enlarging holster slots. How?

enlarging holster slots. How?

This is a discussion on enlarging holster slots. How? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have a new leather holster I got for my commanders. The slots are a wee bit tight for my Wilderness belt, especially where it ...

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Thread: enlarging holster slots. How?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    enlarging holster slots. How?

    I have a new leather holster I got for my commanders. The slots are a wee bit tight for my Wilderness belt, especially where it gets to the double thickness. It's a stuggle to even get the belt threaded through, let alone move the holster into that sweet spot once it's on. That's impossible.
    How can I enlarge the slots a little bit? A skinny Dremel stone will fit in the slot, but I'm afraid would just burnish the leather and not do anything. Will putting pressure against a spinning drill bit cut the leather without messing things up? Or maybe driving a wedge into the slot to stretch it?

    Thanks for any help.


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    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    With use they will probably stretch a bit and loosen enough to make threading that belt easier, or so has been my experience. I wouldn't start off grinding or cutting the leather.
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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply.
    I'll try stretching them a bit then. I'll cut a couple pieces of wood the same size as my belt and let the holster sit a spell with them in place.
    As it stands now the holster won't get any use.

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    Member Array glocknjeep's Avatar
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    I've used a round sanding bit (the ones with the slip on sand paper drum) on a dremel to finish and round out holster slots on holsters I've made in the past and it works like a charm. You can get leather dyes and sealants at hobby lobby or Tandy leather. With a steady hand it's very easy.

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    When I first read the subj line, I thought it said "Earring holster slots". Ouch.
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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Who made the holster? Did you tell them what size belt you were using? What size are the slots? Is it possible the slots are just tight because of the leather? How about just using the holster anyway, after all, it's not like you want the holster moving around...
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    I'm guessing you are running an inch and a half Wilderness in slots which were made for inch and a half leather belt. I would go with an inch and a quarter belt before I deliberately ruined the fit and finish of a wet-molded leather holster.
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    I make holsters, so I can give you a little bit of my experience.

    BUT FIRST:

    1) The guy that said it'll stretch over time is right. If it's new, give it time before cutting on it. It'll work in (a little bit, not a ton, but it might be enough).

    2) Make sure you want it looser. I have a SOB holster that is the exact same situation on my belt. But in the end, even though it's a 30 min process to get it on, tighten the belt up, take half the belt off so that I can move the holster 1 cm, tighten it again, repeat until I get it where I want it...the ridiculously overtight fit in that loop is also what makes that SOB holster keep the handle so tight to my body, whereas my other SOB's the handle hangs out too much and I don't use them because of it. So be sure.

    If you're talking about the really thin dremel bit that is one of those rough stone-like sanding surfaces (I don't know the name of them), then yah, they do something sorta halfway between sanding and burnishing, but don't really take a lot of material off, so it might take a while and a lot of sanding on it, and you'd be really prone to accidentally creating those "dents" where it kind of sticks too long in one spot and those are really hard to get out of a holster loop. Stick with bigger/larger "swipes" with as little pressure as possible (as opposed to going down the edge really slow/deliberate) and that'll help you keep a smoother/straighter edge in there. Of course...that's hard in a such a small space like a holster loop. That's why these guys are recommending not to do it, and I somewhat agree. This is something that runs a really good risk of screwing things up way more than it helps...I just figure if you're gonna do it anyway I may as well give some tips. But it is risky if you've never worked on leather before and don't have experience in how it sands/reacts to the dremel. I know if a finished holster happened to be the first one I ever had taken a dremel tool to, it probably would not have fared well...

    Dunno if your holster loop has stitching around it (some do, some don't), but be aware of that of course. Don't take too much if there is. A dremel bit touching one of those threads is gonna snap it in two pretty quickly too. So be mindful. Most holsters nowadays are machine stitched (lock stitch) as opposed to hand stitched (saddle stitch), so 1 busted thread is a bigger deal on them than on hand stitched stuff. In lock stitched stuff 1 busted thread spreads...in saddle stitched stuff it doesn't.

