fitting your gun to your holster


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gutterman
January 20, 2014, 07:43 PM
I have a Galco holster OWB- it is for my Sig SP2022. It fits my Sig P220 very well, but is real tight for the 2022 because of the rail. Not so tight that it won't work, but too tight if I EVER have to draw the gun. I have heard of wetting the holster with water, then wrapping the gun in plastic wrap and inserting it until the holster is dry, therefore forming the gun to the holster. If anyone has tried this method, let me know how wet to get the holster, and how long it should take for the finished product. Thanks.

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oldillini
January 20, 2014, 08:44 PM
I have not heard of that method. I have a leather pancake style OWB for my 1911. It wasn't too tight when it was off the belt, but was really tight when I strapped it on the belt. The contours of the body tightened it around the gun making it nearly impossible to draw. Since I couldn't wear it for hours at a time, I would wrap the holster, with the gun in it, with a small belt to mimic the shape of my waist. Let it sit this way for several days in my gun safe. Everything stretched fine and I can now easily draw and reholster without easily.

rcmodel
January 20, 2014, 08:58 PM
Try putting a couple layers of blue masking tape on the tight spots on the gun.
Then put it in the holster, and wear it on you belt for half a day.
Then leave in the holster over-night.

It should be perfect when you tale the tape off the gun.

rc

herrwalther
January 20, 2014, 09:18 PM
I have heard of using the bag and water method to slightly stretch the leather to be a better fit for a firearm. In fact I remember seeing this method on a website for leather holsters. (Quickly checked High Noon, wasn't them) This method will work with or without the water. Leather stretches with time and repetition.

thefish
January 21, 2014, 12:17 AM
I wouldn't wet the holster. But I have heard of using a plastic grocery bag or dress sock over the gun and let it sit in the holster for a few days or whenever you are not wearing it. That will help stretch it. Or rcmodels tape suggestion.

The more you wear it and put the gun in and out will help it break the shape in.

JTQ
January 21, 2014, 09:15 AM
Wrapping the gun in a plastic bag, Saran wrap, or waxed paper and inserting it into the holster for a few hours or over night should work just fine. I would not wet the holster.

I have a Galco holster OWB- it is for my Sig SP2022. It fits my Sig P220 very well, but is real tight for the 2022 because of the rail.
Did you check the number coding on the holster packaging with Galco? Doesn't the P220 have a 4.4" barrel and the SP2022 have a 3.9" barrel? I'd be surprised to find a P220 fits in a holster designed for an SP2022.

Greg528iT
January 21, 2014, 11:43 AM
I'm not sure why people are saying to NOT wet the leather. Almost every article I've read on creating a leather holster involves getting the leather wet to loosen it, allow it to form to the gun and then dry in place. Yes a leather holster with a good finish on the outside will not absorb as much water as one unfinished, that just means you need to apply water to the back side. Since the gun will need to reside in the holster for many many hours while the leather drys, you will need to protect the gun from the water. Wrap in in saran wrap or other. You can even hose the gun down with gun oil before you wrap it if you wish a good water seal.

Using the blunt end of a sharpie marker cap, rub the leather into the shape of the gun (in this case rail)

ALLOW the holster to dry. We do not want it to rot.

remove the gun and ensure the inside also has time to dry. It should be mostly dry but just to make sure.

wrap the gun in plastic again or blue tape.. insert and withdraw the gun several several times until you get the proper retention and draw resistance.

http://www.czfirearms.us/index.php?topic=14661.0

JTQ
January 21, 2014, 12:06 PM
Greg528iT wrote,
I'm not sure why people are saying to NOT wet the leather. Almost every article I've read on creating a leather holster involves getting the leather wet to loosen it, allow it to form to the gun and then dry in place.

Because nearly every holster maker tells you not to do that.

From Milt Sparks website. http://www.miltsparks.com

My holster is too tight! What's the best way to break it in?

