If you’re interested in an outside the waistband holster, but you’re not a fan of the classic pancake style, you should consider a paddle holster! Many paddle holsters you find are often made with polymer, but a leather holster takes you outside of the tactical aspect and into a totally different realm. We’ve sifted through the online market to find you the best leather paddle holsters on the market, and we’ll let you know which we thought was our favorite at the end of the review.
As a quick note: when searching for a paddle holster online, you’ll want to search specifically for whichever gun or model you need a holster for. Since this is a more general review on our part, we’ve selected products that fit with certain handguns, but the brands offer the style of holster for a range of common pistols, revolvers, etc.
If you’ve ever wondered what type of leather is used for gun holsters, most are manufactured with either Genuine or Top Grain cow hide. The highest level of holster leather you can get your hands on is Full Grain leather, which will be thick and difficult to mold or penetrate. If you want a little flexibility with your holster, we suggest searching for the previous two grades of leather.
Materials – Cardini Leather’s paddle holster is made entirely of leather, including the covering on the back paddle. It can be purchased in either all tan or all black for left handed and right handed shooters. This selection, in particular, is made for the Glock 42, but you can find the style available for a variety of handguns. The holster is molded to the shape of the gun, and it is lined with reinforced stitching. There is double stitching at the trigger guard, as well. Inside the holster is suede lining, which helps with a smooth draw and protection of your weapon. The paddle has an adjustable cant, so it can be worn as FBI or at a cross draw. For a higher level of retention, secure the paddle behind your waistband, or you can wear it normally over a belt.
Performance – Cardini makes a really nice leather paddle holster, and it’s definitely one of those most comfortable you’ll ever buy. This is mainly because the leather covering over the belt paddle makes it smooth enough to wear against the skin, if you want a little more retention. If your handgun is larger than a compact, this feature can really come in handy. This option also features the most reinforced stitching out of any of the other choices here, while still being highly molded. A little adjustability with the cant, and there isn’t too much to complain about. However, the height is not adjustable.
What we say – The Cardini Leather paddle holster is the best option for those who feel more comfortable wearing the paddle behind the waist line, as opposed to over their belt only. You can play with the cant a little as well.
- Cheapest option
- Leather paddle comfortable to wear against body
- Plenty of stitching
- No height adjustments
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Materials – The Galco Speed Paddle Holster is constructed with premium saddle leather, and it’s available in black or tan. The holster is tightly molded to the shape of your handgun. The selection here was designed for the Ruger 2 ¼-inch pistol; but, again, you can find the Speed Paddle Holster for a variety of handguns. Although there is no stitching around the exterior on the holster, there is double stitching at the trigger guard. There is no thumb break, but there is a retention screw at the trigger guard as well. The belt paddle is made from injection molded copolymer, giving a durable fit, but the cant is not adjustable.
Performance – If you’re all about the molded leather, then this one is for you. Galco makes some of the most protective, durable, and long-lasting leather holsters on the market, and there’s a reason their brand is so popular. The Speed Paddle Holster is available for all sorts of double action revolvers and compact autos, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the right fit. You’ll get a lot of retention between the molding and the retention screw. You’re missing out on any adjustability with the paddle, but that is so you don’t have to fumble with your weapon as you draw from a tight fit. There’s a little give and take, but you can feel confident your concealed weapon is staying in place throughout the day.
What we say – This is the best leather paddle holster for those with smaller weapons and prefer a high retention over suede-lined options.
- Highly molded leather
- Retention screw
- Very low profile
- No adjustability with cant
Materials – This paddle holster from Bianchi is made from a premium grade, full grain leather. It’s available in tan only, but can be purchased for left handed and right handed shooters. This particular option was made for Glocks, but it can be found available for multiple handguns. The leather is slightly molded, mainly at the trigger guard. It does leave a small portion of the trigger guard exposed, and the muzzle is open. An elongated thumb break retains the rear of your handgun, and it secure shut with a snap closure. The injection molded paddle features a non-slip padding, and both the cant and carry height are fully adjustable.
Performance – If sleek and smooth is more your style, then Bianchi would be an excellent brand to look in to. Instead of focusing on hand-molding and retention screws, you’re relying on a thumb break. This allows your holster to have a much more natural leather look that has been a little less treated and manufactured. You’ll get an ultra-smooth draw every time, and you won’t have to fumble with your handgun as you re-holster. This is especially ideal for full size weapons and longer barrels. This option is also the only one that provides a non-slip padding on the belt paddle. You won’t get as much retention with this choice, but you do get a sleeker and smoother function.
What we say – The Bianchi 59 Special Agent Hip Holster is the best choice for those with full size hand guns and those who don’t mind their retention coming from only a thumb break.
- Sleek design
- Non-slip paddle
- Smooth draw and easy to re-holster
- Retention only from thumb break
Materials – Aker Leather’s FlatSider paddle holster is made with vegetable-tanned cowhide in all black. This selection was made for the Colt 1911, but it’s available for other handguns and revolvers as well. The contour molding offers high coverage of the weapon for a super low profile, with a sight channel within to protect the top and the inside of the holster. A retention screw is below the trigger guard, and there is also a sweat guard installed. The belt paddle features Air-Flo dual-retention barbs, which will hold the holster in place during use.
Performance – To knock it right out of the park, the best features of the Aker FlatSider holster are the fuller coverage you get of your weapon and the sweat guard. This option allows you to secure this baby nice and close to your body without worrying about damaging your weapon or becoming uncomfortable yourself. The retention within the leather is pretty standard, but the paddle itself is specially designed for a really good hold against your belt. This is really ideal, since it’s not as adjustable as some of the other choices.
What we say – This is the best leather paddle holster for anyone looking for high coverage and wants to wear their handgun close to the body. You’ll be comfortable, and your weapon will be protected.
- Sweat guard
- Air-Flo paddle
- Most coverage of all the option
- Most expensive option
Our Favorite Leather Paddle Holster
Our favorite leather paddle holster was, surprisingly, our first option in this review! The Cardini Leather USA Paddle Holster is a solid choice that should make just about everybody happy. It hits all the marks needed for a good holster that isn’t lacking particularly in any one area. It comes at a very affordable price, as well. Our favorite part about this option was the leather covering over the paddle. This makes it comfortable enough to wear behind the pant waist, and it also acts as a bit of a sweat guard in that sense too. The stitching is throughout the holster, so you’re getting retention in more ways than one. The suede lining within the holster provides a smooth draw, but you still get some molding in the leather. It’s the only option within this review that had the best of both worlds with those two aspects. We definitely suggest that anyone looking for a leather paddle holster do a little searching online to see if Cardini Leather has a fit for them!