NOTE: We took this photo purely for fun. You do not want to carry a pre-broken-in holster that requires more than 10 lbs. of force just to draw your weapon!
For those that have lots of carry experience with leather holsters, we all remember our very first.
Remember that bit of panic that sparked inside you when you inserted the pistol for the first time? Remember how impossible it seemed to remove the pistol? I still taste the instant regret (or as my wife would put it: "instagret") washing over me.
For those trying your first leather holster, you were probably in this very dark place recently. Not to worry! All leather holsters that are hard molded need some time to break in. Our family would like to share our favorite methods here!
But before we get into that, our family suggests not using any type of oils, wax, or other solutions to soften the holster. These conditioners might soften the leather right away, but will continue to soften with use until it has absolutely no retention for your firearm. These oils and waxes are meant for gloves and shoes- things that are meant to flex and move with your joints. Holsters are not made with the same intent, so please tread carefully when applying these things.
The "I'm way too excited and want to start using this holster ASAP" method
0. If the pistol is already stuck and will take the strength of Thor to remove it, try grabbing the "ear" and slightly bending it in both directions. Should loosen the holster enough to remove the pistol.
1. Insert the unloaded pistol only halfway into the holster. Perform a slow and controlled twist motion with the firearm (grab the grip, not as it's shown in photo). You should feel the holster instantly open up. Repeat this step until the desired retention is achieved.
2. Optional: If the muzzle fits into the barrel-end of the holster, perform the same step as #1 but with the first inch of the muzzle inside the holster from the opposite end. This will help open up the part of the holster that will cause the most wear on your gun.
3. Depending on the weather and other conditions, you may need to repeat these steps for the next several days as the leather "learns" the shape of your gun. It's a great method to adopt when you need a quick break-in before using the holster for the day.
For those that have time.
Youtuber deputysheriff100 has a video demonstrating his method of working in leather holsters. It's genius. Watch below:
Here's the short version:
1. Wrap your gun with two pieces of wax paper. Make sure to cover the surface that will contact the leather. Make sure the waxy part is facing away from the gun.
2. Insert the wrapped gun into the holster. Then remove from the holster. Repeat about seven times.
3. Leave the pistol and wax paper inside the holster over night.
We like this method because it adds a very thin layer of wax to the inside of the holster and will marble the interior leather fibers over time. Nothing gets soaked into the leather, so over softening won't be an issue here.