In this article we’re looking at the DeSantis Summer Heat holster; specifically their J-Frame Inside the Waist Band holster. Ironically, as I type this, we are in the midst of a summer heat wave, complete with not only high temperatures but also humidity that you could cut with a knife. I’m sure the reader will excuse my chuckle at the irony.
Since 1972, DeSantis has been making holsters that shooters can count on. In fact, I’ve been using them since around 1989, and I consider the company to be at the top of the holster-maker line. Out of all the holsters that I’ve owned from them, I’ve never had one single complaint. All have performed admirably and have lasted through years of use.
DeSantis Summer Heat Holster: Specifics
According to DeSantis, this holster is a “barebones, minimum IWB holster.” If you ask me, they sold themselves a little short in that description; this holster is really nice! It’s made from premium saddle leather, which is very thick! To be blunt, it reeks of quality.
The leather on my particular holster is tan. Personally, I think the tan gives it a pleasing, classic look that I like a lot. The edges of the leather around the border of the holster are nicely finished, which adds to the pride with which these pieces of gear are obviously made.
Many other holsters that you’ll find are made from very thin leather that probably isn’t going to last all that long. This stuff is going to survive a ton of abuse and use. Additionally, the leather is molded perfectly to the gun’s shape, so there’s a nice, snug fit with good retention. At the same time, once you’ve done a few dozen draws from the holster, the inside slicks up and the firearm slides out easily and quickly. Great retention with a fast draw—precisely what I am after.
This particular holster is for a J-Frame revolver. Mine happens to be a Smith & Wesson 642 .38 Special. More on that later.
Around the top of the holster is a band of leather that reinforces the top to help keep it stiff for holstering. This band also extends down the back of the holster and reinforces that portion of the holster where the clip is attached. I have to smile when I see how they worked the piece into the design like that, it’s ingenious.
The clip is black and powder coated, being a very simple affair. It’s stamped with the DeSantis logo, which looks pretty neat. As mentioned, it’s simple, there are no hidden tricks to using it; just clip it over your belt. A helpful feature is that the clip flares out at the bottom so that when you want to unclip the holster from your pants, you can grab that protrusion with your fingertips and pull it out easily. The holster comes off quickly and efficiently.
The stitching that DeSantis puts into their holsters has always been something that I love seeing. It’s just done so well! Heavy and precise, it ensures many long years of service from their holsters. And I’ve never had one fail or begin to come unstitched.
They chose white stitching to go with the tan holster color, and the two seem to go together well.
How does the holster perform?
As mentioned, we are in the grip of a determined heat wave, during which I have been wearing this holster. All in all, it is a very comfortable holster. I mean, let’s face it, when you shove a leather-ensconced handgun down the front of your pants and you’re a sweaty dude, there’s going to be a modicum of sweating and discomfort going on. That’s life.
That said, this holster kept it to a minimum. I wore it in the Inside The Waistband Appendix (AIWB) fashion. For comfort, I give it the highest ratings.
A few friends pointed out that Kydex holsters, being made of thinner materials, take up less space in one’s pants. In short, they’re thinner. Okay, I’ll give you that. However, Kydex is hard and unforgiving. It does not flex and often digs into your body and skin. Granted, it’s ultra-durable stuff, and performs its job well.
But leather just has a “warm”, classic feel to it. It doesn’t dig into you as much when bending over and performing other maneuvers. To me, the comfort level of leather his higher. It will boil down to a personal preference thing, as both materials have their advantages.
This holster achieves absolute perfection in this category. Under a t-shirt, it simply disappears, keeping the handle of the handgun tucked into the body nicely while still maintaining comfort.
Again, super high marks in this category. The clip does a perfect job keeping the holster in place and not sliding around on the belt or waistband. Yet it’s easy enough to pull the clip away and adjust the holster’s position if need be.
As I already mentioned, the molding of the holster really retains the revolver well (and this goes for every other DeSantis holster I’ve ever used) while still allowing a very fast draw.
The Summer Heat holster is available for S&W J-Frames, Keltec P3AT, and Ruger LCP. At the time of writing, it is only available in the tan color.
Why the .38 revolver? Because it’s incredibly light and small, making it comfortable to carry. I deliver merchandise to some unseemly areas of a big city as part of my job, and I like being armed without anyone knowing it. This particular city is home to a large concentration of former convicts whom I know from my service in the prison system. I’m alone, so I don’t have to engage in a raging gun battle to rescue family members or anything elaborate. All I’m after is to engage a threat if I’m forced to and then break contact.
The 642 and two spare speed strips seem adequate for getting me out of a jam and breaking contact. The reliability factor of the little wheel gun is also attractive.
Well, DeSantis has done it again. They’ve provided a simple, rugged holster that does exactly what it’s designed to do. And looks good while doing it! Retail price for the Summer Heat Holster at the time of writing is $61.99, so it can be found for less at various outlets. For the quality that the consumer receives, I think it’s an excellent price. This one gets two thumbs up, I’d absolutely recommend it.
One final thought: no matter which holster (or holsters) you’re using, you need to safe the weapon and practice your drawstroke.