Last Spring I purchased a leather holster from Kusiak made to fit my Taurus G2S. I ordered it to carry OWB, but I still wanted to carry concealed… After waiting a couple of months, it arrived, and I did what I could to break it in. I wore it for a month, and after freeing my gun from its steel-handed grip (I had to flip it over and push on the business end of the barrel HARD), I drew from it I think 3 or 400 times (took most of the day). It finally felt like it was getting broken in, so I put it away in my range bag to use in the winter. I decided to get it out this morning to check it, and to see if it would print under a t-shirt (it does, bad), and to check the fit of my gun. I placed my gun in the holster, and I am back to square 1. It will not draw. Any info, comments, or instruction on how to break this holster in and KEEP It broken in would ne greatly appreciated!
You should not be experiencing that much resistance with a holster made for your firearm. It should be tight, but not so tight you have to use serious muscle strength to put it in the holster or draw it. Do you have any lights or anything on your firearm?
No, my firearm is box stock. From what I am reading on the manufacturers website, the holsters are designed for a tight fit, but should break in over time. I guess my question is “How MUCH time?”, and can I use something like an oil or saddle soap to speed the process?
I dont know too much about leather holsters, all of mine are kydex. I’ve heard leather holsters require some break in, but I dont believe that it should be that tight. @Dawn and @KevinM might be able to give you an answer. I will see if I can find anything on Google for you.
Edit have you contacted Kusiak holsters to see if they have a recommended procedure for stretching their holsters?
Don’t worry about googleing it, I can do that. I just have a major TRUST issue with them. I have my holster back on my belt, and am working with it. I was hoping to get input from more people in the community. I TRUST them…and you.
Thank you @Henry_A. I would contact the company, I know leather swells with humidity, and it might have been made in a different climate than where you live. I would see if they have any recommendations on how to stretch the holster.
Not a holster thing but the address 2 things that we use when breaking in heavy sales leather… movement and a leather softening oil. An oil like neetsfoot oil will soften leather making it more flexible, normally that includes pretty well soaking it in the oil then manipulating the leather by flexing and bending it. And then cleaning it a lot to remove the excess oil that leaks back out. Saturating the leather with oil also reduce humidity effect on the leather.
This process works on even the heaviest saddle leather, but it will leak oil on everything for quite a while afterwards. Haven’t tried it on a holster.
Call the company and tell them what is happening. They should have some recommendations. You can use oil to loosen things up (neat’s foot or other leather conditioner)… but you don’t want to get things too loose, you still need/want some retention. Leather will loosen over time, so put the unloaded gun in the holster and carry it around the house, draw and reholster OFTEN … keep working the leather.
Because of the ease of over doing it, I’ve generally taken to rubbing neat’s foot oil on surfaces with a cotton cosmetics pad and then while wet placing the pistol in a plastic storage bag and then all that into the holster and letting everyone get to know one another over night. Serious wipe down in the morning and let the remaining oil wick and ‘dry’ with the pistol still in it in the bag. This is where the actual softened fitting starts to occur and let the leather model the guns’ dimensions. If it solves first time great, if not, give this pass a week to stabilize and do it again. My take on conditioning and fitting the leather, but you certainly want the manufacturer’s directions first and foremost when things are new and they might want to check the fit and finish themselves first!
What I have down in the past is use neetsfoot oil a bit heavy for the first application, place the weapon in a sock or light cloth and place in the holster. This allows the holster to stretch a bit with the sock but no too much to where the weapon will not fit snug. You do have to put a bit of maintenance in on leather so every month or two pull it out and work the leather. I use a leather shoulder holster and have had to maintain that for a while. Persistence is the key and in a few months your leather will conform right nicely. Good luck with it, hope this helps.
Neetsfoot oil actually breaks down the leather fibers, so you want to use it only where a permanent softening of the leather is desired. Neetsfoot oil, while it will preserve the leather by virtue of being an absorbed oil, should NOT be used if you only want preservation, and not permanent softening.
There are other products that may be better if you only want to preserve the leather, not permanently soften it.
Modern neatsfoot oil is still made from cattle-based products, and is sometimes criticized for a tendency to speed oxidation of leather. This formulation does darken leather, which means that use on light-colored leather is likely to change its color. If mineral oil or other petroleum-based material is added, the product may be called “neatsfoot oil compound”.Some brands have also been shown to be adulterated with rapeseed oil, soya oil, and other oils. The addition of mineral oils may lead to more rapid decay of non-synthetic stitching or speed breakdown of the leather itself.
