In the modern world, where crime is increasing every day, carrying a handgun is becoming more of a norm. A few years ago, carrying a safety gun was considered a luxury, but it is more of a necessity nowadays.
One of the requirements of carrying a handgun is a holster. While you can find quality holsters for sale, they are often overpriced. At the same time, you could make a molded holster at home and save some bucks easily.
To make a molded leather holster, start with two square pieces of 7 oz leather. Soak them and put them on either side of the gun or a blue gun. Press the leather to get the shape and dry the leather.
Take the gun out, fix them together with glue and stitching, Color the holster, and it is ready. Well, for the most part. There are a lot more details to consider.
It does seem a little to the complicated side, but it is really not. The whole process is pretty linear and straightforward. But if you do go through this, in the end, you will own a holster made perfectly for your gun.
No questioning about the quality, custom design, preferable size, and to sweeten the deal further, it will save some money for sure. Here’s how it goes –
Making A Molded Leather Holster
For this project, we will be using a few tools. Professional tools will be preferable, but I will try to keep things simple and use tools available in every household. Among the things that you will need to buy, you will need –
- A couple of pieces of leather
- A blue gun (only if you don’t want to risk it with your actual gun)
- A couple of pieces of foam (12inch x 12inch)
- Leather stitching needle and line (get a few)
- Leather dye
Preparing The Leather
- Get The Leather
First and foremost, take a couple of square pieces of leather. The size should be larger than the dimension of your gun. At least an inch extra on all sides. Or you can choose the size you prefer. In the case of custom design, plan and design ahead of time, and do a design that will be stable and reliable.
For the quality of the leather, you can use anything between 5 to 9 oz leather. 5 oz leather will be easy to cut and curve, and you will be able to draw out intricate shapes.
But it will not be super durable. A very long-lasting leather will be the 9 oz leather. But shaping them may prove to be difficult. I personally prefer 8 oz, but 7 works really well as well.
- Soak The Leather
Take some mildly warm water in a pot and soak the pieces of leather in it for about 20-30 seconds. The water should be considered “hot,” but not cold either. Slightly warmer than room temperature.
Do it one at a time, and make sure that the leather is completely submerged. You can feel the leather being smooth and soft within about 30 seconds.
- Air-Dry The Leather
When the leather is soaked and soft, take it out from the water pot, and put it on a table in the open air to allow some water to evaporate. The reason is, when you take it out from the weather, it is dripping wet. You don’t want your gun to be exposed to that much water. Just let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Check the leather after about 10 minutes. Most of the dripping water should be gone by now. The leather will still be wet enough for you to work on it and give it shape. With that, the leather is ready to be worked on.
Shaping The Leather
- Preparing The Gun
Take your gun and wrap it completely with saran wrap. Do several layers to make it waterproof completely. If you wrap it well, water should not seep in. Besides, we are not going to soak the gun anyway.
So, it is pretty safe to use the actual gun. In addition, using the actual will yield a finer fit for your gun.
Instead, if you are not interested in risking the real gun, you can buy a blue gun of the same model and use that instead. The Blue gun is a dummy gun with only the same structure and outline as the original gun. It is safe and reliable.
- Draw Out The Outline
Place a piece of leather, take the gun(or blue gun), and put it on the leather. Take the other piece of leather and put it on top of the gun. With one hand, press down on the gun right above the trigger. With the other hand, start marking out the outline of the gun on the top leather.
The leather should be soft enough for you to curve the outline, but strong enough to retain the shape. Don’t worry about the inner intricate designs yet. Simply mark the outer lines. You can use the handle of a spoon or fork to reach the detailed corners and to get sharper curves in general.
- Finishing The Design
When the outer edges are marked, you can move on to mark the detailed inner marks, like the trigger guard, ejection port, the line where the slide meets the body, etc. Use the same tool from before to mark the inner details as well.
You may need to get back to the outer lines and inner lines a few times, especially if you are using a thicker leather like 8 or 9 oz. Regardless, after a couple of retracing, you should have the design imprinted.
A neat alternative would be to vacuum bag the leather around the gun. As the vacuum pumps the air out, the leather will keep on fitting against the edges more and more tightly. However, that would require you to have a vacuum and vacuum bag.
Finalizing The Holster
- Drying The Leather
When you are satisfied with the design imprinted on the leather, you can clamp the formation together. Yes, I mean to leave the gun in the leather layers. This will improve the final quality. Use a few clamps to make sure that the edges of the leathers are touching each other seamlessly.
Leave it out in the open until the leathers are completely dry. About 5-6 hours will be sufficient.
- Marking And Coloring
When the leathers are completely dry, take the clamps out and separate the leather pieces. Mark the rough outline for stitching and cut the extra bits from the edges. Be sure to leave room for belt holes. Before stitching, color the leather as you like. Then cut out belt holes.
- Finalizing The Holster
Your holster should be shaped, cut, colored, and ready for assembly. The outer leather layer should have most of the curvatures, if not all. Put it upside down and apply glue where it will come in contact with the other leather layer.
Place the other layer on it and clamp them together. When the glue has been dried, you can retrace the stitching outline from earlier and stitch the two together. When the stitching is done, your holster is ready.
Using a leather holster is one of the best ways to carry a gun. Making a holster this way is easy and simple. It will definitely feel much simpler from the second attempt onward. The best thing about making your own holster is, this one has all the features you’d want.
Starting from the color, the shape, the quality, the finishing, and most importantly, the best fit for your gun. Above all, you will be saving a few dollars for sure. And even if you do not like the way it comes out, you can easily get to make another one from the knowledge and mistakes from the first one.