standard thickness of .08 inches of Kydex
  • Retention clip for easy attachment
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Aspects to Consider Before Buying a Holster

Knowing what to choose in a holster will be important. So you need to know what aspects you need to consider before finding a holster that will fit you perfectly. Here are some things to mull over prior to making a purchase:

How Durable Do You Want It to Be?

The durability is similar to each other. But in a photo finish, Kydex might appear to have the edge. If you want durability that will last you a long time without any scratches or wearing down, it might be a hard decision to choose a holster. If you want to play it safe rather than play a guessing game, a Kydex holster may be a good place to start. 

Concealment Express IWB KYDEX Holster

Which Holster Will Be Easier On Your Skin?

If you are looking for a holster that won’t trigger any irritability due to sensitive skin, there’s a good chance that leather might be the better choice due to the texture alone. Kydex is fine, but some have reported sharp edges that might cause some skin irritation regardless of sensitivity. If you have suffered from any skin irritation due to your current holster, it’s time for a chance. 

Which Holster Will Fit My Pistol?

This will depend on the size of your pistol. It doesn’t matter which material you choose between leather or Kydex, but you’ll need a holster that will keep the pistol snug and prevent any slippage from happening. Measure your pistol before making a decision on your holster of choice. 

Kydex Holster Overview

Kydex has grown in popularity over recent years. And it might be one of the biggest challengers to other materials like polymer or neoprene to name a few. It’s difficult, if not impossible to damage or wear and tear. This can stand the test of time and thousands of draws and reholstering. These have the potential to last you years on end (provided that you take good care of the holster itself). 

Kydex Holster Review

Below is a list of the three best Kydex holsters that are currently on the market. If you are looking for a holster that will be excellent in durability, you’re in luck. But which of these three will serve its purpose to a point where you can depend on it the most? Let’s begin by taking a look at the first Kydex holster on our list:

Pros

  • Excellent durability and stability
  • Provides excellent concealability
  • Easy to use for left-handed users
  • Fits compact sized pistols like SIG P365
  • Keeps pistols secure and prevents slippage

Cons

  • Fit and finish could be better
  • May ride too high for some users
  • May be a bit bulky and uncomfortable at first

What Recent Buyers Report

Many new buyers say that the holster worked pretty well in holding their pistols in place. Not only was it secure and stable in most positions, but it was also able to allow quick drawing and re-holstering without any snagging or struggling. Even one user said that he was able to give this holster a try for EDC carry use and was quite happy with it. Once he tried it on, he decided that his old holster was no longer useful. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

If maximum concealability is important, an IWB holster is a must. Not to mention, it will prevent any kind of bulging that usually create any undue attention and make it look like you are obviously carrying something. It’s dang near indestructible and will work hard to keep itself reliable when it comes to overall carry. The stronger the material, the better the chance that it will get the job done when it comes to securely carry your pistol.

Who Will Use This Most

This might come in handy for those who want durability and consistent reliability in the process. Yes, it’s quality is perfect. And you’ll be able to use this for the long-term. If you want a holster that will fit most compact pistols with ease and won’t slip out easily, then you’re going to love this holster. 

Bottom Line

If you need a really good holster that will allow superior durability and excellent carrying ability, this holster by Concealment Express will definitely deliver on the promise. You can conceal carry with ease and keep it out of plain sight so undue attention is non-existent. This holster surely will not disappoint if and when you need to use it. 

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Pros

  • Fits many pistols like a glove
  • Drawing and re-holster is easy
  • Excellent quality and durability
  • Easy to fit on most waistbands and belts
  • Waterproof. Can handle poor weather and even contact with water

Cons

  • May be a bit bulky
  • Clip might not be as sturdy as expected
  • May not be appropriate for appendix carry

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers had no problem with this holster. They were able to fit their pistols in this holster for 3 o’clock or 5 o’clock carrying. One user said quick drawing and reholstering was exactly what he was looking for in a holster and got that with this one in particular. He said that the holster doesn’t slide around as much and usually stays in position when he’s out and moving around. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This might be the closest thing you can find to a near-universal holster. If you got a pistol, this holster can likely accept it. If there is one holster that will stand out as one of the toughest in the business, this one will certainly be one that will be one to watch. One of the best attributes of this holster is that it’s waterproof. It can handle bad weather and will keep itself sturdy even if you somehow, someway get wet from bad weather or accidentally falling into a brook or stream. But it’s tough and can prove itself in being a really reliable holster. 

