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I've been wondering about this for a while. Most holster makers offer their holsters for umpteen bazillion different gun models, so what do they use for design and sizing? Surely they can't be literally buying one of each gun on the market, so what's the deal? Plastic models? Rent the guns?

Inquiring minds want to know....

:wave:
 

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All of the above plus an Airsoft in the proper model will suffice for a mold. I have had makers use my personal gun for holster molds as long as they are hand molded. I wouldnt recommend using your gun for any mold that needs to be "pressed" for a fit. It could damage your shooter.
 

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Usually I've seen them use the blue plastic replicas. When I build my home-made ones, I just use my own shooters when boning the leather. If I'm doing a holster for a blue gun I put it in a plastic bag first before sticking it into wet leather. For all alloy or SS I don't usually bother with a protective baggie (although I should).

I just finished a fitted OWB for my 3" SP 101 that way. It's not complicated.
 

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Replicas

Blue Guns (Ring's Mfg)

Red Guns

Duncan Customs

Airsoft

Replica, inert or blank guns

I know a few that prefer the "real thing" instead of the plastic or metal ones.

Personally, I use all of the above. I also borrow guns from a dealer friend and wrap them in plastic to protect the finish.

Cheers!
 

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Currently I offer holsters for 12 different guns and out of those 10 use real gun and 2 use Duncan aluminum molds.

If possible I really prefer to use an actual gun.
 

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Are molds slightly undersize, and if not why do holsters fit so tightly that you cannot draw the gun if you force it into a new holster?
On the other hand I know that there are differences between 1911s and have had two by good makers that were not tight enough to be satisfactory.

Regards,
Jerry
 

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Are molds slightly undersize, and if not why do holsters fit so tightly that you cannot draw the gun if you force it into a new holster?
On the other hand I know that there are differences between 1911s and have had two by good makers that were not tight enough to be satisfactory.

Regards,
Jerry
Leather shrinks as it dries. The mold or gun is used to shape the holster, but the holster dries with nothing in it thus making them a little tight.

I used to send holsters out that I had stretched to my liking, but then found out some wanted them tight. Now I send the holster out a little tight with instructions how to loosen them so the customer can get what they want.

Stretching takes nothing more than a sandwich bag or two and a couple hours of time.
 

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I work kydex. It's better, IMO, if the actual gun is available. If not, Ring's blue guns come in a variety of different models.
 

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So I use a mix, ideal situation for myself would be to use a dummy gun for the actual molding then check with the real gun once it's built. The reason is I honestly hate working with the actual gun in the shop. Guns are fragile to a certain degree, and you've got allot on the line if you mess up;) With a dummy gun you can drop it, press it, beat it up and you're at most out $75 or so. So from a process perspective it's nice, and I prefer to dry the holster with the dummy in place where with the real gun I don't. So for my own 2 cents using a dummy gun makes it easier to build for, and best practice would be checking with the real firearm when possible afterwards. That said, once you've used a dummy gun and checked fit etc it's not going to really change either. So once you are sure a dummy gun is on spec or close enough for holster work then you really don't have to check with a real firearm also.

And that's for leather which is even with the hard boning and details popular right now still more forgiving than kydex or the other thermal molded plastics etc. With those there isn't much give and you can get quite weird results with minor differences in specs. Since I do leather I don't worry as much how the kydex guys have to work with gun specs;)

And since the origin of the post was sources the guys above are spot on, there are some new shops popping up like Cooks gun molds which are quite good as well. Right now in my 130+ dummy guns it's almost a 50/50 split between Ring's and Duncan's, though recently I've added a few others like one from MultiMolds, Cooks, and Backwoods(? I don't remember the name, they do historic guns mostly, needed a Colt Woodsman and it was the only option). But they are all different, different poly mixes in their end results. I will say for poly I really like Blueguns, they are soft compared to the others which is good and bad, but they take abuse far better than some of the newer harder composition poly guns. Duncan's are also good, but their spec can be all over the place. Don't trust a Duncan's gun until you have the real thing next to it and a caliper in hand.

Take care!

Luke
 

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Are molds slightly undersize, and if not why do holsters fit so tightly that you cannot draw the gun if you force it into a new holster?
On the other hand I know that there are differences between 1911s and have had two by good makers that were not tight enough to be satisfactory.

Regards,
Jerry
With hybrids I build in some retention by taking space away from the mold. I don't mold the kydex all the way to the bottom of the press. The way I mold leather ends up being much the same, but I don't try to do it. With the leather shrinking, stitching the leather pulling it tight, and some striking from drying they will tighten up. I check the fit on my leather then decide if I want to try to adjust them to loosen them up a bit. Boning can play a part too. If they ejection port is heavily boned it will effect retention, but that will also go away over time. The weight of the leather also has an effect. Heavier leather retains the retention longer, but can be harder to mold.
 

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The companies I have talked to for my IWB holsters have used blue/red training guns. When I ordered my holster for the M&P 45c the company sent me one for the full size as they did not have a blue gun for the 45c. I was able to cut the excess material off and sent it back to them, at their request, to see what I did.
 
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