Tightness in a new holster is not uncommon and is much preferable to the alternative. If the draw is a little stiff at first, it is recommended that you work with it to see if it doesn't loosen up with a bit of use. About 25 to 50 presentations should be a good indicator of whether the holster will break in sufficiently on its own or if maybe a little blocking out of the leather is in order. There are many variables as to why a holster would be excessively tight ranging from the texture of your guns finish, to slight changes in climate or humidity from where the holster is made. Regardless of the reason, a too tight holster can easily be remedied by the end user with a method we have been recommending to customers for over 30 years.

To block out (stretch) your new holster first UNLOAD your pistol or revolver and place the gun into the 4 mil plastic bag that your new holster was packaged in. Then carefully insert the bagged gun all the way into the holster (do not! I repeat, do not!! wet or spray the holster with any solution to aid in the stretching process). The blocking out process as described above will in no way harm the crisp detailed molding of your new holster, nor will it ruin its retention qualities. It serves simply to stretch the leather a few thousands of an inch larger than the gun. The amount of stretching time needed for satisfactory results range from a just a few minutes to overnight. Any clarifications or concerns on the above, or if you would rather we talk you through the process, then please call us.

Greg528iT
January 21, 2014, 12:34 PM
Because nearly every holster maker tells you not to do that.


That's because they want to sell you a new holster. From the OPs description he is trying to fit a rail gun into a non rail gun holster. Most rail guns I've seen the shape is different enough from a non rail version gun that you really should reshape the leather to accommodate the addition of the rail. 25-50 presentations really wont do much. We are talking square peg in a round hole here.

It serves simply to stretch the leather a few thousands of an inch larger than the gun.
Most rails I've seen are way bigger than a few thousands of an inch.
and yes, if you wet it enough you may lose all those nice sharp lines a pretty factory holster would have. If you want to retain the trigger and ejection port mold lines, be careful to only wet the area where the rail is.

JTQ
January 21, 2014, 12:54 PM
Greg528iT wrote,
From the OPs description he is trying to fit a rail gun into a non rail gun holster.
The OP said he has a holster for his SIG SP2022. They all have rails.

gutterman wrote,
I have a Galco holster OWB- it is for my Sig SP2022.
It is certainly possible it is a generic fit holster, listing a half dozen or so pistols that will fit that holster. However, as I mentioned earlier, I find it odd that a SIG P220 would fit and not the SP2022 that the holster is designed for.

That's because they want to sell you a new holster.
I think the reason they recommend against wetting it, is they don't want to have to get into the warrantee/returns issue if you soak your holster trying to get the gun to fit and end up ruining it. Sure, nearly all holster makers wet mould their holsters, but they are trained professionals and they know what they're doing. If your gun won't fit, I'd either try blocking it with a bag or just send it back for one that will fit. I'm not going to soak my holster.

Greg528iT
January 21, 2014, 01:25 PM
OK.. led a bit of track here.
The pictures of SIG 220s I've seen.. most do NOT have a rail.

Per the Galco web site. they offer holster selections for Sig P220s and Sig P220s with rails. I AssUMed they had different holsters for guns with and without rails. At this point it's probably best he return the holster and acquire one specifically for a railed gun.

If he is willing to modify his existing holster, the only way I know of to make enough room for a rail would be to wet the leather. It's just too big a differential. He will risk losing the ability to return the holster. If he is anything like most that post here, he will acquire MORE holsters than he has guns. Ask RC, he has a closet full of shoulder rigs, none that fit quite right, none that he returned. :)

Greg528iT
January 21, 2014, 01:52 PM
If anyone has tried this method, let me know how wet to get the holster, and how long it should take for the finished product. Thanks.

If you are willing to try. I would wet a sponge, typical dish washing size, not dripping but not wrung dry either. Fold the sponge over and push in from the bottom to just where the rail is until the leather is damp, and remove sponge. Having pre wrapped your gun in plastic, press the gun in place, massage just the rail area with your fingers and set aside to dry. With the gun in place and the good finish on the outside it may take overnight for the leather to dry most of the way. remove the gun and allow good ventilation for the holster to continue to dry.