…neatsfoot oil (like other leather dressings) can oxidize with time and contribute to embrittling.
Harness and saddlery require regular cleaning with soap and water to remove soil and perspiration, and the use of saddle soaps or sulfonated oils for conditioning the leather.
from http://leatherquery.com/leather-care-suede/ under Industrial and Harness Leather
My experience is that neetsfoot oil WILL have that breakdown effect, so maybe most of it is adulterated anymore. At any rate, if I want softening, I use a good soaking in neetsfoot oil, and if I don’t want softening, I use a leather lotion or dressing.
Interestingly, that site recommends the use of Ballistol for leather as well as metal and firearms http://leatherquery.com/review-ballistol/
Wearing it will help some. What I do with new leather holsters is wrap the gun in a couple of layers of plastic bag (like the grocery kind), insert in holster, and leave it for a few days up to a week. This will stretch the leather a bit and should still leave it snug.
I am very cautious of putting oil, or too much oil, on a holster. It will break down the leather and make it too soft.
What I have done in the past is wrap the gun in wax paper or put it in a ziplock bag. Get enough on it so it is pretty hard to get in the holster, and let it sit for a while, maybe overnight. You don’t want to stretch it so much it looses retention, but you need to be able to draw it as well.
I would be leary of using a leather softener, unless recommended by the holster maker.
Also, wrap it in just a little wax paper and wear the holster with the gun in it. Most of my holsters are the 'paddle style, and when I wear them with the gun, the retention increases.
Of course, would not hurt at all to contact the holster maker.
Similar to above. Put pistol in a thin plastic grocery bag. Place in holster overnight, check in morning. If still too tight, use 2 grocery bags, let set I.n holster overnight. Never failed yet on new leather holster
Is it leather? Leather will shrink when not in use.
To get the perfect fit with leather when it’s too tight, soak it down with rubbing alcohol, put the gun in and let it dry, then oil it with neatsfoot oil or an oil specifically made for baseball gloves.
If that doesn’t solve the issue I’d call the manufacturer and see about an exchange.
On second thought you might want to call them first.
Old Navy trick you may wish to try, or not.
Soak the holster in WATER (normally I would say salt water but we’re talking guns not boots) for a day. Oil the crap out of all the metal parts so that they are drippy, like submerge it in a pan of motor oil. Cram that bad boy in as deep as you can. Let it sit in the sun for a day or 2. Every now and then grab the holster and twist the gun around inside it for a couple turns, DON’T pull it out! This process will re-imprint the holster to your gun and provide some lubricity to the holster via the oil.
The other option is to call the mfg ask for a new one and/or ask for a preferred break in process.
This would be the ideal prescription if the holster was loose.
You shrink leather with water, you stretch it with alcohol.
Put a zip lock bag inside the holster, fill it with water and throw it in the freezer. Ice expands stretching the leather just a bit. Never tried it with a holster but worked great on a pair of leather heels.
Granted, it’s odd that you’re having this much trouble after all you’ve done. Shouldn’t be that tight you have to forcibly shove it/pull it. Should be a happy medium snug.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
First, thank you all for your advice and help. It is greatly appreciated.
I placed my gun in the holster in question and placed it on my belt on the day of my original post. Following advice obtained here, I attempted, but was unsuccessful in contacting the manufacturer. I researched their website seeking information on this holster, and found that it has been treated, inside and out, with a preservative/coating (think plastic wood sealer.)
This is a concern, because it is evident that any oil treatment may be in-or-counter effective. Also, there is the issue of retention. According to the manufacturer, the fit of the gun in the holster is supposed to supply the major part of the retention function of the holster. This means, of course, that any attempt to make the fit looser would have a negative effect on the retention function of the holster. My kydex IWB holster has a mechanical retention device, and does not have this issue. I assumed before I bought it, that this holster would have a similar system. The fact that I was wrong is not the manufacturers fault.
Anyway, after 3 days on my hip, the holster is loosening some, and it is getting easier to draw from, so maybe in another week, the problem will be solved. I am wondering if the manufacturer would install a thumb-break retention strap on it for me. This setup makes me a bit nervous.
You could very easily get a local leather shop to do it for you.
Try the alcohol, it will penetrate most of the so called sealers used commercially. There’s a good chance the laquer is what caused the shrinkage to begin with which is why I always prefer an oil tan/finish on mine.
Glad to hear it’s getting better, I know what it’s like to spend good money on a holster and never get it to quite work as intended. Been there, done that several times.