How to Make a Leather Holster

How to Make a Leather Holster


Mathew R Reed
August 29, 2021

If there’s one type of holster that has stood the test of time and remains and stylish and durable as it is today, it’s the leather kind.

Leather holsters come with a host of benefits to the gun owner and if you’re feeling especially crafty, you might even be able to whip one up yourself.

Can you make a DIY leather holster? It is possible to fashion a leather holster at home with some basic knowledge of leather cutting and finishing, stitching, and templates.

There are loads of easy tutorials available for simple and advanced leather holsters and it’s the perfect way to ensure your gun fits like a dream in its home.

Having a leather holster for your firearm gives you an undeniable boost of confidence as you feel safe knowing it’s housed in something so durable.

If you’ve always wanted to work with leather and try making a holster for yourself, this guide can give you the easy steps to do it at home.

Benefits of Using a Leather Holster

Benefits of Using a Leather Holster

Once you use a leather holster, you’ll never go back, as the benefits that this special material brings to a sheath make it an amazing experience.

These are just some of the advantages that leather has over other materials used to make a holster.

  • Style: The most obvious difference when using a leather holster is how it looks, and whether you want quiet confidence or prefer to wear it with pride, leather will deliver. There’s something about wearing this type of holster that makes one feel like a cowboy from the Wild West and it’s a sensation that can’t be replicated with a nylon alternative.
  • Comfort: If you find most methods of concealed carry to be uncomfortable, the combination of a leather holster with an IWB carry is the way to go. The softness of the leather means you can hold it in your waistband without a bother and even when it’s secured tightly you won’t have any irritation or discomfort.
  • Durability: When compared to other material types used for holsters, nothing stacks up against leather. The famous durable material is known for its longevity and strength which is why it’s used for everything from riding boots to motorbike jackets. A well-made holster crafted from good quality leather will last you decades to come.
  • Endless options: You’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer number of possibilities for leather holsters. They come in all kinds of leather, all colors, and all shapes and sizes so you’re guaranteed to find the perfect match for your gun.
  • A discreet draw: Being discreet while drawing a weapon from a holster is of huge importance, especially in a serious situation. The softness of leather means you can draw your gun quietly and smoothly without anyone being the wiser, so you keep the element of surprise that is so important.

Can You Make A DIY Leather Holster?

Can You Make A DIY Leather Holster?

A leather holster is something that most gun owners have custom-made or purchase one that’s already been crafted to suit their particular weapon.

However, it is possible to make your own leather holster with a few supplies and a little bit of knowledge, with varying degrees of skill required.

If you’re an absolute beginner, there are DIY tutorials that can teach you how to make a leather holster from scratch over a weekend, including creating the template and stitching the leather, which we’ve included here.

For advanced leatherworkers, the options are endless with what you can create as you already have the required skills to make it exceptional.

Tools and Supplies Required

Tools and Supplies Required

The first step to any DIY project is assembling your tools and supplies.

When it comes to making a leather holster, there’s not that much required, but you’ll need some basic leatherworking tools as a minimum and will need your firearm at the ready so you can measure it up.

  • Your firearm
  • Mallet
  • Ruler
  • Waxed thread
  • Leather needles
  • Four-pronged diamond punch awl
  • Stitch line creaser
  • Stitching pony
  • Hole puncher
  • Paper and marker
  • Leather (9 – 11oz thickness)

TIP: We recommend using Vegetable-Tanned leather. Look for the back or shoulder hyde as it’s the best for gun holsters. Those parts are denser and will last longer.

TIP: You can easily get basic leather tool kit sets from Amazon or Walmart. But, if you have a semi automatic pistol with barrels 3.5″ – 5″, you can get DIY Blank Holster Kit sets to make your life easier! Although there are limitations, the kit comes with convenient pre-cut and pre-punched leather parts.

Steps to Make a Leather Holster

With everything assembled, you’re ready to create a simple leather holster. These steps work well for a crudely designed holster and they’re good to follow if you want to take leatherworking further, so check out what’s required.

