1791 Gunleather IWB Holster: A Review

1791 Gunleather makes some of the best leather holsters I’ve seen for a reasonable price. I’ve carried all kinds of holsters over the years, and no matter how modern they get, it’s just hard to beat leather. I always used to carry handguns in leather holsters until I became a police officer. The rise of plastic holsters improved weapon retention for duty weapons and other OWB holsters.

Even many IWB holsters are now made of plastic because they are made to fit specific guns. I stopped using some of my leather IWB holsters because they were much thicker than plastic IWB versions. But 1791 made sure that wasn’t an issue with the Fair Chase Deer Hide holster. Another feature I really like about this model is that it accommodates a tac-light and optic.

We tend to think of leather as an old-school style of holster that should be used with old-school guns. However, the ability to carry a modern gun with a light and optic in a quality leather holster is just cool—at least for those who appreciate leather holsters. Concealed carry has caused the handgun and holster market to prosper in recent years. More people are aware of the need for good-quality holsters than ever before.

1791 Gunleather Fair Chase IWB holster.
The metal belt clip is sturdy and works with belts up to 2 inches wide. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
I remember when $10 nylon holsters were the “normal” thing to use because they were so much easier to find. But now we have lots of choices, and companies are producing a smorgasbord of options. For the past two years, compact handguns have dominated the CCW market. But I’ve been noticing a lot of people starting to carry larger weapons inside the waistband.

Large enough for full-size handguns but thin enough for IWB

I’ve always thought a person should carry the largest handgun possible while still able to conceal it. Sometimes, a small compact gun is all we can get away with. But for those who want to carry something a little larger, 1791 Gunleather has a great IWB holster to check out. Instead of making a holster for a specific gun, they offer multiple sizes of holsters and list each gun that will fit in that size.

My Fair Chase Deer Hide holster is a size 4 and will fit some popular handguns like the CZ 75 PCR, Ruger SR9, Sig P365XL, and about 13 models of Glock. Most retailers will list compatible guns or ask which gun you are using to ensure you get the right size. 1791 Gunleather kept the leather thin on this holster to make sure it didn’t take up any more room than necessary. When I say it’s thin, I mean it’s .25 inches thick. That’s measuring the entire holster, not just one side.

About the 1791 Fair Chase Deer Hide Holster

The 1791 Gunleather IWB Light Bearing Holster features an open-top design tailored specifically for firearms with rail-mounted lights or lasers. The holster rides close to the body for concealable carry, holding the firearm upright to reduce imprinting through clothing. The back of the holster is tall enough to provide a barrier between you and the grip of your gun.

If you have ever carried an IWB holster without some type of barrier, you know how annoying it can be. Some of the texturing on today’s guns is so aggressive they can be painful when rubbing on your side. A heavy-duty metal clip fits over belts up to two inches wide and keeps the holster in place when the gun is drawn. If you haven’t used a deer hide holster before, it’s worth noting that deer hide is normally softer than cowhide holsters.

1791 Gunleather Fair Chase IWB holster.
The back of the Fair Chase IWB holster is high to help provide protection from the gun on your side. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
1791 Gunleather uses 100% American Whitetail Deer to produce the Fair Chase IWB holster. From what I’ve seen of their holsters so far, I can say they use meticulous care and attention to detail. The craftsmanship, stitching, and material all appear to be top-notch quality. If taken care of, a good leather holster will last more than a lifetime.

To show they stand behind their product, 1791 Gunleather offers a Lifetime Warranty on all their holsters. I’ve also contacted their customer service in the past and would call it excellent. That is not something you find very often in today’s world.

Using the Fair Chase Deer Hide IWB holster

I carried several guns in the Fare Chase holster to see how well it worked with different ones. I would normally advise people to stay away from “multi-fit” holsters. But in this case, the guns listed by 1791 Gunleather fit like they were made for each other. I carried my Glock 49 with an Aimpoint ACRO P-2 and Streamlight Holosun P.ID light in the Fair Chase holster.

Most of the time, I would carry this size of gun in an OWB holster. But I like trying new things, and it’s good to have options for carrying guns differently. Because of its size, I chose to appendix carry, which is starting to become a favorite of mine. It was more comfortable than I thought and held the gun in place nicely. I wore it for several days and did a variety of walking, sitting at my desk, driving, etc.

CCW with the 1791 Gunleather Fair Chase IWB holster.
Appendix carry with the Fair Chase Deer Hide IWB holster. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

Is an IWB leather holster right for you?

I can easily say this is a comfortable, well-made holster. The quality of the leather is so nice; it’s a shame this is an IWB holster rather than an OWB holster. That strong leather smell hits you when you take it out of the package. Over time it may need oil or some type of leather conditioner to keep it in pristine shape. The inside is also soft enough that it will protect the finish on your firearm while carrying it around.

1791 Gunleather makes this model in 6 different sizes, so there are many options to fit whatever gun you have. If you want this style but prefer cowhide, try the “Smooth Concealment” holster. It’s the same style but made from 100% American Steer hide. I have one of these in a black finish, and it’s a little firmer than the deer hide holster. It’s the same thickness and made of the same quality.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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