Why choose? The classic look of leather is one that will never go out of style. Leather holsters hold guns tight and typically feel more comfortable on the body. Kydex® has been around for a while now and is a very popular option for holsters. Kydex® holsters are often smaller and sport more of a minimalist look/design. Kydex® can be uncomfortable because of its hard plastic nature and many people find it too hard for everyday carry. There are benefits to both leather and Kydex®. Kydex® holsters, like we said, are often smaller because of how the holster is designed. Kydex® has very good retention and we all love the "click" a gun makes when it's holstered in a Kydex® holster. There are arguments on which material (leather vs Kydex®) causes the least amount of wear on the finish of your firearm. The fact is, a loose fitting holster will cause more wear than a tight fitting one, but all holsters will wear the finish to some degree. Often times, suede is used to line leather holsters. We do not recommend suede because many times suede is chrome tanned and the chemicals used accelerate finish wear. Some suedes are vegetable tanned or specially treated without chrome and while these may not contain the chemicals, the nature of suede is more porous than the grain side of veg tanned leather and attract more dust, dirt, and moisture, all negatives for finish wear. We only use the grain (smooth) side of veg tanned leather for lining an all leather holster. Most of the time we use 2-3 ounce calf for lining our holsters, although this does vary depending on the holster design. Kydex® will tend to wear in one spot and not spread, like leather holsters, but both materials will cause wear to the finish. Keep in mind that your everyday carry weapon is a tool and should be cared for and used as such. Clean your holster, clean your gun and worry more about functionality of the tool that will save your life over what it looks like. If you don't want holster wear on your gun, leave it in the safe and get a new "tool" to save your life.
Things to avoid in a holster? Always avoid universal holsters that allow your gun to move freely while holstered. This movement will accelerate holster wear. Also avoid man-made materials like foam, nylon, etc. as these materials will also cause excessive wear due to their nature to attract and retain moisture and dirt/dust. Not to mention, the retention of these types of holsters is typically pretty horrible. Often times, you will find some sort of strap over the butt of the gun to keep it in the holster.
Still can't decide? Try out a few different kinds to find the one you will carry everyday. While we might recommend a hybrid holster because you get the best of both worlds, the comfort of leather and the secure custom fit of Kydex®, we are more concerned with what works for each person and encourage people to carry with their favorite holster. If you have specific questions about our holsters and whether or not they may be a good fit for you, please give us a call. We will be happy to discuss the options and how each applies to you and your carry situation.