A western-style holster is a leather pocket for a handgun. In the Old West it was a standard part of a cowboy's daily wear. The western holster, as opposed to a shoulder or concealment holster, is worn attached to the belt on the outside of the trousers. It has a leather thong that is tied around the thigh. The western holster is not suitable for law enforcement professionals who deal with armed and dangerous suspects, but it makes a good addition to western wear and you can make it to fit your own pistol.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- permanent marker
- cowhide or other holster material
- utility knife
- leather glue
- leather thong
- heavy cord for stitching
- large needle
Trace patterns for the holster on cardboard. Use an existing holster or make your own design by laying the gun on the cardboard and tracing around it. There should be a front and back piece. Make sure you have enough cowhide at the top to loop a belt through it and enough along the sides so that the gun will slide in and out easily. You can take up extra room with moulding later but you cannot add more.
Transfer the patterns to the cowhide by tracing it and cut out the pieces with a utility knife.
Mark the cowhide with the gun's position and glue the pieces of the holster together around the edges. Use a very thin coat of glue and be careful not to glue the area where the gun will rest. Let the glue dry.
Cut any excess cowhide from around the holster and make slots at the top through which you will loop a belt.
Punch stitching holes around the sides with an awl and hammer, then double-stitch the holster together, including adding the leather thong at the bottom for tying around the leg. Also stitch around the belt slots.
Mold the leather to your gun. Wet the leather inside and out and wrap your gun in plastic. Slide the gun into the holster and press the leather around it. Let dry overnight. Now your holster is finished.
Tips and warnings
- After drying, you can dye the cowhide with leather dye then wax with beeswax or other leather wax. You can also burnish the edges with a burnishing wheel.
- You can use almost all other leather tools and techniques to embellish your holster as well.
- Wear gloves, a mask and other protective gear when using leather dyes or other chemicals.
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