Storing Guns In Leather Holsters


August 10, 2003, 08:38 AM
I just want to remind everyone about the rusting hazard invoved with leaving a pistol encased in a leather holster for extended periods. This is common knowledge among most of us who have been gun nuts for a long time but a problem that some newbies may not be aware of.
One of my fishing buddies has a Walther PPK/S all stainless that he keeps in the glove box of his pickup encased in a leather belt slide holster. His theory was, "it's stainless it can't rust." Wrong!!! On Friday we decided to take a few guns to the indoor range to get out of the rain that's been falling over West Central Florida for what seems like forever. After we shot up most of our ammo, Pete thought about the PPK/S in the glove box and decided to shoot a box through it. Well, when he came back in he was darn near in tears. He hadn't looked at the PPK/S for several months and it had deep corrosion pits all over the sharp edges of the slide and trigger guard. Needless to say he was pissed at his own ignorance about leaving a gun encased in a leather holster for extended periods especially in the humid environment we live in here in Florida. Leather holds moisture and we all know what that can do to our firearms. Blued guns, long and short are really prone to rusting. In Florida, if it's blued you're screwed, if you don't take good care of your firearms.
Just thought I'd pass this real life experience on and hopefully prevent the damage and heart break my pal suffered. By the way, the pits were so deep they couldn't be polished out and the barrel had pitted badly also. Maybe it could be repaired but the cost is just prohibitive. He's going to order a new barrel and leave it in the glove box, but not in it's holster and not for months on end.

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Old Fuff
August 10, 2003, 09:22 AM
You're observations are correct, and this is especially true in, as you point out, high humidity or damp environments. I have two suggestions:

1. Put two coats of automobile wax (not polish) on the gun. This won't hurt regardless of what it is made of, and is much better then grease or oil.

2. Brownells ( sell some little tabs about a 1/2" square. Drop one or two of them into a plastic zip-lock bag along with the gun and "zip it up." The tabs will give off a vapor that protects the gun from rust. If you wish you can holster the bagged handgun.

These are also good ideas for household storage. Do not store any firearm in a sealed plastic bag without some kind of VIP (Vapor Inhibitor Paper) protection.

August 10, 2003, 11:18 AM
Leather is a very poor storage medium. I have a model 19 that belonged to my uncle, and he left it in a holster for a year or so. It now sports pits on the cylinder, 180 degrees apart where the cylinder was in contact with the leather, and this was in California, where there's little to no humidity.

It really doesn't make sense to take the risk.

August 10, 2003, 11:28 AM
I carry in leather, but take it out as soon as I get home.

Too bad for the Walther... would have made me cry for sure.

We do have a semi humidity problem here in AZ, it's called evaporative cooling and/or the monsoons!

August 10, 2003, 01:12 PM
Fuff,(and all)
Wax or grease the leather inside the holster too. Kinney shoes used to sell waterproofing ?gunk? for leather boots. It was some kind of gooey wax. I smeared it inside of both of my leather holsters then wiped it off and let it dry. I let my Italian replica 1851 Colt revolver sit inside one of those smeared holsters for,,,lordy,,,5/6? years? and it came out none the worse for it.

It probably sets up a moisture barrier on the inside that forces the moisture to go out the oustside of the leather.

I'm partial to leather holsters and sheaths instead of plastic, so I use wax on the inside of all of them. May or may not be a cure all, and I wouldn't trust it 100% but it helps.

August 10, 2003, 02:26 PM
I never leave my guns in their leather holsters. Even stainless steel can't withstand that, especially in Georgia's humidity. The only guns I leave in the holsters for any length of time are my Glocks, and their holsters are made of Kydex, not leather.

August 11, 2003, 10:26 AM
While I was researching products to clean/lubricate/protect my new baby (Steyr M40; still don't have it yet, but that's another story :cuss: ), I came across something on WWW.FP10.COM about leather and gun corrosion. Now, I'm not endorsing this product...just passing along some information that you might find either useful or entertaining, depending on your views on this subject. Here's the link (

Personally, although I plan to use FP-10 on my M40, I don't plan to use it in my holster (a High Noon Slide Guard) . Not because I disagree with FP-10's assertions; it's just that I don't plan to store my gun in the holster, and I also don't want to do anything that may void my holster's warranty.

August 11, 2003, 10:37 AM
How about nylon cases? Do they also cause metal to rust?

I wish to keep my vintage rifle in something padded inside the safe, so it doesn't get banged up by other rifles or my clumsiness taking it in and out of the safe.

Old Fuff
August 11, 2003, 11:30 AM

Nylon or other "plastic" cases can cause rust if they are not made out of woven material that will permit moisture to evaporate. The best thing too do is enclose the gun in a sealed plastic bag WITH A PIECE OF VAPOR INHIBITOR PAPER. Then the bagged gun can be but in a nylon (or whatever) case for physical protection. The VIP will do as it says, give off a vapor in the sealed environment that prevents rust.

Brownells ( carry a full line of long-term storage supplies and materials of all kinds. If you don't have they're catalog you should get one.

August 11, 2003, 11:47 AM
Yet another reason Kydex is superior to leather?

August 11, 2003, 06:04 PM
Thanks for the insight masterchief. I'm a newbie and didn't know that. As I was sitting watching tv and surfing THR, my J frame was sitting in it's leather holster on the table. It's now out of the holster after reading that post.

August 11, 2003, 06:27 PM
I leave my glock in a horse hide holster all the time......0 problems. Big advantage of glocks is no rusting problems.

Old Fuff
August 11, 2003, 07:25 PM

The West isn't always dry. During the summer thunder storms are common in the Southwest, and until thing dry out the humidity will be in the high 90's. That's damp enough to get rust started, holster or not.

August 11, 2003, 07:34 PM
Thanks for the advice. I'll pull the carbine out of the nylon tonight.

Another reason to dig into the Brownell's catalog again.... just what I needed!

August 11, 2003, 11:11 PM
True. Don't store guns in leather holsters. Also wipe them down regularly if you live in a humid environment.

August 12, 2003, 03:58 AM
I've had a blued Mdl #10 in a lined ankle holster for the last ten years with no negative results--
I wipe it down every few months--
Don't know if they still make that lining--It's green--

August 12, 2003, 10:44 AM
As a machinist friend likes to say, stainless is not stainless, it stains less than carbon.

about rusty ppk's, a guy I know (not a friend) was mad with his roomie, so when he moved out he took the guy's Walther, dipped it in salt water, wiped off the outside, and put it back in the case. my policy, never mess with a person's sidearm or dog.

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