Chalk this one up as one of the most unusual holsters I’ve ever reviewed. Not bad—it has a lot to offer—just unusual. The 1791 Gunleather Universal Inside the Waist (UIW MAX) Holster has some features I really like and some that left me scratching my head.
First, let me say I’m not typically a big fan of leather holsters for concealed carry because they lack many of the safety and retention features typically found in Kydex or hybrid holsters. That doesn’t mean I hate all leather holsters. I’m just a bit skeptical about some of them. The 1791 Gunleather Universal Inside the Waist (UIW MAX) Holster is one that I tend to gravitate toward for the positive list. But it took some getting used to.
The holster starts with two generous, thick leather panels perimeter-stitched together into an open-top and open-bottom configuration that follows the natural taper of most handguns. As the name implies, this holster is universal. No customization here. Thanks to good quality leather, the holster stretches and moves to adjust to various sizes and shapes of a variety of guns. The open bottom allows for short or long barrels and accommodates compensators and other barrel accessories. Because of the taper, it will struggle with larger lights, but small lights and lasers should slide through just fine.
It’s not fitted for any particular gun, which means you’re not limited to a single use. It’s not even restricted to a certain size of gun, which is good. It worked with both my Smith & Wesson Shield and Glock 17, two very different guns, with no issues.
The holster is held to the belt by a single steel clip embedded into the leather. The clip is solid and does not slide around at all. Thanks to the placement of the clip, the holster can be worn either IWB or OWB with zero changes. Just flip the whole holster over and wear it inside or outside the waistband, a feature rarely found on other rigs, especially leather ones. Both leather panels also feature belt slide loops so you could run your belt through if desired, although the steel clip works best for most applications.
How well does this holster stack up against my top features every holster should have? First, does it hold the gun securely? Yes. Second, does it cover the trigger and trigger guard? Yes. Third, does it allow for one-handed reholstering? Maybe after a lot of use, but certainly not right out of the box. Gotta ding it for this one.
The 1791 Gunleather Universal Inside the Waist (UIW MAX) Holster comes in Black, Classic Brown, or Vintage, which is an ox blood shade, and is available on 1791’s website for a very affordable $34.