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Thread: New holster- form it or leave it?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    New holster- form it or leave it?

    Just got a new leather holster. It seems to fit well and holds the gun even when turned upside down. However it isn't really shaped to the gun. Is that even necessary? Could I soak it and form it to the gun? Or would that just ruin it?

    By "formed" I mean you can't really see the shape of the gun from the outside of the leather. Some high--end holsters are molded around the gun. Just wondering if it is worthwhile to do this.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    It doesn’t hurt anything not being shaped to the gun. Most holsters aren’t and they work just fine. If it’s important to you, order one from a place that offers that style before you buy one from someplace that doesn’t. I have several “molded” holsters that I’ve bought locally from a company that specializes in this method. To be honest, it’s only the “cool” factor that you get for the extra money. If you do want to mold your own, you have to soak the holster and then spend a good bit of time pressing it by hand to get it to fit. Ideally you need to leave the gun inside and keep repeating until the leather is totally dry. The danger is your gun might rust in the process. Custom holster makers use dummy guns for their process.

  3. #3
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    buckwheatpaul's Avatar
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    I have and Urban Carry OWB with retention .... it works well but had to put the pistol in the holster in a plastic baggie over night to get the slight stretch so pistol would properly fit and function as stated. That trick worked well and the weapon is well secured. It is worn daily and is a great retention holster....I suspect that you have one....pm me if ya need any help.
    When guns are outlawed only criminals and the government will have them and at that time I will see very little difference in either!

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    To be honest, it’s only the “cool” factor that you get for the extra money.
    Ok. That's a satisfactory answer. Since its an IWB "cool factor" isn't worth much

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    One thing I’d like to ad: Having a molded holster doesn’t necessarily hold the gun in the holster any better. My custom molded holsters keep the gun from getting bluing wear (with blued guns). They don’t move around as much and they don’t just make contact in a couple of spots on the gun. However, if you turn the gun/holster upside down they can still fall out. Many holsters are designed to secure the gun by adding something to the top of the holster to “squeeze” the opening a little bit to add some retention. I had a friend of mine have his gun pop right out of his molded shoulder holster while bending over the meat cooler in the supermarket and fall into a bin of frozen turkeys. No one seemed to care but he was a bit embarrassed about it. He got a different holster for that gun.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    When I make my own holsters I do form them so there is less movement of the gun in the holster. My pattern is made such that the forming is stretching the leather just enough so the gun will fit. But, I don't do the aggressive stuff seen on many commercial holsters.

    If your pistol fits the holster securely as is, then I'd leave it. If you try to form it the leather will stretch a bit and will probably become too loose. But, if you can just barely get the gun in the holster a little forming might make it fit better.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    A couple of years back I started making my own holsters. I've made several for myself and a couple for some friends. I just buy utility grade leather because its cheaper; I'm not experienced enough to buy the good stuff (besides that, its supposed to be concealed so no one is gonna see it anyway).

    Along the way I've learned some things. One of the last steps taken in making a holster (or any other leather piece) is to seal the leather. This helps to keep any dye on the leather getting onto whatever it touches. It also helps to keep water out of the leather. I once soaked an already made holster and it didn't take up enough water to form it properly.

    When I do form a holster, I'll soak the leather until no more air bubbles are seen escaping from it, sometimes it can take longer than 15 minutes. I'll then vacuum form the holster onto the gun (I use a food saver and their bags). It needs to sit in the vacuum for a minimum of one hour so that the leather will take and keep the shape; I'll do the boning through the vacuum bag. It doesn't always give the detailed shape I'd like, but it does hold well. I'll then bake it at about 200F for 20 -25 minutes. There is a process which takes place (I don't know the name) from the heat that causes the leather to harden and keep the shape. Doing this, if I've done it correctly, you can hear the gun "click" into place. This all has to be done before any dye is applied. There must be some kind of chemical reaction caused by the dye, that when the heat is applied, just ruins the leather completely. (You'll never guess how I found this out.) Just wetting the leather and letting it air dry, I've never been able to get that shape which you are speaking of. The leather does stiffen some but not enough in my opinion.

    I'd recommend that you leave your holster the way it is. If you do decide to try it, DO NOT put it into the microwave attempting to speed up the drying process. You'll end up with something that looks like a tiny piece of cooked bacon.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    This summer I started carrying a NAA Ranger II in .22mag. I was carrying it IWB on left side so barrel pretty much lined up with the crease in my left leg.

    But a couple of times when I went to the bathroom and lowered my pants the gun fell out onto the floor. NOT what you want happening at your local Walmart.

    Holster was a simple black nylon affair. I started with a wedge shaped piece of kydex, narrow at the muzzle end, wide enough at the rear to cover 3/4 of the cylinder. Heated it, used a towel to form it to the gun. Right side over the cylinder was trimmed short, flared slightly. Left side was left longer, wrapped around the nylong sheath edge, doubled over, crimped in place and hot glued to the sheath.

    Gun came out much smoother/faster. Front sight pin no longer catching on the holster.

    Then I took a girls hair tie which is a corded elastic. Looped it around the hammer. Hot glued the other end to the sheath so it had just a little tension on it. A simple thumb flip would release it for draw. No more falling out of my pants. Looks wise it is nothing to write home about.

    Function wise it is 100% of what I wanted. Pistol comes into action quick and clean. And returns to the holster easier than before.
    I carried it all summer long left side, cross draw style. Butt to the right sitting at a slight angle.

    No issues, never had anyone spot it, and thankfully never had to use it.

    Its winter outside now, I don't go out much so the pistol moved into the right hand pocket of my winter coat.
    And I don't carry it inside the house. But if I go out I have it.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

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    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
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    praise glorious!

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master
    rintinglen's Avatar
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    Be very careful heating leather in the oven, especially in an electric oven. 200 is a little high, you do not want to boil the moisture, and that can happen as your oven cycles on and off to maintain temperature. I know about that
    Mine has a "warm" setting that is about 170 degrees and is less likely to give you grief.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    Be very careful heating leather in the oven, especially in an electric oven. 200 is a little high, you do not want to boil the moisture, and that can happen as your oven cycles on and off to maintain temperature. I know about that
    Mine has a "warm" setting that is about 170 degrees and is less likely to give you grief.
    I'd have to go look it up but from memory I believe it is 178F that causes the leather to change. When this change takes place, after fully cool and dry, the leather will be hard. I did a lot of experimenting before I found the right combination of heat and time, to get what I wanted. I also place it on an upside down paper plate so its not in direct contact with any metal or direct heat.

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