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.


  1. Greetings from Texas,
    You are so right about leathers, and also belts. It amuses me the way folks talk about quality holsters, but don't give belts a second thought.

    I was out of leather work for years, until I got tired of replacing every day belts twice a year. The belts I make aren't cheap, but mine will last me 10 years.

    That's the difference between 'cost effective materials' and harness (bridle) leather.

  2. Glad to hear from ya, and that you agree.
    I call them "Concealed Carry Platforms"
    Technically Harness leather and Bridle leathers are two different tannages. The bridle has some additional processes done to it.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks 1911 leather holsters

  5. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. 1911 leather holster

  6. Great articles and great layout. Your blog post deserves all of the positive feedback it’s been getting. 1911 leather holsters