|For the LC9 with a custom cut.|
|Holster for the SR9c with comfort fit.|
|Reverse of the package.|
|A close look at the leather quality and finish of the backing, and the type of round nuts used to hold the screws.|
|Another look at the leather finish, kydex and clip attachments.|
|LC9/LaserMax in the custom cut holster.|
|Comfort cut for the SR9c/LaserMax combo.|
|The same holster showing how the pistol equipped with the longer magazine fits.|
|Reverse of the custom cut and Ruger with the longer magazine.|
Another feature that sets Cleveland holsters apart from the competition is the detail they mould into the ends of their holsters. Rather than simply cutting the kydex off at the muzzle, they wrap it around the end of the weapon, moulding it in place there as well. And the kydex is brought higher up on the slide. This offers more comfort and security to keep the gun in place.
|Detail of the muzzle end.|
A good design and several quality steps above the normal, these holsters are obviously quality built equipment. The big aspects are comfort, ease of use, adjustability and security of the weapon.
Quality: I would put Cleveland holsters in the top tier of quality hybrid IWB holsters. I had an opportunity to compare the Cleveland holsters with a Comp-Tac Minotaur hybrid. I discuss this in more detail below. In my experience, these two are at the top of the hybrid IWB game but have very different design and manufacturing philosophies.
Comfort: These holsters are certainly very comfortable. The two Cleveland holsters were comfortable right off, without a break-in period. As you wear them more and they mould and conform to your own body type and contours they will fit better and become even more easy to wear for extended periods.
Ease of Use: I had a set of the kydex clips to try out with these holsters. I generally like kydex over steel clips as I find they are most often easier to use. However, the kydex clips Cleveland supplies don't work for me. The steel clips worked as advertised, but I could not get the kydex clips to attach snugly to my 1 1/2" gun belt. I measured the clips inside area and found they were 1 5/8", which should have been big enough, but no. I could force one over the belt, but not the other. I think the issue was that the clips were not big enough on the inside to accommodate my belt and the thickness of the material in my Wranglers. Switching to the steel clips solved that problem. Even so, I have always found the twin clip hybrid holsters difficult to get on properly, and the Clevelands were no exceptions. I think this a personal idiosyncrasy. Your mileage may vary.
Security: The guns snap nicely into the kydex when properly adjusted and can be drawn with little effort. The pistol is not coming out of that holster accidentally. At first I expected the comfort cut holster to be more difficult on the draw, but with some practice to familiarize myself with getting a grip between the leather and the grips, I came to the conclusion that this is not really an issue, and I think as the holster breaks in, it will be even easier. I certainly appreciate the leather between me and that long grip. The custom cut is comfortable enough with the smaller LC9 and access is no problem at all. All in all, I think I prefer the custom cut, but, again, that's a purely personal decision. Like any other carry system, train well with what you use and you will be proficient with it.
The Cleveland and the Minotaur
I previously did a review of Comp-Tac's AIWB Minotaur for the SR9c here on this blog. See it for details. It is important to remember that the Minotaur I use here to compare with the Cleveland holsters is not an AIWB, but an IWB designed for strong side carry, as is the Cleveland. In this post I want to point out the differences between these two holsters that clearly show the design differences and philosophies between the two makers.
Right away you can see that the Minotaur is smaller overall and shaped nothing like the Cleveland. Perhaps the most striking difference is in the clips and their arrangement on the two holsters. The Cleveland has traditional metal clips adjusted by means of a series of holes in the leather backing. The Minotaur's clips are thinner kydex with multiple adjustment holes in the clips themselves. Depending on their positions, the ends of the Minotaur's clips may protrude below the bottom of the leather backing. I haven't found this to be an issue. Some users will trim the clips - easily done because they are kydex, not metal - once they have arrived at the positions they like. Unlike all twin clip hybrids, I found the Minotaur to be very easy to put on and remove.