After it's dry dry.. follow previous instructions as to get the proper fit.

JTQ
January 21, 2014, 01:54 PM
Greg528iT wrote,
OK.. led a bit of track here.
The pictures of SIG 220s I've seen.. most do NOT have a rail.

Per the Galco web site. they offer holster selections for Sig P220s and Sig P220s with rails. I AssUMed they had different holsters for guns with and without rails. At this point it's probably best he return the holster and acquire one specifically for a railed gun.
Yes, but again, the OP stated...

I have a Galco holster OWB- it is for my Sig SP2022.
If in fact it is a Galco holster for a SIG SP2022, not SIG P220 or SIG P220R, the holster should be designed for a railed gun as all SIG SP2022's have a rail.

Certainly, it is possible the holster was miss marked by Galco, or the OP may have miss read the label and bought a holster for a SIG P220 rather than an SP2022, but a holster for a SIG SP2022 should be designed for a gun with a rail as the SP2022 is a railed pistol.

Greg528iT
January 21, 2014, 03:29 PM
Galco does NOT list a holster for a SP2022. (per the current web site, which I checked before post #11. If they had offered one I would have said so there.
Thus I am suspecting it is a Holster for a P220 non rail.

aarondhgraham
January 21, 2014, 05:58 PM
Because nearly every holster maker tells you not to do that.

I'm a long-time holster maker and I disagree with the above statement.

But here is what may change if you wet-form the holster:
The color of the leather might alter a bit to be darker,,,
Sometimes metal rivets and/or snaps will form a bit of rust,,,
You can over-wet the holster so that it will lose what form it had from the factory,,,

First off, wrap your gun in about 5 to 6 feet of Saran Wrap,,,
Then fill the sink with water and dunk the entire holster for a second or two,,,
Then pat the excess water off of the leather with a cloth towel and insert the wrapped gun.

Work the gun in and out of the holster several times over a few minutes,,,
That creates the "channel" the holster will drop into,,,
Then simply let the holster dry for the night.

Don't "soak" the holster,,,
Don't let it dry without forming the channel,,,
When it's completely dry (24 hours) apply a tiny amount of any leather conditioner.

I've done this for customers so many times I can't count them all,,,
The one and only time I ran into trouble was with a cheap un-lined holster,,,
The water-based dye they used was only a surface coat (paint) and it dissolved in a few places.

I had to scrub the remaining dye/paint and recolor the leather.

Good luck,,,

Aarond

.

dickydalton
January 22, 2014, 12:18 AM
Wow! Don't do this.... Don't do that..... Can't you read the signs????

TAKtical
January 22, 2014, 03:38 AM
we are taking about Galco here. their fit problems are very common. if your holster was dipped in acrylic, your not going to stretch it. went through this with a summer comfort some years ago.

CHighfield
January 22, 2014, 04:35 PM
Any leather (holster, belt, antique armor, sheath, saddle, etc etc) can be wetted to help in forming. The problem occurs when it dries.

The quicker the wetting solution (water, oil, lotion) dries the more brittle the leather becomes.

Water dries more quickly than leather lotion. Therefore lotion leaves the leather supple after use.

You can use a lotion that is safe for the leather (won't degrade finish) and safe for the gun (same thing) and you should be perfectly fine.

rayban
January 22, 2014, 07:29 PM
The cow stood out in the rain a lot while it was alive....why would a little water bother it now that it's dead?
I don't believe getting leather wet is a bad thing, it's how you dry it that can be harmful.
In the making of a holster, the leather meets lots of water....
With a finished holster I only use water if the holster is so tight that you can't get the gun in it in the first place. I spray the inside of the holster lightly, try fitting the gun in...won't go? more spray, til the gun (wrapped in plastic) will fully seat where you want it to.
Let it dry at room temp.....no direct heat source. Apply a new coat of finish.

gutterman
January 22, 2014, 09:45 PM
WOW! Well I " lightly " wet the interior of the holster where the rail sits on the sp2022 and wrapped the gun ( the2022) and inserted it fully into the holster. Waiting for it to dry. My initial post stated the holster was for a sp2022--well I messed up there-- the holster is for the p220 and I'm trying to get it to fit the sp2022. Sorry about the confusion-i could tell I had a few replies that were trying too figure out just what I had and what I was trying to achieve. Thanks for all replies and I'll post the results.

