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Old 08-30-2013, 11:03 AM
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Thumbs down Best way to soften a holster.

I have a Don Hume slide holster for a J Frame and it is very, very stiff.
How is the best way to soften the leather without damaging the holster?I have had a pill bottle stuck in the holster to loosen the gun a little. Also have things stuck in the belt loops trying to make way for the belt to go through. It says that it will take a 1& 3/4 inch belt but I have my doubts on this one.
Any help will be appreciated.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ancient-one View Post
Best way to soften a holster.
Step 1: Put a gun into the holster.
Step 2: Wear the holster.

Repeat.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:22 AM
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oil it up good and put it in a ziplock bag. Lay it on your car dash when it's parked in the sun and leave it for about 1 1/2 hours. Then go play catch with it.......wait, that's how some break in a ball glove.

I'll bet it would work on most any leather.

No one asked (when has that ever shut me up ) but here's how I break in a ball glove:

soak it in a 5 gal bucket of warm water for about an hour. wring it out and stretch the pocket, pound your pocket and then put a ball in it deeply. tie it tight using something that wont cut into the leather and leave marks. I use a folded plastic t shirt bag. then just forget about it for about 96 hours. Should be dry or near dry when you start massaging shaving cream with lanolin into the leather. Do this twice and then every couple days for about a week. Should use about a half a can of red Barbasol. Lastly, massage in some good hand lotion like Gold Bond. Do this and a board stiff glove will play like a 10 season everyday mitt.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:45 AM
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I recently bought a custom-made holster.
The guy that made it said the only thing the leather would ever need is some shoe polish. He told me that no other treatment would be necessary. There is a break-in period with new leather.

Sounded good to me. He's been making holsters for 40 years.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:51 AM
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Nothing breaks in a holster better than plenty of use. Granted, it takes time, but that's the only way I've found to do it and do it correctly.

If you can't wear it during the day, I'd strap it on when you get home from work and then wear it the rest of the evening when you're watching television, reading the paper, etc.

You're taking too big of a chance of ruining a quality holster by applying all sorts of "magical elixirs" to it. Just use it.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:56 AM
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A soft holster is a ruined holster.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:58 AM
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I don't know if it will soften it ( using it does that best ) but I've formed a couple to my guns by wetting them with rubbing alcohol and removing the grips from the gun, insert the gun and put both in a large food saver bag then put the vacuum to it and leave it overnight.
I then of course cleaned the gun and used neetsfoot oil or equivalent to replace what the alcohol may have removed from the leather. It makes a nice snug form fit.
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:09 PM
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Body heat and humidity are the only things you should do to "soften" it up. Oil or anything that penetrates the leather will ruin the holster by making it too soft/big when it is properly broken in through use.

In the meantime, to make drawing and re-holstering easier, try "Leather Lightning" . The stuff is like Teflon for leather and it WILL NOT penetrate the leather. It just stays on the inner surface like invisible wax. Amazingly slick stuff. A little goes a LONG way. A tiny bottle has lasted me over 10 years!

No affiliation--used it on all my Milt Sparks holsters. Good stuff.
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:19 PM
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As said above, a soft holster is a ruined holster.
You can go to several holster manufacturer's websites and see what they recommend, but what I have found is to wet the holster well, wrap your gun in sandwich wrap to protect it, and then just stick the gun in it and let it dry slowly. Use a non-softening leather treatment like mentioned above afterwards and you should be GTG.

I like this stuff, it doesn't soften up the leather to where it loses it's strength or shape: https://www.obenaufs.com/index.php?r...&product_id=72


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Old 08-30-2013, 01:46 PM
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Rub Johnson's Paste Wax into the leather. This will soften the leather and the holster will retain it's shape. You can also use it on your guns, both metal and wood stocks, it protects better than oil and doesn't wash off as easy.

I used it on leather, gun metal, and wood for almost 50 years..
no problems!

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Old 08-30-2013, 02:03 PM
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Mr. Persing, I have two of the Don Hume belt slide holsters. I never did anything to mine except wear them. They are stiff at first! But after a bit they work out fine. I would be concerned about putting a bunch of stuff on the holster because then it might soften up too much & not hold its shape. Good luck!
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:30 PM
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Not an expert but the last thing I'd do is soften a holster. I've used neatsfoot oil, etc on ball gloves but not on holsters.
Depending on detail of the boning and as to fit, I've used the thin plastic bags found in grocery produce section and used it to form fit the holster. Place gun in bag and then into holster after some wetting either with water or alcohol based treatment to mold the leather, not soften it.
I've tried the more expensive hand-boned holsters that required some breakin. Since I don't care for a thumb break or top strap but prefer the less expensive holster with a tension adjustment (usually a screw).
Virtually no breakin required and the only treatment is care and conditioning of the leather.
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:00 PM
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All of the holster makers I’m familiar with specifically warn against using neatsfoot or any other type of oil on a holster.

