Leather Holster: will they shrink?


April 3, 2012, 06:47 AM
This year I received back from a relative a revolver I purchased 11 years ago (Charter Arms Bulldog .44spl). Decided I'd carry it everyone now and then. I didn't want to sink a lot of money into it so I purchased a new leather holster off ebay for around $40. There was no way I was going to sink much more money into a quality holster like I have in past for my 1911's and Hi-Powers.

Yesterday holster arrrived and it's not so hot of quality (which didn't surprise me), and a little large but managable. I'm not going to send it back since I knew what to expect before I even ordered it and will eat crow for buying it.

The question is: can you take a low quality leather holster and have it shrink down just a tad for a tighter fit? The leather is so soft I can almost bend it in half. Soak it in water than dry in sun or something? Just curious. If not like I said it's still servicable but a tad sloppy. Thanks!

If you enjoyed reading about "Leather Holster: will they shrink?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
April 3, 2012, 07:06 PM
No one?

Old Fuff
April 3, 2012, 07:39 PM
Without knowing more about the holster it's hard to make an informed opinion. That said...

Take the holster and give it a quick dunk in a sink filled with warm water. The idea is to get it wet, but not soaked. If you go to far let it dry out a bit at room temperture, and nothing hotter.

Take the revolver and put it into a plastic bag. Insert the wrapped gun into the holster and then using your fingers mold the leather arround the gun and set it aside to dry for at least several hours, or overnight - again at room temperture.

Remove the gun and let the holster dry for another 24 hours. Then take the gun (without the bag) and see if the fit is any better.

If not you probably have a lost cause, and in any case it will get on the loose side again over time.

Quality holsters are expensive for a reason... :uhoh:

April 3, 2012, 07:57 PM
Not being a leather expert but, having had to deal with a similar situation, I'd say, no.

If it were me, I'd just throw in the drawer with all the other wrong holster I've bought and chalk it up to experience

April 3, 2012, 08:23 PM
Agreed with Byrd. Gun leather should not be as soft as you described. Spend a few more $$ and you will see a difference.
You are not the first or last to make this mistake. Been there done that.
I have had great experience with http://www.lobogunleather.com/.

April 4, 2012, 07:20 PM
Try taking some thin pieces of leather and glue them to the inside of the holster at the areas where you think they need to tighten against the gun.
Use contact cement and apply to both surfaces, let dry for about 10 minutes then press on the leather as best you can.
The areas are probably at the mouth and along the slide ....so they should not be too hard to do.
Think of it as installing a liner to areas.

Just another option for ya.


P.S......Old Fuff's way will also work, but I would use a warm flow of air to dry, like a space heater, the warm air will make the leather shrink a little more. of course ,do not leave it on over-night.

April 5, 2012, 12:15 AM
Easy to stretch, but almost impossible to shrink.

You could possibly add some stitches in areas to make it smaller.

April 5, 2012, 12:49 AM
I agree with old fluff on his suggestion. It is easier to strech than shrink. Normally leather shrinks when it's dry, which isn't healthy for leather.

If you use the water method make sure you oil ur gun real good;)

April 7, 2012, 12:26 AM
Without seeing the holster I can't be sure you can snug it up with a tension screw or not. Tension screw/s might be installed and tighten it enough for use. Maybe it will keep it out of that "lost cause" drawer.

April 7, 2012, 12:33 AM
I have taken a few funky holsters and snugged up the fit by punching a couple of holes right in front of where the trigger guard sits and lacing a piece of rawhide through them and tieing it off. Best advice is to buy a name brand holster. Many people are manufacturing holsters out of leather that is absolutely unsuitable for the purpose. As you have found.

If you enjoyed reading about "Leather Holster: will they shrink?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!