How to Make a Western Holster

By Jen Davis
Leather gun holsters were commonly used in the Old West.

Historians believe Western-style holsters first came into use during the 1840s and increased in popularity through the early 20th century. Holsters provided easy access to weapons while also giving the weapon itself extra protection from possible damage.

Though people generally no longer carry Western-style leather holsters, holsters can provide a unique piece of equipment for individuals interested in Western life or history. You can find a variety of patterns to make reproduction Western-style leather holsters, and the possibilities for adding individual or unique detail to homemade holsters are endless.

How to make a Western holster using a pattern

Find and select a leather holster pattern best suited for your weapon and needs.

If you want to make a pattern specific to your gun, or you are unable to find a pattern to fit your gun, refer to the section on making a holster pattern.

Place your pattern on the leather. If desired, use clothes pins to attach the pattern to the leather or lightly trace pattern onto backside leather with marker.

After the pattern is on the leather, take a razor knife and carefully cut out the leather in the shape of the pattern. Take your time cutting out the pattern on the leather; if done incorrectly, your holster may not fit together properly.

Fit the pieces of leather together; make sure each one matches up correctly.

Use a leather needle and thread to hand sew the holster together as required by your pattern. Hand-sewn stitches should be near the edge of the leather, and smooth, even and as close toghether as possible to create a well-made product.

Periodically, you will want to place the gun in your holster to make sure it slides in and out smoothly.

Use the razor knife to make two identical slits in the top of the back of the holster so it can be attached to a gun belt. Slits should be approximately an inch apart and equally as long.

Use your adjustable creasing tool to customize your holster by creasing designs or embellishments into leather.

Designs can be drawn freehand and should reflect your own tastes. If you are not comfortable with designing a pattern for the holster, you can find a stencil and trace it into the leather with the creasing tool.

Dye your leather. You can purchase pre-made leather dye from a variety of sources and will need to follow specific dying instructions for the product you have purchased to avoid damaging your holster.

When you dye the leather of your holster, the design you creased into the leather will become more visible and give the product a finished appearance.

How to make a holster pattern

Select the gun for which you wish to make a holster and trace its outline onto a piece of cardboard using a marker.

Leave a little bit of extra room around your outline to avoid making a holster that's too small for your gun after you've sewn it.

You should trace both sides of your gun, making sure they match up to one another evenly. If one side is larger than the other, your holster will not fit together properly.

Use a razor knife to cut out the cardboard pattern along the marker lines.

Put the pieces of your pattern together, making sure they fit together to create a cardboard holster. If your pattern will not line up now, then it will not line up correctly in leather either.

If the pattern does not line up correctly, make whatever changes necessary until you have a pattern that fits together properly.

When your pattern fits together properly, you can trace it onto the leather and begin making your holster.

About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.