Holster Break-In

One of my favorite commercially available holsters is the Galco Royal Guard. It is a horsehide holster made with the rough side out and has a smooth leather pocket with a reinforced mouth. It has been my daily carry for almost 2 years.


I’ve always wanted to try out Galco’s Summer Comfort holster made of premium saddle leather, but I didn’t like the natural tan color they offered. Gotta match the belt, you know. If only they made ‘em in black…

P1010027Well, a few weeks ago I noticed we were getting some in that were black so I decided to check one out.

I am constantly amazed at how often customers bring back their new holsters complaining that it’s too small, the gun doesn’t fit, or worse yet the handgun is stuck in the holster. When I try to explain that high quality holsters like these are made with a tight fit and will require a break-in period, more than half balk at the idea, instead opting to exchange their $80.00+ holsters for something of the cheap nylon variety. (Not there’s anything wrong with cheap nylon holsters, each has its place.)

I like stiffness in leather so I don’t use any sort of oil on a holster. I don’t twist or knead an empty holster to stretch it out to get it to fit. This will eventually soften the holster and lessen retention and boning, turning your new holster into a large limp noodle.

Here’s how I break-in a new holster:

First, using an unloaded handgun (check it, now check it again), I holster the pistol several times. If it gets stuck, hold the holster in one hand, pistol in the other and gently twist the two in opposite directions while pulling. After repeatedly holstering 20 or so times, I leave the handgun in the holster overnight. Then I put it on and wear it for the day.

P1010024If it’s still too tight, as all mine have been, I block it out a bit, wrapping the unloaded handgun (check, check, check) with a layer or two of wax paper. Work the handgun in and out a few times and let it sit overnight. If it is still too tight, you can keep adding a layer or two each time until you get it close to the desired fit. This may take several days.  Remember, once it’s stretched, it’s stretched, you cannot shrink it back! I finish the process by repeatedly drawing the weapon while the holster is actually being worn. Body heat, movement and use allow everything to conform to your body and handgun.

You have to be patient. Take your time and you’ll be rewarded with a perfect fit.


How do you break in your holsters?

3 Responses to Holster Break-In

  1. LibertyNews says:

    I wear them. I use holsters from http://www.danddgunleather.com/ and I always just load ’em up and start wearing them. They loosen up a little after a week or so, but still have good weapon retention.

  2. pdb says:

    I buy Kydex holsters. 🙂

  3. mike w. says:

    The waxpaper method is by far the best remedy for a stiff holster. Another method is using plastic grocery bags and letting the gun sit in the holster overnight. DO NOT OIL A NEW HOLSTER !!! I have seen many people ruin a perfectly good and in most cases very expensive holster by using lube.
    A little patience goes a long way!

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