how much can leather be stretched?

how much can leather be stretched?

This is a discussion on how much can leather be stretched? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've purchased a Galco Classic Lite holster and I'm trying to get an FEG GKK .45 into it. The holster is "old school"; folded-over and ...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20
Like Tree4Likes

Thread: how much can leather be stretched?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array TRX's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    central Arkansas
    Posts
    1,049

    how much can leather be stretched?

    I've purchased a Galco Classic Lite holster and I'm trying to get an FEG GKK .45 into it.

    The holster is "old school"; folded-over and sewn suede, not hard-molded. Galco's web site listed the holster as fitting a range of generic automatics, not all of them 1911s.

    The GKK has almost exactly the same width and silhouette as a standard 1911A1, except the trigger guard is a bit larger. Given the generic fit of the Lite, I thought it was worth trying one.

    The holster came in yesterday. It won't accept the GKK. In fact, it wouldn't accept a standard 1911. The package said, "accepts Bersa .380" among other guns, and the instruction sheet said to stretch the holster to fit by wrapping the gun in a plastic bag and basically screwing it into the holster.

    I managed, eventually, to get a 1911 in there. After sitting overnight, it seems about as tight as when I started; it goes in with no more effort than pulling a size 9 boot on a size 12 foot.

    The holster is formed by cutting away all of the bottom *except* for the trigger guard, folding it over at that point (about 1-1/4" wide), and sewing all the way along the top. So the entire holster is dependent on that short piece of thin suede. If I tear it, I have a leather taco.

    Unfortunately, to accept the GKK, I need maybe another quarter inch stretched out of that little piece of leather.

    Should I expect to be able to stretch the leather sufficiently (I was thinking of doing it a little at a time, with cardboard shims over the 1911's trigger guard, until I could get the GKK in there), or should I just put the holster back in the package, get an RMA, and pay shipping back?


  2. #2
    Member Array roadrash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    321
    Maybe soak the holster in warm water for a few minutes,wrap the gun in plastic and stuff it in the holster.leave gun in holster till dry.Sounds like a cheap holster so what have ya got to lose?Just make sure to oil the gun well first.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Georgia for now
    Posts
    4,797
    1/4" stretch on somethng as small as a holster sounds like a lot to me. I think you would be better off getting a holster made for your gun.
    SHTFGearLLC and BkCo1 like this.
    "If you make something idiot proof, someone will make a better idiot."

    - Anon

  4. #4
    VIP Member
    Array oneshot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    +42.893612,-082.710236 , Mi.
    Posts
    8,363
    Quote Originally Posted by high pockets View Post
    1/4" stretch on somethng as small as a holster sounds like a lot to me. I think you would be better off getting a holster made for your gun.

    ^^^I'm in this camp here^^^^^^^^^^

    You may be better served by figuring out what pistol yours MOST closely resembles in looks and in dimensions, and try to find a maker for it.

    Wow, what an obscure pistol.
    GB only had one to reference for visual.
    Looks like a holster that would fit a S&W 39-2 or a model 59 would work.
    I could be wrong though.
    (I have a 39-2 BTW)

    Good luck!
    If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

    Washington didn't use his freedom of speech to defeat the British, He shot them!

    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." -- Ernest Benn

  5. #5
    Administrator
    Array QKShooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Off Of The X
    Posts
    35,598
    and stuff it in the holster.leave gun in holster till dry.

    If you wet the holster and wrap the firearm in Saran Wrap and leave the firearm in the holster until the leather is completely dry the holster will end up being too loose.

    You would want to rather want to wet the holster - insert the firearm - press mold the leather as best possible to the firearm - then carefully remove the firearm and allow the holster to dry completely undisturbed and empty.

    I am not sure what exact holster you are talking about but, that (above) is the way you should work with any vegetable tanned leather.
    ugh762x39 likes this.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  6. #6
    Member Array luke213's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Channing, Michigan
    Posts
    405
    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    and stuff it in the holster.leave gun in holster till dry.
    I am not sure what exact holster you are talking about but, that (above) is the way you should work with any vegetable tanned leather.
    That's my wonder I know it's a suede feeling leather material since I've handled one in the past but I'm really not sure if it's chrome tanned or veg tanned, felt a bit like chrome tannage to me. Either way I'm not sure the material will stretch as much as you'd like and if it is chrome tanned it's probably not going to stretch terribly well.

