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Full Version: Holster/Leather gear making
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I should mention right off the bat that if you are interested in making leather gear, there are videos on youtube and websites available. I can't/won't teach you here. My goal is simply to let you see what can be done. Once you get the basic techniques down you can pretty much make anything out of leather. Want a custom made case for your cell phone or pocket pistol, or flashlight or anything else, you can do that.

Back in the day I bought a book and supplies from Tandy Leather and made a few holsters, belts, knife sheaths, mini mag holders and stuff. It was kind of fun. I was never very good at it but the stuff I made was usable.  My brothers  and sons are still using the holsters, belts and knife sheaths I made them for deer hunting.

Fast forward about 20 years.... having gotten a couple new mouse guns recently I thought it would be fun to make holsters for them. The first I chose was the Ruger SR22.   

I actually have 2 of SRs, the first bought used came with a nylon holster. That one also has a mag pouch and has been claimed by my daughter.  I bought the second one used as well and it is intended to be carried deer hunting, to signal, finish off wounded deer, small game hunt and as a trail gun.  I didn't want another cheap nylon holster and started looking around. Holy moly are leather holsters expensive these days!

What the heck I thought, I must have something I could use.  I found that shape wise the SR22 is very close to my Glock. It is smaller but will fit loosly in all my Glock holsters. Since I used to make holsters I thought maybe I could scale down the designs for the SR.

The first was a pancake holster.  I had a piece of synthetic leather that was pretty stiff. I cut it to shape and hand sewed it together. Four problems...First  was that the more I handled it the softer it got to the point it was like a piece of foam rubber. The second was that when cutting, the edges frayed. Unlike leather which you can can sand and burnish this one can't be fixed. It looks horrible.  The last was I am out of practice sewing.  I remembered half way through to always sew from the front side.  Leather, material bends and a straight line on one side ain't always straight on the other.   Forth, I buggered up the last 4 snaps I had and have to make another run to the Tandy Leather store on the other side of town.

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The good news is that I wore it around for two days and it is very comfortable. I purposly left it open and wide at the bottom in case I wanted to put a laser on the pistol in the future.  No idea it might last before tearing but I am going to make a leather version of it as well as one for my LC9, just for the helluvit. I've since added a few more stitches around the trigger guard area to hold it higher up inside the holster.

And no, I didn't make the one on the right.
Part II...

The second Glock holster I found was a suede IWB w/clip holster. I don't remember where I got it and have never used it. Looking closely at it I realized that it had belt slot on it and could be worn OWB on the belt. I also liked the thumb snap. I don't know why so many holsters these days are open at the top. I get that with kydex as the plastic can melt around the gun for retention but I like retaining straps/snaps on leather.

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I wore the holster around on my belt one evening wth the SR and it was very comfortable and hung the SR in the right place and close to the body. I thought it would make a good trail holster. I cut it apart to use as a pattern and duplicated it in leather.

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Again, I'm a out of practice sewing but I managed to cobble it together. Haven't stained/dyed it yet and I don't have a snap for it as I haven't gotten back to Tandy yet. In that it is a bit smaller than a glock and is somewhat generic it actually fits my LC9 though is too long.

I still have to stain it, mount the thumb snap, burnish the edges, seal the finish and then polish it.

The one thing you learn when your start doing leather is that as soon as you finish, you think of a way to do it better or different. If I was going to make another SR holster I would make it with more traditional belt loop and retaining strap that snaps on the front. I would also add a mag pocket so I could carry one additional mag with the gun. One extra is plenty for a trail gun. I actually could pull that one apart and sew a mag pocket on it.

Next projects.....

-Butt stock cuff for one of my lever action rifles.
-Pancake holster for my XD45
-Some sort of holster for my Ruger P97 45
-Mag pouches for above
-More butt stock cuffs for my hunting rifles.
Looks nice.
I finished the SR22 holster after finding a snap. Turned out ok. My next one will have a basketweave or some other design on it. I have the stamps to do different designs but this one was to be plain. You might notice but the shine of the slide that the holster is about 1.75" longer than the pistol. That's because I have a longer threaded barrel with a thread protector on it. I also made it long enough to accommodate a muzzle comp (just because a MC looks cool).

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Looks really good Mac.  That's quite a handy skill to have.  Smile
The nice thing about leather crafting is that you can make pretty much whatever you want. The side of leather I bought recently was $45 and can make about 5 holsters and some other doodads.

This one started out as a pancake holster for my XD 45 and Ruger P97 (45). It is intended to be kind of an general big pistol holster. If any you old guys remember pancake holsters were kind of coolest utilitarian holsters when they were introduced in the 1970s. They typically had three slots in them. You could wear them strong side with a forward cant or straight up and down cross draw. While looking at this before cutting the slots it occurred to me that if I could put more slots in it and make it not only into a belt holster but also a chest/shoulder rig.

Chest rigs are nice when hunting when you don't want to keep banging the stock of your rifle/shotgun on the grip of your pistol on your right side. They are also good for hiking/backpacking etc.