Who Will Use This Most

If you want a holster that will be sturdy in quality and won’t fail you just because of a little water, this might be the best option for you. This can clip easily on belts or waistbands and remain in place even if you are always on the move. And it’s easy to draw and re-holster thanks to the simple design that keeps your pistol easily accessible.

Bottom Line

If you want a holster that is dang near indestructible and consistently reliable for IWB carry, the We The People IWB Kydex Holster is going to be the best possible choice for you. Just clip this sucker on and you’ll be prepared for any high-stress situations where your life might be on the line. All it takes is a quick draw and making sure that the attacker thinks twice before anything stupid.

Best for the Money: 
B.B.F Make IWB KYDEX Holster

Pros

  • Really durable construction
  • Super easy to draw and reholster
  • Compact in size, doesn’t bulge even without a pistol
  • Sturdy and easy installation to belts and waistbands
  • Fits most pistols and provides excellent concealability

Cons

  • Retention could be better
  • Fit and finish could be improved
  • Holster may move around out of position at times

What Recent Buyers Report

New users say that this holster was pretty sturdy in quality, given the fact that it’s considered one of the most affordable on the market. The holster keeps most pistols in place without allowing any wiggling or slippage. One user said that he uses this for holstering his compact pistol. So far, he’s not complaining about the durability and was happy with the overall concealability. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s a holster that is thick, durable, and provides a good amount of concealability for pretty much any compact pistol that you can think of. It’s a pretty rugged holster that will make sure that your concealed carry needs are met without sucking the life out of your bank account. People say “you get what you pay for” when purchasing a holster that is low in price. But this holster is anything but cheap and flimsy. This is a holster that is fit for the newbie user (or seasoned concealed carry vet). It’s a solid holster that is the real deal when it comes to stability and even making sure that your pistol stays out of plain sight (even when it’s under your shirt). 

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for superior durability and concealability in one affordable package, this is the holster for you. At this point, it might be a great holster for newbies starting out. Plus, if you are starting out with concealed carry, it might be the smart thing to spend your money on a holster that isn’t too expensive or too cheap. 

Bottom Line

The B.B.F Make IWB Kydex Holster will be your best friend when it comes to concealed carry use. But make no mistake, this bad boy is anything but cheap. You can get a great holster like this at a price that is affordable for most budgets. Why settle for anything less than that (or for a higher price)? You’d be surprised how great a holster like this can be compared to even some high-end holsters.

Leather Holster Overview

Leather is perhaps another one of the few materials that any concealed carry user can trust. The look and feel are always impressive and gives off that classic, old school look. One of the major attributes you can get out of a leather holster is how easy it can be on the skin (especially when it’s an IWB holster).

It won’t allow for chafing and it will always feel soft and comforting. If there is any discomfort, it will probably be because of an ill-fitting pistol. Sometimes, a pistol that is too big for a holster might cause discomfort. But nonetheless, it’s another holster that is soft but won’t allow any snagging that you’ll find in holsters may from nylon or other soft materials. 

Leather Holster Review

The following is a list of three of the best leather holsters that you can find for concealed carry purposes. If you are dealing with comfort issues with your old holster or looking for something that might have better quality material, then you may want to consider the idea of purchasing a leather holster for your own use. Now, let’s begin by taking a look at our “best overall” choice:

Relentless Tactical The Defender Leather IWB Holster - Made in USA - for S&W M&P Shield - Glock 17 19 22 23 32 33 44 /Springfield XD & XDS/Plus All Similar Sized Handguns – Black – Left Handed

Pros

  • Provides great concealability
  • Doesn’t ride too high for most shooters
  • Super durable clip. Keeps itself in position
  • Fits many pistols like a glove. Close to a universal fit
  • Really durable holster. Well-constructed and designed

Cons

  • Trigger guard could be better
  • May not be appropriate for some smaller guns

What Recent Buyers Report

New users had nothing but great things to say about this holster. They said that they were able to draw and re-holster their pistols with ease. The overall durability was solid and the texture had a nice feel to it. This fits most pistols like a glove and concluded that it was perhaps the closest thing to a universal fit that they could find in a leather holster. As for the concealability, they were able to conceal their pistols and keep it out of plain sight without being able to draw any undue attention. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you need a holster that will be comfortable and will be one of the best holsters that will keep your pistol intact without any slippage or wiggling. There is no question that it can handle a good deal of full-sized and even some compact pistols that can deliver excellent concealability. If you carry your pistol and get tired of bulging or drawing any kind of attention just because you are carrying, then maybe it’s time to choose a holster that will be comfortable and allows for real concealability. 

