REVOLVER HOLSTER LINING QUESTIONS

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Anonymous

I'm going to be having a few holsters custom made for my OM Blackhawks and Super Blackhawks. They'll be the basic Tom Threepersons style because I favor simplicity of design and function (just like the OM revolvers).

So here is my question, or questions, and they apply to single actions only. Oh, and thumb break holsters or holsters that use tension screws don't figure into my equation...I'm not considering either style.

1. What type of lining do you prefer for your holsters...suede, pigskin, or smooth leather? Or something else? And please tell me why you prefer one over the others.

2. Do you prefer a strap with a snap on the holster, or do you prefer a hammer loop? Again, tell me why you prefer one over the other.

Thanks for your time.
 

Hondo44

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1. Smooth leather sprayed with silicone. It will not retain any grit therefore is least likely to wear the gun's finish.

2. Hammer thong on traditional/western holsters and a smooth leather lined snap strap on others.

But I make a combination thumb break on the left side of hammer (I'm right handed) with additional snap where the strap joins the holster on the right side. When you draw using the thumb break it's faster and the piece of strap over the gun swivels down out of the way for re-holstering ease. Or you can completely remove the strap by unsnapping it from the holster.
 

schloss

Single-Sixer
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Feb 27, 2010
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Soldotna AK
Suede for me. I like my guns to show their character, so I don't mind the finish wearing some. I'm not able to carry them at all times, so holster aging is limited. And I still prefer a thumb break over the other two choices (what's a tension screw?). I get something that barely fits my gun, or doesn't fit. If it doesn't fit, I'll soak it in water and stretch it until it does. Not always easy to find, though. I use a slightly higher ride, strong side. Prefer the cylinder to be just below my belt line. Seems to be the best blend of balance, out-of-the-way-ness, ease of carry, and deployability.
 
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Anonymous

Hondo44 said:
2. Hammer thong on traditional/western holsters and a smooth leather lined snap strap on others.

Even though the "official" Threepersons design came along in the twenties, if you look at it long enough, you can see its basic design had been around since the 1800s. It just didn't usually have a forward or backward cant to it on the belt. So do you consider the Tom Threepersons to be a traditional/western holster? Or when you think of traditional, do you think of things like drop-loop gunbelts and holsters (cowboy style), or waist-level belts with maybe a holster in the "jock strap" style? Just curious. I've seen Threepersons style holsters with the snap strap that extends beyond the back edge of the holster and others where it doesn't.

I think holster style and design, especially for single actions, would make for an interesting discussion or debate. And thanks for taking the time to respond.
 
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Anonymous

schloss said:
(what's a tension screw?)

Thanks for your input.

It's an actual screw running through the leather, usually just below where the trigger guard sits in the holster, or next to where the frame fits in the holster. And you tighten or loosen the screw to adjust the tension that holds the gun in the holster. Some holsters have more than one. They're actually used more on holsters for double actions and semi-autos. I don't remember ever seeing one on a single action holster. You can see some examples on the El Paso Saddlery website, if I remember correctly. But whatever holster they're used on, they just spoil the whole aesthetic of the holster for me. I guess I'm too much of a traditionalist...I still dream of being a cowboy.

I have two suede lined holsters...an old Bianchi from about '73 and an old Safariland (http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=182352) from about the same period. I like the look, but that stuff will collect grit in a heartbeat. I like my guns to show character, but too much character equates to a ruined finish for me.
 
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Anonymous

powder smoke said:
Soft leather like buck skin makes a nice lining...

I never thought of buckskin. I don't think I've ever seen a buckskin-lined holster. Do you know of any makers who use it for a lining?
 

flyguy958

Bearcat
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I've lined a few with goat skin. It's more economical than buck skin and is very durable. Smooth side in reduces dirt retention and finish wear.
 

Short Barrel

Blackhawk
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Mar 2, 2006
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MT
I use buckskin suede.I've used the smooth side also but really don't consider it durable enough for the amount of rubbing it gets.I believe Lawrence used to line some with chamois.Suede can pick up grit but it is a simple matter to blow it out occasionally to prevent this.These days,I'm making only flap holsters and grit doesn't seem to fall in there like it used to.

