Leather has been utilized by mankind for centuries, everything from clothing to tool making, yet leather still has many practical applications in the modern world. An attractive overall material, it can be dyed into different colors to further enhance its look and be standardized with various fashions. With proper conditioning and treatment, leather can last decades, and some items and heirlooms have even been passed down through several generations of family. A reliable belt, a favorite pair of boots, a warm jacket; all of these items usually become beloved throughout the life of their use as they become more comfortable and personalized, and leather holsters are no different.
Many occupations necessitate everyday firearms carry, and a good quality leather holster helps illustrate a professional appearance. A quality leather holster conforms and molds to the wearer, providing years of reliable and comfortable use, and more so with the passage of time. Leather is not a cost-effective material to mass-produce holsters from, hence the mass variations of plastic, fabric, nylon, and other material holsters on the market that are traditionally cheaper and cost significantly less. Yet, some of the most favorable reviews for Inside Waistband (IWB) holsters are predominantly Leather variations of holsters. Some leather holsters are even created for the craftsmanship value that entails hand-making them. Selecting, tanning, and hand tooling the leather puts a little more flair and style into a plain holster. When properly incorporated, various designs, family crests, initials, etc., can turn a simple holster into a custom work of art.
With that in mind, there are a few things consumers might want to take into consideration before choosing to purchase a leather holster.
Some knives and firearms have a coloring or "bluing" added to the metal for treatment sakes. As a firearm is drawn and re-holstered continually over time, the leather begins to rub the metal and eventually, wears the coloring down. In addition, the prolonged wear of leather products can lead to absorption of perspiration and over time, could break down the leather itself. A good practice for both comfort and the longevity of the leather holsters life span, would be considering a buffer of some sort between the wearers bare skin and the actual holster. Leather needs to be properly and constantly maintained, providing for a full and healthy life span. There are various products and options that keep leather conditioned, preventing it from drying out or worse, cracking. How often leather holsters need to be treated is entirely dependent on the amount of regular use, as well as exposure to the climate it is being utilized in.
Always train and practice with the items that will actually be carried and utilized on a daily basis. If practicing to draw a firearm from a concealed carry position, wear the holster as you would on a daily basis. Remember to train like you fight!