Gunleather & Accessories

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, Delivered Straight from the Horse's Mouth!

Please note: This section will be updated on a regular basis with new questions and answers of interest, not only to potential customers, but to all members of the shooting fraternity.

holsters, questions


Q 1.  What is your Returns policy?

Q 2.  Do you recommend the use of cowhide or horsehide for the construction of holsters?

Q 3.  Do you make holsters for revolvers?

Q 4.  Do you ever undertake any custom work?

Q 5.  Why do you not offer all your holster models in left-handed configuration?

Q 6.  Why is a belt never as wide as its quoted width?

Q 7.  How many of your holsters do you normally keep in stock?

Q 8.  Why is there a ban on handguns in Britain?

Q 9. Given the handgun ban in Britain, how do you keep updated with the latest models of weapon?

Q 10. Is cotton or synthetic thread better for sewing in the construction of holsters?

Q 11. What thickness of leather do you use for your holsters?

Q 12. My holster is fine, but I find it a bit tight. How may I remedy this?

Q13. Why are your holsters not lined?

Q14. Why are your belt holsters not fitted with thumb-breaks or retaining straps?

Q15. Do you approve of, or recommend, condition one (cocked-and-locked) carry with any of your holsters?

Q16. Do you use cowhide or bullhide for your holsters?



Answer 3.
In the past, I made holsters for roughly equal numbers of revolvers and semi-autos in more or less equal quantities. Over the last few years, however, there has been an explosion in the production and use of new models of semi-auto which has not been paralleled in the field of revolvers. Whereas at one time I produced leather for around fifty different models of semi-auto, my current output is geared up to accommodate over one hundred -- and growing every day! With limited resources, I found that I was getting behind with work, and turnaround times were getting longer and longer. Something had to go, and it was, regrettably, revolvers. It was a decision I was more than reluctant to make, but there was no other option. So, whilst hoping for their understanding, my sincere apologies to all dedicated wheelgunners.


Answer 4.
When I started out making holsters, custom work was the norm. One-off models, or basketweave, fancy tooling, or even exotics like sharkskin were no problem at all. However, with the current volume of traffic and my very limited resources, it's a constant struggle just trying to keep up to date with work coming in. Spending extra time on custom orders would mean that the rest of my business -- and my customers -- would suffer. Turnaround times would become months instead of weeks and the end result for all concerned would be far from satisfactory. Therefore, sorry, but no custom orders.

Basketweave             Leather tooling            


Answer 5.
I am often accused of picking on left-handed people. This is just not true. However, as a one-man holster-maker, I have to accept the sad fact that I cannot be all things to all people. Time was when I was easily able to produce holsters in both LH and RH configuration, simply because there weren't all that many models of handgun around. To order all the LH dies I would need to cope with the current range I have on offer, however, is far more than my finances would stretch to. It has been suggested -- over-simplistically -- that all I'd have to do to cut out an item in LH configuration would be to turn the skin upside down. This would work fine if it weren't for things like mag ejector buttons to consider. Both LH and RH dies are shaped differently to ensure that the button is clear of leather. This may sound trivial. However, failure to address this question would mean that the pressure of leather on the button would cause the magazine to eject every time the pistol was holstered!. It is, of course, possible to modify the required shapes by hand. However,spending the extra time on this operation would mean extra delays in production time, leading to an increase in what is already a lengthy turnaround time. As ever, there is just one pair of hands to deal with a workload that has increased tenfold.

I do offer my shoulder-holster systems (HAK, HAK/MM, HAK/HAK) as well as my Inside-waistband series (62L/62LS and 68L/68LS) in LH configuration because these patterns are relatively quick and easy to modify by hand. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for the other models.


Answer 6.
The width of a belt is governed by the width of the buckle, which is always exact. The belt must therefore be cut undersize to avoid damage to its edge as the billet end passes through the buckle. Because of this, all belts are normally cut approx 1/16" undersize.


