Deciding on what type of holster to use is as much about personal preference as it is about function. With that said I am going to list the pros and cons for 3 primary types of holsters, leather, kydex, and hybrid, and the primary areas affecting every day carry.
Leather – There are 2 main types of leather holsters, the universal kind that fit a variety of guns, and form fitted holsters designed for a specific model. Here I will be talking about the latter as the universal designs really simply are not worth the money.
A good leather holster should be made for a specific gun model so it is molded around the firearm in the same way that a kydex holster would be. The thickness of the leather is really determined by gun size as a larger handgun needs thicker leather but a good middle ground would be around 7-9 oz for most conceal carry handguns.
Kydex – Kydex holsters are molded to fit specific guns, whether they are 2 pieces or molded 1 piece units. They can come in a variety of colors and many even have specific designs printed on them such as an Amercian flag or well-known symbol.
Hybrid – These are holsters, mainly inside the waist belt, that have a shell, whether made of Kydex or another material, which are molded to fit a specific model of handgun, with backing of another material usuat leather or neoprene type padding.
I am talking level 1 retention (maintained by friction and pressure) here, not device aided with thumb lock, snaps, breaks, or anything like that. Just a simple form retention.
Leather – A good stiff leather holster molded to a specific model has good retention. It is good enough that you could hold it upside down and the gun will not fall free from the holster. Leather, however, because it is malleable and can stretch, won’t actually lock a gun into place. When holstering a gun the holster can have some give and when drawing a gun there can be some collapse on the holsters mouth although not generally enough to prevent re-holstering. - Grade B
Kydex – A Full Kydex shell gives excellent retention. There will be an audible click when the handgun locks into place and can withstand a good shake without coming loose. A tight fit should have very little rattle or movement. – Grade A
Hybrid – Hybrid holster fall into the same range as leather for retention. Even though a kydex shell will typically cover the outside of the firearm protecting it, the backing of leather or other material will have give. The back will also not be molded to the shape of the firearm as even a full leather holster would, the holster will rely more on friction to the body since hybrids tend to be designed to wear inside the waistband. – Grade B
Leather – Because it is malleable leather tends to lend more comfort when carrying both outside and inside the waistband. It feels better against the skin and will not dig into your side as roughly when you bend as kydex will because it is more forgiving when pressure is applied to it. Grade – A
Kydex – The excellent retention of kydex comes from its stiffness, but this also lends to more discomfort. The nature of the material will lead to it offering far more resistance when your body applies pressure to it when bending or moving. It also lacks a comfort of feel if directly against the skin.– Grade B
Hybrid – Since leather or another material such as neoprene is most often used as the backing of a hybrid holster they tend to feel fine against the skin and are comfortable to wear. Many even come with padding or sweat guards, however once again these holsters tend to be inside the waistband only options. Grade A-
Leather – While all holsters will produce wear, they do not all wear equally. Leather wear on a handgun tends to be more of a polish. The long time inserting and removing from the holster will rub the finish of your gun dulling it over time and for some finishes removing the finish, but since there is not a hard scratching of the finish it tends to take longer for the wear to show. – Grade A
Kydex - Not as forgiving leather wear tends to show quicker in use of kydex holsters. The rubbing against a hard surface that is a tight fit, in particular around the trigger guards which tends to be indented for a more secure fit, can cause immediate wear, particularly if your handgun has a steel frame. – Grade B
Hybrid – Much like Kydex the outer shell of the hybrid holster can be abrasive on handguns, in particular on the places where the kydex is indented when molded. – Grade B
While I own all 3 types of holsters in the end I have settled on a leather holster for my EDC. To me it is just the most comfortable way to carry, and one of the biggest obstacles to overcome when getting used to carrying all the time is comfort.