If anything I would recommend you contact Don Hume and ask the specifically what they recommend and if the warranty covers it.

Other than that the best thing I’ve heard is to put your gun in a thin dress sock like panty hose thin and then holster it over night and call it good
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mule Packer View Post
Nothing breaks in a holster better than plenty of use. Granted, it takes time, but that's the only way I've found to do it and do it correctly.

If you can't wear it during the day, I'd strap it on when you get home from work and then wear it the rest of the evening when you're watching television, reading the paper, etc.

You're taking too big of a chance of ruining a quality holster by applying all sorts of "magical elixirs" to it. Just use it.
Absolutely!! nothing ever put on my leather except for Renissance wax, or if they are really bad (scratched) some shoe polish of the same color. Always worked for me and I own way, way to many Del Fatti's, Sparks and other makers
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:36 PM
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After reading above, I'll not use the neetsfoot again, although what little I have used before did not seem to affect them at all. Mind you, I used it sparingly and only where I noticed drying due to the alcohol.
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:52 PM
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After reading above, I'll not use the neetsfoot again, although what little I have used before did not seem to affect them at all. Mind you, I used it sparingly and only where I noticed drying due to the alcohol.
Problem is Jessie I would never use alcohol on a fine holster in the first place. Would you put alcohol on your shoes?
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:05 PM
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Used alcohol to soften Justin brand Roper boots many times. Take a new pair wet them down and wear them wet. When dry wet them again. Third time the charm. When dry polish them good.
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:18 PM
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Used alcohol to soften Justin brand Roper boots many times. Take a new pair wet them down and wear them wet. When dry wet them again. Third time the charm. When dry polish them good.
But, I would think you could do the same thing with water, that's what holster makers use. Alcohol dries out the natural oils in leather. I would never let alcohol any where near any of my leather products. To each his own I guess.
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:34 PM
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Do not use anything on your holster!

If it really is too tight, put your gun in a plastic bag and then put it in the holster.

Use the holster to 'break it in'.

I used a Milt Sparks holster for 35 years (until it was stolen).

Lots of practice presentation (thousands). Ross Seifeid estimated he practiced his presentation 500,000 times in the year or two he competed in and won the world champion IPSC title.
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:55 PM
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I used to build saddles and rebuild military saddles- McClellans mostly. The traditional way of forming leather to a shape is to "case" or wet the leather, form it around a form and let it dry. We would soak the leather in water so that the leather was pliable. Once wet the leather it will form to a shape, say a bucking roll on a 1970's western saddle, and when it dries it will be in that shape. It will also still be stiff and will not be soft and will protect and reinforce the saddle tree. Using oil or moisturizers excessively will soften the leather and the leather will eventually lose its' form. But when you are trying to form leather around tight curves or compound curves and you still want the leather to be stiff and solid afterward, casing is how I learned to do it.

I've used casing to mold cavalry holsters to cap and ball revolvers and M1916 repro holsters to my 1911A1. I soak the holster in clear water, oil up the handgun and put it in a heavy plastic bag, put the bagged handgun in the wet holster and let it dry two or three days. A good bag and gun oil is essential. When dry I follow up with saddle soap and maybe a little saddle oil (I never use neetsfoot oil).

With this process the holster molds to the handgun. Then you aren't pushing out the holster and wearing your gun's finish when you holster and un holster the handgun. These are unlined holsters so I don't know if it will affect the lining on a lined holster. I know it sounds scary because we are taught to always try to keep leather dry. Repeated wetting and drying will affect leather, but once or twice to mold leather to a shape will not. Find a video of the tanning process and see how many times a hide is washed, soaked and rinsed. While I have no problems casing and molding, I agree with Smoke above that you should contact the maker and see what they recommend.

Last edited by spad124; 08-30-2013 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:59 PM
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When I bought my LCR, I also bought a Galco IWB holster.

When I got it home, I could not get the gun in the holster.

I figured I screwed up and bought the wrong one or they "sewed it up too tight"

I put my pistol in a sandwich bag and shoved it as far in the holster as I could.

Each day it fit better and better. Now, it sits nicely in the holster.

Gun + plastic bag + patience + time = perfect fit.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:06 PM
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Thanks to all of you for your replies.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:41 PM
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Custom builders will tell you to put your gun in a zip lock bag or similar.
Put the gun in the holster overnight or longer depending your particular holster.

That and use will do what you need.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:59 PM
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There was a show on the other night, How it's made, they were making saddles, all they used was water and wrapped the pieces around a form until they dried.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:15 PM
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Default HOLSTER BREAKIN

bring it down to the gunshine state for a glades hog hunt on a hot humid day (anyday). wade through plenty of chest deep water and sweat off 10-12 lbs on it then let dry on your dashboard. both you and the holster will be well broken in.
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