“It started out as a passion project for us,” said Alejandro Toussieh, chief operating officer at 1791 Gunleather. In 2014, Toussieh and his lifelong friend CEO Ramiro “Rambo” Romani came across a friend who was boasting about how his leather holsters were better than anything he could purchase in a store. They challenged him to prove it, and he returned with the company’s original 4-Way Multifit holster and the BH1 holster for a Model 1911. They were taken back by the quality and design only to learn that he was a fourth-generation leather artisan.
“There was no grand plan,” as the partners said, but the product spoke for itself. So, the friends went door to door to get holsters in as many gun stores and pawn shops as possible. With a 2nd Amendment poster on their walls, they noticed “Ratified on December 15, 1791” at the bottom. Loving that they could promote the 2nd Amendment without mentioning it in their name, the company became “1791 Gunleather.” Patriots would recognize the significance.
The company’s new Ultra Custom is an innovative design because it’s the first moldable, and remoldable, leather holster. Start with an appropriate size holster, heat it up, insert your everyday carry and press to form the leather as it cools. You can shape it perfectly to the unique contours of any gun. If you change guns to others of similar dimensions, you can reheat and remold the holster to continue using it. This clever concept was invented by Toussieh and is patent pending.
The technology that makes it possible for endusers to shape their own holsters is called “Memory-Lok.” Within the leather is a thermoplastic composite that’s been tested and battered without any type of failure to mold or stay molded. As long as you do not exceed the recommended 190-degrees Fahrenheit and stay within operating tempertures, there will be no degredation to the composition of the material. Thus, the physical properties remain intact and the holster can be remolded. Nevertheless, 1791’s Ultra Custom holsters are covered by a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty.
Memory-Lok allows for low-temperture molding and cooling, which means the holster can be handled during the entire process.
Recipe for Success
To holster my SIG Sauer P365 XL, which has a longer 3.7-inch barrel than the standard P365, I ordered a holster coded for 4ish-inch barrels. The holster’s pocket can also be molded for guns that include the CZ 75, Glock 19, Kahr CM9, Ruger SR9, SIG Sauer P226, to name a few.
To mold the holster I found that a sous vide setup that’s typically used for cooking food to a specific temperture worked better than trying to warm up a holster in the oven. The sous vide process requires immersing a vacuum-sealed bag containing the holster in heated water for about 15 minutes until the holster comes to temperature.
Though 1791 Gunleather recommends a temperture of 165 degrees, I found my best results at 175 degrees, which is still below the 190-degree maximum. Using tongs to pull the bagged holster from the hot water, I removed the holster and inserted the pistol. It was hot, but it quickly cooled enough for me to handle and massage the corners. 1791 Gunleather will include a tool to help shape the edges precisely to your pistol, but this can also be accomplished with almost any dull-edge hard object. Once cool, the holster fit the P365 XL incredibly well.
The Ultra Custom is an inside-the-waistband (IWB) concealment holster that is very easy to wear. 1791 Gunleather provides belt clips to accommodate wider gun belts, which can be adjusted for cant. The holster grips the gun tightly enough that I lost .2 second from my typical drawtime in a more rigid Level 1 kydex holster due to the leather’s drag, but fitment was secure.
The material is sewn and stitched from one folded piece of Memory-Lok-reinforced leather. It features a tall sweatguard that will contour over the back of the slide.
This holster is one that I will continue using. It is comfortable, convenient and versatile. It is also excellent for appendix or crossdraw IWB carry. The best part about this evaluation was the do-it-yourself experience. It was a lot of fun to mold.
1791 Gunleather Ultra Custom Concealment Holster (Right Hand Only)
Draw-to-fire time is the average of five clean draws producing an A-zone hit on a stationary target positioned at 21 feet.
- Materials: Leather; Memory-Lok polymer composite
- Carry Type: Inside the waistband (IWB)
- Retention Type: Level 1, friction fit
- Adjustability: Yes; Cant (2 positions)
- MSRP: $110
- Handgun Fit: Semiautomatics and revolvers; 6 sizes available
- Accessory Rail Accommodations: No
- Positions to Carry: IWB; 3 o’clock (right hand); appendix; crossdraw
- Average Time to Attach: 30 seconds
- Comfort Rating: 5/5
- Concealment Clothing: Untucked shirt
- Average Draw-to-Fire Time: 1.4 seconds
- Manufacturer: 1791 Gunleather, 800-407-1791, 1791gunleather.com