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Author Topic: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?  (Read 570 times)

Dullahan

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Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
« on: July 30, 2020, 06:29:34 pm »
I've been told it's not a good idea to store your handguns in leather holsters, especially in humid climates. I can guess that the leather can retain moisture, and long-term storage could result in surface rust. Is that accurate?

I acquired two blued S&W revolvers with the holsters original to them. Both are leather, dating to the late '60s or early '70s. Would it be safe to store the guns in these holsters assuming they are in a dry climate like we have here? Or in a safe with a dehumidifier of some sort?

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    Ballistic Therapy

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #1 on: July 30, 2020, 06:50:32 pm »
    Not a good idea at all.
    The last thing you want to do is store guns in a leather anything for any length of time.

    ynotaz

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 07:34:21 pm »
    Absolutely not.  The chemicals in the leather from processing and dying will damage your finish.
    I gotta think about a new sig.  Hmmmmm?

    grayland

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #3 on: July 30, 2020, 09:00:34 pm »
    I once ran across an old man (WWII Vet) that had brought home his 1911...very near new at the time.  He put it away in the leather flap style holster they used at that time.
    It was simply in a closet for 40 years.  It was the saddest thing I have seen.  A total ruin of a classic gun. :-(

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    patkelly4370

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #4 on: July 31, 2020, 04:30:11 am »
    But...
    In the movies the retired gunslinger has his revolver in the holster with the cartridge belt rolled up in a trunk in the closet with no issues.
    In the movies.

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    FreeInAZ

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #5 on: July 31, 2020, 08:12:04 am »
    As others have said....bad JU-JU sir. Leather is cow hide typically. When it was on the cow it retained moisture. When it was molded to shape, it retained moisture. It was then stained and finished to drive out MOST of the moisture.. but unless it's been dipped in sealing wax or the like(?) it will always be vulnerable to moisture intrusion. Now I know many here don't actually carry a gun regularly, so the concept of leather and sweat in 115+ F summer heat may not register, but make no mistake, leather will absorb sweat (salt water) and deposit that on the finish of any gun holstered in it.

    In the OP's case with older blued guns (blue IS controlled rust)  - safe bet is to remove the pistols from the leather and store them in a dry / humidity free area. take the holster(s) to a local tack or saddlery shop and get their recommendation on a leather sealer and try a small sample area 1st on a part of the holster that is not visible (back) and see how it looks after drying, then go from there based on the results. Hope this helps & good luck.  :-)
    Better to die on our feet than live on our knees! "The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable." -Sun Tzu

    5632

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #6 on: July 31, 2020, 09:05:02 am »
    I have no answer to the question but this sujuect makes me think.  I have always used Neadsfoot oil on all my leather holsters.  Is this good or bad?

    Marx-ism's

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #7 on: July 31, 2020, 10:48:04 am »
    But...
    In the movies the retired gunslinger has his revolver in the holster with the cartridge belt rolled up in a trunk in the closet with no issues.
    In the movies.

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    Gotta love Hollyweird propaganda.........

    Where else would we learn that it's perfectly normal for a 200+lb guy to fly a yard or more backwards when hit by a handgun round to central body mass..
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    RJ

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #8 on: July 31, 2020, 11:19:04 am »
    Gotta love Hollyweird propaganda.........

    Where else would we learn that it's perfectly normal for a 200+lb guy to fly a yard or more backwards when hit by a handgun round to central body mass..


    you mean its not real :whistle

    CMore

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #9 on: July 31, 2020, 01:24:07 pm »
    I think it depends on a few things like finish on the gun how the leather has been treated or is treated. Type of holster can make a difference and of course when, where and how it is worn can be a factor.  How often you clean and lube the gun and other common sense measures are important too.

    Blued guns are very susceptible to rusting because as noted above it is a rusting process in the first place.  These can possibly be damaged long term in a leather holster depending on other factors involved.

    Nickle, chrome, stainless steel are far more rust resistant.  Modern coatings used on firearms today have excellent  anti rust properties and of course the plastic frames do not rust but, their metal parts can.

    Leather or fabric holsters worn inside the belt will more than likely absorb sweat and body salts and removing susceptible guns from them when not worn is going to be  good idea.

