Breaking in new leather holsters

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Altoidfishfins, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Bought a nice Bianchi lined leather for my wife's new revolver for Christmas. It's as tight as a new shoe.

    Anyone out there know of anything that could be put on it to limber it up a bit?

    Maybe Neatsfoot oil?
    stg58 likes this.
  2. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    Do not oil it! Do not wet it! Tightly wrap the revolver it in a few layers of plastic wrap and insert it firmly into the holster! Leave it for a couple of days and check for fit. Just play around with the wrapping, more or less, you will get a perfect fit eventually! :) Galco leather sells a special oil that does not rot leather, but you really shouldn't need it.
    Ura-Ki, Marck and Altoidfishfins like this.
  3. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Store the firearm in the holster... like @Sgt Nambu said!! After a week or so, work on your draw and re-holster over and over..... exercise your gear and it will eventually form and fit properly.
    Ura-Ki and Altoidfishfins like this.
  4. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    What's wrong with Neatsfoot Oil, that's what I used on my new Italian holster for my Shield 9mm...
    snake6264, Brokor and ghrit like this.
  5. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    Neatsfoot oil, mink oil and ball glove conditioner among others will change the leathers color, and make it soft and pliable! Eventually to the point of ruining the holster! One treatment can destroy a fine holster!
    Ura-Ki and Altoidfishfins like this.
  6. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    when i use to break in new leather reins or a whip, we used murhys's oily soap for cleaning but 1st we would warm neats fool oil and just run the reins and bridle leather thru the warm oil, kind of dip it in and pull the leather out. I think mink oil gets too stinky after a while. Mink oil is good for shoes but not much else. my opinion only
  7. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    I've always wrapped the gun in plastic, give the holster a 30 second dip in water, then put the gun in and let it dry for a day. Always drew down around the gun nicely. I have a Galco that I bought in the '90s for my 1911 (that was involved in the deep ocean accident) and it still fits like a second skin.
  8. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Great question I have some leather holsters and will be monitoring the feedback.
    Ura-Ki, Marck and Cruisin Sloth like this.
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    In wayback times, we broke in leather boots by inserting the foot, then sitting on the side of the bathtub with the boots submerged for a while soaking the leather thoroly. Then wear them until they dried out. Perfect fit, then do the neatsfoot oil trick to soften them back up. Worked very well. Now, I am not so sure I can advocate that method for a gun simply because water isn't the best thing to sink a gun into, but if there were a way to waterproof the gun without adding a lot of thickness or goop to it, well, maybe worth a try.

    By the bye, neatsfoot oil on a gun is not going to do much in the way of lubrication, and I ain't so sure it wouldn't gum up the works if it got there ---
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
    Tully Mars, Ura-Ki and Altoidfishfins like this.
  10. OldDude49

    OldDude49 Just n old guy

    get yourself a large very thick lunch bag or freezer bag... place the firearm in the bag then in the holster... will take 24 to 72 hours but fit should be good not long after...
    Altoidfishfins likes this.
  11. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Great input people, thank you.
    I'll try the plastic wrap/freezer bag trick.
    GOG likes this.
  12. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    The plastic wrap trick is straight from Galco Leather.
    Ura-Ki and Altoidfishfins like this.
  13. Lone Gunman

    Lone Gunman Draw Varmint!

    When I bought my very tight, very expensive holsters from Matt Del Fatti I called him to complain about the extremely tight fit — Which I will admit was, kind 'a, shocking! Matt told me that during the molding process the leather is wet; and shrinks to fit. He recommended that, if I were able to insert my pistol into his new holster without actually forcing it, then, that is what I should do.

    Matt said that within about a week the leather would take its, 'final working shape' and the fit would be perfect. He, also, told me that if tight fit really were a problem (Which he doubted!) then I could lightly dampen the holster with warm water and do the, 'gun in a plastic bag' trick at room temperature for 24 - 48 hours, or otherwise dry to the touch.

