Dave Tinkers With Old Rig, Produces New Gem
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Dave wanted to give an old holster for an N-frame S&W a new life, so
he did a major reconstruction and a new coat of dye. Kirinite grips are from Eagle Grips.

About five years ago, while knocking together a couple of holsters for a fall gun show, one of them didn’t turn out quite right and I tossed it aside, only to use it later on a deer hunt in which I carried a 4-inch N-frame Smith & Wesson.

The leather came out kind of soft and the original dye job kind of sucked, so I figured if this specimen somehow got beat up, it would be no great loss. Little could I know the holster and the revolver would play a key role in the weekend trek, which ended with a notched tag and a cooler full of venison. A moving headshot with the handgun put the buck down, and the holster kept my revolver secure, though something still wasn’t right.

Several months ago, I got “the itch.” We’ve all experienced this, whether it involves working on the car, sharpening a chainsaw, or doing some other kind of make-work project. Finding a decent-sized scrap of tan suede in a box in the workshop, it occurred to me there was a rebuild experiment at hand, which could be duplicated by other folks with some time and a little patience, if they are so-inclined.


Here’s the rig in its original incarnation. Not much to write home about;
functional but a bit disappointing visually and it seemed a little on the soft side.

I retrieved the holster, stuck it into a pail of warm water until the leather was very pliable, and then with a small, thin-blade keen-edged pocketknife, I cut the stitching, cleaned up the holster interior, and cemented the flattened holster outline over the suede. It ‘just’ fit. I left it on a flat piece of heavy cardboard for about a half-hour with some books on top to keep it flat and to allow the cement to set.

The original stamping on the outer holster surface was unimpressive, so I stamped a new border around the front surface, and went to work with a hand tool that leaves what resembles a little clamshell print, which I rather like. It’s different from standard basket weave.

Using a punch and the original needle holes, I punched holes through the suede for the new stitching, which would be done entirely by hand so as not to chew up where the original stitches had been. This whole process took a couple of hours, but it was a nice, mildly warm summer afternoon and it was either that or split firewood. Three guesses which endeavor I chose!


After soaking the leather and opening up the holster, Dave added a
lining of tan suede he found in his workshop. Just enough to fit.

Made in the Suede

Once many years ago, while covering a Townhall television event featuring a guy from some anti-hunting group, I was backstage with a colleague when up walked a different guy and a young woman.

Quickly establishing they were animal rights extremists, my pal noticed the female was wearing a leather jacket. Drawing this hypocrisy to her attention, she huffed, “That’s not leather, it’s suede!” You can’t make this stuff up, and I think we looked each other in the eyes, shook our heads simultaneously and went to find seats in the audience.

As a material for holster lining, suede is good stuff. It’s soft, doesn’t wear on a gun’s finish like some stiffer leathers, and it’s easy to work with. It also absorbs saddle soap or oil rather well when hand-rubbed, and thus slicked up, it can allow a pretty fast draw.


Re-stitching by hand after cementing the suede in place, the
restoration began improving. Use a good lock stitch.

Once I had the suede lining in place, I flipped the blank over, applied a fresh coat of leather dye to help set the new tooling, and then came the re-stitching, as soon as the leather started to dry.

A good locking stitch pulled tight by hand, using nylon thread really closes up a holster snugly. One can also add a touch of cement to the seam area for a good “set” and the finished product is actually quite attractive. Some buffing on the edge and a bit of dye will add to the results.

As one will notice from the image showing the rear flap, I ran the suede down about halfway, skimmed it off square and stitched it, and then stitched the flap down to form the rear slot through which the belt runs.

Naturally, the holster’s new lining matched up fairly well with my older rough-out cartridge belt. The finished product is fairly pleasing and entirely functional, and it went with me last fall to some interesting places.


New lining comes down halfway on the back. Stitching holes can be
hand-punched with a tool available at a good craft shop. Old stamping
is barely visible next to the new pattern and border.

You Can Do This

The little project I’ve just described is not rocket science. It’s more like “follow the dots.”

The main holes for re-stitching are already there. All you need to add a lining is soak the holster first, work a thin blade down through the original stitching, pull the thread particles out and get to work. Add the new lining, cementing it down with whatever you have, allow it to dry some and then use a leather punch to poke through the individual holes. Get some good nylon or waxed linen (Tandy is a good source for this, plus the dye and the suede) and some needles. Before long, you’ll have a spruced-up holster.

For hole punching along the top of the holster mouth to keep the new lining from coming undone, punches are available from Tandy (or other hobby shops), and then all it takes is some needle work.


New lining is a fair match for Dave’s rough-out cartridge belt. He packed
his sixgun last fall during the hunting season in what he called some
“interesting places” and it came through with flying colors!

Once it’s back together, there is one more thing to do. Give your handgun a thin layer of oil and insert it into your re-built holster to create an impression in the new lining. With the gun holstered, press the leather all around to set the inner surface so it marries up to your handgun every time.

Remove the gun, set the holster aside for a few days in a warm, dry place and you’re in business. To finish the interior, some people rub in a little saddle soap, Holster Butter, any of the “leather cream” products available online; you’ll find plenty by simply using your favorite search engine and type in “leather treatment.”

The Defendant Agrees

Something happened a couple of weeks ago, which raised some eyebrows around the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) offices.

In a federal lawsuit filed by SAF challenging New York’s new gun law prohibiting concealed carry in churches, the good guys got a big surprise. A defendant in the case filed a brief with the appeals court supporting the plaintiffs! The defendant is Brian D. Seaman, district attorney for Niagara County, N.Y.

I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never even heard of anything like this, to the best of my recollection. But here was Seaman explaining concurring the sought-after preliminary injunction against New York’s law “is appropriate and avoids the untenable position encountered by municipalities in having to enforce a statute for which the constitutionality has been challenged.”

Bet nobody saw that coming, especially in Albany, where the scramble to adopt a new gun law after the Supreme Court last year slapped down the century-old concealed carry requirement to provide a special need to obtain a carry permit. They scrambled too fast, it would appear.


He Missed the Memo

A 29-year-old would-be armed robber strolled into the King Smoke Shop in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, probably never thinking about the irony of literally getting “smoked” in the place he was holding up.

According to KING and KIRO news reports, the unidentified outlaw started shooting at the man behind the counter, who also happened to be the co-owner. To the suspect’s surprise, the proprietor drew his own gun and fired back. For a moment, there was a bit of lead in the air and when the smoke cleared, the businessman was seriously wounded and his attacker was wounded…fatally. Efforts to revive him failed and he died at the scene.

Apparently, the robber missed the memo about the rise in the number of active concealed pistol licenses in Washington’s King County, where Seattle is the nucleus. With just short of 700,000 CPLs in circulation, more than 110,000 of them are in—you guessed it — King County.

From all indications, city residents are arming up because the “defund police” movement has literally halved the number of commissioned police officers on Seattle streets in the past 2½ years. Where police aren’t present, armed citizens take up the slack, and that will work out as bad news for bad guys.

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