Answer 7.
It is impossible for me to carry any items in stock. I currently produce 19 variants (with or without rear protective tab) of 11 models of holster in three colors and two belt-widths for over one hundred and fifty semi autos, which means that I would need to have over seventeen thousand holsters in stock just to have one example of each! Think I'm kidding? You do the math: the 19 holsters (including variants) multiplied by 6 (the 3 colors and 2 different belt widths for each variant) gives 114. Now multiply this by 150 (the different models of weapon). That gives over seventeen thousand. Unbelieveable! And those are just the holsters! Then there are the magazine-carriers. So you can see why every item has to be hand-crafted from the details you provide on your order-form and can't just be drawn from stock.


Answer 9.
Even before the handgun ban was introduced, I used aluminium casts of weapons for making up and blocking holsters. These casts are exact replicas which painstakingly reproduce the external characteristics of actual handguns. I have always obtained these from a very reliable source in the US and continue to do so. As new and popular weapons come on the market, I merely upgrade my "stock" to accommodate them, so our domestic gun ban doesn't really effect my production of holsters.
If you're wondering why real weapons aren't used in making holsters, it's because of the blocking or moulding process. This involves a pressure of some 25 tons coming down on a wet holster containing a solid replica of the gun it is designed to carry. If, in the process, a real gun were to be substituted for the replica, it would almost certainly suffer from the experience.


Answer 11.
Any discussion regarding the thickness of leather must first take into consideration the way in which that thickness is measured.

In the US, leather substance is often expressed in poundage. This is a system based on the premise that one square foot of leather, precisely 1/64" thick, will weigh one ounce. It must then follow that six-ounce leather is 3/32" thick, eight-ounce leather is 1/8" thick, ten-ounce leather is 5/32" thick, and so on.

In Europe and the UK we use an infinitely more simple and practical method. We quote the actual thickness of a skin in millimetres. That's it! Now this figure may vary by a very small fraction, but is generally very accurate and easy to verify. So If I happen to stipulate that I require a skin 2.8mm to 3mm thick, I can bet my boots on the fact that 95% of that skin will be 3mm thick, with perhaps just the odd segment near the edge clocking in at 2.8mm.

Trying to combine the two systems may get a little messy because while we in Europe and the UK now use metric, the poundage system in the US still translates into good old Imperial inches! But don't worry, if you remember that 3.0mm is equal to 1/8" and do your conversion accordingly, you won't go far wrong!

It's good to know that in most tanneries the world over, cowhides are split very accurately, normally following the fleshing process. This provides a uniform thickness throughout the skin, allowing the craftsman to regularly obtain leather of a consistent substance and character.

Having clarified the methods of measurement, we can now go on to the question at hand, namely, what thickness of leather do I use for my holsters? I use five different thickness' of cowhide, going from 1.0mm to 5.5mm. Why such a range? Well, for the varying needs and usage involved. Take an IWB holster, for instance. It wouldn't be feasible to make it from leather of the same substance used for a belt holster. The body of the former would need to be of a much thinner material than the latter -- and vice versa. Ditto for a shoulder holster. The leather for this must be thicker than for an IWB holster, yet not as thick as for a belt holster. So it is essential to have cowhide of varying thickness' to hand.

There is, unfortunately, not the same choice or range available with horsehide. The equine strips I import from the US come in two substances: 5-7oz (5/64" - 7/64") and 7-9oz (7/64" - 9/64"). Because of the nature of the cuts, however, there is no regularity in the thickness of the skins, hence it is not unusual to find that a segment may measure 3.5mm thick at one end but only 1.0mm at the other! Judicious selection and cutting are, therefore, often called for in order to compensate for this lack of uniformity.


Answer 12.
Holsters must, by necessity, provide a snug fit for purposes of retention. However, if you find the fit a bit TOO snug, there are two very simple solutions:

1.) Spray the INSIDE of the holster with a SHORT BURST of silicone spray lubricant or with Teflon dry lubricant spray. You'll be amazed at the results!

