Review: Mission First Tactical Leather Hybrid AIWB Holster

By Adam Scepaniak
Posted in #Gear
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Review: Mission First Tactical Leather Hybrid AIWB Holster

March 15th, 2024

5 minute read

Selecting a concealed carry holster can be a contentious topic amongst your closest cadre of shooting friends, and how you carry can say a lot about you. Do you want to deploy a shoulder rig? How about classic hip carry? Or, what about the more modern and generally accepted method of appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB)?

The photo shows a MFT holster along with a digital watch, a folding knife and a Springfield Armory Hellcat.
In this article, the author tests the Mission First Tactical AIWB holster that blends leather and Kydex.

A lot of what goes into this decision might depend on your flexibility (or lack thereof), the general attire you wear on a daily basis, and the firearm you have chosen to carry. Assuming you are a fit, spry individual no matter your age, most people would point you towards AIWB. Then, in “good times and in bad,” you always have your firearm in between you and those around you. Moreover, once you become fluent in drawing your firearm, it should afford you with the fastest deployment time possible.

Accepting that your decision is AIWB carry, let’s assume you are rolling with a Springfield Armory Hellcat (Read Mike Humphries review of the Springfield Hellcat). What holster should you use? Today, we are going to take a look at Mission First Tactical (MFT) and a unique hybrid offering they have in the MFT Hybrid Leather AIWB holster. Let’s dive in!

The Details

The hallmark feature of the MFT Hybrid Leather holster is right there in its name: the hybrid leather. They have taken the heavily contested debate of Kydex versus leather, and said, “Why not both?”

Shown in this photograph is a Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP pistol in 9mm along with the MFT holster.
The MFT holster is a good match for the Springfield Armory Hellcat 9mm pistol when carrying for self-defense.

Mission First Tactical touts this marriage as a “Kydex style holster fused with genuine American full grain leather.” With Kydex, you can craft, manipulate, and mold the holster to a precise fit and tolerance. This equates to a strong, secure holstering of your firearm, yet it can be removed in a slick, expeditious manner.

Then, by bringing leather into the equation you have a higher level of style and tactile appeal. With a Kydex inner and a leather outer, there is no break-in period typically indicative of leather, and the holster will hopefully not break down over time — either translating to a longer service life. Let’s walk our way around the rest of the holster to see what else it has to offer.

Shown here is the holster being adjusted by the author with a screwdriver. The Mission First Tactical holster can be adjusted by the user so that it can be used as OWB, AIWB or IWB — plus it can be used on the right or left side of the body.
The Mission First Tactical holster can be adjusted by the user so that it can be used as OWB, AIWB or IWB — plus it can be used on the right or left side of the body.

The MFT Hybrid holster might be most at home in its preferred AIWB position, but it can be considered a triple threat because it is also capable of outside-the-waistband (OWB) and complete inside-the-waistband (IWB) positioning; not just AIWB. Moreover, with an adjustable and reversible belt clip you can switch it to right-hand, left-hand, and even cross-draw options depending on your personal preferences. Also, you adjust the cant of the holster between 0° to 15°.

Much like the belt clip, you also have adjustment in the retention of your pistol while still maintaining a definitive “CLICK” upon the insertion and draw of your firearm, allowing you to audibly know you are locked in or clearing your holster. Now, let’s revisit the options you have for firearms with the MFT Hybrid Holster.

[Don’t miss What Is a Retention Holster?]

We are choosing to go with the Springfield Armory Hellcat for carry which is a solid choice because it still holds the coveted title of world’s highest capacity, micro compact. If we were to get squirrelly with our customizations of the Hellcat with a micro red dot like an RMR or RMRcc, the MFT Hybrid Holster would still be able to house it. If we took it a step further and added a threaded barrel for a silencer and suppressor height sights — surprise, surprise — it still would be able to host the Hellcat. The MFT Hybrid Holster has a “Sight Track” to allow for suppressor height sights and is shaped in manner that a micro red dot optic will not inhibit your use of this holster.

Shown in this photograph is a Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP pistol in 9mm along with the MFT holster.
Part of the holster testing included carrying and drawing the Springfield Armory 9mm pistol from the MFT holster — the latter done with an empty gun in a safe location, of course.

Some final notes worth mentioning are that all Mission First Tactical holsters are molded, trimmed, assembled, and buffed by hand (not machines) in the USA. That is something you can hang your hat on. So, how did it perform for us for concealed carry?

In Practice

I deployed this holster along with my factory-configured Springfield Armory Hellcat for the better part of a year. I would carry them in tandem on my days off while running errands around town, concealed, and in the AIWB position. It never “printed” under clothing to even the most discerning eye; my wife’s (who I would often ask if she could tell if I was carrying or not).

In this photo, the author shows the MFT holster he reviewed along with his 9mm Hellcat.
The author found the MFT holster was easy to don and doff, plus it was comfortable to wear.

I found it comfortable, easy to put in and remove from my waistband, and it had positive retention from the first day I carried and even until the time of this writing. Being seated at the 12 o’clock position in AIWB, I left the cant of the holster neutral, but I appreciated the possibility of adjustment. What I did adjust is the retention of the holster against the firearm. I tried it both loose and super tight. Eventually, like the “Three Bears”, I landed somewhere in between that was just right.

There were several days I brought it to the range to train with as well, and when it was authentically put in action it still performed as advertised. Positive retention, slick deployment, didn’t retain sweat/moisture like straight-up leather holsters will, and it wasn’t abrasive like pure Kydex holsters can be. That middle ground of “hybrid leather” felt nice against my gut in a multitude of activities and movements performed.


A lot of people expect holsters to do something amazing or magical beyond their expectations or what is advertised. No holster will make you shoot more bullseyes or make you a cup of coffee. What I look for in a good holster is safety, retention, comfort and flexibility (the ability to have adjustment for varying scenarios). The MFT Hybrid holster checks all of those boxes.

For its advertised retail of $69.99, I think this holster is absolutely worth it. I have spent significantly more in the past on holsters, only to be sorely disappointed. For the money, this holster is a great buy for the Springfield Armory Hellcat. As always, let us know all of your thoughts in the comments section via the forum by the below link! We always appreciate your feedback.

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Adam Scepaniak

Adam Scepaniak

Adam is a manager at The Guns And Gear Store in Waite Park, MN. He's also a writer for the NRA Shooting Sports USA, TheFirearmBlog, Sierra Bullets, All Outdoor, OutdoorHub, and Boyds Gunstocks. He is a Glock and Smith & Wesson Certified Armorer as well.

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