    Lesson learned by any holster maker on their first day: that dremel WILL gouge a gigantic scar in your finish even if just the chuck part accidentally touches it. Be VERY mindful of letting no part of the dremel even glance off of that finished surface of your holster, and be very mindful of that bit slipping around and leaving a nice gigantic scar across your piece. It happens extremely easily, and will probably end up happening anyway even though I warned you about it. So if this is a holster that you paid big bucks for the pretty factor...I'd not even bring the dremel in the same room as it. If it's an ugly old workhorse...have at it. Just go slow and test your belt often. You can always take more off later, but you cannot put any back on!

    Keep in mind that dye doesn't always penetrate that far. You may notice that as you remove material what's underneath is just the raw light tan of un-dyed hide. That may not be pretty. If that bothers you, you'll need some sort of dye/"edge kote" to redo the edges. Aside from color, if that doesn't matter much, that dremel attachment used for grinding wheels that's basically just a cylinder of metal when there's no wheel on it, get the edges a little damp and run that smooth spinning metal up and down it and it actually does a somewhat decent job of making really easy burnished edge in those little nooks where you can't really get to to do normal burnishing. Better than no burnishing. Again though, even just that cylinder will do a serious number on your finish if you slip (which is REALLY easy) and it glances off the surface of the holster. Have you noticed that I may have had a dremel muck up the surface of a holster once or twice? Yep, it's really easy to screw up the "pretty" factor of a holster when you decide to let a dremel near it. Watch for it.
    SIGguy229, PAcanis and Phaedrus like this.

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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    Great advice grbr.
    And now that I've thought about it, I don't know why I automatically said Dremel. I'm sure I have a rat tail file that will fit the slot's radius perfectly.
    And you described getting it into place perfectly. All except the crink in my neck from keeping twisted for so long, lol.
    BTW, it's a Bianchi. Not a high dollar, but a good holster and it fits my pistols perfectly. I'm sure the problem lies in the thickness of the Wilderness belt, but it's my every day belt and I like it. I can build a 1911 from scratch without the Dremel or file taking off on me, so hopefully I can fit a holster to a belt

    I appreciate your response.

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    Member Array TDH1961's Avatar
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    This will work but it sounds wierd. Castol oil the kind you take to make you have a BM. Put it on the where you want it to soften and put it on your belt where you want it to be and let it set over night. This will discolor where you put the oil. If the slots are cut into the holster just take an exto knife and make them larger.

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    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    Get it where you want it. Wear it ALL DAY. I bet most of your problem will be solved at the end of the day. Couple days at most. A guy called me with a similar issue. He wore it 8 hours on a Saturday, emailed me to let me know it was now perfect.
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    Senior Member Array Rotorflyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefjason View Post
    Get it where you want it. Wear it ALL DAY. Couple days at most. I bet most of your problem will be solved at the end of the day.

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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    I took the files to it last night and it is much better. Now my belt fits tight instead of near impossible.
    After looking more closely I noticed how rough the slots had been put in, so I simply dressed them up. I've never seen this in a leather holster before, but I suppose that's the difference between a $40 holster and a $120 one. At least these days.

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    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAcanis View Post
    I took the files to it last night and it is much better. Now my belt fits tight instead of near impossible.
    After looking more closely I noticed how rough the slots had been put in, so I simply dressed them up. I've never seen this in a leather holster before, but I suppose that's the difference between a $40 holster and a $120 one. At least these days.
    If you have saddle soap, glycerin soap, or beeswax rub some in the slots. Then take something smooth that will reach in there and burnish it really good. Yes, the details can be the difference. But some of us do that on our holsters regardless.
    I prefer to live dangerously free than safely caged!

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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    Hey, great idea! Thanks, Chief. That's just what it needs.
    Here's what it looked like before I started.
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