Authors Note: You may think, by the above image, that what you are seeing is a bulge from a concealed firearm. As you find out later, it is not.
Out of the many aspects of carrying a firearm concealed, the holster in which the firearm is carried is pretty important.
While a personal defense tool can be carried in an OWB (Outside the Waist Band) holster, and be concealed by an outer garment, the serious concealed carrier is going to opt for an IWB (Inside the Waist Band) holster. What is nice is to come across a holster that can serve as both OWB and IWB.
Leather, mainly tanned cowhide, has been the source material for holster makers for a very long time. I venture to say that leather and hide will continue to be the choice of many for years to come.
There came a time; however, when a new type of holster was introduced; the Kydex holster. Somebody realized that Kydex, joined with leather, makes a very nice combination for those who like to carry IWB. You had the rigid Kydex shells that was molded to a specific firearm, and the Kydex shells was attached, by some means, to a leather ‘Backing’ that provided comfort to the wearer and security in holding the firearm in place. Attachment to a belt is usually in a form of a metal or polymer clip. These are called ‘Hybrid Holsters’” and they are very popular.
One of the issues with “Paddle Holsters,” holsters that had a rear extension that was inserted into the trousers, was that they tended to come out of the waistband when drawing the firearm, which could be considered a laughable moment except if the holster came out with the firearm when trying to defend yourself.
The Hybrid Holster, with its rigid clips, is held firmly in place when removing the firearm. A big benefit was that the hybrid holster retains the shape of the firearm once the firearm is removed, and this makes one-handed holstering a matter of course.
Hybrid holsters come in a wide variety of types that range from minimalist to full-coverage. I consider holsters from Cross Breed and the Galco King TuK as ‘minimalist’ holsters, as they cover only enough of the firearm to hold it into place. The muzzle and front sights are usually protected only by the material of the trousers. A “Sweat Shield” is usually part of the hybrid holster and protects both the firearm from body moisture and the carrier from the firearm against the body.
The second type of hybrid holster is the full coverage type that protects the firearm completely from rear sight to muzzle. There are too many manufacturers of these types of holster to list here, but Alien Gear Holster seems to be a prime source for these types of holsters. Black Arch Holsters (formally SHTF Gear) was one of my favorite holster sources until they made changes to their design that didn’t sit well with me. One of their early designs; however, continues to lend support for my carry of the Rock Island Armory 1911 FS Tactical. The RIA is the only pistol that I carry in this holster, as better pistols deserve a better holster and, to me, that means leather.
Kydex, unfortunately, is harsh on a firearm’s finish. While the finish of the RIA is not the best in the world, being housed in a hybrid holster has not helped the finish at all. Leather, while still abrasive, is much friendlier in maintaining a finish on a firearm. Holster wear is just part of carrying a firearm, but the wear from leather is a smoother rubbing of the finish that can be found with Kydex.
For me, I prefer a “pancake” style holster due to its wider footprint, which means more stability for the holster and firearm.
When I carry a 1911 other than my RIA, it is carried in a Falco Model 92 (http://guntoters.com/blog/2018/04/01/falco-holster-model-92-for-1911-pistols/) or a Galco Miami Classic 2 shoulder holster rig; both of which are leather. My other favorite for the 1911 is the “Cumberland” holster from Simply Rugged Holsters (http://guntoters.com/blog/2013/07/05/simply-rugged-cumberland-versa-clip-ii-holster/).
Another of my favorite holsters is the “Cuda” from Simply Rugged Holsters, and that is what this article is all about.
The “Cuda” holster is a Leather Concealed Carry Holster of a high-ride pancake design for auto loaders. The beauty of the “Cuda” holster is that it can be worn OWB (Straight or cross-draw) or IWB. For IWB wear, leather attachment strap are available that anchor the holster to the belt (up to 1.75-inches) with the holster inside the trousers.
The ‘Cuda” is an open top holster with “Sweat Shield” (or as Rob Leighy calls it, the “Flab Tab”). The “Cuda” provides full coverage protection of the firearm and has an open bottom. It is an un-lined, rough-in/smooth-out finish.
Ride height and cant cannot be adjusted, but I find the ride height and cant to be adequate for IWB carry.
