Tag: holster pattern

Holster Maker Integrity

The Issue

Ordinarily and as a rule, I do not comment extensively on the work of another holster maker.  But I will take a couple of minutes to comment on a recent event I attended.

Until recently, a number of complete and ready to use holster patterns were available on this site.  They were intended for free use by others who are or would like to be a holster maker.

Not long ago, a guy told me that he had purchased a holster for which I am currently designing a pattern.  He seemed happy with his purchase, but he wasn’t carrying it.  So I asked if he had a picture of it.  Instead, he sent me a link to the site where he bought it.

Holster Maker IntegrityThe Revelation

There was no picture of the specific holster we discussed.  Instead, sadly, there was a very poor rendition of one of my designs from 2016.  That design is displayed here.

Originally designed for the Glock 19, it has been adapted by some to quite a few models.  I no longer use this pattern.

I still have no problem with people making holsters with this design.  And I do not ask for any credit for the design.  But I did not intend to find others making bad copies of it and boldly claiming that the design was theirs.

That was bound to happen, I suppose.  My sole interest at this point is not being associated with those who would “appropriate” a design from someone else and claim credit for it.  When confronted, one guilty party denied any knowledge of us or our designs despite their site showing both ‘variations’ of this model.

The Point

To be clear, this is my design but I do not make holsters with it now.  Others are free to use it if they wish even now.  Download the full pattern if you like.

But for the shopper; if you see a holster made with this design, I did not make it and the person who did make it did not design it.  I gave broad permission to make and sell holsters with this design, so no laws are violated there.  But if someone will claim the design is theirs, then you have to wonder what their “guarantee” or “warranty” is really worth.

Conversely, if you see an older holster that I did make like this, feel free to contact me to trade it in for the upgraded version at no cost.

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Holster Design Pattern Upgrade Progress

The holster design of those “50/50 pancakes’- those with the front and back basically mirror image and a seam down the center – is being replaced.  These can bind, especially on the leading edge.  They’re tighter on the belt than in the hand, and the closer the slots are to the weapon the more pronounced the problem.

Pancake Holster Design IssueLooking from the front, you can see the seam is clearly down the center.  This has a molded sight channel.

When the front ‘wing’ is pulled IN toward the body, the holster flexes and the site channel collapses, causing the bind it was intended to solve.


Pancake Sight Channel Collapse


The more you bend, the more you bind.

The slimmer the wearer, the sharper flex, and the worse the binding effect.

And the more “break in” the back gets, the worse the problem becomes.


People are used to seeing them, so some will buy them.  And holster makers know they are easy to make, so some ‘push’ them a bit.  They bend the slotted “wings” toward the wearer calling it “molded”, they “mold in a sight channel”, or say that you need to “break them in”.   Some move the belt slots further out from the firearm and some move the stitch lines also (making it loose).  This may allow the use of that holster for a limited time.  But you surrender some retention and must rely on the belt tension.

These things attempt to make do with the simple holster design of ‘50/50 pancakes’.  Many would like to ignore this since ‘50/50 pancakes’ are so easy to make.  But making holsters without this pancake problem is just as easy –similar look, with better function.

Using a longer piece for the outside allows the leather to wrap around the gun without binding, and using a shorter inside piece there’s less leather to bunch in the channel.  The tension on the firearm is then the same on or off the belt (or very close) and there’s no need to rely on ‘retention’ from the belt.

Holster Stitch Lines –Basis of the Fit

Maybe holster stitch lines should have been covered in a little more detail in the file “about holsters” – available for free download –   since the stitch lines are the ‘base’ of any holster, and their placement can make the difference between a holster which is really a nice fit,  one which is “okay”, and one which is a pain.

more about holsters


Summarizing, belt holsters should be designed with:

  • room to grip the firearm securely;
  • secure attachment points which carry the rig without allowing it to “rock” and shift, and which are high enough on the rig to prevent ‘tipping’;
  • no obstruction of the mag / cylinder release (it may or may not be visible).



Obviously if the stitch lines are too close together the gun isn’t going to fit in the holster.

But stitch lines too far apart will cause the holster to become loose, retaining the weapon less (if at all).  You’ll see ‘holsters’ with stitch lines away from the firearm by ¼” – or even more.  I haven’t included a picture here because those holsters are not mine (somebody send me a pic of one of these and I’ll put it in here).  They generally come “boned” in against the weapon, with a story about the wearer needing to “break in” the holster.

I want holsters with a stitch line that conforms to the gun it was made for.  Otherwise, we could just do like some – put a stitch line anywhere, and bone inside of that (to be clear, I will not be doing that).

When the stitch lines are placed at a distance from the firearm, “boning” inside those lines is pointless.  Articles, posts, and / or videos showing people “boning” a holster between the gun and the stitch lines are deceptive (whether or not it’s intentional).

In this area between the stitch line and the firearm, the layers of leather either (1) are not glued together, or (2) are glued together.

  1. If they are not glued, they will open up quickly as the holster is used, overcoming any form in the leather due to this ineffective (temporary) “boning”.
  2. If the layers are glued, they will more gradually separate (‘break in’) leaving exposed glued areas inside the holster pocket.

Your holster will ‘break in’ up to the stitch lines.  By limiting the distance between the gun and the stitching, you are able to limit how loose the holster will become.

Traditional ‘pancake’ holsters – what I call ‘50/50’ pancakes – may be the most obvious example of this.  By design, they are tighter on the belt than they are when held in the hand.  The ‘retention’ of the holster is not better when worn (it’s the same holster) – they’re simply relying on the flexion of the holster to bind on the gun for retention. This inherent flaw in ‘50/50’ pancake holsters will be covered in more detail in another article.

stitch lines placementFor the moment, the point is that the ‘optimum’ distance for placement of the stitch lines on a leather holster is at the contour of the gun.

Ideally, the inside of the leather holster will be the same size as the outside of the gun (the expression ‘fits like a glove’).

The only way this holster can become loose is to actually stretch the leather which won’t happen if it is used for its intended purpose.