View Full Version : How do I avoid holster wear on blued handguns?

May 12, 2010, 03:12 PM
My grandfather used to wipe his guns down with a cold blue solution,,,
They always had that deep blue factory new look,,,
Even the oldest of his handguns.

I have some very nice blued revolvers,,,
I like to wear them in lined leather holsters at the range,,,
I worry that they will start to show wear on the barrel and cylinder.

Would wiping them down with cold blue help?
How often can/may/should I do this, if at all?
Would I need to clean the metal with anything (to remove oil) before I wiped the metal?

I'm clueless here and would really appreciate knowledgeable advice.

Thanks gentlemen,,,

May 12, 2010, 03:34 PM
Many people worry about the finish of their guns.The truth of the matter is that guns are made of metal and they can get dings,wear spots and rust.
The good news is that there are a lot more refinishing options available than years ago.Shoot them,wear them,and only worry that they work well if you need them.I can only imagine how nice you must keep your motor vehicle?:D

May 12, 2010, 03:34 PM
The only way to avoid holster wear is

Don't holster it.


May 12, 2010, 05:48 PM
As above, friction wears gun finishes, and ANY holster provides enough friction that the finish will wear off.
Every time you put the gun in the holster the friction abrades the finish.

As for wiping the gun down with cold blue, keep in mind that cold blue can actually cause rust, and often leaves a permanent blotch in the original bluing. It also tends to remove the original bluing if used often enough.
Cold blue is best used as a touch-up on small scratches or worn areas, not as a regular treatment.

Also as above, if you don't want the finish to wear, never put the gun in a holster. In fact, it's best to not even handle the gun.
Guns wear if handled or holstered, and there's no way around it.
Regularly using cold blue is not good.

May 12, 2010, 06:44 PM
I use a sheepskin lined holster saturated with silicon oil to minimize holster wear.


May 12, 2010, 06:52 PM
Cold blue is not as rugged as hot blue, and, as mentioned, will actually attack the hot blue. It also lowers collector value if you supplement the original finish.

James K
May 12, 2010, 10:26 PM
I don't know what you are using a holster for at the range unless you are into CAS or SASS. If just a target range the answer is simple - carry your guns in a gun box or padded case. (Many bullseye ranges ban holster carry and any form of "draw and fire".)

If you are doing fast draw, you likely want a hard, unlined holster and will have to live with holster wear.


May 13, 2010, 01:56 AM
......by never using your revolver with a holster. Just put you revolver away and never use it. Go buy a gun that already has holster wear and forget about it. I hate new guns; don't you?;) It's like the Sickman with his nice new 4x4 with fancy alloy wheels all polished up without a scratch or ding anywhere. He doesn't dare take it to the woods; it'll get scratched. Useless. If I can't take it out and use it I don't want it.

May 13, 2010, 12:06 PM
Smith 357 has the only real solution with his sheepshin holster.

May 15, 2010, 10:16 PM
The only advice that I can give you is to wax your bued handguns. This is not a perfect solution, as they will still wear. It will slow the process down, however, and it is cheap to wax it again on a regular basis.

A wax that contains a high per centage of carnauba is excellent. Some people use Rennaissance, others use plain old Johnson paste wax. I am using Flits, because I happened to run across a bottle.

Its an old idea. Like a lot of other old ideas, it seems to have been lost in today's modern world.

May 15, 2010, 10:44 PM
Speaking from experience...

My duty holsters were Safariland with the Elk suede linings. These did a fair job of reducing or slowing the wear from the tighter fitting holsters in the 70's. Today's holsters are even tighter as a rule.

We did a comparison test. A buddy used silicone spray on the inside of his holster while I did not. At the end of a year, his gun showed much more wear than mine. The reasons, we surmised were twofold. First, his holster's lining collected more dust due to the silicone spray. While the silcone obviously helped things slide, the collected fine airborne dust in any metro area collects and acts as an abrasive.

Secondly, every month I would use a brass "suede" toothbrush and a nylon brush to clean the lining of my holster. I also used a suede cleaner without any "conditioner" to help remove the dirt around the top and open muzzle end.

The bad news is that my gun still showed some wear at the end of the year. We did take satisfaction from the 3rd member of our test group who used an unlined Bianchi holster for most of the year. His poor Colt Lawman took a beating with a lot of wear showing on the gun.

