Monday, January 3, 2011
Holster and Gun Belt Leather
I though I'ld write a little about the different leathers I use in holsters.
All Leather varies in quality, thickness, temper and tannage. There are a few domestic tanners still left in the US, but much of our leather is tanned outside the US, using US hides. So, at least we still make a few cows here.
Ordinary vegetable tanned cowhide predominates the Manufactured holster makers. It is a decent leather if it is the correct weight and tannage. Some are extraordinarily thin, hardened in the manufacturing process, others are of heavier weights. Either way, daily use will break the fibers down, and result in a somewhat floppy holster. Makers can extend the life of the holster by adding extra leather at the throat, with or without metal or kydex liners.
Bullhide is considered a harder temper leather. Whether that is from the testosterone, or the tanning process itself, that's an argument for another day. It will, however stay harder, and keep retention longer than ordinary cowhide.
Horsehide is a dense and scratch resistant leather, and considered by many to be THE holster leather. It is a bit harder to work with. To get great definition in the molding and boning steps takes more effort. It resists dying somewhat. A skilled maker will work with it and create a good looking piece. The problem with horsehide, is variety of thickness in the small pieces available to us. It can easily vary from a 7oz weight to 5oz in no time.So half the 2-3 sq ft piece we purchase cannot be used for more than a few holsters.
Not many makers use Bridle leather. I do. Bridle leather is considered the premier strap leather, but it makes a great looking, and a well performing holster. The tanning process for bridle "stuffs" the leather with oils and fats, making it a long performing leather. After break in, bridle leather straps are very supple. But with good handling it can also be a long lasting, and retentive holster. Not too mention, it makes for a Premium Gunbelt, as shown in the picture
Well, that's all for now.