Mitch Rosen 5JR Express Holster Review

By Richard Johnson
Posted in #Gear
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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.

mitch rosen holster review
Part of the Express line, the author found the 5JR holster demonstrated all of the craftsmanship that the Mitch Rosen name represents.

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.

Background

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.

testing the mitch rosen 5jr holster
The author found the Mitch Rosen 5JR Express holster was a great carry option for the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro.

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.

reviewing the mitch rosen 5jr express holster
The 5JR Express rig used high-quality stitching that suggests it will last for a lifetime — or longer.

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.

close up of mitch rosen 5jr express holster
Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather stamps the leather of each holster. Not only are the markings crisp and clear, they help ID the proper rig if you own more than one.

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.

field testing the mitch rosen 5jr holster
The author found the 5JR Express holster pulled in tight against the body to improve concealment under a jacket, sweatshirt or other cover garment.

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.

detail stitching in mitch rosen holsters
The 5JR Express is cut to allow for mounted red dot sights. The author tested this with several optics.

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.

mitch rosen 5jr express holster with springfield hellcat pistol
For OWB carry, the Mitch Rosen 5JR Express is the author’s favorite carry rig for his Hellcat Pro.

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.

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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.

Product prices mentioned in articles and videos are current as of the date of publication.

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson

Having made many odd choices in his youth, Richard was left with two career choices: aerospace engineer or cop. After failing his second year of chemistry, Richard pursued a law enforcement career where understanding covalent bonds was not a requirement for success. Along the way, Richard discovered a passion for writing. Consequently, he hung up his uniform and now publishes GunsHolstersAndGear.com where he reviews firearms and other shooting gear to feed his frequently annoyed family.

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