Horsehide Vs Cowhide Holster

A holster is a case or fitted sheath that holds an edged or firearm. A person uses them to store their gun safely and carry it around with ease. A good holster should be durable, safe, comfortable, and ergonomically designed. There are both open-face holsters (whether they feature passive retention/security mechanisms like a strap or active retention like a hooded safety) and concealed holsters (purpose-built with a cover garment, such as a coat).

Table of Contents

In this blog post, we will discuss horsehide vs cowhide holsters.

Materials Used for Holsters

Leather

It takes the longest to break in but lasts much longer than other materials. It can be easily dyed and molded into shape. It also tends to not absorb the sweat of the wearer over time. This makes it suitable for open carry wear, where people might see your firearm. People working in law enforcement or security commonly use leather, as it is the more durable.

Kydex/Plastic

Kydex is a thermoplastic material, made by forming heated polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sheets. This material is popular because of how cheap it is to mass-produce, and how sturdy it is. It naturally has a shiny surface that can reflect light, which makes concealing the firearm easier (and also lends itself to people making holsters with lights on them). However, they are difficult to break in, and this lack of flexibility means that you must be very careful using one.

This material is popular with people who use their handguns for home defense and open carry.

Nylon/Synthetic Materials

Some people make holsters out of synthetic materials. These can be made to look like leather, but not provide the same level of protection. They are also much easier to conceal than a leather holster, making them better for people who wish to carry concealed firearms.

Leather Holsters are the most popular holsters, due to their durability and concealability. However, there are two main types of Leather Holsters Horse Hide vs Cowhide.

Cowhide Holsters

Cowhide is the more traditional and common leather. It is thick, making it difficult to break in and mold into a specific design. This material is most often found in budget holsters that cannot be molded or detailed easily. However, they can last almost indefinitely when cared for correctly.

Due to its thickness, cowhide holsters are best for passive open carry, where people might see the firearm. They are also very popular among police officers for this reason.

Rukulin Pure Cowhide IWB Leather Holster, Gun Holster for Glock 17 19 22 23 26 / P226 P229 SP2022 /XD XDS XDM/S&W M&P Shield 9MM and All Similar Handguns
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Rukulin Pure Cowhide IWB Leather Holster, Gun Holster for Glock 17 19 22 23 26 / P226 P229 SP2022 /XD XDS XDM/S&W M&P Shield 9MM and All Similar Handguns
  • 92% cowhide 8% polyester
  • 【MATERIALS】This IWB leather holster is made of thick genuine leather, comfortable on the skin. Form-fitting holster is built to last while providing maximum protection.

Horsehide Holster

Horsehide is generally of a higher quality than cowhide. It features better durability and resistance to damage than standard leather holsters, allowing it to be molded into more complex designs with less break-in time. It is most popular with people who want a holster that can be easily concealable but also highly detailed. Due to their flexibility, horsehide holsters are best suited for concealed carry of firearms.

Horsehide holsters are more expensive than cowhide, but the increased cost is worth it for people who wish to conceal their firearms.

Horsehide vs Cowhide Holster

Both types of leather holsters have their merits, and it is mostly just personal preference that will help you decide which one to opt for in your situation. Although there are unique benefits that each type offers, the most important thing to consider is whether you need a holster that can be easily concealed or one that offers better durability.

Horsehide leather is one of the most expensive types of leather used for making holsters. The demand for quality horsehide has skyrocketed in recent decades, often making it hard to acquire unless you are willing to pay a premium for it.

Cowhide leather is much more common and easier to come by, but this comes at the price of the finished product. Because cowhide is thicker and much harder to mold into any desired design, it is not as common for people to seek out and pay the extra money for a cowhide holster. Horsehide can be easily molded into any contour you desire, offering much better concealment than a rigid cowhide holster.

Cowhide leather holsters are mostly used by police officers, who need a holster that can last a long time but do not mind sacrificing concealment for durability. Horsehide holsters are preferred by people who want a holster that can be easily concealed and molded into any desired shape, offering a nicer finish and increased durability.

Cowhide holsters are less expensive and more rigid, while horsehide holsters offer higher quality and increased flexibility. This makes the price difference between the two types of holster justifiable for most people who have specific needs in mind when considering a purchase

Many people will mix cowhide and horsehide in the same holster. Makers often take small strips of cowhide to create a belt loop or add extra contour to a well-made horsehide holster. You can also purchase pre-molded holsters with a strip of horsehide on the outside while having a thicker cowhide protector.

What To Consider When Choosing A Holster?

If you want a holster with a high level of durability that will last for decades, you should consider getting a horsehide holster. The increased price is worth the money for people who want their holsters to last them a long time

If you want to go with something cheaper and less comfortable but still durable, you can get a cowhide holster instead. Although these holsters might not last quite as long, they still offer excellent durability and will last you for a very long time if cared for correctly

If you want your firearm to be easily concealed, then you should consider getting a horsehide holster. These holsters mold into the contours of your body much more easily than cowhide shoulders can, offering greater concealment.

If you don’t mind sacrificing some level of concealability for the extra durability that cowhide provides, then you can go with a standard cowhide holster. These holsters are less expensive and will last you much longer than most horse hide designs.

In the end, it’s all about how you prefer to carry your firearm. If you don’t mind sacrificing a little comfort for increased concealability and durability, then choose a horsehide holster. In addition, if you want your holster to last a very long time but don’t care as much about concealment, go with a cowhide holster.

Tips on Cleaning, Caring for and Storing Your Holster

How to Clean Your Holster?

If you use your holster daily, you must keep the leather clean. If the holster gets wet, be sure to let it dry in an area with good airflow. You should also oil the leather every few months using a special leather oil that will not damage the finish of your holster.

How to Care for Your Holster?

You must oil your holster from time to time, as this will help it retain its shape and color. If the leather gets wet, make sure to let it dry in a room with good ventilation. Once the holster has dried up after getting soaked, apply a thin coat of oil to the leather to keep it in tip-top shape.

How to Store Your Holster?

After every use, make sure you clean and oil your holster so that no damage is done while it is not in use. If you want to be extra careful with your holster, let it sit for a few days between uses. This will allow the holster to dry out and retain its shape.

If you are looking for a convenient way to carry your firearm, be sure to take into account all of these factors when deciding which type of holster is right for you.

Tips on Cleaning, Caring for and Storing Your Holster

FAQs

At a minimum, your sheath should be about 2.4 to 2.8 millimeters thick. Anything thinner than this can lead to premature failure. If you want a secure and reliable design, you should aim for at least 2.4 millimeters of thickness.

The perfect design for a knife sheath can range from 2.8 to 3.2 millimeters, so you’ll want one that is at least this thick if you want something durable and comfortable.

Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

A matte finish looks better against the human body than a shiny one does. Make sure to use a matte finish leather protector on your holster if you want a low-key appearance.

Cowskin and horsehide are the most common types of leather used for belts, but you can also purchase pre-molded belts with a strip of cowhide or horsehide on the outside.

Although there are many different types of leather available, the most common type used in holster making is cowhide. Horsehide also offers a high-quality material that is perfect for holsters, but it is much more expensive than cowhide.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are some considerable differences between horsehide and cowhide holsters that will have a significant impact on how comfortable your holster is as well as its durability. If you want your holster to last for an extremely long period, you should consider getting a cowhide design. However, if you don’t mind sacrificing some durability for concealability, you should go with a horsehide holster.  

If you have any further questions about which type of leather is best for your holster or belt, feel free to leave a comment below. We will do our best to answer your question as soon as possible. Thanks for reading.

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Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .
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