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If you're a belt-maker or work in leather, can you clarify something? What is the best, most-durable leather that we should look for as the base materials in any quality "gun" belt.

Goal is to avoid the run-of-the-mill leathers that some sub-par belt makers use for belts claimed to be suitable for carrying heavy sidearms. What area of the animal should the hide be from (ie, along the spine)? What thickness? Double-hide, bonded and sewn, or a single thick hide? Am looking to avoid break-down over time, greatest ability to withstand heavy loads/twisting, avoiding aging/cracking of the surface and finish, etc. Seems to me that the selection of the leather hide itself is key, to all of this.

Comments from Brommeland Leather, about leather/stitching selection: click.
 

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Good leather is vital for proper support of the holster and other gear, such as if you carry a spare mag(s) in a pouch, which can be pretty heavy when loaded. As a visual reference of a solidly built leather harness, look to this:

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The first thing you want is vegetable tanned leather. If you have a Tandy leather outlet in your area it is the place to go. On a saddle is a piece of leather 1 1/2 inches wide called a cinch. If you look at a feed store or saddle shop they will have them they are plenty long enough and great quality leather run around $26.00 or so depending on thickness and profit margin of the shop. You could get the saddle shop or Tandy to skive the leather to a thickness that you want. They also sell chicago screws they are two pieces and are used to hold the buckle on. Harbour Freight has a hole punch tool for very little money and you will find a lot of uses for it.

You will not go back to any other belt once you have tried good leather and made it yourself. The support of the gun is also hard to beat.

Good Luck and if you need anything give a yell.

Bill
 

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Not sure what is best leather. I have been buying belts from Ted Blocker for over 20 years still have the first one still great shape. Last one is two layers of great looking leather with spring steel sandwhiched between. Great belt.
 

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I use veg tan leather preferably from the butt of the animal. This is the thickest part of the hide and the least amount of treatment from the tannery. Anything nearest to the spine is good or any part that has the least amount of "movement" from the animal. If possible, visually inspect the leather you decide to buy to choose something that has minimal defects. I bond and stitch my belts with two 7-8oz pieces of leather. The stitching makes the belts more stiff and sturdy (double stitching even more). One piece of leather as opposed to two is not good. The belt will eventually soften to the point where it doesn't work anymore with your holster. It will make you holster/gun combo lean and sag thus preventing you from a clean extraction.

In terms of the leather cracking, a simple/occasional application of some leather conditioner will do the trick (Aussies or Skidmores). Hope this helps. :smile:

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Not as many folks make good, one layer gun belts. But they exist. A buddy of mine makes them out of 13-15 oz Harness Leather. They are cut from the spine down. When he gets to a point where it's starting to soften he throws the belly in a box. The closer to the belly, the thinner and softer the leather gets. I've got several of the bellies around here and they are still superior to most any belt material you will buy out of a store. Just too thin for single layer gun belts. I don't see this belt weakening. When most folks think single layer you probably envision 9-10 oz leather. This belt is right at 1/4" thick, .225 where the holster rides. That puts it at 13-14 oz leather.


Now for the real problem. Most makers will only tell you a little about the leather. Since the belts are cut from the spine down, it's unlikely you will be able to specify where your cut is from. 1/4" is a good starting point. Two layers of 7-8 oz leather are going to be right in that area as is one layer of 13-15 oz.

Scan this site, it's where my last 2 sides came from. There is some great info on leather if you go through the tabs at the top of the page. This is also where by buddy gets the leather for his belts.

Web Site American Leather Direct. Inc - www.aleatherd.com
 
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