The mouth of the holster is not reinforced and; therefore, will compress under belt tension with no firearm in the holster. Simply Rugged Holsters recommends that the firearm not be absent from the holster for long periods of time when worn IWB. With that said, I have had no issues with the “Cuda” when re-holstering even a Glock G21, but it does take two hands to do so. I simply pull the front of the mouth out just enough to get the firearm started in the holster with the thumb of my support hand. It’s really not a big deal, as I should be holstering a lot slower than I withdraw the firearm anyway.
The “Cuda” is well formed and stitched in all of the right places. All outer edges are well rounded and blended. The outer finish is well done, and that leads me into finishes and materials.
Materials for the holster are wide ranging:
- Black Bison
- Oxblood Cape Buffalo Hide
- Cape Buffalo
- Brown Elephant Hide
- Black Elephant Hide
- Oxblood Elephant Hide
- Brown Alligator Belly
- Black Alligator
- Black Shark Skin
- There is also the Classic Style: Tan only, collar and Suede out body
If you choose an exotic hide, it cannot be tooled.
Other options include (at additional cost):
- Inside The Waistband Straps – Pair (includes holes)
- Punch Inside/Out Holes (I already have the straps from another holster)
- Custom Cut for Red Dot, Laser or Light (PICTURE REQUIRED)
- N Fused Gun Lubricant
- With Chesty Puller Harness
- Border Stamping
- Basket Weave
- Fish Scale Embossing
- Floral Carving
- Celtic Knot Carving
And, there are exceptions: NOTE: Floral or Celtic knot carving do (sic) not work well with black or oxblood. Fish scale is not an available for Celtic carving. Border stamping does not compliment the floral carving and is not an option.
Delivery time for a ‘Plain-Jane’ holster is usually 2 to 3 weeks with longer times for custom materials or work.
The holster can be easily adjusted on the body when worn IWB. While that might not seem to be a ‘con’ it actually is – do a degree.
Once the holster is in place, the smooth-out of the holster allows the holster to move within the trousers. With clips; however, the holster is locked in place. The issue is that the “Cuda” does not come with clips; it comes with straps (if ordered). Some slippage is tolerable, however. When sitting (as in a vehicle) a pistol like a Springfield XD 4.5 or a Glock 21, which have long butts, the butt may press against the seat back, which will force the pistol forward. But, this makes sitting with the pistol a bit more comfortable. It is possible; however, that the holster could shift out of position or ride up at the rear slightly, and might require a minor adjustment when you transition to a standing position (as when exiting a vehicle). A discreet re-adjustment of the holster (and firearm) may be necessary.
I have modified a “Cuda” holster by adding retention clips from a hybrid holster that worked well to stabilize the holster and also afforded a bit more adjustment to height and cant. This; however, may not suit you.
If holster slippage bothers you, you may want to consider the “Cumberland” holster from Simply Rugged Holsters (http://guntoters.com/blog/2013/07/05/simply-rugged-cumberland-versa-clip-ii-holster/) that attaches to the belt with clips and is more stable.
Options are a good thing, yes?
The “Cuda” holster by Simply Rugged Holster is an excellent piece of gear that will protect your firearm completely and you can completely access the firearm when needed.
The “Cuda” is made for a wide variety of pistols, with some limitations. It can also be made in a variety of materials with a variety of options.
Simply Rugged Holster are just that; simple and rugged. More importantly, to me at least, is that they are not Kydex; a material that I consider as a hostile environment for any handgun’s finish.
Aside from pistols, Simply Rugged holsters are also available for revolvers of both single-action and double-action persuasion. My Ruger GP-100 is carried in a Sourdough Pancake™ holster (https://www.simplyrugged.com/ecommerce/Sourdough-Pancake%E2%84%A2-MED-TO-LARGE-FRAME-REVOLVERS-Leather-Concealment-Holster.cfm?item_id=151&parent=669) when it is carried IWB. (As a personal note, when any of my firearms are carried OWB, whether under clothing or not, and when not at a range, they are in a more secure thumb-break holster.)
- Hickok45 on Hybrid Holsters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSUWWw14XqE
- Simply Rugged ‘CUDA” Holster: https://www.simplyrugged.com/ecommerce/Cuda-FOR-AUTO-LOADERS-Leather-Concealed-Carry-Holster.cfm?item_id=407&parent=669