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Breaking in New Leather Holsters


bgavin

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I heard it mentioned about wrapping the revolver up in wax paper, then leaving it in the brand new holster for a few weeks.
The theory is the wax paper takes a bit of moisture from the air and lets the leather form around the specific gun.

I'm just curious: is this a real concept or internet baloney?

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Any thin spacer will do it, many use plastic wrap which clearly does not absorb moisture. I'll call baloney on the moisture lore.

 

I use a dress sock (thin), and pull and reset the firearm in the holster once each day.

 

After two or three weeks, the fit without the sock will be much better. Be patient.

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55 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

Any thin spacer will do it, many use plastic wrap which clearly does not absorb moisture. I'll call baloney on the moisture lore.

 

I use a dress sock (thin), and pull and reset the firearm in the holster once each day.

 

After two or three weeks, the fit without the sock will be much better. Be patient.

 

Anny issue with rust or corrosion on the metal from the chemicals in the  leather?  I thought that was why you oil the gun well before wrapping in plastic.  I suppose you could wrap in plastic AND a thin sock.

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I've never had a problem using just the sock, but I do use Hoppies on my guns and wipe off as much as possible when I clean them. Really, no matter how much you wipe, there will be some left behind; I wipe a lot.

 

My most recent holster fit was with my Cattlemen (Ubertis) in my Mernickle starter rig. That was a long break-in, but just the socks and no issues with the leather damaging the gun. I do throw the socks into the laundry afterwards. not that my lady has any problem with "eau de hoppies."

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A properly fitted holster needs no break in.   

  

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2 hours ago, bgavin said:

I heard it mentioned about wrapping the revolver up in wax paper, then leaving it in the brand new holster for a few weeks.
The theory is the wax paper takes a bit of moisture from the air and lets the leather form around the specific gun.

I'm just curious: is this a real concept or internet baloney?

Celaphane (?) Saran Wrap is what we use to form new holsters.

Never heard wax paper.

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If your real brave, dunk the holster in water till its pliable, then put your gun in the ready twist and wiggle and shape it til it fits the way you want,  the take the gun out and hang the holster to dry, then don't forget to oil your gun, if your holster is tooled you may lose some definition in the tooling.

 

That's the way we do it in the shop.

 

Most holsters are molded to a saa, if you have old model vaqueros they will fit tight for awhile. 

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1 hour ago, evil dogooder said:

A properly fitted holster needs no break in.   

  

 

Yup, again. 

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Take the bag the holster came in, put the gun in it and then put the gun back in the holster and leave for a while.  That's per Milt Sparks, which is is a high end CCW holster maker:  https://www.miltsparks.com/questions.php

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A freezer bag around the gun and stuffed in the holster for a day or two will make it easier to draw. There are also products to coat the inside of the leather to ease the draw, too. I want gun retention, but don't want such that the holster wants to lift with the gun. My cowboy rig has worked just fine for more than 15 years. I bought it used and didn't do anything to it.

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As many other experienced, and very knowledgeable, shooters have already stated, a properly fitted quality holster needs no break in.

 

As a holster maker I use the actual revolver (I use my own pistols - It also helps me justify buying more guns to my wife) to wet fit the holster (after using a smoothed hammer handle and other items to start the initial wet fit).  I put stainless steel pistols directly in the wet holsters and leave them in there for a couple hours.  I do use plastic wrap on blued guns.  I have always followed John Bianchi's instructions (from his holster making DVD set) of running the holsters to be fitted under cold faucet for a minute or so and then shaking off the excess water.

 

Before the wetting process, I try to remove excess oil from the revolvers (to stop the oil from staining the leather).  After fitting the pistols, I wipe the pistols dry, use a hair dryer, and then re-oil them.  In 15 years of cowboy holster making I haven't had any rusting problems.

 

If your holsters were originally wet fitted for different pistols, or you're using less expensive mass produced holsters, you can repeat the wet fitting process.  Many times this can help a holster that is too tight, but not always.  Some holsters have too little leather to stretch much more.  That said, it is not good to wet fit a holster more than a few times.

 

Most of us started with inexpensive holsters, but if you become a serious shooter, you will eventually spend the money to acquire a quality rig.  Good leather is the next most expensive thing you acquire after firearms.  A well made rig will last for years and require very little maintenance.     

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I usede to have a few plastic 'liners' I made for wet fitting AND general custom fitting of guns to individual holsters.  These were very simple patterns made from milk jugs or other heavy plastic bottles.  In appearance it would look similar to a holster body pattern and it would be wrapped around the gun tightly and inserted into the actual holster, whether the leather was wet or dry depended on what you needed to accomplish.   The idea  that each hide a leather crafter will find on his table for the next project will be an exact duplicate of the last is ludicrous.  Just as we are each different from each other, every cow is different and that equates into many millions of hides arriving on the leather workers table each year and all have many minute variations from the previous.  I do not know anything about kydex, uuuuh wait, I do know one thing, even holsters made from kydex get complaints from a few customers concerning the fit while most are happy.

 

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I have switched to wrapping the holsters in USPS Tyvek bags when wet moulding. They hold up much better than plastic wrap.

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I bought a rig at EOT in 2018 from Mernickle  and used it in the match with no problems at all.

 

I also remember seeing a story about Lead Ringer having his rig stolen at EOT and using a new Mernickle rig in the match. 

 

As many others have said above , a properly fitted holster needs no break in.   

 

Dutch

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OK,

Let you give you my experiences re holsters.

 

I agree with everyone who said that a proper holster does not need to be

refitted if the holster was blocked for the type of revolver.  However, a cartridge
conversion revolver will not fit into a holster that was blocked for a SAA.

 

Mike Kirkpatrick, gave me a small container of KG-9 Micro PTFE LeatherKote

at some shoot in the 1990's.  He said that it would solve sticky holsters!

 

This stuff is amazing!  I have slathered it on the same set of Long Hunter holsters

since that day.  Often i offer some to folks that have issues getting their revolvers

out of leather.  It works. This stuff is MAGIC.

 

Mike told me to never oil leather, if i remember, he said that this stuff is Teflon!

 

YMMV

 

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Yes, a properly fitted holster certainly does not need a refit.
Same as a proper set of eyes don't need cataract replacements, or a proper body doesn't require chemotherapy or insulin.

Holsters and bodies are not always perfect, so I asked the question of those with more knowledge than me.
I fall into the cancer and insulin categories, so there is a chance my holsters might, as well.
Thanks to those great suggestions on how it is done correctly.

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