I had someone ask me the other day, “Hank, do you have any tips for breaking in a leather holster”.
Well, as a matter of fact, I do! But first, what are we talking about here? Given all the Hybrid and full Kydex holsters out there, we sometimes forget about the unique peculiarities of wrapping your piece in a full leather holster. When you first get your leather holster, you will find (if it was made correctly) that the fit ranges from really snug, to amazingly tight. You might struggle to even get your pistol in there, without pressing it against a table or other surface. Or, you might find that it goes in easily, but when you go to draw, you end up pulling your gunbelt up to your nipples. The method I always used for break-in was to put the gun in and out of the holster while watching TV, or just waiting until it loosened up from wear, but then I found a better way.
About a year ago, I read an interesting suggestion online. I would credit the guy who gave the tip, but as I recall, he was actually referring to another guy in law enforcement, that gave HIM the tip. So, let’s just say it comes from an unknown source. Thinking about all the quotations that people like to put at the end of their forum posts, or email signatures, that may or may not have come from Thomas Jefferson; if it’s a good quote, does it really matter where it came from? Likewise the tip; if it works, it doesn’t really matter who thought of it? However, I still like to actually TRY the suggestion before passing it on. This one DOES work!
So here is what you do.
Step 1: Raid the pantry for the wax paper. Make sure you have a couple feet of paper on the roll, plus whatever it takes to cover a cookie sheet. That second part is so your spouse doesn’t get pissed at you, the next time they go to back you cookies. Or buy your own roll. It’s cheap insurance to keep the cookies coming!
Step 2: Pull two feet off the roll and lay on a flat surface. Put your Pistol on top.
Step 3: Wrap the wax paper around the pistol. I like three layers on each side, when I’m done. Any more and it is hard to put the pistol in the holster. Any less and it does not do much to improve the fit of the gun in the holster. However, I HAVE used two layers when there is a really tight fit.
Step 4: Push the pistol in place and let it set for 3-5 days. When you pull it out and remove the wax paper, you will find that you have just the right amount of retention and the pistol will be easy to insert and draw.
One thing I’d add is that you’ll want to keep the gun in the holster after that, for a couple weeks. Assuming this is your new rig, that won’t be a problem. But, if you use this tip and then toss the holster in your holster drawer, it will tend to go back to the original shape. Also, although you could theoretically use this method with a Hybrid holster, I have found that it actually makes it too loose. Hybrid holsters tend to be tuned for the right amount of tension, in the first place.
Hope this gave you a useful tip for breaking in a new leather holster!