From the earliest days of making holsters Leather has been the material of choice, only recently have plastics and Kydex grown to become popular alternatives. While these new materials offer some advantages, especially in tactical environments or in LE, purists still gravitate to leather. Even many of the tactically minded will still have at least one leather holster in their collection.
While the days of the Peacemaker and the large ornate OWB revolver holster have gone the way of the high noon shootout, there remain many options from utilitarian to ornate. We have reviewed the utilitarian holster makers in the leather market in the past. Frankly I look at things from a practical and affordable viewpoint so that is what we review.
When I found Savoy leather, I was completely blown away. They have managed to find a way to create incredibly functional highly useful IWB, OWB and IWB-OWB holsters that are works of art in both form and function. These creations do not come cheap, but quality American craftsmanship with American materials is worth the cost.
Picking the holster
Savoy offers three typical holster types: IWB using clips, [note the type here] OWB through the buckle and the In and Out Style that allows you to carry either IWB or OWB.
I have said many times in other articles picking a holster that serves multiple purposes usually comes at the cost of loosing the individual advantage of sole purpose piece of gear. For this reason, I would suggest if this will be an EDC piece for you, you should pick one for that specific need and stick with to it.
In my case this is the first holster I have purchased for my Sig Sauer Tac Ops 1911. This is not a gun I regularly carry nor is it a gun I intend to carry often. This is however the gun I will be wearing when strong side carry is more important than concealing. For this reason, my intent was to get an OWB holster.
Upon further thinking, the fact is I have wanted to try IWB carry of the 1911 occasionally. I am not an open carry person, and the idea of having to go 30 days of wearing a gun in an open carry position just did not sit well with me. For a review to work I needed to get the IWB-OWB combination holster.
One last thing I want to add about picking the base holster format. While Savoy makes an IWB holster that would be like buying a Lamborghini and never driving it or marrying Miss Universe and never letting your friends see her. Savoy Leather holsters while extremely comfortable are works of art that need to be seen. I could not in good conscience buy an IWB and hide it away from the world.
Once you have picked your holster you need to decide if you want any accessories. Your options include:
- Black or nickel plated belt clips
- Magazine slot
- Orientation Right Left Hand
- Carry Position
- Holster color
- Edge fade
All of this offers you the ability to develop a customized feel and carry that you do not find with most manufacturers.
Well, in fairness this is actually what you pick first when you order. There is a large selection of customized designs that are created by hand on each holster. They range across the board on interests inline with many gun owners. They include but are not limited to:
- Declaration with Preamble
- Southern Rebel
- American Flag
- Don?t Tread on Me
- Colt Special
- Military Insignias
- Master Mason
- And So Much More
In addition to these designs he also offers reduced cost stamped art to custom build a holster of your choice with:
- Up to 8 Lines of Initials
- 48 Choices of designs
That is enough choices and range of interests that it will make anyone happy right. Well, no it’s not, so Jeremiah and his team go above and beyond and offer you the ability to send in custom art, and they can usually accommodate that into a 100% unique holster for you. Company logo, charity event, or unique design and they can still help you.
Our Testing Holster
We opted for the IWB-OWB We the People over the American Flag without the extra magazine.
I am not a fan of magazine attachments on the actual holster. There are two reasons for this:
Makes the holster larger
Is difficult to draw the spare mag from the dominant side
The IWB-OWB is shaped like the OWB holster just a little bit wider to accommodate the additional IWB clips just past the OWB belt slots.
Fit and Finish
We have established this is going to be the best-looking holster you own, and it will be unique with a part of your personality embedded in the leather. What good does that do you if the gun falls out or is not properly protected?
Well let me assure you that will not be a factor. This holster is the nicest most well made leather holster I have ever owned, touched or seen with the exception of some very expensive (4x the price) cowboy holsters.
Initially looking at the holster I had concerns of retention. When not worn the gun would easily slip in and out of the holster. With an IWB holster, the added tension of the belt and your body can correct this but what about when worn OWB?
Jeremiah Savoy is no slouch, and he had figured a way to handle this. The extra width of the holster curves around the waist, so the belt creates enough tension on the sides to pull in the around the gun in the middle. The result is a holster tight enough to hold tight while doing jumping jacks, but easy enough to draw.
The stitching on this holster is the best I have ever seen. Clean and exactly spaced to accent the artwork as opposed to detracting.
The leather embossing of the words, stripes and stars are just something you need to see to appreciate. The edging of the leather is soft and comfortable during extended wear and holdup well to sweat and moisture. (I have not worn this in the rain and did not know how it holds up to water)
The leather around the gun is very strong almost as if it has been reinforced. So holstering is easy even when worn IWB tight against the body. I have found a small issue with the pocket collapsing but only when wearing my tightest of pants.
The extra tang around the hammer and beavertail add to the look as well as comfort when wearing IWB. It also adds extra protection from snagging when wearing OWB.
No holster is perfect for every person and even though this is a great holster there are a few cons that might be an issue for you.
1. Leather Residue
I don’t know a better way to put it. There are several spots of my gun that buildup with a leather dust when drawing and holstering the gun. While it has lessened over time initially your going to need to clean a gun you carry in this holster and much more than usual, during the break-in period.
2. Water Damage
I may be grasping at straws here, but it is a concern I have with all leather products. I will not wear leather if I think it is going to rain. I understand that this should not be an issue with protectant and conditioning, but I have ruined a jacket in the past by not properly caring for it and won’t do that again.
Starting at $99 and going up to $189 the fact is these holsters are not out of the reach of the average owner. When you compare what you are getting in custom American made materials vs. a cheap holster manufactured overseas you would see the price is not an issue. However as my mom said to me growing up if bread is only $.05 and you only have a penny does it matter? Some people just can?t budget this much for a holster that is a showpiece. For those who can afford this holster it is actually a great value.
Every Day Carry (EDC)
Typically carrying the P938 or G26, which both have very short grips I had an initial trepidation about carrying a full-size Sig Tacops 1911. The single stack magazine makes for a close against the body fit. This is great and made the gun easier to conceal than my Glock 30S or even my G26. The longer handle however did pose an issue at first. After some repositioning and some careful wardrobe choices, I was able to conceal the full sized weapon in the Savoy leather holster with little to no printing.
Over the 60 days of wearing it I have really grown to love this holster. There is something just primal and manly about a leather holster. Having started with a leather Galco holster in my early years of carrying, the return to leather was natural.
One of the places the Leather does better than Kydex is conforming to your body. I can wear the Savoy Leather holster at 3, 4, & 5 o’clock positions, and it will bend around my body accordingly. This makes for an incredibly tight fit that remains comfortable.
Like my wife the Savoy Leather holster is a beautiful work of art, that being said it does not come cheap, requires some maintenance but will last for the long hall. Ok, I know that I am treading on dangerous ground here but lucky for me my wife doesn’t read this blog (I hope).
All kidding aside this is the most-beautiful holster I have ever owned. It is more comfortable than my crossbreed holster, which held a special place in my lineup for comfort.
I bought the version for the 1911 because a holster like this deserved to hold a beautiful gun. After falling in love with the IWB-OWB version, I have decided to go and buy a second holster for my G26. My mistake was treating this holster as a special occasion holster and not buying it for the gun I use almost every day.
You can find a full line up of holsters and design the right one for you in their online store. http://savoyleatheronlinestore.com/