Leather is a strong, durable material that is softer than polymer or nylon and is comfortable to wear. Premium-grade leather should be stored and cared for properly to prevent it from becoming dry, brittle, or moldy. Follow these basic steps when cleaning and storing your leather to extend its life and bring a richness to this organic material.
Break it in
Any brand-new leather holster will take some time to break in. The holster may feel stiff when you first take it out of the box. Despite its molding, the fibers of the leather holster need to break in and adapt to the firearm. Place your firearm into a plastic Ziploc bag and then insert it into the holster. The bag helps with the contours of the firearm and provides some additional tolerance to help stretch the fibers. Leave it overnight. The next day, remove the bag, and insert your firearm into the holster again. Still too tight? Repeat as necessary.
Leather needs to breathe, and should be stored in a cool, dry place when not in regular use. High humidity can cause mildew, while dry heat and direct sunlight can cause drying and cracking. Your holster can be wrapped in a soft cotton cloth and stored in its own box or hard case.
If you leave your handgun in the holster or other product, check it daily for moisture, condensation or corrosion. Changing atmospheric conditions, heavy perspiration and other factors could create such conditions. And remember to take your leather holster out of storage periodically to check its condition, wipe it down and remove any dust.
After every use, wipe down your leather products with a clean dry cloth. A gentle cleansing with warm water and glycerin soap can be done if the leather becomes soiled. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush the soap solution on, and then rinse and pat the leather with a dry cloth until it remains just slightly damp. Allow the product to air dry, and be sure it is completely dry inside and out before use.
Use leather conditioners sparingly. It is important for leather to retain some of its rigidity – after all, the shape of the holster helps maintain a secure fit around the firearm. Using any leather softening products such as Neat’s oil, or mink oil, will soften and distort the original molding. Because Bianchi leather is hand finished with our special leather dressing, should your leather product become dry or scratched, you can treat the exterior with a commercial leather dressing that does not contain lacquer. If using Neatsfoot Oil, be careful to use only a small amount, as using too much will soften the leather. Never use solvents such as acetone to clean these products, as this could result in damage.
Treat the interior of your holster with spray silicone to help protect against excess moisture. Silicone treatment also speeds the draw by reducing friction.
Protect leather from perspiration. Placing a barrier such as a t-shirt, coat or the waistband of your pants between your skin and your holster will ensure your leather holster is protected.
If your product becomes water-soaked, reshape it as best you can and allow it to air-dry at room temperature. When leather products are exposed to salt spray or immersed in salt water, it is important to thoroughly rinse them in warm water as soon as possible. Do not use a hot oven or hair dryer to speed up the drying process, as it will shrink, harden and crack the leather.
Brass cartridges or other brass hardware when stored with leather will acquire a greenish residue called “verdigris.” It is a natural product of a chemical reaction between brass and vegetable tanned leather, and it wipes off. (Using nickel-plated cartridges in belt loops will avoid this condition.)
What not to do
Heat and sun will destroy just about anything over time, including a nice leather holster and all the ammunition you use. Don’t store your holster on the car dash, trunk of the car, garage, or attic. All of these places achieve higher than average temperatures and will wreak havoc on your leather.
Don’t submerge your holster in water or any other liquid, and certainly don’t dry it with a hair dryer or laundry machine. If your holster does become submerged, you just want to air dry it. The leather may shrink a bit, and you can then use the breaking-in techniques described earlier to stretch the fibers.