Today we’re taking a look at the DeSantis Inside Heat holster for Springfield Armory’s micro-compact pistol, the Hellcat. How does this Hellcat holster perform? Let’s put it through the paces.
A Word About DeSantis
Back in the 1980s, I began using holsters from DeSantis. It was purely by chance, as the local gun shop owner had turned me onto them. I didn’t know any better at the time, I figured they were just as good as any others on the market.
Fast forward a few decades. In the interim, I have tried a number of other holster brands on the market, with varying results. Many were inferior to the DeSantis offerings. Some are close to being equal. Others, custom models, cost a lot of money.
DeSantis has a staggering variety of holsters available, made from kydex and leather. They make a holster for almost any handgun imaginable. Inside the Waistband (IWB), Outside the Waistband (OWB), shoulder holsters…you name it, they’ve got one. And their prices are extremely reasonable.
Hellcat Holster Features
I like things that are no-frills. Style is fine, but if a piece of gear is too nice, I won’t want to use it and mar the finish. The Inside Heat holster looks good enough that I’m proud to own it, but it’s not so exquisitely finished that I’m afraid to use it.
This model only comes in black (many DeSantis holsters are also available in a tan color).
To construct their holsters, DeSantis uses saddle leather. For their Inside the Waistband holsters, that leather is fairly thick, which holds up well over the long haul. It’s polished enough to give it a pleasantly subdued shine.
The holsters are molded to the specific firearm that they are intended to carry, so we get a perfect fit every time. As an aside, this particular holster fit the Hellcat perfectly and needed no break-in period. It was as if I’d been using this holster for years. The pistol slides in and out effortlessly.
The edges of the leather are nicely finished. Not highly polished, but smooth.
Overall, the holster is put together very well, it has a solid feel when held in the hand. It’s light in weight, yet has that robust feel.
The stitching is worth a special mention. It is very even and beautifully done. It really gives the holster a classy, professional look. Every DeSantis holster that I’ve handled has consistently been stitched this nicely.
The clip, which is a vital part of the holster, is made from sturdy spring steel and has an attractive, semi-glossy finish.
In my experience, these clips have always worked well. They hold the holster in place securely, yet easily allow the holster to be removed from the belt. At the bottom of the clip, the tab is easy to grab and move outward to remove the holster. It’s simple and works great.
As an added touch, the DeSantis logo is stamped into the side of the clip.
A heavy rivet, along with a generous piece of leather, secure the clip to the holster. The leather wraps up around the mouth of the holster, reinforcing the holster’s mouth, and keeping it open. That helps in the holstering process.
Using the Hellcat Holster
Now that we’ve covered the features of the holster, let’s talk about how well it performs with the Hellcat.
We spoke earlier about leather being comfortable. This holster is definitely comfortable to wear, especially considering that it’s an IWB-type holster. I wear it in the Appendix position.
If you’re switching from a Kydex holster to this leather one, you’re liable to realize instant relief, it’s that comfortable. It gets the highest marks in this area. In full disclosure, I have this same holster for my Glock 43X, and it also feels great for that pistol.
How It Carries
As I mentioned, I carry AIWB position. The holster carries nice and low on the belt and doesn’t stick up too high. When I bend over to pick something up off the floor, the pistol and holster don’t dig into my waist too much. I say “too much” because regardless of how well-made a holster is, there’s going to be some slight discomfort when carrying in that position and bending over.
The AIWB position is very concealable when a t-shirt or other garment is pulled over it. Aside from that, it takes minimal arm movement to pull the cover garment up and draw the pistol. Especially when compared to wearing a holster farther back on the hip.
Remember when I mentioned the reinforcing leather piece at the mouth of the holster? That really keeps the holster stiff and the mouth open, even when inside the waistband. Consequently, it makes holstering a handgun a real breeze. The pistol slides right into the holster.
For the money, I believe DeSantis offers the best quality-to-value ratio of any holster maker. An added bonus is that all DeSantis holsters are made in America. Despite trying other holsters out, I just keep coming back to DeSantis. At this point, I really don’t bother with other holster makers. DeSantis is my go-to at this time, and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon.
For my future pistol purchases, I’ll definitely get more Inside Heat holsters, as they’ve become my preferred carry holster.
Most models of Inside Heat holsters from Desantis sell in the $35.00 range, give or take a little, at GunMag Warehouse. In my book, that’s a serious bargain!