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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aker Leather Flatsider XR13 Holster Review

I was recently approached by the good folks over at Aker Leather about testing out some of their products. After a few friendly correspondences, they had one of their high quality leather holsters at my front door for me to tote my Glock 26 around with..... The Flatsider XR13 Holster, to be exact.

Our approach to this popular holster genre is extra comfortable because it’s flat on one side! Using our special method, this holster is molded in fine leather to fit one’s handgun with 100% of the holster pocket formed away from the body. At either side of the holster pocket are curved belt slots that cooperate to provide stability on the belt with unparalleled concealment. Inside the holster is a full-length molded sight channel. The strapless design is backed up by an adjustable tension screw that does double duty as a trigger guard stop. The special dual-plane muzzle is suited to both standard and shortened barrels. Available for popular semi-autos.
The longer that I have had my concealed carry permit, the more I have come to the conclusion that good holsters matter. We are all very familiar with the often over used adage "you get what you pay for", but when it comes to holsters its incredibly true. I have often equated a good holster to being like a good pair of shoes... The longer that you have to wear them, the less you are willing to compromise on quality. The same is true with holsters.

If you are not familiar with Aker Leather, they are a company based in Chula Vista, California, and have been making a wide variety of high quality holsters, belts, and accessories for both law enforcement and civilian usage for quite some time. In fact, some of their more high profile clients include the California Highway Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; NCIS, FBI Academy, Honolulu PD, U.S. Navy, the U.S. Postal Service, the Los Angeles Police Dept. and the San Francisco Police Dept - Now, thats an impressive list. I will also point out that all of their products are proudly hand made in the good old U.S. of A. and are fabricated from top grade leather hides which are grown and harvested here in the US.

The particular Flatsider holster that they sent me was the open top black leather version, but it is also available in tan. The Flatsider comes in six different models and can be had as both an open top design or a with thumb break retention strap. They have models available with a vertical draw or with a 45 degree cant as well as the option of belt loops with snap closures.

My first impression right out of the box was that this was a very well made holster. You can tell just by looking at the Flatsider that its a high quality piece. The first time that I put it on, I knew that it was going to be a great carry option. The longer that I carried with it, the more my opinions were confirmed.

One of the best things about this holster is its light weight. The Flatsider holster weighs in at a insignificant 3.7 ounces on my postal scale. That goes a very long way towards ease of carry and all-day comfort. The other thing that really stands out about this holster is that it is thin. Its only about an inch and a half wide to be exact. That only adds just over a quarter of an inch to the 1.18 inch width of my Glock.

Couple these two great features together and you have a holster that truly and honestly doesn't even feel like its there. If you want to know what it is like to carry your gun in this holster then just take your gun and press it up tight against your hip. That's pretty much exactly what it is like to carry with the Flatsider. Its a nice snug and secure carry and once in place the gun doesn't move at all.

Of course, you are going to need a good sturdy belt with the Flatsider... but if you are going to be carrying a gun on your hip, then that's one other thing that you don't want to skimp on either. The Flatsider will accommodate belts up to an inch and a half in width. With a good belt to pull it in close to your hip, the Flatsider does a really good job of comfortably positioning the gun for carry.

One more really nice feature of this holster that I have to share with you is the conveniently placed leather strap that runs up along the slide of the firearm (pictured below). This extra little bit of leather really helps add to the overall comfort of carry. Its a feature that is lacking on a bunch of open top holsters, and for the times when you may be wearing the holster concealed without an undershirt its greatly appreciated.

To date, I have been carrying my Glock 26 in this rig everyday for almost a month now (including 2 three-hour car trips), and its definitely a winner. The Flatsider has proven to be a comfortable and lightweight way to carry a real defensive pistol. The adjustable tension holds the firearm securely in place yet still allows for a very nice draw stroke.

So if you are looking for a quality rig to carry your heater in, then head on over to the Aker Leather website and check out all the different models they have available. Their stuff is very well made, its comfortable, and its built to last.

*More pics available here

**You can also follow/contact Aker Leather via their Twitter and Facebook pages.


  1. I really like that in brown. I might have to pick one of these up for my 229.

  2. I think that if you are going to wear something like this, especially in an open carry situation, you really need to go with the version that has the retention strap. I have never really understood you people that dont opt for some form of retention to keep a bad guy from getting their hands on your carry gun.

  3. @ Anonymous #2

    Its really just a matter of preference for me.

    I also dont live in an area that allows for open carry, so I have never really had the need to have a higher level of retention with a gun that is concealed. For LEO or open carry, you are probably right... and like I said, Aker does offer that option.

  4. I have been wearing Aker Leather for the last 26 years at work...this is some of the best leather I have ever carried. My favorite is the flatsider with a model 616 double mag pouch on their B-21 reinforced gun belt.

    Tony P.