  1. Put your gun in the lower right quarter of the paper and measure ¾ inches above the barrel and ¾ inches past its tip and then stop at the curve of the handle.
  2. Make marks around ½ inch underneath any parts of the gun that protrude, including the bullet ejector and barrel tip. Once the marks are done, trace a line that connects all of them so you have a rough outline of your gun in a larger size, which is where the holster will end.
  3. To draw the pattern for the top of the holster, trace around the top of the firearm, but be careful not to go too close to the hammer of the weapon.
  4. Cut the bottom part of the pattern out and leave the top line that was drawn first. Write ‘Face Up’ in clear lettering on this side of the paper and then make a crease on the original top line.
  5. Fold the bottom of the pattern up and over the line so that it makes a double.Trace around the bottom of the holster on the other side of the paper until you reach the sharp turn.
  6. Look at the original line you drew and note that this is where the holster will bend at the top to make the backside of it. Cut from the second line you made at the bottom of the holster up to this first line.
  7. Fold the newly cut piece of paper to the left side of the paper, and start marking the sides of the holster. Use a 7/8 inch measurement from each side and when you get to the top, narrow in closer to the holster to around ½ inch. Join all of these lines together once down to create the holster’s skirt outline.
  8. Mark the holes on the skirt depending on where you want them, but usually around 1 ½ inches from the bottom and a ¼ inch to the side. The second row of holes would be 2 ½ inches from the bottom and ¼ inch to the side, and the third row of holes would be 4 ¼ inches from the bottom and 3/8 inches from the side. Finally, mark a hole at 6 ¼ inches and 3/8 inches to finish it off.
  9. Make the same holes on the other side of the paper, using the indents to guide you.
  10. Cut out the new piece you’ve just created and use a hole punch to cut out the holes you made.
  11. Take your piece of leather and lay the template onto it. Trace with your pencil so you have the outline and the holes marked. Use your leatherworking tools to make the cuts as needed.
  12. Apply your hole puncher to the leather if you’re working with tighter corners or leave them if you don’t mind a cruder finish.
  13. From here, you can add various designs, creases, oils, and colors to the leather, depending on how advanced you want the finished piece to be.
  14. Place the leather into the stitching pony and use the leather needles to stitch the sides together as needed. Make sure you leave space where the gun will insert into the holster at the top.

TIP: You can find ready gun holster patterns online!

Concealed Carry in Style

There’s nothing quite like carrying your firearm in a leather holster, whether it’s the way it molds perfectly to the gun or the quiet confidence it gives you.

With a few simple materials and a spare weekend, you can create one for just a fraction of the cost of a store-bought one and reap the rewards for yourself.

A holster is the most comfortable method for IWB, but it comes with loads of other benefits as well. If you’re new to gun ownership and want to know what concealed carry is all about, read on for some FAQs and expert answers.

Is A Gun in A Holster Considered Concealed?

For a firearm to be considered concealed it should not be possible to see during ordinary observation.

A gun in a holster may be considered concealed if it can’t be seen, however, wearing it on your belt or on the outside of your pants where it’s visible may be classed as open carry.

Are Nylon Holsters Good?

Nylon holsters are an economical alternative to ready-made leather holsters and they’re versatile enough to fit most of the firearms that you want to carry.

Although they won’t last as long as a leather holster nor will they be able to mold to the gun as snugly, they’re still a smart option if you want something affordable and comfortable.

How do you make a leather holster look darker?

If your leather holster uses vegetable tanned leather, it will actually develop a patina over time. More so, as the leather is exposed to sunlight and oil over the years, the leather will begin to tan – darkening your leather holster. Nonetheless, you may opt to use leather dyes in your holster making process as well.


Mathew R Reed

Mathew R Reed is a professional gun seller who runs a dedicated gun store in the suburbs of Oakland, CA. A hardcore hunting enthusiast since childhood, Reed has ample experience with guns and accessories. He is the founder of and creates some of the most helpful gun-buying guides and explainers. If not in the gun shop, you can find him on the nearest hiking trail or nearby hunting spot.