Talk to some holster makers or read their online FAQ's about keeping the lining clean. Find out what products they recommend and how to apply them properly. Keep the holster as clean as you can to minimize wear and if the gun doesn't fit snugly, get it restitched or a new holster.

May 18, 2010, 11:59 AM
Aside from the "don't use a holster" and "guns are meant to be used" digs,,,
I got some good information.

Thanks BillCA, grendelbane, publius, unclenick, smith37, Dfariswheel, & Pbearperry.

BTW Pbearperry,,, :)
My truck hasn't been vacuumed or washed since I bought it,,,
I don't love the Toyota anywhere as much as I love my rifles and pistols. :D

I didn't know that cold blue could cause rust,,,
The reason I thought of using it in the first place was my Grandfather.

He "used" his guns,,,
Hunted constantly and shot a lot,,,
He was that old school that took care of everything,,,
I will swear that he had one set of boots last him for 30 years.

No matter how dirty his guns got in the field,,,
They always got thoroughly cleaned before they were put in the cabinet.

And I do remember he always wiped them down,,,
With cold blue and cotton balls.

With the exception of a few dents and dings,,,
His guns always looked like new ones.

As far as holsters go,,,
I make all of my own leather gear (http://www.aarondgraham.com/craftsman/craftsman.htm),,,
I usually line my holsters with top grain pig or calf.

I try not to make them too tight,,,
But I do wet mold them to the shape of the gun,,,
I also use saddle soap to clean and condition inside and out.

Anyways, thanks for the heads-up on cold blue,,,
I'll just keep em well oiled instead.


BTW Jim,,,
I wear a holster at the range because I enjoy it,,,
I also don't like leaving my guns when I go change targets,,,
My range doesn't have any holster rules as we are all range officers.

May 18, 2010, 06:59 PM
I am sorry but holster wear is almost unavoidable. I honestly do not mind it, it gives my guns the been around the block look. Like they have got some good use out of them.

May 18, 2010, 09:18 PM
Some folks don't mind a little "honest wear" on their guns from being holstered and taken afield. Others want them to look new for decades.

One thing you can try, especially with a lined holster is to wax your guns instead of oiling them on the outside. Oil will get into the lining and collect dirt, grit & grime.

After a good cleaning and lubricating, remove all oil from the outer surfaces. Isopropyl Alcohol will work when applied with a patch or soft cloth. Apply a good carnuba based wax over the exposed metal surfaces. You may need some Q-Tips for certain areas. Buff off when dry. Some folks use Renissance Wax but cheaper products like Flitz Rifle/gun wax and plain Johnson's paste wax work too.

The wax forms a barrier against moisture until worn off. In a holster, it adds a slickness to the surface without oil to pick up dirt. Wax that rubs off can be brushed out of the holster's lining.

May 19, 2010, 10:36 AM
I would never have thought of that,,,

I think I will try some of that Flitz stuff,,,
I think I've seen a bottle of it at my gun shop,,,
It just never dawned on me that it would be for the steel.

I'll give that a try,,,

May 19, 2010, 10:40 AM
Smith357 ... nice holster, nice revolver!

May 19, 2010, 11:20 AM
You mean the one for the Valley Girl Cop?

If I remember correctly,,,
That was a Model 36 in .38 Special. :)

May 19, 2010, 03:16 PM
I mean the pic posted by smith357 .. shearing lined, snake skin front.

May 19, 2010, 03:25 PM
I shoulda guessed that,,,

James K
May 19, 2010, 05:52 PM
A gun can be a tool to be carried and used as needed.


A gun can be a museum piece to be preserved in perfect condition forever.

It can't be both.


May 21, 2010, 01:27 AM
Carnuba wax on a fieryarm?,,,
I would never have thought of that,,,

I think I will try some of that Flitz stuff,,,
I think I've seen a bottle of it at my gun shop,,,
It just never dawned on me that it would be for the steel.

I'll give that a try,,,
Why not? You use it on painted steel, not much difference.

Flitz Rifle/Gun wax is a blend of carnuba and beeswax. A 3.4oz bottle is supposed to cover about 50 riles it says. Give it a try but be sure to get the oil off the outer surfaces first.