So you recently purchased a leather custom holster for your gun. You may find, at first, that it is a little too tight. Like any other leather product, you will likely need to break it in before you embrace it as a daily carry item.
For starters, this means testing the fit with unloaded gun.
Break In Tips for Your Custom Holster
Why should you break in your holster? First and foremost, while some leather products work well when soft (think baseball gloves), holsters should be as stiff as possible. A cowhide lining really stiffens the holster properly.
We do not recommend oiling or treating your custom holster with any leather conditioners, such as liquid, oil or saddle soap.
Your holster must be stiff – and the stiffer, the better. While you may be tempted to speed up the break-in process, we encourage gun owners to practice the art of patience versus using any type of oil that can leave the leather soft, and make for a difficult draw.
Upon receiving your new holster, we suggest wearing it with your unloaded firearm in a comfortable, safe environment, such as your home. Practice walking around, sitting, standing and moving around with it on your body.
You should also allow body heat to work with the leather, giving it time to form itself to your body and your weapon. We also suggest practicing drawing your firearm (unloaded, of course) until you feel comfortable with its feel and retention.
If the retention is too tight, try the following tips:
- The baggie method. To loosen the tight fit, place your unloaded gun into the plastic, zip-top bag the holster arrived in when you first received it. Alternatively, you can also use a heavy-duty, thick plastic bag. Push the gun and bag fully into the holster and leave it overnight. In the morning, check the fit.
- The wax paper trick. Take two sheets of wax paper and wrap around the parts of the firearm that go into the leather, and place the gun in, ensuring to keep the waxed side faced toward the leather, not the gun. Leave everything overnight. This process can help stretch the holster a bit – and the small amount of wax will not damage the leather.
- Catch up on your shows. Yes, you read this one correctly. Some gun owners simply sit in front of the TV with their unloaded gun inserting it into their new custom holster and repeatedly drawing until they reach the desired effect.
Finally, if your holster boasts a retention strap and you find it challenging to close it while your gun is holstered, we suggest holding on to the strap and pulling on it while pushing your gun into the holster.
This tactic can help stretch the strap and will sit the weapon fully into the holster. Always give it a couple of twists, and as you pull it around, you will find it easier to snap shut. Be sure to leave it overnight this way, and you will find that it will break-in your retention strap.
The Bottom Line: Safety First
As your custom holster breaks in – usually within about two weeks of daily wear – it will stretch a bit and conform to your body, making it more comfortable. Keep in mind, with some custom holsters, you simply need to be patient and take the time to work your gun in and out a number of times for it to smooth out.
Ultimately, it is important to realize that your custom holster is stiff for a reason: it is how it fits and hangs on to your gun. With this said, it is better for it to be too tight than too loose, as safety and retention of your gun while you are moving around with it holstered, is key.
At Tucker Gunleather, we craft our custom holsters out of Hermann Oak Leather, a company that is over 100 years old and originates from St. Louis. We never use foreign leather or poorly tanned leather.
We treat our custom holsters with special oils and waxes, so you never need conditioners. All we ask is that you simply wipe the inside and outside of your custom holster with a slightly damp cloth from time to time. The process is that easy.