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Leather vs. Kydex Holster for Concealed Carry

Updated: 12/26/2023
Leather Kydex Holster

When thinking of firearms holsters, the first thing that crosses people’s minds is the ideal material. Some claim that leather has been great for carrying firearms for many years. While there are many others who prefer Kydex over leather because of its enhanced resistance and durability to damage.

Both types of firearms holsters have their advantages and disadvantages and the option of choosing one material over another often comes down to personal preference. Let’s look at and compare the following aspects.


Both Kydex and leather holsters perform the primary function of keeping the pistol secure and positioned where desired on the belt. 

The Kydex holster has an edge over other firearms holsters in retention. If there’s a lot of jumping, running or bouncing involved, it is better to choose the Kydex holster. 

Leather holster statically grasps the firearm firmly, but depends more on the molded leather than the friction to grasp it in place.

Draw Speed

Leather holsters are substantially simple with relatively little grip to the guns when it comes to the draw and thus allowing fluid, fast and smooth presentation from the holster without pulling or catching.

Kydex holsters would be a superior holster to use if you are engaged in straining activity, but it comes at the cost of being able to draw quickly.


When it comes to durability, the Kydex holster has the upper hand. It is invulnerable to rain, sweat, and mud, nearly impervious to damage, stain-proof, and resists crushing.


Kydex is far more useful and functional, whereas leather has a finer aesthetic appeal. While this is a subjective classification, leather holsters are generally more aesthetically pleasing than soulless, cold plastic.


The Kydex holster has an adaptable cant, which permits the user to place the firearm at the perfect angle and position they prefer for the draw.


The leather holster doesn’t have sharp edges to catch on automotive interiors, furniture, or cover garments.


Kydex holster gets the edge here because it does not need any maintenance and easily resists cuts, stains, and abrasions.

On the other hand, leather requires periodical maintenance, so if you are in the habit of disregarding cleaning, then leather is certainly not your best option.

Ease of Carrying

Leather holsters are easier to draw, don’t drawback or catch on wear holes or edges in cover garments, and hence they have the edge in ease of carrying.


Many factors and material options might influence an individual’s preference for choosing the holster. While some other factors like adverse conditions or possible abuse might influence the option to the Kydex holsters, however, some other elements like look or style familiarity might sway one to the leather.

Kydex Holsters Are Good For:

  • The durability of the material is the biggest positive point for the Kydex holster.
  • Where a firearm holster built from leather might show signs of wear over a period of time, but a firearm holster built from Kydex will look the same even after constant use for five years or more.
  • During the course of a day, the holster might encounter rain, sweat or even a fallible coffee mug spill. It must be capable of facing all of this and still keep right on going.
  • When it comes to competition shooting events, Kydex holsters rule the roost as in such situations, holsters need to carry the firearm snugly and tolerate distress tests of being run all over ranges.

Leather Holsters Are Good For:

  • A perfect leather holster is certainly a work of art that you can wear.
  • It should have some kind of weatherproofing applied and it does need a small cleaning if utilized on a daily basis, where it might get wet or otherwise compromised.
  • Nonetheless, there are many people who would pick out a plastic holster to show off their pearl-handled revolver.
  • Holsters made with leather provide a much broad type of customization possible, like you can have your holster made with a custom design, an exotic skin, or simply a color other than gray or black.

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