How To Break In A Leather Holster – Complete Guide

How To Break In A Leather Holster
Alfred Mendoza

One of the biggest mistakes gun owners usually make is not knowing how to break in their brand new leather holsters. Well, we used to commit the same mistake and thought we had bought defective leather holsters for our guns, too. But guess what? 

Ever since we learned how to break in a leather holster, drawing our guns had always become an easy feat.

1. Gather the Essentials

The first step you need to do if you want to break in your gun’s leather holster is to gather all the essential tools you’ll need to complete the procedure. You’ll need a screwdriver, a thick plastic zip lock/bag, a pair of scissors, and of course, your weapon and its leather holster. 

But before you begin the break-in procedure, here is a pro tip that you must always follow: you have to ensure that you check your holster if it has a tension screw. If your leather holster has a tension screw, you’ll need to loosen it up.

2. Wrap Your Gun With Plastic (or Wax Paper)

You can use a Ziploc freezer bag or a shopping bag to wrap your gun. Although our team usually uses wax papers, whichever method would be good enough to do this step. 

If you want to use the plastic bag, you’ll have to cut the bag halfway through on just one side, leaving the handle exposed. However, if you opt to use wax papers, just make sure to put the waxed side of the paper toward the leather. You’ll need two sheets of wax papers, by the way.


3. Insert the Wrapped Gun Into the Holster

The next step would be inserting the wrapped weapon into the holster. In this step, you need to make sure to check that you are inserting an unloaded gun. It should never have any ammunition. Then, you’ll have to make a firm grip on your unloaded gun and push/slide it inside the thumb break/snap holster, pulling its strap. 

You’ll have to exert an effort to ensure that the handgun is fully pushed inside the holster to keep your firearm in place, such as the trigger guard. You may also want to give it a few twists to allow it and its strap to expand. This way, your weapon would be fully seated inside the thumb break/retention strap holster.

4. Leave Overnight

After inserting the wrapped gun into the holster, you’ll have to leave it in the holster overnight.

Leaving it overnight will give the leather more time to expand and fully fit your gun.

This is the easiest step since you’ll only need enough patience to let it stretch. Or, if you are more patient, you can even leave the gun for up to a couple more days.


5. Remove the Gun

The last step would be to remove your gun from the holster. Then, pull/draw it out from the plastic bag or wax paper. Next, try holstering the firearm to loosen up the leather. This would help you draw your firearm easier and more freely. If you still find your holsters too tight, you can repeat the entire process until you finally find the best fit you preferred. Lastly, screw back the holster and ensure it fits your firearm fully.

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What Can I Do to Accelerate the Process?

You can accelerate the break-in process by using a lubricant such as leather lightning. However, since leather holsters typically continue to break in as you wear them, some people don’t have the patience to wait for a more natural process.  

Furthermore, you have to be careful in choosing the type of lubricant you may want to use for the break-in. We discourage using any leather conditioner, dressing, or mink oil. These lubricants may soften the leather too much and compromise your holster’s retention. You may want to soak the inside of your holster in some warm water if you opt to.

Also Read: Our Recommended P365 Pocket Holsters


Yes, you can use a lubricant, especially if you want to speed up the process. Lubrication reduces friction and allows moving machine parts to slide smoothly past each other. [1] Some people even mold/shape their guns into a wet holster or stretch the holster strap.

You need to break in your pistol’s new leather holster to achieve a smooth draw. If you don’t break it in, you’ll have to fight your pistol whenever you holster it. It would be a hassle and even unsafe, especially if you are in combat. Having a tight new holster may also cause unnecessary wear on your gun’s finish. You may also learn how to stipple your handgun here

Final Thoughts on Breaking In a Leather Holster

It is always best to learn how to break in a leather holster or paddle holster to ensure a better fit and preserve your gun’s finish whenever you holster it. Leathers may be durable, but your guns may be affected when housed with a new holster with too much retention. 

Holsters could also give you better access to drawing your gun, so it is a must to ensure it holds your gun safely. You don’t have to always worry about ruining your gun or fighting with your new leather holster.



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