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Old March 7, 2011, 07:27 PM   #1
SPUSCG
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Softening leather holsters

It was mentioned in another thread you can do this. My holster/belt are stiff, and id like to soften them up, whats the product/process to do this?
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Old March 7, 2011, 07:39 PM   #2
Rifleman1776
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Neatsfoot oil, with or without silicone, works well and helps preserve the leather. Some downsides, can stain clothes and will darken the leather.
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Old March 7, 2011, 07:50 PM   #3
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dont care how it looks its an open carry rig for the range, never use it otherwise.
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Old March 7, 2011, 07:54 PM   #4
Dfariswheel
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The way you soften a belt and holster is by using them.
It's called "breaking them in".

If you put anything on the holster to soften it, you've just ruined a good holster. If you soften it, the leather will immediately start to stretch and the gun will no fit properly.
The problem with leather is that it stretches anyway with use. By softening it, you'll reduce it's service life to nothing.
The old western saddle makers holsters were basically soft leather bags to hold a gun. Modern holsters are molded to fit closely and should be as hard as a piece of plastic when new and until broken in by use.

You can soften a belt by applying Lexol leather conditioner, but this too can ruin the belt. The belt will stretch and start to curl and roll over where the holster is mounted.
If you really want to ruin them even faster, apply some kind of oil like neatsfoot oil.
That's for softening things you want soft, like boots and saddles.

The only thing that most holster makers will recommend is a coat of a good shoe wax.
If you have any questions about this, just contact the holster maker and ask him what he recommends.
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Old March 7, 2011, 08:00 PM   #5
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Its an old holster thats been used a lot. Cheap bianci rig. The belt is also a bianci, they seem a bit stiff. I just want it a little easier to use, not lookign to buy a new belt rig for it so want to improve mine.
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Old March 7, 2011, 08:36 PM   #6
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Rather then ruin a holster. I suggest you try a mild stretch of the leather. To do this put the pistol in a plastic bag and then put the pistol while in the bag in the holster. Leave it in the holster for a few days. This will stretch the leather slightly. If you want it to be even looser then try to plastic bags over the pistol. The pistol will then go in and out a bit easier. Softening the leather is in my opinion a real waste of a holster.
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Old March 7, 2011, 08:51 PM   #7
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How well does the plastic bags thing work? I could start that tonight if I have right sized bags.
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Old March 7, 2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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Lexo leather treatment
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Old March 7, 2011, 10:40 PM   #9
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I think maybe you are missing the point, if they are "stiff" it is because they are quality leather from Bianchi. Good gunleather is not supposed to be "soft". Try using it the way it is and see what you think. If you soften it up it's going to droop and not retain the gun. If the issue is that it seems too tight and is difficult to draw from then I believe your gun does not fit that holster. Good leather holsters can be stretched slightly but if it doesn't fit the gun you cannot make it fit.
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Old March 7, 2011, 10:53 PM   #10
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But what if my leather Creeks, yep my Bianci holster is noisy Which for me is a audio giveaway that I'm packin creeky leather.
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Old March 7, 2011, 11:01 PM   #11
Misssissippi Dave
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The only part part of the bag that needs to fit over the pistol is the part that goes into the holster. The grips don't matter. I prefer to use the freezer bags because they are a little heavier. I have done this with new holsters starting the day they arrive. I leave them in the holster for a day and most of the the time 3 days. The holsters still retain the pistol but it is much easier to put them in and draw them as well. Using the plastic bag trick seems to loosen the holster about the same as using the holster daily for a week. The double bag seems to loosen it about the same as daily wear for a month. This was suggested to me by a holster maker to loosen up a new holster I got from him and it worked well in my opinion.
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Old March 8, 2011, 06:39 AM   #12
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By stiff I mean snap comes off with alittle too much force and gun tends to try and stay in the holster and needs to be coaxed out. Im gonna try the bag thing.
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Old March 8, 2011, 07:51 AM   #13
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Just a budding hobby holster maker myself... but if as you say, it's "old" is that 2 years, 10 years, 20 years ??? if the leather is drying out...

anyway I use Feibings 4 in one for molding my holsters... it's a conditioner, & I'll apply it heavily to both sides of the leather, a couple of times, really soaking the leather through... sure, do the belt too... but do it before a long range session where you'll be wearing the belt, & the gun will be in the holster as much as possible... while in use the holster & belt will dry out & be re-form fitted for you & your gun... adding something like Dr. Jackons leather conditioner afterwards will help keep it from drying out again, without causing it to go all soft & limp...

