5 Shot Leather LFA-1 Holster Review
November 30, 2015
The LFA-1 from 5 Shot Leather gets its name from the initials of the late holster artist Louis F. Alessi. This holster features a snap loop and a generous rear belt tunnel.
Our 5 Shot Leather rig was created for a Browning Hi-Power in 9mm and arrived with a spare magazine carrier and a belt, all in matching brown cordovan. The body is a sleeve of leather, tightly stitched to conform to the contour of the pistol, with a reinforcing ring of leather around the top. The ring keeps the holster open after you've drawn your pistol.
The reinforcing ring continues around the back of the holster and is part of both the belt loop on the back and the stiffening section of the safety/slide shield. The shield keeps your shirt from getting in the way of either the draw or reholstering while also acting as a sweat shield, keeping perspiration off the pistol. Finally, once it is worn a short time, the impression of the safety lever in the shield creates a locking groove for the safety.
The 5 Shot Leather LFA-1 outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster utilizes a trailing-edge belt loop to tuck the holster in tightly to your body contour and keep it from moving on the belt or tipping out from your body. The rear belt loop is closed by means of a one-way snap so you can get the loop open if you need to, but it will stay secured during normal use. The rear loop location also gives you more freedom in locating the holster exactly where you want or need it to be.
The Hi-Power was a very tight fit going in for the first time. It was so tight that it wouldn't initially come out. I finally took off the holster, used both feet to brace and wrestled it out. A quick call to John Ralston, owner of 5 Shot Leather, solved the problem. He said that aluminum dummy pistols are used to create a tight fit. To adjust, he suggested this simple solution: Take the plastic bag the holster came in, stuff the pistol in it, then holster the pistol. "Give it a couple of hours, and it won't be as tight, but it will remain secure. "
My Hi-Power took the better part of a day before it was still snug but was smooth on the draw. Once I had just the right tightness, I wore this rig daily for six weeks. The holster did not get appreciably looser in that time, which is good. I've had holsters in the past that started out tight enough, then loosened markedly within a few weeks to a few months of wear, becoming too loose for secure wear.
The 5 Shot Leather magazine pouch is a single piece of leather, folded and stitched to create the magazine holder, with the top folded over and anchored with another one-way snap to work as a belt loop. The belt worn to carry both the holster and spare mag is constructed of two layers of leather, stitched along the full length of the perimeter, the layers bonded together to create a stiff mounting surface for the holster and magazine pouch.
The magazine pouch did tighten up a bit after a couple of weeks, and I had to rerun the plastic-bag routine. Drawing the pistol and magazine each night was a good way to track holster and mag-pouch tightness before turning in for the evening.
After six weeks, the heavy-duty LFA-1 from 5 Shot Leather doesn't show any wear on the exterior, while the inside shows the usual scuffs and cuts from having a pistol holstered and drawn numerous times per day and many times while on range trips. It remains secure and would no doubt keep the Hi-Power in place were I to do a handstand (which was an actual IPSC holster test back in the early 1980s).
The LFA-1 from 5 Shot Leather is pretty fast for a daily concealment holster. With a cover garment and getting A-zone hits at 7 yards, I was able to do draws in the range of 1.2 seconds. The best ever was 1.09, but the average was 1.2. In the competition circles I used to run in, this is positively glacial, but this isn't designed to be a competition rig.
This is a daily-carry concealment rig that will last you the rest of your life, and as such, it is wicked fast. The 5 Shot Leather holster and accessory combo is one you'll want to pass down to your heirs. In this case, quality, durability and service life like this don't come cheap.