Recently I was contacted by Lenwood Leather to take a look at their Kydex® holster so I went to their website to see what they offered. Currently they offer two types of holsters; the Wraith which is an Outside the Waist Band (OWB) holster and the Specter which is an Inside the Waist Band (IWB) holster. Prices start at $49.99 for both the Wraith and Specter and they also offer a matching Wraith Mag Pouch starting at $24.99. If you select some type of pattern for the color, the price increases by $10 for the holsters and $5 for the mag pouch. After checking some other manufacturers, Lenwood's pricing seemed very competitive and their products looked good so I felt it would be worth taking a closer look and doing a review.
My next move was to decide was which holster to review. Lenwood offers a pretty good selection of handgun models and is willing to take on custom holsters if you don't see one for your handgun. As I was going through the list, I noticed they make a holster for the Ruger LCR. The Ruger LCR is one of my favorite handguns which I have carried for a couple of years and I know this revolver is extremely popular in the market, so my first decision was made. Since I wanted to go for maximum concealability, I decided to go with the Specter IWB holster for this review. Because I'm right handed, that part of the selection process was easy and also since the Specter is an IWB style, I didn't think the benefit of the special color patterns would be visible so I selected the Coyote color. If I had selected to go with the Wraith OWB holster, I'm sure I would have selected one of the pattern colors shown below. In theory, for conceal and carry, color should make no difference. In reality, I don't always carry concealed depending on the situation and your line of work may be such that concealment is not preferred which makes the color patterns vey appealing.
Figure 1 - Color Selections
Once the holster arrived and after opening the shipping box, I saw that the standard packaging appears to be a zip-lock bag. Honestly, I'm good with this because I would much rather save money on a product than pay extra for fancy packaging that would end up in the trash within a couple of minutes.
As you can see, I also got a Lenwood Hybrid Belt. Lenwood claims that this belt "is hands down the best CCW belt available," so I had to check it out also. My current CCW belt is a 5.11 Trainer Belt which I love, but isn't always as fashionable as it should be.
These next photos show the Specter Kydex® Holster in the Coyote color for the Ruger LCR revolver. The holster is basically a sheet of Kydex® which is heated then folded over a prepped handgun and placed in a press where it cools to form the shape of the handgun into the Kydex®. After the Kydex® has cooled, the Kydex® is trimmed and sanded as needed to it's final shape.
Handgun retention is typically achieved around the trigger guard where the Kydex® is molded into the trigger area. The belt clip is attached with two screws and spacers are included as needed so the clip angle is not too steep.
The holster weighed in at a whopping 2.1 ounces which is nearly nothing. In the case of the Ruger LCR, the total loaded revolver and holster weighed in at only 17.5 ounces which makes this combination very pleasant to carry.
These next photos show the fit of the Ruger LCR in the Lenwood Specter Holster and how Lenwood chose to trim the holster to the features of this revolver. Since Lenwood makes holsters for many other handguns, you should consider these photos as an example of their craftsmanship. They rounded all edges of the holster and matched the grip and trigger guard profile very well. I decided to remove one of the screws holding the holster folded together and attaching the belt clip. The screw was installed with a thread locking compound to ensure it didn't work loose. It was possible to rotate the belt clip slightly if pressure was applied. I didn't see this as an issue and it may have also helped to make the holster more comfortable.
You can clearly see the shape of the revolver molded into the holster and the photo below gives you an idea on how the area around the trigger guard is recessed into the trigger area to achieve positive retention. I found the retention to be just the right amount, but if you are not wearing a belt for the belt clip to grasp, then depending on your shorts or pants style, you could potentially pull the holster out with the revolver when drawing. I have found this to be the case with other holsters of this style and as long as you are wearing a belt this is not an issue. Also, keep in mind that the level of retention may vary with different style handguns.
This next photo shows how well the holster was molded around the cylinder. In this case, there was a small lip at he bottom of the cylinder which was adding slightly to the positive-ness of the retention. As I drew the pistol, the holster opened slightly as the trigger guard pushed past the recessed material in the trigger area. When it opened up, this small lip was of no real consequence. If for some reason something like this is ever bugging you, you can always tweak a Kydex® holster by shaving or sanding an edge. In my opinion, no tweak was required and the holster retention level was good as manufactured.
This next photo gives you another look at the fit of the LCR in the holster. In my opinion, the overall fit was very good.
These next photos show the holster located at my waist in a location where I like an IWB holster to be placed. For concealed carry purposes, I typically wear the shirt un-tucked as shown. With the shirt over the holster, there was no evidence that I was carrying a pistol. Also, when using the Lenwood Hybrid Belt, there was no way this holster would ever come off during a draw.
The Lenwood Hybrid Belt is shown in these next several photos. This belt is probably the most sturdy belt I have seen which maintains a stylish non-tactical or non-duty look. To say it again, there are many duty pistol belts on the market, but few that are stylish in my opinion. I checked the price of this belt against some other leather duty belts and the $67 price from Lenwood is in line with those other belts.
I feel at first glance this Hybrid belt looks like many other 1.5" wide leather belt that you might purchase at your local department store, but as soon as you start looking at the details and thickness of the belt you know that this is no ordinary belt.
The key feature that makes this belt extremely study is that it is basically two belts glued and stitched together with a total thickness of about 0.26". At this thickness and with the 1.5" width, this belt can easily support nearly any handgun you choose without sagging or rolling over.
The outer portion is a full grain leather outer layer. I chose the Natural color, but it is also available in Brown or Black.
The inner portion is a PVC coated polyester webbing interior.
Lenwood carries this double thickness throughout the entire length of the belt which creates maximum belt strength. They also include a heavy duty chrome plated steel roller and buckle. One thing I need to point out is that with three layers of .26" thick belt material on top of each other along with some air space gives the belt visible thickness in the buckle area when wearing. In my photos above, you can see that this thickness is not too noticeable, but you will notice it the first time you put the belt on. I have been wearing the belt to work every day at my desk job and I don't feel this thickness is too much and seems to be a good compromise for when I'm using the belt as intended for conceal and carry.
In the case of the Specter holster with the light weight Ruger LCR, this style of belt is not required and you could get away with nearly any belt with that holster and handgun combination. On the other hand, carrying something like a full size 1911 pistol in a high ride style holster, the Lenwood Hybrid Belt is exactly what you need. I used one of my other 1911 Kydex® holsters with the Lenwood Hybrid Belt and wore the combination for a day to get a feel for how the belt would perform and I was very pleased.
After taking a close look at Specter Holster and Lenwood Hybrid Belt, I feel Lenwood Leather makes some quality products and at prices that are competitive with the market. The Specter Kydex® Holster is extremely light weight and fit the handgun nicely and the Hybrid Belt is truly a sturdy belt that should allow you to conceal and carry nearly any handgun without issue. Their products are all hand made here in America and in the case of the belt I feel it is "Over Built" (but in a good way) just like they advertise. Lenwood Leather makes some other leather products which should have similar craftsmanship. If you are in the market for a Kydex holster or conceal and carry belt, then make sure you checkout Lenwood Leather.