I haven't tried it yet but have some smooth ostrich that really looks like it would have great potential as a lining leather.That goat skin sounds good as well.
 
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Anonymous

Short Barrel said:
I believe Lawrence used to line some with chamois.

Lawrence did line some of their holsters with chamois. I have a Lawrence from the sixties (I think) in its original box, and on the back of the box it lists all the models of holsters along with alphabetic codes. Lawrence used the letter "C" to denote a chamois-lined holster. Unfortunately, my Lawrence isn't lined with anything at all, but it's a nice dark brown colored saddle leather holster that looks to have hardly been used. It's for a 4" S&W N frame. And since I don't have a 4" N frame right now, the holster and box make a nice display piece in one of my bookcases.
 

CraigC

Hawkeye
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5,197
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West Tennessee
I like pigskin for lining. If I ever make any lined holsters, it will be with pigskin. It's smoother than suede, very thin and tough and slightly sticky.

I greatly prefer hammer thongs. A properly fitted holster does not need a strap or a thong but a thong is easily left off. Not so with a strap.

Here's the first modified Threepersons style I did with an open toe because it's made for a sixgun one inch shorter than the shortest one I have.

IMG_1349b.jpg
 

Hondo44

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BIGDAWG said:
Hondo44 said:
2. Hammer thong on traditional/western holsters and a smooth leather lined snap strap on others.

Even though the "official" Threepersons design came along in the twenties, if you look at it long enough, you can see its basic design had been around since the 1800s. It just didn't usually have a forward or backward cant to it on the belt. So do you consider the Tom Threepersons to be a traditional/western holster? Or when you think of traditional, do you think of things like drop-loop gunbelts and holsters (cowboy style), or waist-level belts with maybe a holster in the "jock strap" style? Just curious. I've seen Threepersons style holsters with the snap strap that extends beyond the back edge of the holster and others where it doesn't.

I think holster style and design, especially for single actions, would make for an interesting discussion or debate. And thanks for taking the time to respond.

The Tom 3P is one that can work well with either thong or snap strap and I've used both. Some like a long strap for quick opening but I don't; too easy to catch on things and get opened by accident and if not noticed, you reach for your gun and it's not there. That's why I like the thumb break combination strap.

Even if the thumb B. accidently gets popped open, a good stiff strap or reinforced with a bent thin piece of carbon fiber or metal still has your gun hooked in place. But you can swivel the strap back and down passed the trigger guard to draw. Or if in a hurry, just draw "thru" the strap. The strap end in front ends at the snap with no tail on it, so very difficult to open accidently. Always use a 'pull-the-dot' snap on holster snaps! You set them with the dot pointing in the direction that you want the snap to open from and they don't unsnap from any other direction by accident.

There's a lot more science to holsters than most people realize. I was always happy to make something different for a customer and experiment with different ideas. Some work great and others failed under use. But that's how we learn. Many customers were excited about being in on the experiment.
Some just wanted tried and true designs. We catered to all.

Twenty five years ago I made holsters and other leather goods/clothing for my dad's shop, and still make them from time to time. We tried many lining materials. Buckskin is great for clothing because it's stretchy, soft and very pliable. None of those characteristics however, are what you want for the inside of a holster.

It will work for a barbecue gun/show holster. But with daily carry or hard use it's not the best; it can get baggy, stained and very hard to get grit out of even the smooth side. Pigskin is only little better but does look very nice and is good for a casual use/defense carry holster. Plain old 4/5 oz. bark tanned cowhide smooth side towards the gun in a wet formed rig is hard to beat. And why it's used for 95% of lined holsters. It will dye with uniform color to the outside leather as well. When it gets scarred up with use it just looks natural and you can burnish marks into a nice patina. When pigskin/buckskin gets scarred up it looks torn and ratty.