    Personally I'd send it back and order the same thing for a 1911 if that's the closest fit, at least then it should be closer. That or find someone local to build just what you want using the actual gun.

    Luke

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Happypuppy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Small Town USA
    Posts
    898
    I used to work for a boot company. Heat the holster up with a heat gun on low or use a hair dryer until really hot to the touch. Two-three minutes most of the time. Put the pistol in the holster. Push Hard and as it will go or you want it; the leather will be pliable use your fingers and push and mold the leather to the pistol.

    Leave it in for an hour or put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.

    It will fit perfect or as good as it ever will. I cat tell you how many times I have stretched leather boots a 1/2 size this way


    Lighten Up Francis.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array TRX's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    central Arkansas
    Posts
    1,049
    Quote Originally Posted by high pockets View Post
    I think you would be better off getting a holster made for your gun.
    That's shipping and FFL fees both ways, anywhere from $100 to $150, just to get the gun to a holster maker and back again. Plus the "making the holster" part. My pockets aren't that high.

  9. #9
    Member Array jack76590's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    155
    Some gun shops have a box of old holsters for sale. Look for one of these shops and try your gun in his "box of holsters." I would ask first if ok to bring in pistol to try and offer owner opportunity to check pistol, so he can assure empty.

  10. #10
    VIP Member
    Array ShooterGranny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Southeast USA
    Posts
    2,490
    ShooterGramps once tried wetting a leather holster for some now forgotten reason. Result: Totally ruined.

    Perhaps he didn't do it right? It was a long time ago and I'm not sure I remember correctly, but he may have simmered the thing or something...........he does some crazy things sometimes. (But I love him anyway)
    Getting old was not on my list of "things to do" in the Golden Years!

    ==================

    Talking to each other here is good, but taking action is better.

  11. #11
    Member Array wysh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    puerto rico
    Posts
    170
    Rub the leather with vaseline. Work it in real well. Put a good amount of vaseline on the leather and put it in a zip lock bag. Suck all the air you can out of the bag and close it. Set it in a very warm place for a couple of days. After that you can wipe the vaseline off your holster an insert your gun. It should stretch very nicely.

  12. #12
    VIP Member
    Array ShooterGranny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Southeast USA
    Posts
    2,490
    Quote Originally Posted by wysh View Post
    Rub the leather with vaseline. Work it in real well. Put a good amount of vaseline on the leather and put it in a zip lock bag. Suck all the air you can out of the bag and close it. Set it in a very warm place for a couple of days. After that you can wipe the vaseline off your holster an insert your gun. It should stretch very nicely.
    But it won't be suede anymore.................

    it'll be some sort of semi-smooth, mottled whatever.

    But, what the heck, if it then fits the gun........ ?!?
    Getting old was not on my list of "things to do" in the Golden Years!

    ==================

    Talking to each other here is good, but taking action is better.

  13. #13
    Member Array luke213's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Channing, Michigan
    Posts
    405
    Just my 2 cents I certainly would not do that.

    Luke

    Sent from my XT875 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Member Array wysh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    puerto rico
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by ShooterGranny View Post
    But it won't be suede anymore.................

    it'll be some sort of semi-smooth, mottled whatever.

    But, what the heck, if it then fits the gun........ ?!?
    You are right, the texture and color will change. I like that broken in look. You can try to restore the texture with a brass wire brush, but that can be risky.

  15. #15
    Member Array grbr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    402
    I've made my fair share of holsters, so can give some advice.

    ShooterGranny: if he simmered it (as in over heat) then yeah, he'd ruin it.

    Wet forming a holster and getting a little stretch out of it is definitely possible...but with room temp or cool water! Veg tanned leather (holster leather) plus water plus heat equals major SHRINKING!!!!!! Don't even dry it over warm air if it's a tight fit already! Holster makers that use warm water when wet forming their holsters do so because they want it to shrink a little tighter around the gun as it forms, and they're pretty much leaving the gun (or the fake gun mold) in the holster while it dries to prevent it from shrinking too small...if the gun already doesn't fit very well (or at all) then warmth plus water will make it much worse!

