how to stretch a leather holster

How to Stretch a Leather Holster

So, do you know how to stretch a leather holster? Finding the perfect leather holster is no easy task.

When looking for one, most people think about how comfortable a holster is while wearing it and what is the best position to wear it in.

They do not think about about stretching a leather holster out, and why it is important.

Sometimes you may think the sizes of the gun and a leather holster match, but after inserting your gun, you may realize it fits too snug. What now? Do you know how to stretch a leather holster?

If this happens to you, don’t worry! You can simply break in or stretch your leather holster.

Why Are Leather Holsters Tight? 

The answer lies in the manufacturing process of making a leather holster. The mold is made from wet, pliable leather which will shrink when dried.  This happens during the natural process of creating a holster where they use pressure to capture the shape and contour of the gun.

Leather will also contract when it gets wet, so if you’re caught in the rain or sweat a lot, your holster may become even tighter.

Why Must You Break in or Stretch Leather Holsters

Here are 5 of the very worst things that can happen if you don’t stretch your leather:

1. You won’t have enough time to draw your weapon in an emergency situation.

2. Your holster could cause scratches on your firearm’s finish.

3. The holster could wear down the finish of your gun over time.

4. You may not be able to holster your weapon while wearing the holster

5. Difficulty removing a gun from a holster increases the risk of an accidental discharge.

How to Stretch or loosen the Holster 

Here are 4 ways you can stretch or loosen your holster for a better fit.

Loosen the Tension Screw

If the rear event your leather holster has tension screws just loosen them according to your preference. This way, your gun can slide in smoother and there won’t be a need to stretch the leather. With time, leather does tend to stretch because of wear and tear. Typically you will only see tenison screws in holsters made of hard material like Kydex.

How to Stretch a Leather Holster

Break in the Leather

Start by wrapping the gun in something that protects its finish. When you wrap it, leave only the handle exposed for you to have a firm grip when you insert the firearm. Insert the gun and give it a few twists to help expand the leather. Leave the holster in this position overnight. The next day remove the gun from the holster and the wrapping. Insert only the gun back in the holster. At this point it may feel looser and easier to draw and insert. If it doesn’t live up to your expectations yet, repeat the process.

Adjust the Retention Strap

The retention strap also contributes to the gun not fitting in the holster. When you stretch the leather, you may also want to do the same to the retention strap. If you don’t it may be difficult to close the holster while the gun is inserted.

Loosen the strap by holding it and pull on it while you put the firearm in the holster. You can also twist the strap as you pull it. Leave it like this overnight and this will break in the leather. When the strap is stretched, your gun can properly sit in the holster.

Use Lubricants

As mentioned before leather can stretch due to wear and tear. You can speed up the process by applying lubricant on the holster such as Draw-EZ. Apply it sparingly, so the leather doesn’t slacken beyond the point where it’ll be too big for your gun. You must use lubricants that are made for the stretching process. If you use dressings, conditioners, or oils, you soften the leather and compromise the retention. It can also destroy the leather and its look.

By following these steps, you can stretch your leather holster without damaging it.

Final Thought

Now that you know how to stretch a leather holster, it’s important to put this knowledge into practice. Follow the steps we outlined above, and you should see an improvement in the fit and comfort of your holster. Have any questions? Leave us a comment below!

6 thoughts on “How to Stretch a Leather Holster”

  1. Hello,

    I have a leather holster that is a bit snug and need to loosen it some. I was told by a guy at a shooting range to use Neetsfoot Oil on it and insert the pistol and let it sit for a few days. He said the Neatsfoot Oil would not hurt my gun finish. What is your opinion or other ideas I could use.

    Thanks for Your Help,

    1. Hey Scott,

      First off thank your for your comment! Neatsfoot oil would be fine to use on the outside of the holster while holstering your gun. The neatsfoot oil will penetrate the leather holster so no need to put the oil on in the inside of the holster. Remember less is more when putting neatsfoot oil on your holster. While the neatsfoot oil may not hurt the finish of your gun, we would recommend wrapping your gun before inserting it into the holster, or cleaning your gun after leaving the holster for a few days. Other than the methods stated above, the method your buddy at the range told you about is as good as any. Draw EZ is another solution you could use or mineral oil.

      Hope this helps, and reach out with anymore questions!

  2. I bought a Ruger holster for myGP100. The body of the gun fits in the holster just fine, but the snap that goes over the hammer is where I’m having trouble. The hold down strap that goes over the hammer and snaps to hold the gun in the holster is way too tight. I can not snap it by hand and have to use a screw driver to push the snap down before I can snap it in place. I used some stuff that I have for stretching shoes out and blocked the holster on a board and used a bungee cord to put pressure on the strap, but it still would not stretch enough to snap easily. Have you got any suggestions as to what I can do? Thanks, Mike

    1. Hey Mike,

      I would take a solution that is 1 part rubbing alcohol and 3 parts water. Spray it on the strap then start bending the strap back and forth. Do this a few times and see how that works. Keep us updated!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *