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Leather Holster

Many people still prefer leather holsters. They look and smell the best. There is nothing like the feel of a well-designed leather holster at your hip. The leather holster is also the most durable. And, they wear extremely well. You just have to know how to preserve and care for your leather holster properly. Also Check out our guides on DIY leather holsters. 


If you’ve just purchased a new leather holster, or if you need to soften an old leather holster, then this is the article for you. In it, all of your questions about breaking in a leather holster will be answered. 


When to break in a leather holster

You always want to break in a new leather holster. Leather can be stiff when it is first shaped. Stiff leather is not a good thing for a holster. You don’t want the holster to make it impossible to draw your firearm quickly. In a survival situation, that is a recipe for disaster. 


Instead, it is important to break in a new leather holster. One of the best ways to do this is to stretch the leather holster strap. You may also need to soften an old leather holster. Leather stiffens up when it gets wet. An older holster has likely been through the elements with you. Those elements will cause the old holster to be misshapen and hard.


To sum up, you need to break in a leather holster for two reasons. First, if you have recently received a new leather holster. Second, if you are looking to extend the life of an old leather holster.


Holster break-in

The holster break-in process does not have to be intimidating. You may have a lot of questions, like “do I use gun holster oil?” Those questions are all answered in the steps below. 


  1. The first step when breaking in a new leather holster is to draw the gun in and out of the holster a few times. For some leather holster, this is all you need to loosen up the strap. 
  2. If you draw the gun in and out several times and the strap remains tight, you may need to go on to the next step. For this step, you will put your gun in a plastic bag or between two sheets of wax paper. Fit the covered gun back in the holster and let it sit for 24-hours. After the 24-hours are done, remove the gun and plastic bag. Then try drawing the gun in and out of the leather holster. It should be easier to draw. 
  3. You will likely want to stay away from using oils on your leather holster. These, even those designed for leather, can soften the holster too much. This distorts the shape and can cause the gun to fall out. Instead, only use olive, baby, or saddle oil on a Q-tip to remove scratches. 
  4. If you need to soften an old leather holster, try the steps above. If everything else fails, you may want to try a tiny bit of oil on the holster. Make sure to only do this step if you are familiar with holster care and maintenance or have supervision from an experienced person. Too much oil can still damage an older leather holster. 


Leather holster dos and don’ts 

If you want your leather holster to last a long time, follow these dos and don’ts.


  • Clean your leather holster with soap every three to four months. Use a glycerin soap or Galco’s Leather Lotion (a leather holster conditioner) when you do clean the holster. You want to do this so often to keep dirt from building up on the leather. Don’t clean your leather holster too much or it could begin to get stiff. 
  • Whenever the holster gets damp, such as when you clean it with soap, dry it completely before wearing it again. You should dry it in a secure location that has a lot of airflow.
  • If your leather holster is an iwb model, you will want to keep a piece of clothing between your skin and the holster. This will keep the holster dry, which is better for the holster. Leather tends to cause sweat, so maintaining the clothing barrier is essential. 
  • When you are done using your leather holster, store it in a cool, dry place. It should also be wrapped in soft cotton. You could choose to store it in its box as well. 
  • If small scratches get in the leather, you can remove them with olive oil, baby oil, or saddle oil. 

Here is a great trick to stretching your leather Holster

Don’t Do these

  • Do not store your leather holster in a hot or sunny location. It could develop cracks, or the leather could be brittle. 
  • Do not use leather oil, Neat’s oil, or mink oil on your leather holster. It can make the inside of the holster slippery, which can cause the gun to fall out. The wrong oil can also soften the leather too much and distend the shape. You want your holster stiff enough to hold the gun securely. So, stay away from the softening oils. 
  • Let your leather holster air dry. If you dry it with a hairdryer, radiator, over, or another heat generator, you can severely damage the leather. 
  • Do not submerge your leather holster in the water when you clean it. Use a slightly damp rag instead. 


Leather holsters are one of the best types of holsters out there. You will need to put a little work into keeping them nice. But, then again, you may still need to break in a plastic holster as well. Maybe the work isn’t that much more after all.  In need of a leather OWB? Check out https://www.holsterhq.com/owb-carry-holsters-kydex-leather-reviews/

Following the steps and dos and don’ts in this article when you break in your leather holster. They will ensure that you keep your holster clean and sturdy. You have a holster to carry your firearm safely and provide you the opportunity to defend yourself. Don’t let a poorly-care for leather holster hold you back. Break-in your leather holster as soon as you receive it and treat it well, and it will be with you for years to come.