Mitch Rosen 5JR Express Holster Review
October 22nd, 2022
6 minute read
If you’re like me, you might find the Springfield Hellcat Pro ticks many boxes for concealed carry. It offers a nearly full-size package with the option of a red dot optic while still staying very thin for concealment. My biggest concern with the Hellcat Pro was finding the right holster.
Fortunately for us, Springfield Armory worked with some of the best holster makers when the Hellcat Pro was being developed. When the Hellcat Pro launched, there were some very good carry holsters available immediately.
One of those was the Mitch Rosen 5JR Express Holster. Let me tell you about my experiences with it.
When I first started paying serious attention to self-defense and concealed carry, it was the early 90s. During that time, there were a lot of innovations underway: new cartridges, new pistols and new bullet designs. Also new at the time was a startup holster maker in New Hampshire known as Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather.
I recall reading gun magazines of the era and seeing folks like TheArmoryLife.com’s own Massad Ayoob reviewing the Mitch Rosen rigs. Those reviews included glossy color photos of the beautiful holsters. For a rookie cop making not much more than minimum wage in the Deep South, those Mitch Rosen rigs always seemed just out of the reach of my paychecks.
Fast forward a few decades, and the Mitch Rosen company is still making gorgeous custom holsters. Fortuitously, Springfield Armory worked with them ahead of the Hellcat Pro launch, which meant holsters were ready the day the new pistol shipped. It seemed like the perfect time to try out one of the Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather holsters for myself.
Enter the 5JR Express
Many people know that Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather crafts amazing holsters, customized for each customer. What many people don’t seem to realize is the company also offers an Express Line of products. While not custom-built, the Express Line offers the convenience of quick shipping and an affordable price, as well as the quality and exceptional design for which the company is known.
In my opinion, one of the best options in this line of products is the 5JR Express. The 5JR Express is a strong-side belt slide holster made of quality leather here in the U.S.A. Belt slots are designed for belts up to 1.5” in width. The holster is an open-top design, meaning it does not have a retention strap that holds the pistol in the rig.
In a concealment holster, an open-top design is acceptable when the holster has a precise fit like that used by Mitch Rosen. For additional information, check out my article on holster retention. The bottom of the holster narrows but remains open to allow any water, dirt or debris to pass through instead of collecting around the Hellcat Pro’s muzzle.
My 5JR Express was a rich black color with a pleasant shine across the entirety of the leather. All of the edges had a smooth rounding I did not expect. Typically, a “value-price” holster eliminates some of the nicer features that take more time and money to add. While I doubt that the Express Line has the same edge smoothing as the Mitch Rosen custom holsters, the 5JR Express edges were impressive.
Likewise, the stitching on this holster appeared neat and seemed very rugged. The outer edges of the holster had a single line of heavy stitching, while the inner portions that outline the pistol’s shape used a double stitch for improved strength.
Carry and Use
Of all the holster designs on the market, I find the strong side, outside-the-waistband rigs to be the most comfortable. I often carry inside-the-waistband, but I do enjoy the additional comfort of an OWB rig when my clothing choices allow it.
One of the carry features I like about the 5JR Express is the forward tilt it imparts to the gun. I find it easier to draw the gun from this angle when I carry just behind the strong-side hip. This position also minimizes printing, so I consider it to be ideal for my needs.
Also helping to minimize printing is the shape of the holster. Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather molds the 5JR Express with a curve that matches the roundness of the hip. I found the rig tucks in nicely against the body when worn with a properly sized belt.
I can’t emphasize this enough: buy a good quality gun belt if you carry a pistol. A floppy belt or one that is too thin doesn’t offer a stable platform for the holster. A thicker, stiffer belt is much more comfortable than you would think.
Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather designed the 5JR Express to fit the Hellcat Pro with a red dot sight mounted. The leather is precisely cut to allow for every optic I tried to fit: Shield RMSc, Swampfox Sentinel, etc. Just to be sure, I also tried the Hellcat Pro with no optic mounted, and the 5JR Express retained the gun with no wiggle or play.
I wore the Hellcat Pro and 5JR Express combination extensively at work. I found them to be comfortable for all-day wear. Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time behind a keyboard. Seated positions can cause the biggest comfort issues with some holsters. That was not the case here, and the Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather holster proved to be a great defensive partner.
Final Thoughts on the 5JR Express
Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather creates amazing gear for the armed citizen. Even the products in the company’s Express Line are of very high quality. From the fit of the gun to the leather’s finish, the 5JR Express looks the part of a holster twice its price.
If you are in the market for a leather, strong side rig, this holster deserves your consideration — especially if you don’t want to wait for a full custom rig. The bonus, of course, is the very reasonable pricing. Did I forget to mention that? It’s only $85 in the Springfield Armory store. If you ask me, this is a bargain.
Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!