The Real McCoys Horsehide A2 Leather Jacket Review

This review will be a little bittersweet. Today, I am reviewing the leather jacket that I owned for the longest period of time. Unfortunately, I have recently had to sell due to sizing issues. However, I owned it for nearly 4 years so I still want to review it. 

The specific jacket in question is my Real McCoy’s Japan Red Silk A2 leather jacket. I purchased this back in the fall of 2015 from a Japanese retailer who shall remain nameless. The reason for this is because they were not supposed to sell it to me overseas. To be clear, this is not an issue with most Japanese brands, but it is with The Real McCoys. They really want you to use their western retailers if you live in the west. In fact, I was even luckier because this was a limited edition red silk model. It is not that limited as they have done many red silk models, but it did have a darker brown leather than normal, brown and olive wool knits, and a red silk lining that does not come on the standard models. 

You can see how relatively smooth the grain was at first here

These features along with the fact that the jacket was made with the non-historically accurate and slim Real McCoys cut made for a striking A2 jacket. Part of the reason I bought it was because I liked American flight jackets, but did not want to suffer from the dreaded old man vibe that plagues A2 jackets and I did not want to look like a US president. This jacket easily avoided these pitfalls.

In the first place, the leather was extremely dark. In fact, it was so dark that some people thought it was black. This did become something that I disliked later on, but at first, I adored it. The color is unique and very beautiful on its own and I think it looks perfect with the red silk lining. Unsurprisingly, the leather is Shinki vegetable tanned horsehide which is my personal favorite leather in the world. This example was quite smooth at first as with many RMC jackets as they seem to prefer quite smooth leather. Some may love and some may dislike this depending on your preference for visible grain. More grain does pop as the leather ages, but I will say that this has the least amount of visible grain or grain variation of all my leather jackets. That said, the rich color depth, beautiful sheen, and folding of the leather in the arms that occurs over time is stunning. Without question, it is an extremely high quality leather.

My last shot with this jacket before summer started, I hit the gym, and the jacket became uncomfortable

The other materials are also extremely nice. The wool knits are 100% wool and the blend of olive and brown go very well with the other elements of the jacket while looking unique in their own right. All of the hardware from the zippers down to the snaps are of the highest quality and you can feel that when you use them, especially the snaps which operate with a very solid feel. The standout material is the red silk lining. This is a bold, saturated red fabric made of 100% silk. The rich red color is striking against the extremely dark brown leather and brown/olive knits. It is also quite rare to find this material as the lining for a leather jacket. In most cases, high quality leather jackets are lined with wool, cotton flannel, cotton drill, or sateen. When they want a cooler lining for a jacket, companies will use rayon instead of silk. This is an exception, however and RMC is using actual silk. 

My all time favorite shot with this jacket. I think it fit perfectly here and just looks great overall

Apparently, the red silk lining was something that was exclusive to American pilots who achieved the status of ace. When they did this, they were allowed to line their jackets in red silk. I do not know how true this is, but I do not really care either way. What stands out to me about this lining aside from the color is just how cool and comfortable it is. It is an excellent lining for someone like me who lives in a fairly warm climate and allows the jacket to be worn in weather that is generally too stifling for leather jackets. It also feels smooth, soft, and luxurious. It is not perfect, however. To be fair, I am not sure if this is due to the material itself or how slim the jacket was on me, but the lining did get quite a few holes in it at the bottom as I wore it. This was not an issue anywhere else, but it was a little annoying. Still, no lining lasts forever and I did wear this jacket more than any other over the past 4 years. 

In terms of construction, the jacket is top notch. An A2 is not the best jacket for a company to show off how nice they can sew, but this jacket is stitch perfect. The sewing is quite dense and neat, done with 100% cotton thread in a nice contrasting mid-brown color, and looks beautiful. The leather is perfectly cut and the seams are all joined together perfectly, showing that the skiving was done well. Every aspect of this jacket is executed at the top level and it really is quite impressive. I have heard of and seen issues with other Real McCoys leather jackets and I am aware of even more issues with their other products. Most of their leather jackets still appear to be near the top in terms of quality, but do keep in mind that my jacket is at least 5 years old, as it was made well before I bought it. For a review of a more recent McCoys A2, check out this excellent review by my friend rocktransformed here. To be fair, the only leather jacket maker that I have never seen or heard of anything less than perfection in their products is Freewheelers and while The Real MCCoys is not quite on that level, their leather jackets are incredibly close to that.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I had to sell this jacket to a friend because of fit issues, but that does not mean that I did not enjoy the cut of this jacket. When I first bought it, it fit me perfectly. Some would certainly argue that even at this point, it fit too slim, but that was what I loved about it. I could still comfortably zip it up and move around, but the slim fit kept me from looking too presidential. The arms were short enough to fit me well and the jacket length was also fairly short, as an A2 should be. For some, the fit will not be what they are looking for because it is not historically accurate, something that a lot of A2 enthusiasts understandably care about. This jacket, as with many RMC A2 jackets are made with a more modern cut developed by the Real McCoys. They do offer their version of the Roughwear contract A2 which has a looser fit, but I am not sure how it compares in accuracy to other Roughwear reproductions. My take on this is if you want the most accurate A2 reproduction, you should go with a different brand such as Goodwear or Eastman. If you want laser straight stitching, a slimmer, more modern cut, and Shinki horsehide, then go with The Real McCoys. 

This is how the jacket fit when it was brand new

Issues with the fit of the jacket did not become critical until I began going to the gym and lifting weights consistently around 6 months ago. As a result, the chest/back and shoulders became too tight and were only getting worse. This is why I had to sell the jacket to a friend who has been wearing it consistently since. Without question, I was sad to have to sell this jacket as I loved nearly everything about it. Materials and construction are all top notch which makes the high price worth it for some. The only actual issue was the liner getting holes in it, but for me, the comfort of the lining outweighed this issue and liners do not last as long as the rest of the jacket. When I bought this jacket, I was able to get it for a fair bit less than $2000, but now, even the standard RMC A2 jackets cost around $2,100, though the exact price depends on which western retailer you buy them from. Whether these jackets are worth this price is up to your judgement, but I personally would say that they are if they fit exactly what you are looking for. Fortunately, if you are looking for something different, you do have other options. While I loved this jacket, I am going with a jacket from another brand to replace it. As I mentioned before, make sure to read rocktransformed’s excellent review of his much newer, standard Real McCoys A2 for a more updated and different opinion.  Meanwhile, I remember this jacket fondly despite having to move on from it.

3 thoughts on “The Real McCoys Horsehide A2 Leather Jacket Review”

  1. Hey Jake,
    I’ve been lookin and loving your leather jacket posts on Instagram(sometimes a lil bittersweet since I can’t afford much haha), but I wanted to ask you a question so I decided to comment here. I’ve seen you mostly cover Real McCoys and Freewheeler, but do you have any experience with Buzz Rickson? They originate in Japan and seems to be the same (parent) company as Sugar Cane.

    1. I haven’t owned any Buzz Rickson leather jackets, but I have tried some on and they were very nice. Not as clean as RMC for A2s,cbut still very good and they are less money than RMC as well.

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