RetiredUSNChief
January 22, 2014, 10:02 PM
The cow stood out in the rain a lot while it was alive....why would a little water bother it now that it's dead?
I don't believe getting leather wet is a bad thing, it's how you dry it that can be harmful.
In the making of a holster, the leather meets lots of water....
With a finished holster I only use water if the holster is so tight that you can't get the gun in it in the first place. I spray the inside of the holster lightly, try fitting the gun in...won't go? more spray, til the gun (wrapped in plastic) will fully seat where you want it to.
Let it dry at room temp.....no direct heat source. Apply a new coat of finish.

Because the cow standing out in the rain a lot while it was alive was (insert drum roll here) ALIVE. And the cow hide the cow was wrapped in was living tissue. Cut it and it would bleed...and then heal.

Leather is not living tissue any more. It's been carefully preserved, colored, and textured by various treatments. Cut it and it doesn't bleed...and it doesn't heal, either.

Mistreat the leather (which is what people are really talking about here when they say "don't do" something) and you have to be the one who applies the loving care for it in order to restore it to it's best condition.

BSA1
January 22, 2014, 10:08 PM
Waster will not hurt good quality leather.

At one point in my misspent life I sold boots...both Western and Work. The best way to break them is to soak them inside and out with water and wear them all day until they are dry. Most folks will not take time to do that so we would stretch them with rubbing alcohol and a blow dryer as it only took 10 - 15 minutes.

A holster is as good as quality as a good pair of boots. But we don't need to soak it to get a better fit. A little water to dampen the leather will be enough.

torqem
January 22, 2014, 11:08 PM
I use a heat gun. :-) But not on leather,of course. Bill Jordan said to use rubbing alcohol to "wet" the leather holster, and the plastic bag trick. What I always found to be the case was that leather, unless it is double thickness stuff, wears "loose' mighty quickly. Rough side out IWB rigs look like hell after a year of your sweat, and fall apart in another year (lots of draw practice, tho). Kydex is hell for wear on blueing, tho. You have to degrease the gun, put on 2 coats of car wax, and keep re waxing it. This also prevents rust, tho, so it's helpful. you can't mix wax with solvents or oils/greases tho. You are stuck using graphite or molybdenum disulfide lubes. me, I just expect wear marks on the practice gun, wd40 it frequently, and shoot the hell out of it (I cast bullets and reload, of course).

for stiff, long lasting holsters, the leather can't be tanned the way almost all leather is tanned. That tanning softens the hide. Leather rigs are so grossly overpriced that I don't even consider them anymore. I try not to pay that much for the GUN, much less a mere way to carry it.

Hokkmike
January 23, 2014, 12:00 AM
I always try to get the gun manufacturer's recommendation on the right holster for the model I'm trying to fit.

One holster for each handgun.

gutterman
January 23, 2014, 09:52 PM
Well--I ended up lightly wetting the holster at the "rail" end then inserting a golf ball into the holster to stretch it out- then placed it in my safe for overnight. Took it out this afternoon and the sp2022 fits it like a glove with just enough retention for safe carry. Who woulda thunk it?

rayban
January 23, 2014, 11:47 PM
Wet the inside, stretch it out....what a great idea.

Chocolate Bayou
January 31, 2014, 03:51 PM
I'm an old baseball player and when we would get new gloves, first thing is rub in some "glove oil" then put a in ball or two and wrap with bungee cord. Might have to do it a time or two, but always ended up with perfect pocket. Never used water!

Jenrick
February 1, 2014, 12:14 AM
aarondhgraham has the correct answer.