So the intended use of the holster like anything else helps determine the best materials as well as personal preference.
 
A

Anonymous

CraigC said:
Here's the first modified Threepersons style I did with an open toe because it's made for a sixgun one inch shorter than the shortest one I have.

IMG_1349b.jpg

That's a cool looking holster...there's nothing about it that I don't like. Love the border stamping. Thanks for showing us that and for taking the time to comment.
 
A

Anonymous

WESHOOT2 said:
I prefer what Milt Sparks Holsters, Inc. uses.........

Sparks holsters are a great product, and the company's been around a good while. Unfortunately, their selection doesn't include a style I like...most of the holsters seem oriented towards semi-autos and double action revolvers...no really traditional looking stuff.
 
A

Anonymous

Pigskin is only little better but does look very nice and is good for a casual use/defense carry holster. Plain old 4/5 oz. bark tanned cowhide smooth side towards the gun in a wet formed rig is hard to beat. And why it's used for 95% of lined holsters. It will dye with uniform color to the outside leather as well. When it gets scarred up with use it just looks natural and you can burnish marks into a nice patina. When pigskin/buckskin gets scarred up it looks torn and ratty.

So the intended use of the holster like anything else helps determine the best materials as well as personal preference.

And that, right there, is where most of my problem comes in. I've been leaning towards El Paso Saddlery, and their Threepersons holsters come standard with a lining, and your choice of snap strap or hammer thong. But the lining is smooth pigskin. But you can get their belts lined with suede (which won't slip). Sometimes my holsters get some rough use. Although I'm getting on up in years, I still do some hiking in the mountains, especially in the winter and early spring. So the holsters often get wet with snow, and scarred up by thorn bushes, and if I slip and fall on my butt in a stream (which has happened), the holster's gonna get soaked. So I sort of worry about the effects of stuff like that on pigskin.

So I'm sort of going back and forth among three or four makers, trying to make a decision. Holsters should last a long long time, and custom made ones aren't getting any cheaper.

Thanks again for your thoughts on this.
 

Hondo44

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El Paso makes premium stuff and I buy more of it than anything else. They will also make some modifications on their holsters. They may agree to line their T 3P with calfskin for you. If not I'd still get their T 3P over anyone else's.
 

CraigC

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Messages
5,197
Location
West Tennessee
Last couple times I conversed with EPS they were unwilling to make any changes to their standard offerings. IMHO, their quality has suffered since Ryan took over, as has their willingness to give the customer what they want. Their colors are more subdued and the stamping less prominent.
 
A

Anonymous

Hondo44 said:
El Paso makes premium stuff and I buy more of it than anything else. They will also make some modifications on their holsters. They may agree to line their T 3P with calfskin for you. If not I'd still get their T 3P over anyone else's.

I imagine what I'll end up doing to start off with is buying one belt from EPS...probably their "River Belt"...a 12-loop cartridge slide...and just one holster for a specific Ruger to begin with. See how I like it, see how it wears, and if it's alright, then going on from there. I only shoot four calibers: .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .45 Colt, and .357 Magnum. So I'd just swap out cartridge slides and holsters on the same belt, maybe even have one holster as a crossdraw. I'll probably do border stamping, but no fancy floral or basket weave or fish scale stamping.

I will say that in the e-mails I've exchanged with them, they don't seem too keen on modifying their products to individualize them a bit more to the client.

I do have one OM Ruger that'll be heading off to David Clements in Virginia for a bit of custom work and some custom grips, so I might want something special for it...but we're talking about weeks, maybe a couple of months, for it to be completed, so I have plenty of time to decide on that.

Thanks again for your input.
 

NorEaster

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
554
I've made holsters with and used pigskin for the lining. They worked fine
If I were to make another lined holster, I would use the lighter 4-5oz leather and use it for the inside and outside of the finished holster
When cutting your pattern you make a positive and negative version of the shape and glue the leather with the inner rough sides facing together
Stitching then goes all the way around to help keep the inner and outer layers together at the mouth of the holster
 

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