Review: Craft Holsters Panther OWB

By Adam Scepaniak
Posted in #EDC #Gear
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Review: Craft Holsters Panther OWB

November 1st, 2021

5 minute read

If you are addicted to red dots on carry guns like most of the firearm industry has become, the greatest bane to your red dot ownership is finding suitable holsters to house your red dot equipped carry gun. You need that holster to be reliable, supportive, afford you strong retention with a smooth draw, and come from a reputable source.

Craft Holsters Panther next to Hellcat pistol
The Craft Holsters Panther OWB rig for the Hellcat uses tanned leather and high-quality stitching, and is suitable for any occasion.

With the Springfield Armory Hellcat being one of the most popular carry guns on the market – both the OSP (Optical Sight Pistol) and the standard configuration – many holster manufacturers have catered to that model. The only gap in the holster market for Hellcats are holsters that are accepting of red dots. You can check out my prior article on the top holsters for the Hellcat OSP.

Man wearing Panther holsters by Craft Holsters while seated
Even with full pockets, the Panther has your sidearm appropriately positioned on your waistline where none of these pieces distract from each other.

One of my favorite carry pistol systems is the standard-configured Hellcat, to which I added a Trijicon RMRcc red dot to with an adapter plate from Trijicon. Sourcing a good holster for my doctored-up Hellcat has been difficult, but Craft Holsters has crafted an open-top, outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster exactly for such a pistol.

Feline Friends

The Craft Holsters open-top, outside-the-waistband (OWB) Panther holster features a small cant, or tipping of the firearm and holster forward, allowing for an easier draw than if the orientation were completely vertical. I appreciated this because drawing forward is easier than straight upward towards your armpit. The movement is faster and it requires less mobility for the shooter.

Leather holster care products
The care kit that Craft includes with your holster purchase is excellent for leather maintenance, and an impressive bonus.

The belt loopholes on either side of the holster were wide enough to fit my rather large 1 ¼” tactical belt, so this holster should be compatible with a wide array of belt options; tactical or otherwise. The Craft holster is stiff yet pliable. I found that after one week of consistent all-day carry the holster conformed to the firearm nicely. With the associated leather holster care kit that Craft Holsters provides with the holster, you can care for your holster and maintain it over time so it does not degrade or deteriorate from excessive wear like other leather holsters on the market.

The stitching on the holster is tight and the thread used is thick, so during my one-month period of utilizing this holster I saw no fraying in the threads or in any of the sewing lines. That impressed me because you will typically see the stitching fail on a leather holster before other areas break down, if it is going to break down at all.

Back of the Craft Holsters Panther leather holster
The robust thread used for the stitching on the Craft holster is unlikely to fray and break down over time.

Also, near the mouth of the holster where you insert your firearm, there is a double layer of leather near the mouth as a reinforcement precaution so after repeated insertions and draws of your firearm from the holster that area should not wear out or deteriorate over time either.

Hands-On

This holster is advertised as being compatible with a standard Springfield Armory Hellcat (which is the model I own and used for this review) and I was able to utilize my Hellcat with a Trijicon RMRcc mounted on top in a dovetail plate. So, although this holster is not openly advertised as being compatible with miniature red dot optics, it worked with my firearm very well. There was enough clearance for the red dot and the firearm still seated properly for retention and depth in the holster.

Man on the range drawing firearm from a Craft Holsters Panther
When it comes to drawing your Hellcat from the Craft holster, it is incredibly smooth due to the forward cant of the holster and the height it rides on your belt line.

If I could change one thing about the Craft Panther holster, I would like to see an open bottom to the holster to allow for it to be compatible with the Springfield Armory Hellcat RDP (Rapid Defense Package) and its Self-Indexing Compensator. I also own that version of the Hellcat and would love to be able to utilize the Craft holster for that firearm for carry as well.

Conclusion

Overall, for my month of carry with the Craft holster I was impressed. The Craft Panther holster is crafted of Italian leather, which has an attractive appearance. Whether you have Flat Dark Earth pants with a black belt or even a slate gray t-shirt (which I sported all of the above in the photos throughout), this holster will pair well and look good with all of the above.

Craft Holsters Panther leather holster
The double layer of leather at the mouth of the holster was a nice touch to improve the longevity and rigidity of the holster.

The holster is easy enough to draw from and would be best suited for a lot of outdoor activities like walking your dog, ranching, hiking and similar outdoor activities. If I were to utilize this holster for everyday carry (EDC), I would like a little bit more positive retention so I would not go with an open-top style, but something with a button-snap instead (which Craft also produces). Again, this is not so much a drawback as it is my personal preference.

At an MSRP of $59, it is hard to go wrong with this holster from Craft. If you are in the market for a leather holster for your Springfield Armory Hellcat, I would highly recommend them. As always, join us again soon on The Armory Life and happy shooting (and concealed carry)!

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!

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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 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.

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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