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What is the best way to store leather holsters

fishermankw

Senior Member
I try not to buy holsters as I’m always nervous about old leather, I don’t want to destroy things. Without really trying I’ve now collected about six or so. My question is how do you best protect your holsters. I have them currently on a sheet of wool separately spaced inside of an old dresser on the main level of the house. I’ve thought about moving them upstairs to the top floor but it gets a little hot in the summer, appreciate all thoughts and tips!


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NMarshell

Senior Member
I keep mine in Ziploc bags inside of a plastic tote. I'm not sure if that's a good method, but that's what I do.
 

mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
Staff member
I just store them in a cardboard box in the a/c or put the pistol in them wrapped with plastic wrap. Curious to see what the consensus is.


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Zeppelin5000

Senior Member
I don't have many holsters, so I just display them along with pistols they go to. I just moved into a new house, so they are currently sitting in a shoe box, but that's how I stored them at my previous house and how I will store them in my new gun room. I'd assume a proper humidity level around 50-60% would keep them fine just as it does guns.
 

fishermankw

Senior Member
Thanks for the feedback, I’ve thought about getting some gallon bags and putting them in there to keep them in. They’ve made it 75 plus years as is, would like to see them make it another 75 more.


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mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
Staff member
Imo sealing things in bags is worse than just storing them openly in a humidity controlled environment. But I’d be interested to hear anything contrary to that. I have some slings in baggies just to keep them rolled easier.


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NMarshell

Senior Member
Imo sealing things in bags is worse than just storing them openly in a humidity controlled environment. But I’d be interested to hear anything contrary to that. I have some slings in baggies just to keep them rolled easier.


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It could be. I don't really have a good reason for keeping them in bags other than it is convenient. If you don't mind my asking, why do you think bags would be worse? Trapping moisture inside?
 

fishermankw

Senior Member
I’ve thought about putting them in the (finished) basement safe as well. Humidifier runs down there all summer and in the winter it’s temperate, had kept some pieces down there before the humidifier and they all had surface rust within a week. Humidifier cleared it all up and I keep all my guns in borestores as well which helps (not a paid spokesperson).


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Muncher 1953

Senior Member
Although you can fill a plastic (almost always made of polyethylene) bag with water and it will appear to stay inside the bag, polyethylene is somewhat permeable to water VAPOR, hence the variety of mil-spec alternatives for when it REALLY has to stay dry. Many of those have some disadvantages, such as cost, availability & handling characteristics that leave us civilians with ordinary poly bags.

I also look forward to learning new things on this topic. My #1 technique is humidity control.
 

ugafx4

I buy capture paper guns
Staff member
I am not sure where I picked this up or why I do it, but I holsters wrapped in wax paper and stored in a bin.
 

MrB

Member
I’ve thought about putting them in the (finished) basement safe as well. Humidifier runs down there all summer and in the winter it’s temperate, had kept some pieces down there before the humidifier and they all had surface rust within a week. Humidifier cleared it all up and I keep all my guns in borestores as well which helps (not a paid spokesperson).


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You must mean dehumidifier.
 

DWM1915

Senior Member
I live in a very humid area, even with A/C and Dehumidifiers indoors there is still a fair amount of moisture in the air. I tried putting holsters in a sealed container or ziploc bag and got mold almost immediately, they get covered in this white surface mold on the leather, I've talked to others around here and they have the same issue. My experience is storing them out of light, temperature controlled, non sealed has worked best, I keep them on shelves under a display case wrapped in loose cotton rags (like you get at the auto shop in bulk).

I think it depends on your environment, if you are prone to moisture you are best to store one way, if you are prone to dry heat you may have to use other options.

Nick
 

swjXE

Senior Member
I agree with you guys. Storage where there are large swings in temperature (Like an attic) is a bad idea, because the expansion and contraction from this causes drying and cracking. Leather is similar to beef jerkey in that as long as it's kept dry enough it'll be indigestable for mold and bacteria. For slings that were in really nice condition I used to literally soak them in ballistol and always wondered if I was doing the right thing because it would darken the leather, but in a few months they would regain their original color and looking at them now after 40 years plus they are still nice and flexible, although they sometimes upon drying get a fine white powder on the surface that wipes right off. I believe the powder is the micro-chrystalline wax ingredient coming to the surface and once dry it doesn't happen again. If the leather is dried out and stiff I apply Neetsfoot oil (Not Neetsfoot oil compound because anything with petroleum is death to the leather). This will also darken the leather which will lighten up a bit in time, but will stay dark to a degree. Some leather is too far gone, cracked, shrunk, dried out and there's nothing you can do to bring it back. I won't buy leather items that aren't usable, but I respect those that do. I don't put anything on Mint condition items, I just keep them cool, dry, and out of the sunlight, dirt and dust. Some of my friends use Pecard's and I cringe when I hear that, it contains the deadly petroleum. Tried it on my wildland firefighting boots and regretted it. Only numerous applications of pure neetsfoot oil would preserve my very expensive (for me) White's boots.
:happy0180:
 

Tiger 2 Tank

Senior Member
I also put them in ziplock baggies but NOT sealed. Then they are put in a plastic tote that’s not sealed but simply closed. I haven’t had any issues in well over a decade. I also stuff most of them with white thin tissue paper and wood dowels made to resemble magazines for the mag pouches. I also put a notecard in with them as to the date the item was acquired, price and from whom, and with what gun it goes to. If there’s white mold, there’s a video on how to heat leather up (low heat) on YouTube from Legacy Collectibles. I did one PP holster like that and it seemed to have worked with no damage. It was a poor condition holster so I wasn’t afraid to try it on that one.
 

20PZGR

Senior Member
I'm with you, I put them in cotton or linen bags and store them in a trunk in the bedroom with a small desiccant in there for good measure, they have been fine for years....
 

Winchester Cowboy

Senior Member
I store the leather holsters in the gun safes and gun cabinets, some wrapped in a small towel like for drying dishes for protection against scuffs and wear should a late war K98 bump them!
I don’t use plastic bags as years ago my Dad said plastic bags dry out leather and it can’t breathe. Not sure if true or false?
I live where the humidity is fairly dry other than July and August so no issues with guns rusting, etc.
 

Gunrunner

Senior Member
I have been collecting for 46 years and have over 200 holsters in mint to very good ++ condition, I started with the plastic bags and would get the white specks on them after a while, I was told to ditch the bags and was told to wipe them with a clean dry cloth and put then in a box with a lid in an above ground room and keep it out of the sun, used a wooden box until it got full and I then use an old chest of drawers which is full now and have never had any issued with the holsters.

Chuck
 

Sfox

Member
Everybody here is correct. Humidity plays a part in leather holsters. I have had two exact holsters side by side. One kept getting mildew on it and the other did not. Many of my holsters are kept in plastic bags with the end opened. This protects the holster from getting dust, etc. with the end open it prevents moisture. Some holsters I just put in boxes depending on the leather. Some holsters have mildew which can return depending on the leather. I don’t put those in plastic bags as even with the end opened the mildew( white specs etc,) can return.
Regards, steve
 

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