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I'm thinking about purchasing this holster for my Browning Hi Power 9mm
sportsmansguide
but a lot of the reviews say that they needed to "wet" the holster to make it fit right.
Can someone please give me a tutorial on how to wet a holster. I've searched the Internet and this procedure is very vague.
Thanks!
 

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It's called "Wet Molding" it is what is done to leather in order to get that form fitting look, the idea is to wet the leather enough to mold the leather to the gun, you don't want to soak the leather. check out face book and look under "How to make a leather holster" there are some pretty good vids. If nothing else just get you one custom made for your gun with a proper fit. Usually most people send the holster back to the person who made it to have it "Re Molded." Hope this helps
 

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Be careful doing this. If you are going to DIY, make sure your hands are spotless or you can stain the leather. If you are going to just adjust fit, fill a very clean bowl (salad) with warm water, as it seems to penetrate faster. Dunk holster in water for no more than 2-3 seconds. Wipe off excess water very softly with a napkin or a very clean, oil free rag. Take your (unloaded) gun and gently slide it into the holster. BE CAREFUL HERE!! Your holster is now clay, and will be until it dries. You can pull the stitching through the leather. Once the gun is in the correct place in the holster, begin molding the leather to the gun with your hands. Use your hands and fingers to shape the holster to the gun. Don't press so much, but slide you fingertips back and forth along the slide/frame joint, along the ejection port, squeeze the trigger guard area until it forms (especially in front of it) but do not overdo it. It will take a bit of elbow grease, but take your time. This is a very basic, primative way of doing it. Professionals have boning molds and forming tools. And lots of experience. When you are satisfied, set the holster with the gun still in place in a clean, dry area. I let the gun stay in for an hour or so. Then carefully remove the gun (the leather is still pliable, so watch your step here), and strip, dry, and oil the gun. Forget about the holster for at least 24 hours. Let it air dry, no heat or fans. I would set the holster on a folded towel, as soon as the molding is done until it is completely dry. Hard surfaces can mold the leather, just from weight. Turn the holster over every couple of hours. I have built many holsters, but am by no measure a pro, as the pros who read this can tell. But this should get you by, until you get a professionally built holster. Keep in mind, wet leather is a most unforgiving medium. Contact with steel will immediately stain it, as will the oil on your skin, so make sure your hands are spotless. It will mold, burnish, and stretch. Also, watch anything with an edge, including your fingernails. They will scratch or even make a cut in wet leather. Best of luck.
 

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Instead of my fingers etc. to mold the holster I will use a tool they sell in leather shops,some are caramic,but they used to use bones to mold leather IIRC that's why it's called boning the leather,when I first started making holsters I used a spoon back to cover long smooth areas,and a smooth butter knife handle to form around the curvy lines like trigger guard and along the line where the slide overlaps the frame.
 

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a trick I learned from a holster maker is to put the gun into the holster then put both in a zip lock bag overnight, it helps to remove any tightness
 

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a trick I learned from a holster maker is to put the gun into the holster then put both in a zip lock bag overnight, it helps to remove any tightness
I'm sure he meant put the gun in a zip lock bag then insert the bagged gun in the holster,same thing as wax paper,it allows just enough xtra thickness to allow good retention but doesn't keep the gun from drawing our smoothly,Years ago before the internet and home computers I bought a Bianchi Holster for a 1911,after cramming the gun in the holster to get the thumb snap snapped I almost couldn't get the gun out,ended up inserting and twisting and drawing and all kindsa crap until it would at least come out without too much resistance,the bag trick is the way too loosen the holster just enough
 
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no I meant it the way I wrote it, the holstered gun in the bag will come out fitting in the holster better
 

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You can also soak in alcohol instead of water. It will dry quicker and leach out some of the oils that may be in an older leather holster. I did a couple holsters in water last summer. Oiled and wrapped the gun in plastic wrap before inserting in the holster. Clamped the holster between plywood and 1 inch thick stiff foam rubber and left it in the hot sun to dry all afternoon. Worked pretty well, I though.
 

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Just a note on this process and it's application. Depending on the rig and who built it, doing this may actually harm the rig, always check with the holster maker before you do any modifications just to make sure what they recommend to insure they will still stand behind the holster.

One other possible snag is depending on how the rig is actually finished and sealed you may cause some issues there. Really most holsters are designed in such a way that wetmolding is done in the middle of the process and going back to do it after the rig is finished isn't really something I would normally recommend. Just my 2 cents of course. If it were one of my rigs, I would much rather the customer shoot me a note, I'd take it back and probably rebuild it and send them out a new rig that fit properly.

Take care!

Luke
 

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I just put weapon in a zip lock bag then insert weapon in leather holster and let sit under mattress for a couple days. Like a ball glove it is ready to go.
 

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I've gotta give this a try. I have a custom holster for a CZ97b that my Glock 17 fits in. It's only off a little bit in a few places. Maybe this will be the weekend.
 

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As luke213 stated above, molding is not the finish step. He is also dead on so far as the finish on the leather. Some finishes will totally seal the pores, and the water will not penetrate evenly. What I wrote above is more of a last ditch effort than a professional fix. Please be careful if you try this. This is why you pay big bucks for a custom holster. If the maker goofs, it is his problem. He gets to scrap it, eat the time, and start over. Leather is not cheap, and the guy who works it needs to know what he is doing. If not, he starves. The makers that do this for a living have certainly paid their dues, in time and herds of hides. As a leather guy myself (I do not have many holster patterns, so don't ask) I know all to well what they deal with.
 

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Hello,
I just bought a new holster for my revolver. How long should I soak it in warm water before I insert the bagged revolver to form it?? The leather is almost 1/4" thick.
Thanks!
 

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I am not recommending the following procedure. It is just an item of historical interest.

G. Gordon Liddy has an interesting passage in his autobiography, “Will.” He recounts his getting advice on handguns and holsters from a mentor when he was a new FBI agent. He was told to get his own Smith Model 27 3.5” rather than use the issue Model 19 2.5". He was instructed to get on the range and put 1,500 rounds through it to smooth out the action (and I presume get good with it also).

He was also told not to use the FBI issued holster, but to buy a specific holster from a specific maker in Texas. He didn’t say which one. Then:
  • Immerse the holster in warm water until the leather becomes soft.
  • Coat the gun with petroleum jelly and wrap it in one layer of saran wrap.
  • Force the gun into the holster as far as it can go.
  • Hand mold the leather to all the contours of the gun.
  • Let it dry for a week.
  • The test with the finished product was to put the gun in the holster and hold the gun by the grip. The holster should not drop off. Then just tap the holster with your finger. That should make the holster drop off. That was the perfect fit.
I thought that was some interesting lore.
 

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A few holsters have been tight over the years. Place the gun in a food saver type bag and insert gun with bag into the holster. Leave it to sit for 24 hours or so. Helps to mold the leather without messing up the firearm finish.

I have never needed to wet mold a holster.
 
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I am not recommending the following procedure. It is just an item of historical interest.

G. Gordon Liddy has an interesting passage in his autobiography, “Will.” He recounts his getting advice on handguns and holsters from a mentor when he was a new FBI agent. He was told to get his own Smith Model 27 3.5” rather than use the issue Model 19 2.5". He was instructed to get on the range and put 1,500 rounds through it to smooth out the action (and I presume get good with it also).

He was also told not to use the FBI issued holster, but to buy a specific holster from a specific maker in Texas. He didn’t say which one. Then:
  • Immerse the holster in warm water until the leather becomes soft.
  • Coat the gun with petroleum jelly and wrap it in one layer of saran wrap.
  • Force the gun into the holster as far as it can go.
  • Hand mold the leather to all the contours of the gun.
  • Let it dry for a week.
  • The test with the finished product was to put the gun in the holster and hold the gun by the grip. The holster should not drop off. Then just tap the holster with your finger. That should make the holster drop off. That was the perfect fit.
I thought that was some interesting lore.
 

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Welcome to the forum, Joesoph, from Arizona. Glad to have you aboard. I've used the gun in plastic bags (couple of grocery bags work fine) to "seat" a gun to it's holster a few times with success. Give it at least a couple of days, just stuck in deep. If the holster is made for the gun properly, it should fine tune it for a good fit.
 
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Just a note on this process and it's application. Depending on the rig and who built it, doing this may actually harm the rig, always check with the holster maker before you do any modifications just to make sure what they recommend to insure they will still stand behind the holster.

One other possible snag is depending on how the rig is actually finished and sealed you may cause some issues there. Really most holsters are designed in such a way that wetmolding is done in the middle of the process and going back to do it after the rig is finished isn't really something I would normally recommend. Just my 2 cents of course. If it were one of my rigs, I would much rather the customer shoot me a note, I'd take it back and probably rebuild it and send them out a new rig that fit properly.

Take care!

Luke

Luke: After about 40,000 holsters produced over the years I must agree with you on this.

Wet-forming is done right after final assembly and stitching. Then the leather is sealed and finished, which may involve the use of oils, acrylics, lacquers, and other proprietary processes. Attempting to alter the fit by repeating the wet-forming process is likely to result in more damage than any possible gain. As a minimum, the sealing and finishing processes will need to be repeated, and the results are likely to be less than the best.

I always warranted my holsters against any defects in materials or workmanship for a period of one year following delivery, with a clearly stated provision that any modification whatsoever would void that warranty. I could write a book about the trash that was sent back to me after someone attempted to fix a perceived problem.

Contact the holster maker and follow the recommendations you are provided. I spent 43 years making leather holsters and I probably forgot more than most of the "experts" know today.
 
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