View Full Version : Holster Help Please

09-11-2009, 07:46 PM
Picked up a nice condition used leather holster for my Smith auto loader.

It fits just a little more snugly than I prefer. Any tips for loosening it up?

09-11-2009, 08:27 PM
Submerge the holster in water (bath temperature) for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and seal it in a zip lock baggie for 2 or 3 hours. Remove, carefully as the leather is now dead soft and will cut easily on a fingernail and any tooling can easily be permanently deformed, and place your well oiled and saran wrapped side arm in the holster at the depth you prefer, set it in a safe place until the leather is completely dry. Apply ONE coat of Neatsfoot Oil, or whatever you prefer, and you're done. One custom fitted holster.

09-11-2009, 09:03 PM
Monadnock#5 is right about this. One of my hobbies is leather work (since 1991) and that is indeed the way to do it. If you want a bit looser fit, you can wrap up the pistola in several plastic wraps. You can even wear the holster/gun after it dries a little if fit on the belt is real important (the fit changes a little if the holster dries with the gun inside and then is placed under the tension of the belt). If the holster gets a little too stretched in a spot, no worries. You can take some 50% isopropanol and apply it to the stretched area then take a hairdryer on mild heat and it will shrink it right up. You can get it just like you want it this way.

09-11-2009, 09:25 PM
I agree with eveything Monadnock #5 suggested, EXCEPT the use of neats foot oil. That will soften the holster. However, it WILL need something and I suggest NeatLac from Tandy leather or Colonel Carter's:


. It is a combination product that won't soften the leather unduly. Leather for guns really ought to be somewhat stiff to retain their shape. Apply the NeatLac SPARINGLY- you don't want a build up that can crack. I apply by hand with a lamb's wool applicator and rub in while still wet. Then let dry.


09-11-2009, 09:43 PM
Thanks, great answers, I appreciate it and will fit it as soon as I get a chance.

One other question -

The holster is currently a somewhat glossy black leather finish. Any way to change it to a brown finish - which I prefer?

If so do I do the process one of you gentleman will describe (I hope in a level of detail even an idiot can understand) before or after I do the fitting process? I thought I read something somewhere about using scotch brite to remove the old finish and using brown shoe polish.

09-12-2009, 12:30 AM
I wouldn't try to do ANYTHING to change the finish. Good leather is dyed and the dye goes deep into the leather. If it's black, then I'd learn to live with black. Not a bad choice, really.


09-12-2009, 01:18 AM
Not sure what kind of holster you are talking about right off hand. I'll preface this by saying I am NOT a leather hobbyist. But in the past I've used a leather conditioner from Galco, or a very light silicoln spray on the inside of the holster. Unload the weapon (double, tripple and quadruple check it is empty, PLEASE!!!!) and every night practice the draw several times. In time, it will wear in just fine. You don't want to use much silicoln, it certainly shouldn't be dripping, just a very, very light sprayto help "slick" it just a touch, (the same goes for the leather conditioner from Galco). After that, I give them a quick wipe on occasion with a clean, dry, cloth and leave them be. If they get dried out, I usually will use a leather conditioner again, but I use it very sparingly.

I've seen more holsters ruined from over loading it with some type of oil, petroleum product, or anything else, than simply worn out.

09-12-2009, 02:08 AM
Going from brown to black could probably be done--other way is about no way. If you want brown to match a belt--you can probably dye the belt black. Leather dyes penetrate ( they do make surface "dyes" but these are more akin to paint) and don't wear well. White for example cannot be made to penetrate and it's always a surface dye. You mentioned it being glossy--that means it has had a finish applied. Leather is dyed before the finish is applied and will readily penetrate then. After it has been finished it is hard to get the dye to penetrate----you may have some luck scraping off the finish--then dye it and re-finish---but that would be going to a darker color than it currently is. The neat lac Dale mentioned is very good--it is a lacquer and can be obtained from Tandy in either spray or liquid form.

09-12-2009, 10:59 AM
The "water treatment" described above is very harsh on leather. It removes most of the natural oils. Those oils have to be replaced. I'd still go with ONE LIGHT coat of Neatsfoot to get the process started, and then one coat of something like Neat Lac to make it pretty. Just keep in mind that this is absolutely one of those deals where too much is worse than too little.

Kelly's out of MA sells the best one coat black leather dye on the market. Most dye makers expect the user to die leather chocolate brown before the black is applied. So +1 to Carpetman's comments. It's black and there's no going back.

One last thought. I've seen Police rigs made out of patent leather. If that should be what you have, all bets are off. The patent leather process produces a product that has more in common with linoleum than it does with leather.