So I will figure out where best to put the slots on this one and then move forward.

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It's obviously still in raw form, lots of work to do to finish it.

Here are some "pancake" type holsters I have. The one on the left is an Uncle Mikes made of vinyl. It is kind of a universal holster with adjustable velcro thumb snaps. The problem with it is that it is kind of floppy. It worked but not very well. It would however make a good pattern for a leather version. Note the belt slots . The top ones are for strong side carry with a forward cant. The bottom one is so you can carry more vertical or as a cross draw. The one on the right is for a full size glock. I carried my G22 for many years in that holster. The one on the bottom is kind of a variation on the theme. I think those are sometimes called a "belt slide holster". It is for a K-frame Smith or similar sized revolver. It could just as easy be molded for an automatic like my LC9. I am thinking of scaling the design down to make a belt slide for my LCP, LC9 and/or RM380.

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Here is my home made pancake. I cut the slots in it last night and carried it around with both my P97 and XD45. It is very comfortable but kind of big. You can see the marks on it where I might cut the other slots. That will allow me to carry it vertical, or horizontal as a chest rig with some straps. Still debating on what/how to do that. It still needs to be trimmed, burnished, stained, sealed, snap installed. Debating whether to stamp a design into it as well. I could easily basketweave it or put a edging around it .

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Two Steps closer..

I sewed the slots and outline of the pistol on the pancake holster. After carrying around my XD45 and P97 I decided it was just too big. I cut it apart, cut it down and re-sewed. It is much better. I decided I would never use it as a chest holster or as a cross draw holster so didn't need all the slots. I also stamped it with a basketweave pattern and added the thumb snap.

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Today I worked on the edges and got it dyed. Starting to look like something. I will put th finish on later today.

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It will be a bit darker than shows in the photo.

I also took that pancake holster I made from scrap for my SR22 and tried to clean it up. I stained it as well and then put a finish on it. Looks a lot better as long as you don't look too close.

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Looking at it now, I am going to go back and sew around the belt slots just to make them stiffer.

Edited to add....

I sewed the belt loops. I also dropped the stitching below the trigger guard which allows the gun to sit lower in the holster by a fraction of an inch. This allows me to carry a couple other pistols in this same holster. My LC9 now fits as well as a couple other autos. We'll see if this holds up as a universal holster or at least as a model for a leather one.
Okay, I got 'er gone, plus a bonus mag holder for a XD45 mag. That was piece of scrap leather for the mag holder. You might notice the holster is a bit long for the gun that goes in it. That's because I have a threaded barrel for my XD that is about an inch longer than stock. If I was going to make another I would cut the back/left side down some and make the belt slot closer to the pistol. It is still just trifle too big, though it is very comfortable to wear. The forward cant is kind of extreme but it' puts the gun as a perfect angle when sitting down, particularly in a car.

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Next bonus project....Stock cuff for my Marlin 44 mag lever gun. Why? ... because it is kinda cool and holds 10 rounds on the stock. Can also be used on my Ruger 44 mag carbine though I will probably make one for that gun as well. I've used that the last two years deer hunting. Next one after that will be for my 375 Marlin and then the 35 Marlin an maybe my 30-30 Winchester.

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I actually made this one last week. Got it all done and realized I had sewn the cartridge holder (notice there are no loops) on crooked. Had to take it apart and then spent days redesigning it. Finally I just said screw it and sewed it back on straight with no changes. I am in the process of making a matching leather sling to go with it.

Kind of a hodge podge of 44 mag and 44 spl ammo there including one old (at least 35 year old) Glaser Safety Slug. The big fat bullets on the ends are 310 grain bear loads.

Each of the next stock cuffs will be a little different in terms of added designs and color and each will have matching slings.

Other future projects....

-Mag holders
-Matching gun belts
-pocket holsters for my mini guns
-carry holster for my LC9
I finished one sling and about half done with another.

Started thinking about holsters for my mouse guns i.e, the LCP and RM380. Those are primarily pocket guns or IWB guns with belt clips. Sometimes however you want to belt carry. I also wanted the option of having an extra mag without having to carry it in my pocket or having to make an extra mag pouch.

Was looking at the belt slide holster I showed earlier and thought if it was just a little longer I could incorporate a mag pouch at the front. I mentioned before that I like thumb breaks or straps on my holsters so this one will have a thumb break. I used that Bianchi belt slide as a pattern somewhat but made the gun more vertical. The first one is showing the RM380. The leather is still wet in the photo trying to get the shape right. It's obviously too big and will be shaped and contoured smaller before the belt slots are cut.

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The next one is the LCP. No thumb snap for this one. I an always add one later. I did not wet it initially. I can wet mold it later. I cut out the general shape and then glued the leather together dry trying to get the general shape. I am debating whether to cut a belt slot in front of the mag or sew a loop on the back side so I can keep the overall length shorter. I will probably cut the back/left end down a bit as well.

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Both need to be sewn, edges trimmed and burnished, dyed and then sealed.

Which ever one turns out best may end up being the model for my LC9
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