Leather working mallets are used mainly for striking/hitting other tools. They have a large, cylindrical head and can be made from plastic or rawhide. The rawhide versions usually have a rolled rawhide top, finished so it’s very dense while retaining some softness. This helps with shock absorption, as well as the softer surface, being less likely to damage metal tools when struck. The rawhide mallets are generally more expensive than the plastic versions.
Mallets need to be inspected frequently. With consistent use, the hitting surfaces can begin to show wear, cracks, or even start to chip off. This isn’t seen as much with nylon mauls.