2.) FIRST MAKE SURE THE WEAPON IS UNLOADED, then wrap it in a polythene bag (the one the holster came in would be eminently suitable) and push it completely into the holster. The thickness of the polythene will ease and stretch the leather the few thousandths of an inch necessary to allow for a better weapon-to-holster fit, whilst at the same time providing a lubricating sleeve and allowing the weapon to be easily removed. Repeat the process, if necessary, until you achieve the fit you require, then dump the polythene. However, remember not to stretch the holster TOO much as this will compromise weapon retention.


Answer 13.
It is widely believed that leather or suede lining will reduce wear on a weapon. This is questionable. It's a sad but true fact, but regular insertion and removal of a weapon from a holster be it lined or unlined -- will inevitably result in a certain amount of wear. If you are concerned with wear, then the only realistic solution is to have your handgun treated with one of the many excellent advertised protective finishes.

Lining is not, as certain manufacturers would have us believe, a mark of quality. With the superb selection of leather available today, lining for lining's sake is quite unnecessary. It is, of course, essential to and an integral part of any holster fitted with a metal or plastic liner or with a spring system; or if the holster is faced with something "exotic" like snakeskin which, in itself, lacks the substance for use in holster construction and needs to be backed or lined with leather of the appropriate thickness. So should the holster of your choice fall into these categories, then yes, the lining is important. If not who needs it?


Answer 14.
I am aware of the fact that regulations of several agencies insist on a thumb-break or other retention system. However, all my belt holsters are designed to function efficiently without these devices; it is, in fact, an integral part of their appeal. So regrettably, I cannot adapt or alter them in any way as this would only interfere with their efficiency.


Answer 15.
I would never, under any circumstances, recommend or approve of the cocked-and-locked carry of a weapon in any one of my holsters. The fact that there isn't a safety strap or other device between the hammer and firing pin would make it extremely dangerous to do so. This is why my master blocks have been made with the hammer down, safety off, and my holsters are moulded accordingly.

May I state quite categorically that I have perfect faith in the design and function of the mechanical safety devices of 1911-style pistols. However, I work at a distance, so can have no inkling at all of the attitude, knowledge, and weapon-handling capabilities of any individual who purchases or uses a Horseshoe holster. Additionally, I have no way of monitoring the circumstances under which any item may be used or by whom, so can never be sure that these were appropriate i.e. that equipment was not being used in a way that was never intended.

Living, as we do, in a fiercely litigious society, I cannot run the risk of facing a lawsuit brought by some unknown individual who, after having shot himself or anyone else, for whatever reason, may then try to blame the accident on the fact that he was carrying his weapon, cocked-and-locked, with my approval, in one of my holsters. I am not for a moment suggesting that you may be that individual, but I like the idea of sleeping at night and, having reached the evening of my life, I have no wish to get involved with any situation which may, potentially, lead to a lawsuit, quite apart from not wanting to have the death or the severe wounding of anyone on my conscience.


Answer 16.
In England and, I suspect, in the US, vegetable-tanned cattle hides have always been traditionally referred to as cowhide. In the livestock industry, female calves (cows) are usually given over to milk production. Male calves (bulls) are neutered, fattened, slaughtered for meat, and the hides go for tanning. They are referred to as bullocks or, in the US, steers. So strictly speaking, the leather from these animals, which constitutes about 99.9% of veg tanned cattle-derived leather, should be referred to either as steerhide or bullockhide, rather than cowhide. In short, it's all in a name.

All this really wouldn't matter -- I mean, cowhide, steerhide, potatoes, potahtoes -- who cares? Except for certain disingenuous individuals who seek to endow their products with special properties based on the fact that they use bullhide. Well here's a flash, folks: Knowingly or otherwise, Everyone uses bullhide! Call it cowhide, call it steerhide, call it bullhide, it's all the same thing.

Belt Slide Pancake Covert 22 Covert 28 X-draw Max Prot SOB2 SBU2 IWB
Holster ML holster 30 Holster 22H Holster 28 Holster 28X Holster 32 Holster SOB2 Holster SBU2 Holster 62L

Shoulder Deep Conceal In-Car Flat Stacked Universal IWB Belts
Shoulder holster Holster TJM Holster JCB Single-stack mags Double-stack mags Universal mag-pouch IWB mags Belts