I wont bother scanning in the text, but John Bianchi (of Bianchi holsters and the Bianchi Cup) wrote book years ago title "Blue Steel and Gun Leather." In it he discusses the holster making process, such as boning the leather when casing, and includes a good section on how to fit a holster that is slightly off.

He recommends submerging the holster in water (with a small bit of dish soap to help the wetting action), for a brief period of time. Not until the holster is sodden, but so that it is wetted. Then insert the weapon (without any sort of bagging, plastic, socks, etc.) and press the leather firmly into the desired contours using a smooth rounded instrument such as a boning tool, or the rounded handle of kitchen knife. Then remove the weapon (clean and oil it) and allow the holster to dry.

I have followed these instructions on numerous occasions and they work wonders to achieve a custom fit for the weapon.

-Jenrick

788Ham
February 1, 2014, 12:56 AM
I've got a Bianchi holster for my SP 101 revolver, the holster fit like a glove right off, but you couldn't get the revolver out of that sucker when you were wearing it. Some guy told me about a leather product, "KG9 micro PTFE leather-Kote. I got some, rubbed it inside the holster where high portions of the revolver showed in the inside. I tried it, works like a charm, now I had to rub it in good, not slop it in there, but put on an old T-shirt and rub into the leather. It still fits tight as ever, but slides out when needed.

Red Cent
February 11, 2014, 03:55 PM
aarondhgraham is spot on. All leather holster makers will use water to help make the leather pliable for molding to the gun. Don't use hot water and just for a couple of seconds.
I have a large dowel rod that looks like a screwdriver and is polished and coated with beeswax. I use this to open the holster (after wetting) to make it loads easier to start the gun.
The steps may be different but usually we oil (Neatsfoot or olive oil), dye, cut and sand, glue, and sew. With most competition holsters, they are two ply and very difficult to mold. Water. Won't hurt at all.

Education
http://leatherworker.net/forum/

Vodoun da Vinci
February 15, 2014, 08:56 AM
Probably too late on this topic but I just received my first tuckable holster for my Beretta Px4 subcompact on Thursday. Mine is a "Hidden Ally" by High Noon. Loosened the tension screw a little and it took quite some effort to seat the gun....drawing was impossible out of the box.

So, I have been wearing this holster around the house and let it get good and warm...went on about my chores and even did a couple light workouts with it on. Push ups, stretching, and stuff and worked up a little sweat...not dripping but moisture and body heat, ya know?

Left the gun in the holster overnight the last two nights. It really started to loosen up and mold itself to the gun in the tight spots. Started drawing it and practicing working draws from being tucked...wow. Just wow.

Long story short (at least with the High Noon light duty holsters...) just wear 'em around the house and forcibly draw the gun repeatedly and firmly/forcibly seat it and work it from the outside with yer hands. This one has formed to the gun perfectly and holds the gun tight even doing jumping jacks and stretching/bending and push ups under a T-Shirt and then draws like glass. Takes two hands to holster again but I expected that from a deep concealment super thin and comfortable holster....but my draws are super clean and smooth and the holster fits like molded after 2 days.

No water - no mess - no bother really. Just body heat, pressure, and a little time. YMMV but this worked like a charm and I'll be buying more holsters of this type and fitting/breaking them in like this for my Glock 26 and others. By the way, I'm wearing these at 1 o'clock as a straight drop appendix carry.

VooDoo

doubleh
February 15, 2014, 11:15 AM
Any stamped or tooled leather item has been wet. Do it how you want but the gun, some saran wrap, and a quick dunk in cold water will do the job and only takes overnight.

aarondhgraham
February 15, 2014, 01:47 PM
...but usually we oil (Neatsfoot or olive oil),

I was wondering if I was the only maker that has used olive oil,,,
An old tack maker in Southern California told me it was all he used,,,
What it does different than neatsfoot oil is not darken the leather so much

Just remember to get the Extra Virgin type,,,
And whatever you do don't make the same mistake I once did.

I didn't look at the bottle closely enough in the store,,,
Garlic infused olive oil makes for one funky smelling holster. :barf:

Aarond

.

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