    Wet forming it with cool or room temp water can often get you that last little stretch though, and a quarter inch is definitely possible (depending on the thickness though too, if it's too thick + you need an extra 1/4" on the silhouette then that may be too much, only way to know is try). Cool water still can shrink leather a tiny bit...but you can get more stretch than shrink if you do it right, and it being cool minimizes any shrinking effect as much as possible.

    As for covering the gun with the plastic bag: don't bother on this one. You normally can do that when wet forming a holster (though many will recommend against, it doesn't give as good a fit sometimes), but when wet forming one that's already too tight and trying to make it fit, there's not a piece of plastic in the world that's gonna survive the pushing and tightness and wiggling and raw force you're gonna use, so it's just gonna tear and get the gun wet anyway. Not to mention it'll add a tiny bit to the size, which can't help, and it'll be all bunched up and such can only making jamming the thing in there harder. Trust me, I have put my precious babies in many a wet holster with zero bad side effects just by rubbing oil all over the outside beforehand. Once you already have it stretched then you can put it in a plastic bag and jam it back in and leave it that way overnight to make sure it keeps...but doing the initial stretching with a bag on it is something I've figured out doesn't work so hot.

    Here's what you'll want to do: unload the gun and check and recheck it's clear. You're gonna do a lot of fiddling and grabbing and pushing on the thing, so it needs to be 100% safe. Get a nice thin coat of oil all around the outside of the gun. Then get some room temp or a bit cooler water running in the sink...then put the holster under it and get it nice and wet, which actually won't take long, 20-30 seconds of just moving the thing around under the water and getting the water all over it inside and out. Then go ahead and let any excess drip off, maybe even give it a quick wipe with a paper towel, it doesn't need to still be dripping. Then just go to town jamming and working your gun in there. I'm not familiar with your gun, but if it has a safety that also locks the slide in place (like a 1911) then definitely engage it, that helps a ton on an overly tight holster. Work it around, and it may take quite a bit of time and effort. If you don't get it in...well...it may not work. You can't win them all. But if you do get it in, leave it there for 30 min or so, near moving air (like a fan) would be best (not warm air though, no heating vents!). Then take it out. The leather will still be wet, but it should somewhat retain the shape/size. At this point you can wipe your gun off, and possibly put a plastic bag over it before jamming it back in to leave it there for a bit more time. Leaving your gun in the wet holster for 30 minutes or so with oil on it will not hurt it in the slightest, just make sure to get it wiped off afterwards. For the next few hours keep letting it dry for a couple minutes...then shoving the gun in and taking it back out to make sure it doesn't shrink or lose shape on you (or just get the bag on the gun, shove it in and leave it in overnight). Note that depending on the leather it may seem dry after a day of drying...but if you then start wearing it you'll notice that when you take the gun out there's water droplets on it...cuz it's pushing more water out of the leather as you wear it. Leave the gun in there for a full day of wear when it's doing that and you could end up getting some rust on your gun cuz you thought your holster was dry when it really wasn't! Some leathers will be fully dry in a day...some 3 or 4 days. You'll just have to wear it for a while and keep pulling the gun out to check if there's any moisture before you'll really be 100% sure its dry (or just leave it out to dry for 4 days or so to be 100% sure).

    Hope that works well for ya. I've wet formed many dozens of holsters very successfully (my holsters are quite nice if I do say so myself) and ne'er ruined a one by getting it wet. So hopefully I'm as good at explaining wet forming as I am at doing it...we'll see :(
    ShooterGranny likes this.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Search tags for this page

can leather be stretched
,
can leather be stretched?
,

can leather be strethed

,
how do companies dry leather holsters after forming
,
how much can leather stretch
,
how to stretch a leather holster
,
how to stretch a leather holster a tiny bit
,
how to stretch leather holster
,
putting wrong gun in a custom holster stretch it out
,
stretch suede holster
,
stretching leather holster
Click on a term to search for related topics.