my expirience here, is that when "wet" the belt loops ( which I like tight on my carry rigs ) & the holster body, stretch out to best fit, & if allowed to dry out leaves a harder molded shape that fits the curve of my waist, shape & thickness of my belt, & gun, & the holsters retain that shape well...
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Old March 8, 2011, 09:04 AM   #14
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I break in my holsters with the plastic bag trick. Then I mount the holster to the belt and wear it around the house, with the pistol in it, until the whole setup is broken in. I would NEVER use something like neatsfoot oil, mink oil or Lexol on a holster or belt. That stuff is for leather hunting boots where they need to be somewhat waterproof and flexible. Oils attract dirt and fouling. The only thing I use on my leather is neutral Kiwi shoe polish and buff it out. A squeaky holster/belt combo just needs more break-in time.
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Old March 8, 2011, 10:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
My holster/belt are stiff, and id like to soften them up, whats the product/process to do this?
You don't want to soften them up and certainly don't put any thing the leather that breaks down the fibers. Your belt needs a certain amount of stiffness to bear the weight of your firearm.

As far as breaking them in, put them on and wear them. That will break it down enough. Put your gun in the holster and leave it a day or two. Just that alone may break down the holster enough for you.
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Old March 8, 2011, 10:55 AM   #16
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The question was "how?". Not 'if' 'why' or seeking permission.
BTW, it can be fortunate treated belts stretch. I am getting many years use out of a couple belts that have, thoughtfully, decided to grow with me.
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Old March 11, 2011, 12:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jibjab View Post
But what if my leather Creeks, yep my Bianci holster is noisy Which for me is a audio giveaway that I'm packin creeky leather.
My crossbreed super tuck squeaked too, all I did was take off the clips and put a piece of duct tape on the back side of the clips. Now it's quiet as a mouse.


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Old March 11, 2011, 04:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
To do this put the pistol in a plastic bag and then put the pistol while in the bag in the holster. Leave it in the holster for a few days. This will stretch the leather slightly. If you want it to be even looser then try to plastic bags over the pistol. The pistol will then go in and out a bit easier.
Never heard of using a plastic bag. The usual way is to wrap the gun in Saran wrap and moisten holster, not soak and let it sit with gun in it overnight. This will form fit the holster to the gun.
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Old March 11, 2011, 04:39 PM   #19
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Soften holster

When i got my pancake holster back in 1982 it was so stiff I could hardly get my 1911 out of it.

I simply greased the holster up with saddle soap, wrapped the pistol in saran wrap, slid pistol in place and let the whole thing set for about a week. After it set, I pulled the pistol out and cleaned the excess soap off.

I still use the holster on a daily basis.
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Old March 11, 2011, 05:03 PM   #20
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Just a quick note on neatsfoot oil. If you use it on anything with stitching, be sure you use neatsfoot oil and NOT neatsfoot compound.

Neatsfoot compound will rot the stitching. I found out the hard way on a $1300. saddle .
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Old March 11, 2011, 05:31 PM   #21
aarondhgraham
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Hello Captain Charlie,,,

Quote:
,,,be sure you use neatsfoot oil and NOT neatsfoot compound.
That's just good advice all around.

Neatsfoot oil compound has petroleum products in it,,,
Makes it cheaper to produce but is hard on linen and cotton threads,,,
It doesn't seem to be all that harsh on nylon thread but it is still an inferior product.

To all you good folk who say never oil your leather,,
I would like to emend your statement a bit.

Never oil your leather too heavily.

Leather must have oil introduced into the fibers to prevent them from breaking,,,
Especially if the leather has been water formed or heavily tooled,,,
When I finish a saddle I paint the warm oil on it with a brush,,,
I will apply oil to the entire saddle letting it soak in,,,
Then I will do it two more times.

Eventually that saddle will have soaked up more than a full pint of oil.

That's the last time that ever needs to be done,,, Ever!

From then on cleaning it with saddle soap will keep a surface condition,,,
Once a year a light (very light) surface application of neatsfoot oil will keep it supple.

The problem is that when someone hears "oil your leather",,,
They slop the oil on like suntan lotion,,,
It only needs a light surface film,,,
It will soak in in a days time.

There are a lot of good products out there,,,
Lexol, Dr. Jackson's Rejuvenator, etc,,,
But pure neatsfoot oil is just fine,,,
Just don't overdo it.

Aarond.

P.S. Just in case anyone is wondering,,,
I am a graduate of two saddle making schools.

Pleasant Valley School of Saddle Making,,,
Associates Degree in Shoe, Boot, and Saddle from Oklahoma State University at Okmulgee.

Honestly, I'm not trying to brag, just to show that in this case,,,
I really do know what I am talking about.


.
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:33 AM   #22
blownt
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Just bend it

if you have a stiff belt you can make it alot more pliable if you start at the tip and bend it over itself with a real tight bend. Work the tight bend all the way down the belt. Then bend it on the otherside the same. When you are finished the belt will be much more pliable and not near as stiff. No oils or soaps, no nuttin.....
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