Who Will Use This Most

If you own a full-sized pistol and want a holster that is rugged and excellent for concealed carry purposes, you might not look any further. You can strap this onto your belt or waistband of choice and be able to carry it wherever you go. This holster will prepare you for any dangerous situation or when you are keeping the pistol nearby when you are at the range. It’s sturdy, comfortable, and will not forsake you in any given carry application.

Bottom Line

If you want a leather holster that is proven to be one of the best of the business, the Relentless Tactical Defender Holster will be a good choice for your concealed carry needs. It’s got a great look and feel and will probably be one of the most comfortable holsters you’ll ever own. Not a bad holster to have if you own a full-sized or compact pistol. 

LANZON Leather IWB Handgun Holster, Concealed Carry Holster, Fits Glock 17 19 22 23 32 33 36 43, S&W M&P Shield, Springfield XD-S, Kel-Tec PF-9, Beretta 92FS, Sig Sauer P228&All Similar Firearms-Right

Pros

  • Really comfortable fit
  • Fits most pistols like a glove
  • Provides superior concealability
  • Allows for easy drawing and re-holstering
  • Clip holds up pretty good. Keeps the holster in position

Cons

  • May take a while to wear in
  • Some say the stitches are not straight
  • May not be suitable for winter carrying

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers said that this holster looked good aesthetics wise, and excelled in performance. More specifically, they were able to carry their pistols with concealability without giving away the pistol’s position. Most of the new users concluded that this leather pistol was a holster that was considered the closest thing to a universal holster since it could accept a good number of Glocks, SIGs, and Smith and Wesson pistols to name a few. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you are having a hard time looking for a holster that can fit your pistol, this might be a good choice to consider. Yes, it’s compatible with most pistols. Regardless of which pistol you are carrying, this is a holster that will give you excellent carrying ability while being able to keep the pistol secure and prevent it from slipping out. The leather material feels soft on the skin thus making it really comfortable for those who love wearing an IWB holster. If comfort and concealability are two “must-haves” that you want in a holster, you’d be hard-pressed to find a holster quick like this anywhere else. 

Who Will Use This Most

This will definitely give you excellent concealment (and better than your soon-to-be old holster). If you have a pistol like a Glock or an S&W (or any kind of full-sized or compact pistol), then you’re going to need a holster that can handle it. No other holster will provide you with excellent comfort and making sure that your pistol stays in position like this one. And yes, it might be a good choice if you hate wasting time guessing which holster is best for you.

Bottom Line

The LANZON Leather IWB Holster might just be the “best overall” choice at some point in the future for a few good reasons. Yes, it’s excellent in quality and will handle all kinds of pistols. It might just be one of the best holsters for even the newbie users. If you are just starting out or looking for an upgraded holster, you’ll love having this holster handy for your concealed carry pistol. 

Best for the Money: 
Fast Gunman IWB Leather Holster

IWB Leather Holster for Concealed Carry Fits:S&W M&P Shield-Glock19 26 29 30 32 43-Beretta Px4-RUGER EC9s-SIG-HK-Taurus-XDS or Similar Sized Handguns

Pros

  • Fits many types of pistols
  • Provides great concealability
  • Affordable for many budgets
  • Really thick. Provides excellent durability
  • Keeps holsters in position. Doesn’t slide around in belts or waistbands

Cons

  • Clip quality could be better
  • Stitching should be improved
  • May be tough to re-holster with some pistols

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a lot of new users were happy with the overall quality of the holster. Concealability was excellent and made sure that their pistols were kept out of plain sight. One user said that he was able to carry his Glock 19 with ease and comfort. The holster remained in position while he was out and about. He added that knowing where the pistol was at all times if and when he needed was important, so he found a holster where he wanted it to stay in place rather than move around a lot. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Once again, we are looking at a holster that might be one of the best near-universal holsters on the market. It’s also affordable for most budgets, so it will save you a good amount of money all while investing in really good quality and performance. Who says you have to purchase a high-end holster to get the best? You get a whole lot more than what you pay for and it will be really reliable for keeping most pistols close by and ready for action if and when you need it most. 

