GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT HOLSTER FIT
Every leather holster is made to fit a specific model of handgun. Each is closely fitted to the shape of that handgun. This is done using the casing and blocking method (wet-forming). I also form each belt attachment point (belt loops, belt slots) to the size specified in the order.
There will be a "break-in" period with every new holster, during which the formed holster will conform itself to the user's waist and to the belt used. This process may take a week or more of daily use.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is a thumb-break?
A: The thumb-break is a mechanical retention device consisting of an upward extension of the front holster panel forming a strap over the hammer (revolvers) or rear of the slide (semi-autos), connecting to a snap on a reinforced thumb pad behind the weapon. To draw the weapon it is gripped with the shooting hand and the thumb is used to release the snap fastener. (NOTES: 1. Thumb-break retention cannot be used with shrouded hammer revolvers such as the S&W Bodyguard, Ruger LCR, and similar designs. 2. A holster may be ordered with a thumb-break, or with slide or hammer shield, but not with both).
Q: What is a hammer shield?
A. Hammer shield may be ordered on holsters for revolvers as either an inner shield, outer shield, or both. The inner shield protects the body from contact with sharp edge of the hammer and rear sight. The outer shield helps to prevent snagging of the cover garment on the hammer. (NOTE: A holster may be made with hammer shield(s) or thumb-break, but not both).
Q: What is a slide shield?
A. Slide shields may be ordered on holsters for semi-auto pistols. This consists of an upward extension of the rear holster panel forming a shield between the body and the exposed portions of the slide, hammer, safeties, and rear sight. The primary purpose is to prevent discomfort from contact with sharp protrusions of the pistol. A second benefit is protecting the handgun from excessive contact with perspiration during use. (NOTE: A holster may be ordered with a slide shield, or with a thumb-break, but not with both).
Q: What is "boning"?
A: Boning refers to the use of a variety of tools to model and mold wet leather to the shape of the handgun. The purpose is to maximize contact between the leather and the handgun, thereby enhancing retention qualities of the holster. Originally the tools used were made of polished pieces of bone, antler, or ivory, hence the term "boning".
Q: What is holster lining?
A. Holsters can be lined with soft leather as a means for preventing excessive wear to the handgun finish during use. Both suede and smooth leather have been used for holster lining, and each has its fans. My usual recommendation is for smooth leather lining which does not share the tendencies of suede for collecting dust, grit, and debris.
Q: How should I measure for belt size?
A: I ask each belt customer to measure a belt now in use, from the tip of the buckle to the tongue hole in use. This is the actual size required for proper fit, and is usually different than trouser waist size.
Q: Why is my holster so tight? I can hardly get my pistol out of the holster.
A: Unless the initial fit is quite snug the normal stretching that occurs during the break-in period can result in a loose fit. A loose fit compromises retention qualities of the holster, and contributes to unnecessary holster wear due to movement of the handgun within the holster during use.
Q: Can anything be done to speed up the break-in process?
A. Yes. When you first receive your new holster it can help to wrap your (unloaded) handgun in a plastic bag, insert the wrapped handgun into the holster and leave it overnight. This usually stretches the leather enough for normal break-in to proceed.
Q: OK, I have tried the plastic bag trick and the fit is still too tight. What can I do?
A: In extreme situations I recommend using the plastic bag again. Before inserting the wrapped handgun into the holster, apply neutral shoe polish or Johnson's Paste Wax to the outside of the plastic bag, then insert it and remove it from the holster repeatedly. Leave it in place overnight again. The wax will be taken up by the leather fibers and remain there, providing lubrication at points of contact.
Q: Why is it so difficult to get my belt into the slots/loops?
A. Your holster was made with belt attachment points of a specific size. In addition to accomodating the width of the belt, I use wooden mandrels to form the slots/loops. The mandrels are typically 1/4" in thickness. This will accomodate most heavy-duty gun belts. During the initial break-in period I expect some stretching to occur and the belt attachment points will conform to your belt. Just as with the fit of the holster to the handgun, the fit of the holster to the belt must be snug to properly anchor the holstered handgun in a constant position.
Q: Why is the leather dye staining my belt/clothing?
A. On dyed holsters I typically use two or more applications of leather dye. For the first application the holster is immersed in a spirit-based dye solution, which results in good penetration. The second application is applied using an oil-based dye to the exterior surfaces, providing an even surface finish. The holster is then finished out using multiple applications of surface sealants. Even with these steps taken, exposure to friction and moisture can result in some transfer of color. This usually takes place during the break-in period, after which this seldom reoccurs in normal use.
Q: I have tried my new IWB style for several days and it just is not comfortable for me. Can I return it?
A: Returns are accepted (subject to the return policy shown on another web-page) only on unused items. Any item which has been used cannot be returned. IWB carry is not for everyone, and some people find that they cannot tolerate the bulk of a holstered handgun inside their waistbands. This is unfortunate when it happens, but this is a simple fact that cannot be avoided.
Q: I have an idea for a holster design. Will you make it for me?
A: New holster designs require time to pattern the piece and produce prototype(s) for testing, followed by testing for function, and usually several adjustments to the pattern before the final piece is made. This process may take a couple of hours or it might take dozens of hours before the final result is obtained, and there can be no guarantees of satisfactory performance. So, are you willing to write a blank check to proceed with your new idea?