Stiffening a Soft Holster?

Stiffening a Soft Holster?

This is a discussion on Stiffening a Soft Holster? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I didn't want to hijack 1911packer's thread about caring for a dried-out holster. Does anyone have suggestions on how I might go about adding some ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array MasterGuns's Avatar
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    Stiffening a Soft Holster?

    I didn't want to hijack 1911packer's thread about caring for a dried-out holster.

    Does anyone have suggestions on how I might go about adding some stiffness back to a holster? Holster in question is the black version of the one pictured. It is a bit on the soft side, but still in fine shape. Just doesn't want to let go of my gun when drawing. Or on the other hand, maybe there is something I should do to the inside to allow for smoother draws?

    I'm not really looking to start an expensive science project to get the holster where I want it, but if anyone has some simple, inexpensive suggestions then I'm all ears.
    Pain is weakness leaving the body


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Rustynuts's Avatar
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    Quick google shows a potential for hot/boiling water! I think this is how they bone the leather anyway. Soak/boil it for a brief time (seconds, not minutes!), it will shrink some and become pliable for a brief time after the dunk.

    If I were to try I'd have my gun wrapped good in plastic warp, not too thick though. Dunk the leather and immediately place the gun in the holster and bone some more as it cools. This would prevent too much shrinkage and hopefully maintain the boning. Not a holster maker, so YMMV!

    For the draws, simple wax paper or plastic wrap around the gun, insert and draw a few times. The wax should help. Back on the stiffening, one website had something about beeswax being used in olden days for armor, maybe even still? I would assume the beeswax was molten and soaked in like the hot water approach, or maybe mixed in with the water? Don't know!

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    I cant tell the finish on that holster , so i cant honestly recomend a method that might or might not hurt a polymer based finish . Were i to attempt to " stiffin up " an oil finished holster tho i would pop it in an oven set low ( 175 to 220 degrees ) for a couple of hours , then using mits as needed holster an EMPTY firarm , re oil it heavily and let it set overnight . In the am wipe off any oil that is unabsorbed , put a coat of wax on top and go . No i have not done this with holsters , but have done it with good results with horse tac on saddles , bridles , ect that for one reason or another got a bit stretched . Do " form the leather" tho since depending on the leather you can get more shrinkage than you want , and also remember to maintain your leather well for a while to put some of the oils back into it that you might cook out with the heat .
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    Distinguished Member Array jarhead79's Avatar
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    I have found that if a holster gets smashed or curled for some reason, and the leather is softened and or wrinkled, it'll stay that way. I went as far as completely remolding/refinishing the holster as I do with new ones, to no avail.

    I'd recommend wax paper to the inside to get it smoother.

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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    I doubt that it can be fixed once it's messed up.
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  6. #6
    Member Array MasterGuns's Avatar
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    Well, the holster is actually in pretty good shape, but it sure isn't overly stiff. Like I said, it more or less just grabs the gun a bit too much for a smooth draw. Its not that the holster is too tight, but has just enough flex that it doesn't allow for a smooth, effortless draw.

    Based on the responses, which I really do appreciate, I think I'm going to try to make it a bit slicker inside. I think I'll start with wax paper and go from there. If that doesn't work, I think I'm going to Redneck's method and see how it goes. Its not my primary and I didn't pay much for it, so an experiment may be in order. I'll post an update after I work a few of the angles.
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    Senior Member Array Rustynuts's Avatar
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    I think most holster makers recommend AGAINST using oil or conditioners and such EVER. They can actually soften the leather more! If the oven dries the surface out, I "might" try some light oil or wax. Wouldn't soak it though.

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    How wide and/or thick is your belt?

  9. #9
    Member Array MasterGuns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chooie View Post
    How wide and/or thick is your belt?
    My belt is a 1.5" 5.11. Seems plenty stiff.

    I got to playing with the holster again last night, using wax paper, etc. Actually, the draw is pretty smooth with it off the belt. Once I put it on, though, the curvature of my waist causes the holster to compresses slightly inboard, and that's what is causing it to grip the gun too much. I think its just too darn soft.

    So I got to thinking I'd try my G19 in there. Actually, it isn't all that bad. Granted the holster was made for the G29/30, but with the slimmer profile of the G19 it makes for a pretty good fit--draw is smooth. There's about .25" vertical play, but isn't really an issue because of the retention strap. Now I'm thinking I may play with it some in order to get it to work with the G19. Maybe adjust/remove the snap and replace with velcro to tighten it up a bit. Not sure yet.
    Pain is weakness leaving the body

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