BREAKING IT IN: How to Whip Your New Leather Holster into Shape

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By guest contributor: Smoking Barrel USA

For some folks a holster is just a functional accessory that must be comfortable, durable and affordable. But a lot of folks like to keep their weapon in something that also looks really good and is made from quality materials. For such folks, leather holsters are a favorite.

Why bother with leather holsters?

Not everyone really cares to have a leather holster. If they have a nylon holster that keeps their weapon secure and carries well, then they are happy with that; but some people want something more.

Leather holsters are nice looking, feel good and are made from materials that will last a really long time if looked after. Not to mention that wonderful smell a brand new holsters has! Leather is more moldable, so it provides a more snug fit than what nylon holster will have. The only problem is that to get to that point, a leather holster needs to be broken in to provide that snug fit that is not too tight.

How to break in a leather holster

Before we jump into the process of breaking in a leather holster, there are some things that need to be done in preparation.


Safety first

As part of the process, you are going to be using the gun that you will be keeping in the particular holster. So before you start, make sure the gun is not loaded (don’t forget any bullets in the chamber!) and the safety is on.

Check the inside of your new holster

Some holster do have screws/rivets/metal pieces that stick out on the inside of the holster. Those bits can cause some ugly scratches to your gun. A quick fix is to use some tape over the pieces of metal.

Now we can start

Now that you have done the preparation, you can start to look at breaking in the leather holster. There are two basic techniques that you can follow to break in a holster, namely the stretching technique and the plastic bag technique.

The first technique is to simply insert and take your gun out of the holster repeatedly to stretch the holster. This does take some time and patience though. For this technique to be successful, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind for it to be successful:

  • Make sure your holster is made for your specific model of firearm.
  • Work and manipulate the leather – it does take time, so be patient.
  • Do not use mink oil or needs foot oil on your holster – it makes it too supple.
  • You can use mild soap and water to clean your holster.
  • Keep your holster moisturized.

The guys over at give a really in depth video tutorial on how to break in your holster through consistent stretching and manipulation:

With the second technique you use a plastic bag wrapped over the gun. You place the plastic bag wrapped gun in the holster and leave it in the holster overnight. The following morning you can test the fit of the gun on the holster. If it is still a bit too snug, draw the gun several times to stretch the holster a little bit.

You can also use wax paper with this method. If you use wax paper, make sure the wax is out toward the holster, not toward the gun.

The guys from Galco Gunleather show you how to use the bag technique in the video below:

Wrapping up

Breaking in a leather holster can take some time and patience, but is definitely worth it. Be careful not to use oils or lubricants that will make your holster too soft and lose its grip, and be sure to use the right gun for which the holster was designed to fit.

We hope you found this useful! Happy shooting!

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