I like to thoughtfully place different grades of leather through the construction of my holsters. For some guns in some applications, it takes the heft and rigidity of staggeringly thick, 8-9 oz shoulder hide. For some pieces of construction, paper-thin calf skin is the right choice. Between that range is a whole spectrum of different leathers, each with unique properties that have valuable applications within the structure of a single holster. So, it’s not at all uncommon to see one of my holsters made in three or four different weights of hide.
Each stitch is planned and precisely laid out on the fresh cut leather prior to the actual sewing. Many parts of the holster are bonded together with a powerful adhesive prior to stitching, to make the strongest seams possible. This aids in both the strength and rigidity of your holster, so your gun stays where you want it, safe and secure. I hand stitch each holster with traditional, waxed thread, or with high-tech Kevlar thread or Vectran yarn. I haven’t found that double-stitching adds much to a structure like the one I’ve laid out above, but I’ll often do a double row of stitching down the top strap of the gun, because over-engineering and over-building assures a solid product.
On a typical, OWB pancake holster, I like to put them together with the grain towards the inside, so they’re easier to keep clean, and to keep the dust off your firearm’s finish. This leaves the rougher split of the leather on the outside of the holster. But, once the stitching is complete, I adhesive-bond a top layer of leather to the outside surface of the holster, so the outside panel has grain on both sides – for beauty on the outside and protection on the inside. This hides the stitching, to further protect it from abrasion. It also makes for a more rigid outside wall of the holster, which aids in retention and in re-holstering.
I leave the back of the holster the raw, rough split, treated with silicone, which causes friction against your pants (or skirt) and shirt when the holster is on your belt, and still blocks out bodily moisture. This way, the holster is far less likely to move side-to-side on your belt when you don’t want it to. When I cut the belt loops on a pancake holster, I like to bevel the edges in the direction that your belt will slide through them. This makes it a lot easier to thread the belt through the loops.
Once the holster is constructed, I wet-mold it and bone it to fit your individual firearm. At this point, I’ll also curve the ears on a pancake holster – which dramatically decreases the break-in period, making your new holster very comfortable to wear right out of the box. The level of boning that I put into a holster depends on how much retention is required for the application. IWB holsters typically don’t get nearly as much boning as OWB’s. A pocket holster gets even less than that. Most of the time, I’ll use a cast dummy gun that is a nearly exact replica of the one you own. But, if you are in the Central Oklahoma area, fitting the holster to your specific gun is the best way to go.
A lot of leather holster manufacturers like to mold the leather all the way into into ejection ports and trigger guards. I do not. I don’t feel that anything should be in your trigger guard except your finger – when you are ready to shoot. I also don’t want to risk leather scraping off into your ejection port – reducing the life of the holster and more importantly – possibly jamming your gun when least convenient.
What all this means to you is that you get an extremely rugged, comfortable holster that will conceal well and protect your valuable firearm – and, it will be made specifically for you! With minimal maintenance, your holster should last for many years of hard usage. If you would like something special in a holster that I build for you, please feel free to email me.