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Old 09-16-2018, 12:45 PM
CustomChevyGuy CustomChevyGuy is offline
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Default IWB Leather Holster treatment

I recently picked up a IWB Leather Holster for my 1911, and want to know the best way to treat the leather. It feels very stiff and dry. When I test fitted the gun, it left light marks on the gun, and looked like it had absorbed the oil from the gun.

As a kid, I remember we used to rub our baseball gloves with oil, but I cant remember if it was baby oil or mineral oil. (man, maybe I AM getting old. LOL)

I've got a IWB leather holster for my daily carry, which is so much softer and pliable. I realize they could be different types and qualities of leather. Just looking for suggestions on the best way to approach this lil project.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:21 PM
EMP3 EMP3 is offline
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Lexol leather conditioner. You can buy it at Amazon or Walmart.

Might be a stupid question: are you sure the holster is correct for your gun?

BTW, shaving cream with lanolin works on baseball gloves and other leather. Or you could buy lanolin leather conditioner.

Shaving cream with lanolin will clean leather jackets & other leather garments.
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Old 09-16-2018, 05:11 PM
MichiganScott MichiganScott is offline
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You really should reconsider putting any oil or lanolin on a holster to "condition" the leather. You make them soft and ruin them. I use Ren wax or shoe polish on the outside of my holsters and nothing on the inside.
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Old 09-16-2018, 06:25 PM
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Kiwi Neutral Paste Wax, periodically applied to the smooth leather on the outside of the holster (if you have a rough-side-out holster, just use a damp cloth to wipe it down). Make sure the inside is clean and dry. Mitch Rosen makes a product for holsters called Leather Lightning, I believe. I've never used it, so I can't say from personal experience if it's any good. I prefer to not use any kind of "treatment" on the inside of a holster.

A good holster is going to have a tight fit, but if it's so tight that you have difficulty getting the gun in and/or out, you can put some plastic wrap, a plastic bag, etc. around the gun, put in the holster, and leave it overnight. It will help "loosen" the holster but not so much that it'll lose retention.

As was said above, don't use anything that could soften the leather, assuming you're talking about a molded leather holster. Some holsters are essentially suede pockets with a clip and are already soft.

Also, holsters will cause finish wear. Even super-hard, DLC-type finishes will likely show wear at some point.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ContinentalOp View Post
Kiwi Neutral Paste Wax, periodically applied to the smooth leather on the outside of the holster (if you have a rough-side-out holster, just use a damp cloth to wipe it down). Make sure the inside is clean and dry. Mitch Rosen makes a product for holsters called Leather Lightning, I believe. I've never used it, so I can't say from personal experience if it's any good. I prefer to not use any kind of "treatment" on the inside of a holster.

A good holster is going to have a tight fit, but if it's so tight that you have difficulty getting the gun in and/or out, you can put some plastic wrap, a plastic bag, etc. around the gun, put in the holster, and leave it overnight. It will help "loosen" the holster but not so much that it'll lose retention.

As was said above, don't use anything that could soften the leather, assuming you're talking about a molded leather holster. Some holsters are essentially suede pockets with a clip and are already soft.

Also, holsters will cause finish wear. Even super-hard, DLC-type finishes will likely show wear at some point.
That reply started out so well, with the neutral wax notion. Specially treating an IWB to waterproof it from sweat is not something I ever considered!

The plastic bag thing, though, to improve fit is an urban myth; likely started when folks were wetting their holsters but didn't want their real pistols to get wet and rusty when leaving it in the holster to dry overnite (or whatever). In ye olden days folks were told to grease the pistol.

The bag itself does absolutely nothing to improve the fit of the pistol to the holster; so as long as your holster is dry you won't need a bag. Oiling an IWB would seem to be a bad idea for you clothing :-). Neutral wax won't harm either the holster or the clothes.
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Old 09-17-2018, 05:59 AM
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This stuff works good for me.
Can find at leather shops and amazon.
American Made Leather Care
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:49 PM
MichiganScott MichiganScott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rednichols View Post
That reply started out so well, with the neutral wax notion. Specially treating an IWB to waterproof it from sweat is not something I ever considered!

The plastic bag thing, though, to improve fit is an urban myth; likely started when folks were wetting their holsters but didn't want their real pistols to get wet and rusty when leaving it in the holster to dry overnite (or whatever). In ye olden days folks were told to grease the pistol.

The bag itself does absolutely nothing to improve the fit of the pistol to the holster; so as long as your holster is dry you won't need a bag. Oiling an IWB would seem to be a bad idea for you clothing :-). Neutral wax won't harm either the holster or the clothes.
It's been my experience that the purpose of the bag is to make it easier to force the gun all the way into the holster.
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiganScott View Post
It's been my experience that the purpose of the bag is to make it easier to force the gun all the way into the holster.
All of my life I have heard the plastic bag was only to protect a pistol when put into a wet holster to form fit the latter when making a new holster.

My lifelong experience has been that if I paid for a quality holster cut and fitted to a specific weapon, that all these breaking in rituals were unnecessary, and that none of them would turn a cheap pig's ear holster into a silk purse.
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:51 AM
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I have a neighbor that acquired a handgun and needed a holster, so knowing I'm a gun guy, he came over to ask for advice. I recommended for his particular situation a very nice (and expensive) Kramer pancake in horsehide.

When it finally came in the mail, the very first thing he did was rub it down with some kind of leather conditioning oil. It immediately went from great to ruined. He stopped asking me for advice, figures I don't know what I'm talking about, such a crappy holster recommendation I made. It's fine with me.
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirty & hairy View Post
I have a neighbor that acquired a handgun and needed a holster, so knowing I'm a gun guy, he came over to ask for advice. I recommended for his particular situation a very nice (and expensive) Kramer pancake in horsehide.

When it finally came in the mail, the very first thing he did was rub it down with some kind of leather conditioning oil. It immediately went from great to ruined. He stopped asking me for advice, figures I don't know what I'm talking about, such a crappy holster recommendation I made. It's fine with me.

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Old 09-18-2018, 12:00 PM
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I use Johnson's Paste Wax on my IWB holster inside and out.
I also wax the 1911 on the exterior, so I figure it does no harm when contacting the leather treated with the same thing.
As for the plastic bag, I only ever used that method once when I wet a holster with water to do a bit of fitting. The bag was to protect the gun from water.
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Old 09-18-2018, 12:31 PM
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I never treat my IWB holsters - I don't want them soft and pliable; I prefer them to be stiff to facilitate reholstering. I find a combination of sweat and body oil is all my IWB holsters need. Over time they develop a nice patina that seems to act as a preservative, and when they get too bad (after 10 or 20 years) they get replaced. If a holster is a little too tight or squeaks a dash of talcum powder works wonders. Keep in mind it is mildly abrasive though.
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:06 PM
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Ren wax for me...it's the best
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Biblioitecario View Post
All of my life I have heard the plastic bag was only to protect a pistol when put into a wet holster to form fit the latter when making a new holster.

My lifelong experience has been that if I paid for a quality holster cut and fitted to a specific weapon, that all these breaking in rituals were unnecessary, and that none of them would turn a cheap pig's ear holster into a silk purse.
This is a good outlook, but a comment or two may help. The plastic bag may help also when boning a holster, which may slightly improve a holster that has not been boned. I once boned a Brauer (?) holster to fit my Model 51 better. I was very happy with the results.

Mitch Rosen's Leather Lightning, at a phenomenal cost per gallon, but very low cost per holster, makes a tight-fitting holster a PERFECTLY-fitting holster. AFAIK, it is not intended to have any other function. In accordance with long-standing tradition, Galco has offered a similar or identical product.
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirty & hairy View Post
I have a neighbor that acquired a handgun and needed a holster, so knowing I'm a gun guy, he came over to ask for advice. I recommended for his particular situation a very nice (and expensive) Kramer pancake in horsehide.

When it finally came in the mail, the very first thing he did was rub it down with some kind of leather conditioning oil. It immediately went from great to ruined. He stopped asking me for advice, figures I don't know what I'm talking about, such a crappy holster recommendation I made. It's fine with me.
Sorry to hear that. I bought a Kramer from Dillon for my 520. Don't remember whether I used Leather Lightning on it or not, but it was a GREAT holster, and still is.
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Old 09-18-2018, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rednichols View Post
The plastic bag thing, though, to improve fit is an urban myth; likely started when folks were wetting their holsters but didn't want their real pistols to get wet and rusty when leaving it in the holster to dry overnite (or whatever). In ye olden days folks were told to grease the pistol.

The bag itself does absolutely nothing to improve the fit of the pistol to the holster; so as long as your holster is dry you won't need a bag.
That may be, but the one time I used that method it worked as described.
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:58 AM
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This stuff is great on any kind of leather product; I use on holsters, shoes, chairs, you name it

Heavy Duty Leather Preservative
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Old 09-21-2018, 01:19 PM
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Years ago when I actively carried on duty I used Neats Foot Oil. Strange name isn't it? Don't know if it was ever used for the feet but did wonders treating holsters. I imagine it is still around. Good leather treatment. It was recommended in those days. I also recall Saddle Soap was often used to treat and soften leather. Boy! That is going back about 65 years.

Last edited by Dvan34; 09-21-2018 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 09-21-2018, 06:54 PM
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I commented earlier about using Neats Foot oil. It can be found nearly all over the internet and also at the Tractor Store. I mentioned using it on a new holster when I was in the Border Patrol back in the 50's. forgot to mention that we used graphite inside the holsters too, to seal the leather and make it slick to ease the draw. The new holsters were rough leather inside. Rubbing with Neats and graphite made the inside of the holster almost as slick as metal.
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