AllOutdoor Review: Craft Holsters, OWB Panther Holster
Doug E 02.08.22
Craft Holsters is a relatively newer holster company yet offers a wide variety of holsters, belts, magazine pouches, and bags. Aside from their own designs, Craft Holsters also sources a few other brands as well to provide an even wider selection to their customers. They reached out to AllOutdoor to see if we’d take a look, and the Craft Panther Holster caught my eye, so they sent a sample to me to review.
CRAFT HOLSTERS: PANTHER HOLSTER
The Panther Holster I chose was made to fit the Beretta 92X Performance, although I chose it to match my early-oughts Beretta 92FS Brigadier with the same slide profile as the Performance model. When the Craft Holsters’ Panther arrived, the packaging caught my eye, as it was simple, yet tasteful and classy all the same. I always enjoy products that have thoughtful packaging, but not over-done where you wonder how much of the cost went towards just housing the product.
Once I took the holster out, I, of course, had to check the fit to my Beretta, and it was perfect! Since the Panther Holster is made for the Beretta 92X Performance pistol, there’s only two minor external differences from mine, the 1913 picatinny rail and the “gas pedal” takedown lever. The fact that my pistol didn’t come with those features didn’t have any ill affect in the fit of my pistol to the Craft Holster.
For anyone that may have noticed, I swapped out my Beretta 92’s standard hammer for a low profile hammer that I hope to do a lightning review on TFB soon.
The Panther Holster has a great glossy black finish, molded to accentuate the Beretta’s lines. The belt loops are oriented to cant the pistol forward for ease of drawing and re-holstering, as well as slightly reducing the vertical profile on the wearer’s hip. I’ve personally always preferred to have have my EDC pistol canted on my belt, whether it’s in or outside the waistband; however, Craft Holsters carries other holster models without a forward cant for those that don’t like it.
Craft Holsters’ Panther Holster is a single retention model, which means that there’s no snap or strap to help hold the pistol in, and the two molded pieces of stitched leather and the added friction from the belt are the only thing holding the pistol in. This level of retention is a matter of contention in the firearms community, and comes down to user preference. For those that don’t like single retention holsters, Craft Holsters offers 18 other Outside the Waistband (OWB) holsters, and 3 Inside the Waistband (IWB) holsters with more retention options. With all that said, it’s also possible to create a DIY retention strap with some elastic cordage that attaches to your belt and loops over the back of the pistol’s slide or beaver tail. Thus, in my opinion, the open topped holsters don’t need to be completely dismissed out of hand.
The edges of the Panther Holster were mated well, with a smooth, trimmed finish that gives it an overall professional vibe.
Craft Holsters also has Break-In Kits available as well. The small package includes three pieces: break-in liquid, wool dauber, and a microfiber cloth for polishing. The Panther Holster as supplied was already just right, so I didn’t need to use the kit, but it’s available.
CARRYING WITH THE PANTHER HOLSTER
I have almost exclusively carried the same gun year-round, with only minor change-ups, which I’ve written about on TFB’s Concealed Carry Corner. The term “winter carry” was only in my vocabulary because I’ve seen and heard other shooters use the term. However, since I reviewed this holster during the winter, I thought I’d give it a go with the Craft Holsters Panther Holster, and carry that full sized Beretta 92 out in the wild. I generally don’t like to open carry, but I planned on wearing a coat or jacket to help with the concealment. My go-to winter coat is roughly the size of a military M65 jacket, and the holster was completely covered by it, even just leaving the coat open wasn’t showing any hints of carrying underneath.
Drawing from the Panther Holster was quick, and the height seemed like it fit the balance of functionality of drawing without having to scrunch my arm, while still being high enough to conceal the bottom of the holster under my jacket. One downside I noticed is that my squared-off rear sight was digging into the leather upon re-holstering. My remedy was to slightly twist the Beretta as I placed it back in the holster, so that the rear sight missed hitting the edge of the leather.
The Panther Holster from Craft Holsters is a quality holster, comfortable to wear, easy on the eyes, and concealable under a coat. For a belt-slide style, leather holster I was also impressed with the price, which is listed at $59 on Craft Holsters’ website. I’ve seen other holsters go for more, so I was glad that they were reasonably priced. This is one of those products that I really couldn’t find anything going against it, other than the single retention construction. This wasn’t a negative from me, but other pistoleros might not care for that style. For those that shy way from open topped, single retention holsters, I suggest you check out the rest of Craft Holsters’ lineup at their main website, CraftHolsters.com. You can also follow them on social media via their Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as their YouTube channel.