Kydex vs leather holsters and gun lights

I have been using IWB and OWB Kydex holsters for several years now and have several brands. Two of my sidearms have lights on them and my EDC is a G-19 with an OLight on it. Finding Kydex holsters that can be made for the light is easy enough. Before going further I’ve read others and their issues with Kydex. I am a big guy and I have found I can wear both the OWB and IWB with practically no comfort issues at all. As a matter of fact the wife and I did a cross country drive in Dec and I never failed to wear the OWB on this drive with Kydex. That aside it is also no secret that Kydex has no real safety retention to it whatsoever. One company tried to tell me that you just tightened down the screws on the holster for a more snug fit. When I hinted he may not understand what the word retention means he took offense to this. When I started in LE in 79 our holster for our revolvers had a strap and nothing else. By the time I retired our holsters had retention ability that you had better practice on if you wanted to be able to draw quickly. But finding a leather holster now for my IWB/OWB carry conceal seems to be falling short of one that is made for a weapon and its light. Has anyone found something in this style that is well made and functional? I’d like some retention capability but I am not expecting to see what I had in my duty gear.

Alien gear have some, and safariland.

You can order it here Rapid Force Duty Holster - Best Level 3 Police Holster | Alien Gear Holsters

Not sure this as a concealed holster will work very well. IWB has to be tough and OWB is going to imprint too much.

You don’t really need active retention if you’re conceal carrying. Because if it’s concealed nobody will see it. Mise well learn what this guy is teaching.

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There are plenty who disagree with this. I have been carrying with Kydex for about 6 years now and there is no retention and I am okay with it. Especially when it is IWB. OWB but covered with a t-shirt is when I can see me using some kind of retention system. I was so used to safety holsters and practicing so much until it became 2nd nature and would not mind some sort of moderate system for the OWB. In the event someone sees it imprinting and goes for it this can slow them down. While I am trained in weapon retention I would prefer to have that extra retention ability.

Retention, by definition, doesn’t mean something that has to be mechanically disengaged to draw your firearm. For the sake of the discussion, I think it’s important to find common language along the lines of 'levels of retention ’ as developed by (I think) Safariland in the 80’s. It sounds like you are discussing active retention–level 2, 3, 4.

While I have used level 2 holsters for several of my pistols, I have since moved almost exclusively to friction retention holsters–the audible and tactile ‘click’ when you holster.
My rationale–I’m not LE or open carrying and do not run as high a risk for someone trying to disarm me. My priority is a holster that won’t drop the gun out and a fast, safe draw. For this reason, friction retention makes sense for me as a CCW holder.


You’re correct in that I do not need the same level of retention as I did with my duty holster. But for the last several years my Kydex basically have nothing but the friction which is more than fine, especially in the IWB carry. But when I do carry OWB (most all winter) I am more aware that it is more available to someone that goes hands on with me. Someone that knows what they are looking at likely knows I am carrying. Even the G-19 imprints a little when wearing the baggier shirts. Slightly more retention is something I’d like to find, if it is out there where it is a holster that can stay low profile.

Try the blackhawk Serpa. There are some people who are concerned about the trigger finger release for the holster–I’m not one of them. I think it’s a great holster.
Also, Cytak makes one with a thumb release I’ve tried for my Glock 19 that worked well.

Do you know if they can make one with a light adapted? (As leather is one I’d like to try now but the light issue gets in the way whenever I look around)

I’ve never seen a leather one that works with a light. Sorry.

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Yeah that seems to be what I have found the last couple times I’ve looked as well.

You might have to call some custom holster makers to see if they have a mold of your flashlight. I think it might be harder to find with some of the newish WML’s, as the foreign lights change their models/dimensions so frequently.

Doing a quick Google search, here are a few options (I can’t vouch for these holsters though):

  1. Galco “Halo Belt Holster”
  2. Craft “Leather Holster for Gun W Light”
  3. DeSantis “Tac-Lite Holster”
  4. Jackson Leatherworks, LLC lists a holster with thumbsnap with light… however it’s my understanding that this is a custom leather holster maker so you could probably order to spec. At this point you might just want to talk to your preferred holster maker.

I’ll look at these. My weak Google skills have found nothing in the past.


Just an FYI I ordered a leather holster modified for my gun light. I’ll let you know how it turns out but based on reviews I am expecting good things. Thanks for the heads up on this.


I like Urban Carry holsters, the lock leather has a built in retention.

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Hello and welcome @Patrick149
I have 2, very comfortable, OWB and IWB. Adjustable tension :+1: