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Thread: Stretching leather holsters....

  1. #1
    Regular Member TechnoWeenie's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
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    I read up a bit about stretching leather holsters....

    Luckily it's an old one I didn't care about... So if it's completely hosed it's no big deal..

    So I had a G17, and I purchased a G21, the G21 has a slightly wider frame, by a fraction of an inch, and it was a chore to snap the retention snap down on it.. Ie. not something I wanted to carry for defensive purposes...

    Well, in reading, it says dump the holster in warm water and let it sit for about 30 seconds... Which I did...

    The holster curled up a bit, I wrapped the glock in a plastic bag, and forced it into the holster, as the holster had shrunk a wee bit, now tighter than before..

    I figured I'd secure the retention strap, and let it sit overnight (as per instructed), but the retention strap is now about 1/2" too short, and I can't for the life of me even make it CLOSE to closing tight..

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  2. #2
    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Mulligan's Valley

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    What I like to do to stretch leather holsters is cover them in boot oil, and then wrap the gun that goes in the holster in wax paper so that there is extra material to make it stretch. The idea is to make it VERY tight. Then I'll leave it for several hours, or maybe all day or all night. Then, come back, take the wax paper off, test fit it, and redo the procedure if needed.

    The strap itself I would simply cut it and stitch in new material. A half inch stretch on a piece that small could prove impossible.

    This here is the most extreme holster conversion I've ever done. I took a high quality flap .38 revolver holster, and converted it into a well fitting holster for my Sig.

    I cut the flap into the shape of a strap, I cut the strap in half , added in some of the left over leather from the flap by punching holes in it and tying parachute cord strands through the holes, then super gluing it and wrapping it with Hockey tape. Then, I cut the seam out from the section where you see all the bolts. Then I punched the holes for the bolts, put the bolts in, oiled it up, put the wax papered gun in, and tightened the bolts down real tight. Then I let it sit. It reshaped nicely, but it definitely wasn't going to work that tight, so I loosened the bolts, and filled the gap with shoe goo.

    Granted that's a much more extreme conversion than most people will feel like doing, but it serves to prove that your holster is in no way shape or form hosed if you don't want it to be.

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  3. #3
    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    Aug 2008

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    I dunno how you can stretch leather by wetting it. It shrinks... Apparently your retention strap shrank more than the holster...

    I use a liberal soaking in gun oil... or sewing machine oil. I've even used 30w40 motor oil (non-synthetic). My 'stretchers' are water pistols I used to find at a certain drug store. Same size and exact shape for 1911's and P-38's. I've not seen a Glock water pistol. I know they make... red/blue rubber training guns for Glocks... but they're pricey.

    All in all... I pretty much gave up on leather 'full sized'holsters here in the desert, 'cept for my SAA .45 about 4 years ago, altho I still use an M1916 now 'n then. I keep one of the water pistols in all of the holsters for the 1911 while in the storage box so they don't 'shrink'.I keepa replica .45 'cap gun' in the SAA holster. Now I use Bianchi military grade nylon stuff (UM-84) for the 1911 and/or a DM40. I'm not fond of plastic holsters at all.

    For the Glock... you might consider a Bianchi UM-92... unless you're really fond of leather.

    'Only other pistol in 'leather' is the Makarov... and that's in a black DDR Luftwaffe flapped holster. The Germans make good stuff. I've never had to do anything to that holster in the 20 years I've owned it.

  4. #4
    Regular Member
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    Mar 2008
    Falls Church, Virginia, USA

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    Sonora Rebel wrote:
    I dunno how you can stretch leather by wetting it. It shrinks...
    Actually, my experience is that statement is not entirely accurate. Wetting leather makes it elastic, allowing one to stretch it. It shrinks to a size smaller than it was initially as it dries out. If a mold or something else inhibits the shrinking, it retains the stretch once dry. So maybe re-wet the strap, snap it in place, and let it dry that way. If shrinkage tension is enough to pop the snap, maybe you could clamp it snapped, or set up a jig with a spreader clamp or something.

    I have found that a 3/1 mix of water/isopropyl alcohol seems to wet better and allows more stretching than plain water. This cocktail does not discolor the leather. Rather than dip, I paint both sides of the leather with a brush. This allows better control of how wet it gets, and therefore allows it to dry more quickly.

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