How to Make a Cowboy Holster

Written by erin ringwald
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How to Make a Cowboy Holster
You need little more than leather to make your own cowboy holster. (Alte Pistolentasche 2. Weltkrieg image by Matthias Nordmeyer from

Gun holsters not only keep your firearm at easy access, but also keep your gun out of the way so as not to worry those around you. Holsters can be found at a number of commercial stores, but these can be expensive. If you want a less expensive alternative that is also completely unique, making your own holster is the way to go. Making your own holster requires just a bit of time and energy to complete and the finished product will be specifically tailored to your chosen gun.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Graph paper
  • Unloaded gun
  • Ruler
  • Leather
  • Groover
  • Rag
  • Glue
  • Rubber mallet
  • Wire brush
  • Drill press
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Brush
  • Gum tragacanth

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  1. 1

    Fold a piece of graph paper in half. The folded piece of paper should be larger than the gun you are making the holster for. Unfold the paper and place the unloaded gun onto the paper so it is lying on its side and centred on the paper with the barrel of the gun along the creased fold. Use a pencil to trace the outline of the entire gun. Keep the lines close the edges of the gun. Be sure to trace the trigger and trigger guard as well. Remove your gun and store it while you make your holster.

  2. 2

    Determine a point 3/4 inches from the edge of your outline using your ruler. Mark this spot. Use the spot to draw an outline of the holster you will make around the outline of the gun. Adjust the shape of the holster outline until you have a shape you are happy with. Also, be aware that wherever the gun bulges, allow a little additional room on your holster outline. This will allow for ease of holstering and removing the gun.

  3. 3

    Cut out the holster outline, stopping at the creased line on the paper. When this is completed you should have a sheet of graph paper with an attached holster outline cutout. Fold the cutout over so that it rests on the half sheet of graph paper. Trace along the outline of the holster.

  4. 4

    Draw a line from the left edge of the holster up to the top edge of the paper using a ruler. Draw a second line in 3/4 inches in from the edge of the paper from the top of the holster to the top of the paper. Cut out the rest of the holster, leaving the rectangle that resulted from your line drawings. This will be used to attach the holster to your belt.

  5. 5

    Fold the rectangle over at the angle you want your finished holster to hang. If you want the holster to hang flat, fold the rectangle down directly along the top edge of the holster. If you want an angle, adjust the fold accordingly. Draw the size flap you want on the rectangle and cut it out, discarding the cut away pieces.

  6. 6

    Unfold the pattern and place it onto a piece of leather. Trace the outline of the holster and flap onto the leather. Cut it out using a utility knife. Use a groover to make the fold of the flap on the leather.

  7. 7

    Fold the leather cut out in half along the centre line. If necessary, moisten a rag or a sponge and wet the centre line to make folding easier.

  8. 8

    Trace the edge outline on a second piece of leather using the edge of your holster pattern. However, you only need the shape, leaving the top open, and about a 1/2 inch width to make a divider. Cut it out. Do this twice so you have two pieces. Glue the two pieces together to create a divider. Glue the divider into the holster, along the edge.

  9. 9

    Apply a layer of glue to inside of the holster and fold it in half, pressing it together. After the glue sets, smooth the edges with a rotary tool.

  10. 10

    Fold the flap over and use a rubber mallet to hammer along the grove you cut. Use a wire brush to roughen the leather on the side of the flap that will meet up with the back of the holster.

  11. 11

    Make a line using the groover around the edge of the holster and along the back of the flap where you will stitch it together. Use a drill press or a hand chisel to make 1/16 inch holes along the edge of the holster, five holes in every inch.

  12. 12

    Double stitch, by hand, along the edge of the holster and along the back flap. When the flap is completed, it will create a place to insert your belt through. Use a brush to apply gum tragacanth to the edges of the holster and let it dry to finish it.

Tips and warnings

  • The belt flap is the back of the holster. Adjust the placement of the flap when tracing your pattern onto leather depending if you want a right- or left-handed holster.
  • After you cut out your leather pattern, you can add detailing or stain it if desired.

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