Who Will Use This Most

If you are new to concealed carry, you’re obviously going to need a holster (in fact, it’s required by law if you are outside of your home). It’s pretty comfortable and will fit most pistols. And if you are a newbie, you might have a hard time figuring out which holster will be the best fit for your pistol of choice. This might be a great starter holster and might stay with you for the long term (or if you decide to make an upgrade for something better). If you care about your concealed carry pistol, then you’ll need a holster that can take good care of it when it’s not in use. 

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a really affordable leather holster that will easily carry most compatible pistols with the best comfort and durability, the Fast Gunman IWB Holster is undeniably one of the best holsters that you can find for concealed carry that is fitting for a budget. No, it ain’t cheap and flimsy in the slightest. But it can and will be reliable for a long time for newbie users. It might be the only holster you’ll own for as long as possible based on its durability alone. 

Leather vs. Kydex Holsters: Similarities and Differences

While leather and Kydex are two of the best materials for holsters, they do share some similarities and have some differences that distinguish themselves from each other. We’ll be taking a closer look at where they are similar and where they differ. This will also give you a better understanding of how each holster will work to your advantage. 

Leather vs. Kydex Holster Similarities

First, let’s take a look at the similarities:

Both Are Really Durable

Yes, durability is hands down one of the best similarities between the two. They have the potential to last you a long time in terms of use. Nor will they easily wear, tear, or fray after dealing with constant drawing and re-holstering. With high-quality comes excellent reliability. And they will hold a pistol in place without allowing any wiggle room or slippage. 

No Snagging, Period

Snagging is perhaps one of the most annoying problems that can happen when drawing and re-holstering. Both leather and Kydex holsters will not allow that at all. That’s because some of the materials that cause snagging are often looser than both Kydex and Leather. If you want quick drawing and holstering without the struggle, either holster can do.

Comfortable Most of the Time

Yes, the material is comfortable for IWB holsters. While Kydex can have a history of having some sharp edges, the occurrences are usually few and far between. When it comes to contact with skin, both Kydex and leather feel pleasing and won’t irritate any users that are dealing with sensitive skin issues. 

Leather vs. Kydex Holster Differences

These are the most important differences to keep in mind between leather and Kydex materials:

Kydex Has the Long-Lasting Edge

Yes, both materials are durable. But if you want a material that will last longer and retain its shape over time, then Kydex will be the best possible option. Yes, leather is long-lasting but it may sag after a long period of time. And it may lose its firmness in the process. Leather may get dirty and may be tough to get out, whereas Kydex would be easy to clean if it’s dirty.

Leather is More Aesthetically Pleasing

While looks may not matter to most users, it’s leather holsters that look the best in terms of Kydex. That’s because Kydex looks bland and boring. Plus, it doesn’t have that aged, old school look that leather can possess. If you appreciate a classic look, a leather holster might just be what you’ll need. 

Kydex Gets the Edge in Draw Time

If you want a quicker draw time and easy re-holstering, there’s a good chance that Kydex will be the best option. The reason being is the inside of a Kydex holster is nice and smooth. A leather holster interior might get rough over time and thus slow down the draw speed. This will occur over time if and when you are using a leather holster. 

Top Pick Between Leather vs. Kydex

While both materials are superior compared to others in terms of holsters, now it’s a matter of which is better between the two. While both provide a strong case in many aspects, it’s hard to choose. But we give the edge to Kydex for a few good reasons. 

For one, Kydex doesn’t change over time due to environmental conditions. On top of that, they are easy to maintain and clean. So if your Kydex holster somehow gets down and dirty, you can simply clean it off with a few wipes when it comes time to clean your holster. At the same time, the interior doesn’t change over time, unlike leather. That means consistent drawing and re-holstering speed. Even after a year of use, it’s just the same. After all, Kydex will have better material for holsters. And it’s no wonder why it’s been exploding in popularity.

Conclusion

Choosing a leather or Kydex holster might be difficult. While we prefer Kydex holsters as being a top pick, you don’t have to always take our word for it. If you prefer leather to Kydex, that’s understandable. Regardless of which is better, both materials prove themselves to be much better than other hard or soft materials that are used for holsters. Choose one that will work to your advantage and you’ll have one that will provide you with reliable concealed carrying.