How to Stretch a Tight Leather Holster

So your beautiful new alligator leather holster just arrived in the mail and you can’t wait to try it out with your favorite carry gun. You tear apart the packaging, revealing your newest acquisition. You take your firearm in your hand (and double check to make sure it’s not loaded, of course) before trying to slide it into that sweet, sweet new holster. But something’s wrong. It won’t fit. What gives? You paid for a custom holster that would fit your exact gun!

Much like any new leather garment (like boots, for instance), your leather holster is going to require some breaking in. Fortunately, learning how to break in a leather holster doesn’t need to be difficult. In this post, we’ll cover how to make a leather holster fit better.

OWB Alligator Gun Holster

Why do I Need to Break In a Leather Holster?

When your leather holster first arrives it’s going to be a little tight. That’s just how it works with this material. Leather will naturally stretch over time. And if a leather maker doesn’t make a snug-fitting holster, it may end up loosening too much to hold your gun properly. When that happens, there’s no guarantee that your gun won’t fall out if you’re doing any strenuous activity like running or fighting.

With that being said, it’s definitely important to stretch your holster. If you don’t, it’ll be too tight to work properly. That can lead to problems like:

  • Difficulty holstering your gun.
  • Your holster damages your firearm’s finish.
  • The holster hugs your gun too tightly, preventing you from drawing it in an emergency scenario.
  • Finally, if your holster is too tight for your gun, you run the risk of accidentally firing it when trying to remove it.

These few facts make the importance of breaking in a leather holster obvious. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to make a leather holster fit better.

Black Alligator Gun Holster

How to Break In a Leather Holster

Here’s an easy, 5-step solution to breaking in a leather holster.


  1. Determine Whether the Holster Needs to Be Broken In: put your gun in the holster and try to draw it. If it takes too much force to remove it, continue to step 2.
  2. Plastic Bag: cover your gun in a plastic bag. This will help to stretch your holster gradually so you don’t overdo it.
  3. Wear The Holster: attach the holster to a belt and wear it. You should engage in some kind of activity during this time to simulate real-world situations. Do this for an hour or two.
  4. Draw With Plastic Bag: draw your gun from the holster at least 25 times while it’s covered in the plastic bag.
  5. Draw Without Plastic Bag: remove the plastic bag and draw another 25 times. If your holster still feels too tight, return to step 4 and use TWO plastic bags.

Once you’re done, your firearm should fit snugly in your holster – but not too tightly. If you need more info, check out our complete guide on how to make a leather holster fit better. And to find the perfect leather holster for your favorite firearm, browse our full stock here.

IWB Cowhide Holster

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