Review: Mission First Tactical Hybrid IWB Holster

This is not your typical leather and Kydex hybrid holster.

posted on June 4, 2022
Mission First Hybrid Holster

I’ll be the first to admit that when the fine folks at Mission First Tactical told me they were sending a Kydex and leather hybrid holster, I envisioned it would be something like a CrossBreed or other leather-backed rig with a Kydex shell. That’s typically how we picture a hybrid holster, right? But that’s not what Mission First Tactical has created. Not even close. I’m not aware of any other manufacturer who makes anything like this holster.

Naturally, when I pulled the holster out of the packaging, I was a bit confused. Not only was it not what I pictured, I wasn’t sure what the point was. I wasn’t even sure the leather on the outside was real. It looked more like faux leather imprinted directly into the Kydex. So we were off to a bad start, or so I thought.

It got better. A lot better.

I wasn’t going to judge the holster based on initial impressions alone. Instead, I vowed to give it fair treatment, as I do with all the holsters I review. My past experiences with other Mission First Tactical holsters have been largely positive. The next day, I had some errands to run, so I threw my Shield 9mm into the holster, tucked it into my waistband, and went for a full day of activities.

The feature I wanted to check out the most was whether the thin layer of leather that wrapped the taco shell made a difference. Was it just for decoration (which, if it was, did make the holster look richer), or was it for comfort?

hybrid holster with a twist

Before we get too far into that, let’s look at the holster design. The Hybrid IWB starts with the same base as Mission First Tactical's existing IWB design, with its one-piece taco shell held together with a single retention screw under the trigger guard. The holster is held to the belt with a single, wide polymer grip with two screws for stability at the top. Thanks to a symmetrical design and two screw holes on each side, the holster is ambidextrous by simply moving the clip to the other side with no other needed changes.

What sets this new design apart is the addition of a thin layer of genuine American full-grain leather fused with the Kydex for a layer of padding. The leather is not very thick – less than 1/8 of an inch thick, but it did make a difference. As a result, this holster is more comfortable than a traditional Kydex-only shell that can rub against the skin and cause irritation. Frankly, I was surprised that such a thin layer could matter that much, but it did.

Leather holsters are expensive, right? Not this one. At $59.99, the Mission First Tactical Hybrid IWB is in line with other similarly priced holsters and should definitely be on your list of options, but you’ll have to wait until July 2022, when it goes on sale on their website.


Black Collar Arms APS
Black Collar Arms APS

First Look: Black Collar Arms APS

A new way to support your large-format pistol.

NRA School Shield Grant Program Now Accepting School Security Project Applications

The NRA School Shield Grant Program provides funds to increase school security, helping provide a secure future for our children. 

Review: Tisas PX-9 GEN3 Duty

It’s said that in life, one never gets a second chance to create a first impression. SDS Imports, the company that imports the Tisas firearms manufactured in Turkey, appears to have embraced that piece of wisdom, because I was extremely impressed from the moment I opened the box containing its new PX-9 GEN3 Duty 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. Except for some ammo, the box contained everything you need to defend yourself and your loved ones.

Review: Smith & Wesson Shield Plus In 30 Super Carry

Before we dive headfirst into the morass that is the 30 Super Carry debate, let’s start with something (slightly) less controversial: Smith & Wesson’s Shield Plus is a supremely good pistol. Building on the success of the standard Shield and updated M2.0 versions, the Shield Plus kept critical dimensions similar to allow most gear designed for the Shield to work for the Shield Plus.

2022 New Optics Guide: Thermal and Night-Vision

New advances in electronics and updated manufacturing processes have made thermal and night vision optics more affordable than ever before.

First Look: Wilson Combat 45th Anniversary SE 1911

A special edition pistol to celebrate the legacy of a legendary gun manufacturer.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.