Urban Carry’s LockLeather Hybrid OWB Holster
February 16th, 2022
5 minute read
Holsters are way more complicated than most people think. If you’re someone that simply buys what fits by looking at the label on the packaging in the aisle of a big-box clearinghouse, you may be missing out. There’s nothing that shapes your interaction with your gun more than its holster.
And for everyday carry, this becomes even more evident. First, you have to settle the inside-the-waistband (IWB)/outside-the-waistband (OWB) debate. Then, you need to determine where you want to carry the gun — as in, what position on your body.
During the colder months, I prefer to carry OWB and strongside. Lately, I’m carrying the Hellcat. This 9mm is perfect for the EDC — big enough to handle with confidence, but small enough to conceal easily and with an exceptional capacity of 11+1 (and more with Hellcat extended magazines) for a gun this size.
The gun is easily concealed in the waistband, and I understand that many choose to carry IWB all year round. I’m simply not one of them. I’m much faster on the draw with an OWB, and time-to-target is essential for my considerations of holsters.
Enter the Urban Carry LockLeather, a retention holster for the Hellcat. Described by the company as a hybrid holster that combines the security of Kydex with the comfort and durability of leather, this one definitely caught my eye.
With OWB holsters, I’m always looking for good retention. I want to know my gun isn’t going anywhere if I have to run or jump. Most good holsters have enough retention built in — just in the tight fit and contact of gun-to-holster — but the Urban Carry LockLeather has a clip inside the holster that snaps onto the front of the triggerguard. [Editor’s note: For a better understanding of what holster retention is, read our holster retention article.]
The clip takes a bit of force to overcome when holstering the Hellcat. You push hard and it feels like the gun might not fit, then it pops into place. It is an odd sensation, as the amount of pressure needed to overcome the clip is robust.
Drawing isn’t nearly as complicated. Pull and it pops free with just a bit more force than would normally be necessary to draw from a fitted leather holster.
The holster design itself is not 100% fitted. Urban Carry makes different sizes to fit different frames. The clip is the magic, so the holsters don’t have to be wet-molded into shape for exact models. Also, it is now available for the OSP version of the Hellcat with an optic, which is a nice option in the mind of this reviewer.
The leather itself is clean, though not the most polished I’ve seen in this industry. The finish is matte and uniform, and the leather has been dyed rather than painted. The edges aren’t painted with a contrasting edge coating — just rounded over and finished with a sealer.
There’s also a second layer of leather sewn over the opening to reinforce the open top of the holster. On some models of their Urban Carry line, this can be a contrasting bit of leather to add a bit of style — but I like this look better. This isn’t a fancy-pants holster, so why pretend? Why add the extra? It likely is intended to help the mouth of the holster retain its shape, and is typically an indication that the split used in the build is thin, or that the tanning process leaves the leather flexible.
While some holster companies concentrate on the aesthetics of the finished product, this Urban Carry holster seems more about function. The stitching isn’t designed to stand out. It hasn’t been doubled. It has the feel of a broken-in pair of jeans, but without being artificially beaten up or aged.
Despite how well it works, the clip on the front of the triggerguard does have a couple of disadvantages. The first is that you can’t add lasers or lights. I’m a big fan of the Viridian E-Series line. The Hellcat is big enough for lights, too.
The second is this, and it bears mentioning. If the clip fails in any way, the holster may not be secure enough to hold the gun. After wearing this one for a couple of weeks, the retention screw that holds the clip together worked loose. It was subtle and I hadn’t noticed it happening. When it got too loose to hold the gun, I thought I’d broken the clip. I hadn’t.
I dug in deep for this Urban Carry review and discovered that every time I’d forced the gun in or yanked it out, I was working the retention clip’s screw farther and farther out. There’s a fix for this, but it is one that will require confidence and Loctite.
I’d begin with Blue Loctite. Get the gun you want to carry in the holster ready. Dial the screw down to the point that you know the gun will go in and come out. Mark that point — at least mentally, preferably with a fine-point Sharpie — then unscrew and add a small drop of Loctite.
Make sure, when you do, that the parts inside are lining up. That’s important. You can overcome the Loctite bond after it sets, but it isn’t easy.
With that little bit of legwork, the Urban Carry LockLeather should make for a solid platform.
The Urban Carry LockLeather holsters are available in black or tan. This model for the Hellcat — #215 — sells for $69.95.
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