    Outside the belt (I prefer a pancake holster with retention) is not as likely to absorb sweat and less likely to have an affect on non-blued guns. If it does get wet then remove it until dry and re apply silicone. (see below)

    I periodically spray silicone inside my holsters to repel water and give the firearm some added protection from any possible chemicals in the leather it also helps keep the leather looking nicer.

    I only keep 3 or 4  EDC guns in leather holsters for the sake of convenience most of my other firearms are not stored in a holster. I also shoot and clean those guns more often too 

    I do have several guns who have spent decades in siliconed leather holsters with no harm one is a blued Ruger speed six I bought in 1984 and it still looks great.  I contribute that to being in a quality siliconed holster and getting cleaned at least once or twice a year..



     
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    Dullahan

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #10 on: July 31, 2020, 07:26:34 pm »
    Thank you all for the advice. I'll keep the pistols in a case in the safe. They're not EDC, though I'd like to take them out for a walk now and again. For kicks, here's a photo of them. Both were made by Lawrence in Portland, OR (before the city fell to demo-ruins).

    coelacanth

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #11 on: July 31, 2020, 07:54:44 pm »
    Best guess is those are made from chrome tanned leather and will definitely react with blued steel over the long term.  Even vegetable tanned leather is not good for long term storage but that is probably where the idea came from to show a holstered gun coming out of an old trunk and being in perfect condition.  Even a leather treatment containing wax or paraffin will eventually wear to the point the chemical reaction begins to take place so I would not store anything that can rust in leather. 

    I have no answer to the question but this sujuect makes me think.  I have always used Neadsfoot oil on all my leather holsters.  Is this good or bad?
    Neatsfoot oil is an organic oil compound extracted form the shin bones of cattle.  Frequently it is mixed with beeswax and sometimes carnauba wax to give it a sheen when it soaks in and dries on the surface.  Whether its good for a holster depends a lot on the leather.  Leather dries out over time and needs something to maintain it.  Unfortunately neatsfoot oil tends to soften leather - especially when it is put on heavy enough or often enough to saturate the grain.  If its important that the leather hold its shape over time I would avoid using it on the holster.  What's done is done and if the holsters are doing OK then continue what you're doing and don't worry about it as neatsfoot oil is going to be better than nothing.  Hope that helps. 

    I personally use neatsfoot oil and beeswax ( equal parts by weight ) on some of my leather goods and have been fairly happy with it but its not really a waterproofing treatment so don't expect that.  Obenauf's leather treatment is probably the best I have found for boots and stuff but it too will soften leather over time.  I have been meaning to try a mix of beeswax, jojoba oil and carnauba wax but haven't gotten around to mixing it up yet.  I'll let you know how it works out when I get it mixed up and on some leather.
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    pscipio03

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #12 on: August 03, 2020, 05:48:55 pm »
    I use Renaissance Wax, very light coat, on my blued 1911s and will never store them in leather.
    Wouldn’t do it to stainless either.
    Hell, I don’t even store my EDC in its Kydex holster so any sweat that’s on the gun can be found and wiped off or at worst dry.

    s3nfo

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #13 on: August 04, 2020, 04:56:00 am »
    I am of a different opinion. S&W 38 pictured has lived every day of it's life in that leather holster since the early '60's, Ruger single six has lived in it's holster since at least '72. Neither have ever seen the inside of a safe or a dehumidifier and they've been in Texas, Colorado, Utah, California and now Arizona. Both are in good condition for their age and show no signs of rust or corrosion. I have 2 others that live in leather holsters, a Taurus PT92 and a Uberti single six copy, but they've only been in holsters since the '80's.

    « Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 04:58:44 am by s3nfo »

    coelacanth

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #14 on: August 04, 2020, 01:25:05 pm »
    Glad to hear you haven't experienced the problems some of us have.  What kind of care do the holsters and the guns that live in them receive?  Any tips you could share with us would be appreciated. 
    " A republic, if you can keep it. "
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    s3nfo

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    Re: Is it OK to store pistols in leather holsters?
    « Reply #15 on: August 05, 2020, 08:50:37 am »
    I don't do anything to the holsters and nothing special to the guns, just clean them like I do all my non-holster living guns. Of course YMMV.

    « Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 09:03:45 am by s3nfo »

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