Friday, July 15, 2011

A modified holster

Couple of years back, after reading of the wonders of the in-waistband holsters, I picked one up to try(Don Hume, to be specific). Overall I really liked it, if for no other reason than it does not move. I’ve got a couple of belt holsters I like, but they have a tendency to slide back & forth a bit, especially if you have to lean over to do something; the IWB holster stays put.

There were two things I had problems with:
1. With it inside the pants, in hot weather it could soak up sweat, which is not good for firearms, and can be hard on the leather, too.
2. The mouth had a second piece of leather stitched around to stiffen it a bit, but if you had the piece out of it for a few minutes, the mouth closed enough that it was difficult to reholster without having to work the muzzle around a touch to get it started in.
The fixes were
For 2, I cut the stitching, cut a thin strip off an old saw blade* and shaped it to fit, put it between the holster and reinforcing piece and stitched it back up.
For 1, I waxed it the same way I used to do knife sheaths to stiffen & help waterproof them. I used a mix of ½ paraffin, ½ beeswax and just a little Lexol or neatsfoot oil added in. In the case of the holster, I cut a piece of wood to just a touch taller and wider than the front sight and taped it on the slide between the sights, then wrapped the pistol in plastic wrap(or a plastic bag, either works). Put the wax in a shallow pan in the oven with a big piece of aluminum foil next to it and left it on ‘warm’ until melted. Stuck the holster in for a few minutes to warm, then used a leather dye swab to wipe wax all over the holster, inside and out, then laid it on the foil and closed the door. After a few minutes the leather had soaked all the wax up, so repeated until it seemed almost saturated. At which time you stick the pistol in, make sure everything’s lined up as it should be, and bone it: take something smooth and hard and rub the holster all over** to fit it to the piece, then let it cool. It’ll usually be sticky to draw, but when you take the plastic and the sight spacer off it should slide in & out nicely.

I’ll note that with heavier, stiffer leather the wax may take care of stiffening the mouth.

I’ve been happy with it, It does have the one drawback of any other holster: you have to wear something over your shirt or whatever to hide it(no open carry in OK); uncomfortable this time of year. The solution to that was found in a book on self-defense handgunning: the tuckable holster. If you’re not familiar, it’s a IWB holster with the clip being long, and attached at the bottom. That leaves a space between the clip and holster where you can tuck your shirt. Procedure:
Unbutton pants.
Pull up shirt.
Clip holster on belt.
Insert pistol if not already in.
Twist and pull like a Cirque du Soliel clown to get the shirt tucked between without dropping your pants.
Tuck rest of shirt in and button pants.
Yes, that’s awkward, and it’s not as fast to draw from as a uncovered holster; however, under a loose dress or casual shirt it disappears. A very handy rig.

I picked up one of the de Santis rigs linked to. It worked well, but I did give it the wax treatment to protect the leather and gun a bit. The one problem I noticed after a couple of hot days was that when you took the pistol out I actually had beads of sweat on the slide above the holster. Not good. Two obvious solutions(besides an undershirt):
Find another holster that rises up enough in back to protect against this, or
Take off the reinforcing leather piece and replace it with one that rises enough to protect.
Or, being me, you dig out some leather and make another holster.

I mostly copied the de Santis, including- as I’ve not gotten hold of the stuff to make a similar clip- using the clip off it. Here’s the holster, just finished:
Back view

The clip has one hold and one curved slot and uses screw posts. There's a piece of leather sewn to the toe that holds the female side of the posts(this is the original)
A star friction washer goes over each, then the clip, then the screws, so with this you can adjust the angle to suit.

I’ll give it a try over the next while and see how it works. Holds up ok. I’ll find some kydex to make the body of a clip and make one for it(the spring clip is steel, riveted on; the steel I have)

*Also useful for making scrapers, small blades and other things.
**One of the best things to use was a piece of polished bone, thus the name. Nowadays plastic works well, too.


Anonymous said...

I picked up a holster for my Sig P245 from TTGunleather. The outside of the leather is dyed and very shiny. Will your wax treatment still work, or does the leather have to be broken in for a while before the wax will penetrate both sides?

Firehand said...

Unless the leather is sealed somehow, the stuff should soak in.

And I've used it on dyed sheaths with no fading, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Just remember, oven on 'warm' ONLY, it'll take a while to melt the wax and warm the leather, but much better that than the alternative. Which can really screw the leather up if you get it too hot. Ask me how I know...

Firehand said...

I'll add, if any question then just try a small area on the back first, see how it does; proceed from there