The leather holster is a classic and top choice for handguns. Some models look great, are durable, and last a long time. However, many of them can feel stiff and awkward at first, annoying you.

Then you can consult many people and get many different opinions, leaving you confused. So, how to soften leather holsters?

If you’ve just bought a favorite leather holster and are a bit disappointed with how stiff it feels, this guide is for you.

A Detailed Guide On How To Soften Leather Holster

How To Soften Leather Holsters?

What factors make leather holsters softer? Like any baseball glove, you have to make them softer for ease of use and flexibility. Stretch, time and heat are the main factors that soften these holsters.

A Detailed Guide On How To Soften Leather Holster 1
The holster will feel stiff initially

Offer Natural Heat 

When you heat your leather holster properly, its fibers will expand, allowing it to become more pliable.

Without this necessary heat, which can be generated by friction with use and abrasion, these holsters will most likely remain in their original stiff state. Then it will be difficult for your pistol to fit in your holster.

You can create something similar to natural heat generated during regular use by rubbing the holsters firmly using your hands.

In this way, you will warm your gear, allowing it to loosen and soften. Experts in the jackets and shoe industry often recommend hand rubbing to soften any leather products, and holsters are no exception.

Remember not to apply any unnatural warming method, such as using a heater and dryer. Otherwise, your gear will stretch excessively from receiving too much heat. It will end up with tears and cracks, making it useless and ugly.

Stretch It

Once these holsters have warmed and become softer, it is essential to stretch the gear properly.

If you’re interested in lengthening your retention strap,  you will have to pull on this strap firmly, making it a bit longer.

However, if your primary need is to increase space in your holster for your gun’s width, pulling your gear to widen its space is necessary.

Alternatively, you can apply another trick: take advantage of a wax paper for stretching out your holster’s interior space. I haven’t tried this method yet, but it should technically work.

You can watch the following video for more details.

Remember when you stretch it, never crease or fold your gear against its natural direction. Like the case with excess heat, it can get cracks, harming its usefulness and look.

Also, you need to avoid forcibly stretching your material too much. Otherwise, it may become too wide to fit your pistol perfectly.

Give It Time

A Detailed Guide On How To Soften Leather Holster 2
Give it time to be softer

Using your holster often is a natural way to break in these holsters. Over time, your gear will become soft enough to fit your gun.

However, it will take longer than you expect. So if you don’t want to wait, apply the two methods mentioned above.

Let’s take a seat and watch a TV show while working on the material repeatedly.

Over time, your gear will naturally become softer without worrying about going bad soon due to overheating or overstretching.

You should watch this video for helpful tips on softening holsters naturally and choosing the right size for your particular weapon.

Things Not to Do With Your Holster

You should avoid doing a few things if you don’t want your holster to go bad sooner than expected. The following are the common mistakes.

Let Your Gear Be Exposed to Excessive Moisture

Water is something to keep away from the leather. If your holster gets wet for some reason, it is essential to restore its shape and dry it at room temperature.

Use Mink Oil And Any Other Softening Chemical 

A Detailed Guide On How To Soften Leather Holster 3
You should avoid using mink oil

None of these products are not designed for leather holsters. In addition, the oil will make your holster too soft, resulting in losing its original shape.

Floppy holsters are always no good, as you will want something sturdy enough to hold your pistol. So, you can draw your gun easily and quickly in emergencies.

Store Your Gear in a Place That Is Too Hot

Like moisture, excessive heat is also an enemy of leather items. Moderate heat is perfect for softening these holsters, but they can be easily damaged if exposed to excessive heat for long periods.

Many people store their holsters in the trunk of their cars; that’s a big mistake. It is ideal for their gears to continue with high temperatures on hot days.

You should store this item in a place maintained at room temperature.

How To Care for Leather Holsters  

The best thing is to keep holsters clean and dry. Some foreign materials inside this item can scratch the handgun’s finish.

You can use an oil-soaked sponge to wipe the surface of your gear. We recommend using a flat stick or something similar to push this sponge through your holster.

So, you can clean the inside of your item correctly. Then, let it dry properly.

You should avoid using any finishing oil since it will make your item softer and destroy the hard wax that covers it.

Another factor that can affect these holsters is sweat. However, there does not seem to be a way to avoid this. Sweat can soak into the leather and darken these holsters, making them less likely to last.

There should be something between the holster and the body, such as a t-shirt, which can prevent body salts from coming into contact with the leather.

Other factors considered a hazard for holsters are bad weather and humidity.

In these cases, it is essential to dry them properly. It is best to let them dry in moderate sunlight or at room temperature instead of using a hairdryer.

We recommend investing in high-quality models, which can cost you more initially. But they will last a long time, making them an incredible bargain.


1. How long can leather holsters last?

A high-quality product can be expected to last several years for everyday use.

Also, a genuinely great model can even last seven or eight years. But, of course, these items won’t last forever.

But maintaining them properly can allow them to last an amazingly long time.

2. Will the holster damage my gun?

These holsters can wear your gun faster than you expected. The reason is that the debris and dirt can get stuck in the leather’s rougher texture.

3. Are leather holsters better than Kydex?

It depends on personal preference. Kydex products come out on top when talking about reupholstering and retention. Meanwhile, leather holsters will take the crown for style and comfort.

4. What is a driving holster?

This premium holster is built and designed for protection against car hijackings. It is a famous cross draw concealment holster with a quick release thumb break.

5. Why did the Cowboys prefer to wear their firearms backward?

Using reversed holsters can make cowboys more comfortable, especially when worn while sitting down.

6. Is carbon fiber better than Kydex?

If we’re talking aviation wings, you should go with carbon fiber. But in terms of a holster, there is no reason to go with carbon fiber unless you prefer it looks.

The Bottom Line

Via this post, you have learned how to soften leather holsters. By working and rubbing the material, you will create heat and stretch it over time, making it better fit your body and your pistol.

Hopefully, this article was helpful to you, and you will learn something from it.

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