How To Break In a Leather Holster (And Not Ruin It!)

We here at The Smoking Barrel USA love leather holsters. Besides the fact that a well made holster will last you a long time and also looks really good, there is just something about the smell of a brand new leather holster! The problem that many folks encounter when they buy a new holster is that it tends to be a little stiff, making holstering your weapon a bit of a pain.

When you do buy yourself that nice new leather holster, you are going to need to break it in so that your weapon can fit perfectly and you can holster your weapon easier.

Before you start

Before we dive into how to break in a new leather holster, we want to take the opportunity to look at what you need to consider and what you may need during the project.

Safety first

To break in your holster, you are going to be using your weapon that you will be holstering in the specific holster. So before you start, make sure the weapon is completely safe by checking that it is not loaded (remember to check that there isn’t a bullet still in the chamber!) and that the safety is on (you can never be too careful with a gun).

Make sure your gun is clean

As we mentioned, you will be using your gun during the project. Besides checking that it is safe, make sure that it is clean too. You do not want gun oils staining your brand new leather holster!

Check the holster

I do not know about you, but I like keeping my weapon in good condition. As far as I can, I try to prevent scratches and unwanted marks on my gun. When you have your new holster, check the inside of the holster for anything that might scratch your gun. Often holsters might have little screws or pieces or metal on the inside that you cannot see, but that will scratch the metal of your gun.

If there are any metal pieces or screws inside the holster, you can place some tape over it to protect the surface of your gun.

Breaking In Your Holster

The guys over at gives a really in depth video tutorial on how to break in your holster through consistent stretching and manipulation:

Some key take-aways from this article that we like:

  • Make sure your holster is made for your specific model of firearm.
  • Work and manipulate the leather – ¬†it does take time, so be patient.
  • Do not use mink oil or needs foot oil on your holster – it makes it too supple.
  • You can use mild soap and water to clean your holster.
  • Keep your holster moisturised.

The plastic bag technique

Besides the straight forward stretching technique shown above, there is also the plastic bag technique as illustrated by the video from Galco Gunleather below:

How do you break in your holster?

We hope you found this piece useful. A leather holster is a good investment to make, however it does require more attention and effort than a Nylon or Kydex holster. We do believe good things are worth putting in the effort for though!

We know there are different methods for breaking in a leather holster, so if you have some tips and advice please share it in the comments section below!