    As things turned out I ended up using one technique on one pistol, and the other technique on the other. In BOTH cases the final fit came out, just as Matt had said, 'Absolutely perfect!' with no slop in the leather, at all.

    Suggest you take the others' advice NOT to ever use any sort of leather preservative; e.g.: Pecard's, Lexol, Fiebing's, Neatsfoot Oil, Silicone Leather Treatment, etc. — None of that stuff on a brand new leather holster.

    NOTE: If anyone wants to try the, 'gun in a plastic bag trick' I suggest that the gun should be very well oiled, BEFORE putting it inside the plastic bag. I did this with a new Colt Python; so that goes to show you how, 'brave' (or, maybe, stupid) I am! Everything came out OK, though. :cool:
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
  14. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    I ruined a good leather holster with water, I took a headder into the creak while Elk hunting and the holster loosend up to the point that it would no longer hold any tension. My Replacement Ted Blocker holster has a water proofing coating on it and I have gotten it wet a few times and have had no issues! I was told by them to never use any thing to clean or treat the leather, if I had any sort of trouble with it, send it in to them and they would fix it!
    sec_monkey likes this.
  15. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I make my own holsters and use the wet mold method with plastic around the object to form. Every sheath or holster will take time to form perfectly and wear in through normal use. Sometimes, a quick and easy way to break in leather may not be the best solution. When I first make a sheath or holster, I use Fiebing's acrylic resoline on the exterior initially, and as it ages I apply mink oil. On the hybrid sheaths and holsters, I use Fiebing's tan kote on the side that rests against my body. When it comes to boots, there is a shortcut with wetting and wearing until dry, but I don't see this as practical with a holster or sheath. I don't understand the claims of "rotting" leather with mink oil, since leather is natural skin and the mink oil protects the leather and allows it to breathe without causing harm. I imagine these claims have something to do with typical, elitist perspective we find with gun enthusiasts (I'm not necessarily insulting as much as I am merely objectifying) such as the Glock fans versus everything 'not Glock' --it's tough to get an actual non biased opinion. Then, we also have the fact that the average consumer isn't a qualified leather working expert, so it serves to warn folks not to apply stuff to leather since it comes from the maker as it's intended and requires regular use to break it in. It all comes down to your level of expertise, and if you're restricted to being a 'user', your options are limited. Finally, I would trust a general leather worker's judgment before I would the specialized craftsman's who only makes gun holsters, personally. That's just my two cents.

    As an aside, if I had an aging holster, let's say it is an outside the waistband type, and I wanted to help retain its form and renew its rigidity, I would use some fine steel wool and gently buff (assuming it isn't a croc skin specialized variety) re-dye the leather if needed, and then apply several layers of acrylic resoline. I would buff the holster when dry, and have a nicely finished product. If I had an IWB holster, I would treat the side against my body with tan kote, apply mink oil to the rest, and keep it clean by using a leather cleaner of my choice in the interim and re-applying mink oil as needed.
  16. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    Coming late to the party here, but I have always run the holster under the hot tap water. I spray the firearm down with a good silicon spray and wrap it in a ziploc bag. Simply put the gun in the holster and hand form it to the gun. I let it set on the bench or if it's summertime outside to dry. Afterwards I give the gun a good cleaning and spray the inside of the holster with the silicon spray and start wearing the thing. I started doing this back in my 20's on the advice from my then local gunsmith and have had no issues with any of the holsters I've used this on from the cheaper Hunter brand holsters to the higher end stuff. For cleaning I just use good 'ol fashioned saddle soap for the outside and run a Break Free soaked rag through the inside. It works for me is all I can tell ya. YMMV
  17. snake6264

    snake6264 Combat flip flop douchebag

    Anyone break in new combat boots it the same principle. I believe in wetting it down and letting it dry with the firearm in and then a good oil neatsfoot or Mink oil I have never a holster rot or fail
    I still have my issue 1911 holster from the 80's and a shoulder holster as well the shoulder holster has had to be re stitched but the leather is still in great shape and is used yearly
    Yard Dart and Brokor like this.
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