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Help making a quality holster.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Holsters and Accessories' started by DasFriek, Nov 21, 2010.

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  1. DasFriek

    DasFriek Member

    Jun 5, 2009
    I know deep down id be better off buying one from a pro as ive seen good ones at $60, But if i do that it will never fit perfectly.
    But also i have tons of time as i dont work a real job, And ive been into ccw now 1.5 years so i know what guns i want to carry and where i want to carry them.

    Ive made more than 10 handmade from scratch or ones that i bought and modified to my liking so i know what im getting into.

    Tandy is the leather place im told and i do have one locally within 1 hour drive and i can order online.

    Here is a few things off the top of my head i know i need info on.
    1. What i don't know is about buying leather. Weights and cuts and finishes.
    2. Basic tools i need and keep the expense low as possible.
    3. Teaching in hand stitching,forming and final finishing.

    All questions at this point apply to IWB holsters as thats what i need atm.
    As per #1 what size weights are used for what?
    Backing for a flat IWB holster with a kydex front rivited on would be what weight? Like a SuperTuck.
    If i was making a IWB with dual straps on each side like a bat wing what weight would you use? Too thick would be uncomfy since its 2 layers of leather. This is what id like my first "Real" holster to resemble:

    I may buy snaps and straps to keep things simple, But even if i make my own ive done it before. I am not interested in tooling and making it "Pretty" besides using a mix of leather types and colors that make it pretty, I dont find tooling pretty personally.

    Ive also worked with Kydex which is related to this, Whats the best weight you find to easily work with but not so thick it doesn't "give" some when bent.
    Knifekits.com is where ive bought from before.
    Other places you suggest?

    Please link any place that sells leather,tools and accessories like kydex and straps and snaps.

    Now im gonna say lastly im gonna go about this as cheaply and as minimal as possible and buy better and more as i go. I always seem to need a new holsters and this i think is much better than buying off Ebay and looking fror a good brand name. And as i go i will upgrade as i see the need.
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    The good folks at the Tandy store will have everything you need, or be able to get it. The also offer excellent and knowledgeable advise for free. Take a paper pattern with you, as they may be able to find an odd piece of leather it will fit on, and save you the expense of having to buy more then you need.

    When I was making holsters for myself, a friend showed me a neat trick to use on heavy leather (5 oz. and up). He would lay out where the stitching would go with what is called an overstitch wheel, and then drill small holes through the leather with a "Yankee" hand drill. This made it a lot easier to do the actual stitching later, and it looked as good as machine stitching.
  3. DasFriek

    DasFriek Member

    Jun 5, 2009
    Good advice as useing a needle and pliers sure gets old fast.
    Im gonna try and visit the Tandy store locally here soon.
  4. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Deep in the Ozarks
    I go with 7 to 8 ounces. Get a good grade of leather, though.

    The essential tools are:

    • A pencil to mark the leather for cutting.
    • A straight edge to guide straight cuts and to measure.
    • A sharp knife to cut the leather out. A box cutter or Xacto with disposable blades works fine.
    • A stitching wheel to mark the stitches -- you can also use a narrow screwdriver blade, pressing it into the leather along the stitch line to mark the stitches.
    • An awl -- mine was made from a screwdriver and ground to a diamond cross-section and hardened.
    • A pair of needle nose pliers to pull the needle.
    • A blunt-nosed needle (a pointed one will dig in and not follow the hole punched by your awl or drill.)
    • A drill -- I use a drill press and a small bit sized to fit the needle.
    • A punch set. I use chicago screws (also called post screws) to attach Kydex belt loops to my tuckable IWBs, and the punch is used to make the holes. I also use the punch to lay out belt slots.
    • A wide chisel -- used in conjunction with the punch to cut belt slots.

    I learned by doing -- the key to hand stitching is to make a lock stitch. Simply go down the seam, turn and come back, so there is no leather showing between stitch holes.

    Forming is easy -- wet the leather, either with alcohol or warm water, and put the gun in a Baggie. Force it into the holster, use a smooth tool (a toothbrush handle works fine) to form the leather around the gun. Let it dry for a few hours, then remove the gun and let the leather dry for two or three days. When you start using the gun, inspect it frequently to see if the leather is truly dry.
  5. RugerFirepower

    RugerFirepower Member

    Nov 6, 2010

    This link has been a great help to me, making my first pancake holster a few months ago. It discusses all the steps with all the tools. You can choose to work with fewer tools (or more basic tools, like a normal knife, instead of a fancy blade as in step 4).

    The leather you'd want is vegetable tanned (or just veg tan), 7-9 oz., and preferably shoulder (with belly leather you have a risk that it'll be stretchy, something you don't want for a proper holster).

    Good luck!

    Attached Files:

  6. DasFriek

    DasFriek Member

    Jun 5, 2009
    Thanks for the info, I still have a few tools to get and ill be partially done with my IWB holster for my 1911. Ive added some modifications to some current holsters and they came out well.
    Im just waiting to do the molding on the leather and ill be ready to get to the fun parts.
  7. EVIL

    EVIL Member

    May 2, 2010
    Wright-Patterson AFB
    check this link out:


    there is a whole subforum devoted to holster craft...this was my go-to question place when I began making holsters a few years ago...

    good luck & enjoy

    There is very little that can match the feeling of personal pride carrying a handgun in which you made the gunleather...
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2010
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