April 2013

Leather IWB Holsters: We Say LCL’s Savannah Is a Best Buy

Liberty Custom Leatherís $50 model offered a lot for the money. We also like the High Noon Tail Gunner, but it is expensive. The others offer a subtle mix of features suited for everyday carry.

Most shooters needing a concealed-carry holster look to the inside-the-waistband holster. The IWB has the advantage of concealing the major part of the pistol inside the pants. With the IWB, you need only conceal the handle of the pistol with a covering garment. An IWB must be comfortable to work well, as the acclimation is more difficult than with other types of holsters. The holster must not collapse after the pistol is drawn, allowing the pistol to be reholstered.

In this review we tested seven holsters from five makers. All are molded for the 1911 Commander size pistol. We included single loops, dual loops, and a J-hook belt attachment. We tested each holster with one hundred draws each, and at least a day of concealed carry by individual raters. Break in is one consideration and so is speed.

The criteria are stringent but also personal to your situation. The level of comfort must be in sync with the lifestyle. How often will you remove the holster during the day? Will it be buckled on for the duration of the day or sometimes taken off?

The safety of the holster cannot be compromised. The holster must pass the jump test, in which you jump up and down and let your weight hit the floor without dislodging the pistol. (Please do this drill only with a triple-checked unloaded handgun.)

Accessibility is another option. Tuckables are popular, but they do not have the brilliant speed of a properly designed conventional high-quality leather holster.

Finally, comfort is an important consideration. A handgun on the side is more comforting than comfortable, and an acclimation period is necessary for all of us when we begin carrying a handgun, but the holster should protect both the body from sharp edges and the handgun from perspiration.

Often, first-class gear will have a waiting period of 20 to 24 weeks. The High Noon holster was in stock, and the Wild Bill holster can be found hanging on a rack at most gun shows. Brownells usually has Milt Sparks Summer Special holsters in stock for the Glock and 1911 at $94.11. Based on the availability of the Milt Sparks holster at Brownells, the Summer Special is a good buy. If you have a common pistol such as the 1911 or the Glock, then Barber and Liberty will probably have a popular model ready to ship. But in some cases, expect a wait, which means you may have to purchase a cheap off-the-rack holster in the meantime. We have told you what you are getting with these holsters. What you are getting is good quality leather that should serve you well for personal defense.

Here are the opinions of our testers who wore, drew from, and carried guns in these holsters:

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