By Payton Miller
Many shooters are fond of saying “A quality handgun will last practically forever.” And, by and large, this bit of folk wisdom is pretty much true, although the jury’s still out on polymer frames (check back with me in 100 years or so). Unfortunately this longevity doesn’t extend to the leather you pack your handgun in. But there are things you can do without resigning yourself to Kydex, Cordura or some other synthetic.
Recently I managed to “reinvigorate” two elderly and neglected holsters by the application of Pecard Antique Leather Care Dressing, a markedly superior conditioning “goop” a shooting buddy of mine introduced me to. Since he’s nutty about vintage sixgun rigs, he’s tried about everything to keep them going (without interfering with their “antique-ness,” naturally). And Pecard’s is the stuff he’s settled on. The company is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and offers an array of leather care products geared for different applications.
A blend of waxes (including beeswax) and petroleum products, Pecard Antique Leather Care Dressing contains no animal fat, tallow, mink oil or lanolin. It restored flexibility to an old leather 1911 GI flap-holster as well as a basketweave, early 1960’s belt rig from the Bacon Holster Company for an S&W K-Frame. It did darken the shade a bit on both rigs, but considering the shape they’d fallen into, who cares?
A WWII-era GI flap holster is now flexible again and ready for duty after
a few applications of Pecard Antique Leather Care Dressing.
This elderly Bacon Holster got a new lease on life, while still maintaining
a few vintage character “dings.” It can now resume packing an S&W K-Frame.
What Pecard’s does essentially is to return oils to the leather to arrest the shortening and stiffening of the leather fibers which lead to cracking and flaking. Just apply in light coats using your fingers or a dry cloth. I’m no chemist or restoration expert, but the stuff just seemed to make the leather come “alive.” And, of course, it’ll perform as a water/dirt repellent on new rigs. Just don’t use it on suede or on coated leather (it won’t penetrate).
The company offers this caveat in regard to very old leather:
“If leather is extremely dry and stiff, do not bend or over handle the leather until after a treatment or two when the leather is more flexible. This will help prevent cracking or damage. Due to the density of the dressing, leather cannot over absorb the conditioner.”
Even in this age of synthetics, it’d be nice to think that leather holsters, gunbelts, saddle scabbards, slings and sheaths will always be with us. And with products like Pecard’s, they just might be.
Pecard Leather Care
1836 Industrial Dr.
Green Bay, WI 54302
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