Normally, if you read the name “1791 Gunleather,” you picture a leather holster. That makes sense. But while 1791 certainly makes some outstanding leather gun keepers, the company recognized that not everyone wants leather and responded with a line of Kydex holsters to satisfy the rest of the market. Although most of 1791’s Kydex offerings are IWB, they also make an OWB in the form of the Tactical Paddle Holster.
Before getting into the hardware itself, let me commend 1791 for not getting fancy with the holster name. That’s not sarcasm. Sometimes customers need to know what the product does, fancy names aside. Now on with the performance.
The Tactical Paddle Holster starts with a Kydex, taco-shell body made from high-quality materials. Through multiple wearings, draws, reholsters and general use and abuse, the shape held its own. You know I’m not easy on holsters if you follow my reviews. They better stand up. This one certainly did.
My typical three criteria for any good holster—must hold the gun securely, cover the trigger and trigger guard completely and allow for easy one-handed reholstering—were all met with flying colors.
Retention comes from two sources: an audible click when the trigger guard seats and two screws on the outside. As always, I applied my flip test, and the gun stayed snuggly inside the shell, no need to adjust from the factory settings.
Instead of conventional loops or clips, the holster is held to the belt by a plastic paddle, made from a different material from the shell but just as durable. While many holster makers have either shied away recently from the paddle or never made one because they aren’t as popular, sometimes a paddle is exactly what is called for. For example, the first day I tried the Tactical Paddle Holster, I decided to wear it after putting my belt on. It was nice not to undo my belt, slide the holster on, and buckle back up. Sure, this is a minor inconvenience, but it was still easier.
Paddles have gotten a bad rap over the years because some earlier models tended to twist around and not hold the holster on very well. I’ve experienced it myself in the past. However, I didn’t run into the issue with this one. Once it was on, it stayed in place without a second thought or any need to reorient it as the day went on.
A slight miss on this holster is how far it sticks out, making it more difficult to conceal than others in the class. This won't be an issue with a big enough cover garment, but it’s not the best option with only a medium cover.
With the MSRP of $64.99 on 1791 Gunleather’s website, the Tactical Paddle Holster fits well into the Kydex OWB holster market.