For the majority of shooters, most get the idea of regular maintenance when it comes to your carry gun and even ammunition. One thing that is often forgotten is the idea of maintaining your holster whether it’s Kydex or leather. It’s easy to skip over or forget entirely the importance of caring for the one thing that keeps your firearm attached to your body. Whether it’s a Kydex holster or a hand-stitched leather, it’s important to care for your gear to keep everything in the best shape possible. Let’s dive into some things to keep your holsters in top fighting shape.
Cleaning Kydex and Leather Holsters
Let’s face it, cleaning your holster isn’t typically high on the list of priorities when it comes to the bigger picture of firearm maintenance. I’m sure some of you will insist you clean your holster every couple weeks and that’s wonderful, but the vast majority of us tend to not even think about our holsters. Whether it’s regularly cleaning or checking over the state of your gear, it’s important to keep the gear as clean as possible for its ideal performance.
Keeping Kydex Clean
Probably the most important thing to keep clean when carrying is a Kydex holster. It’s important to maintain leather holsters but Kydex is tricky if grit or material ends up getting into the holster. There’s a long-standing legend that Kydex holsters can scratch your gun over time and that simply is not true. What causes the wear on a handgun slide is the sand grit and overall junk that accumulates inside the holster. I have sadly fallen victim to this with my first handgun. I used to compete with an outside the waistband index holster in competitions with an H&K USP Compact. That gun has been abused but the finish was great until I did a sand stage where we had to be prone. I ended up getting sand and material inside my holster and it put a beating on my slide as a result.
On the inside section of the molding, there’s plenty of little spaces for grime and lint to accumulate over time so taking something like a damp cloth or even a little CLP and a rag will do. Cleaning out the debris will help avoid causing any damage to your finish from drawing and holstering over time. Trust me, I know it seems like an extremely simple thing to do but it’s a rather simple thing to forget and can be easily neglected if there isn’t a regular cleaning schedule in place.
Checking Mounting Hardware
Another thing I can say I am guilty of is losing screws and hardware off of my holster over time because I didn’t check how tight the screws were once in a while. When I first started carrying Kydex, I enjoyed being able to adjust the overall tension on the holster but never marked my screws or put something like a Loctite on the screws to keep them in place. Fast forward almost ten years, I can’t tell you how important it is to put something like a weaker strength Loctite on your screws and marking them to keep consistency.
Having a simple line across your hardware will give an easy reference point to show if there’s been any movement over time. Putting in the time at the beginning when you first get a new holster is going to be way easier than if you lose a screw down the road. I had to learn this lesson the hard way and trust me, it’s easier to do regular maintenance if you put the time in at the beginning.
Leather holsters can be great when they are broken in and have proper fitment. I always dreaded the first couple weeks of owning a leather holster since there’s usually a break-in period where everything begins to fit properly. Once that stage is done, a leather holster can be a great option for various people when it’s taken care of properly. Most leather holsters tend to break down and not support your handgun after years of use and without proper care can be extremely dangerous.
Leather does a great job of keeping moisture away from your handgun but over time can get extremely dirty so it’s important to take some sort of leather cleaner and keep your holster clean so it doesn’t break down the hide. Leather holsters can dry out and crack over time so it’s important to apply a cleaner to also rehydrate the leather and keep it in the best shape possible.
It may not be a mind-blowing concept to clean your holsters, but is an important thing to make a regular habit. There’s nothing worse than losing parts down the road because you were improperly taking care of your gear. I have fallen victim to handgun damage as well as lost hardware from lack of maintenance. Trust me when I say it’s no fun and can be easily avoided. Being able to have a general routine when cleaning your handgun and holster will not only make your gear last longer but will help give the concealed carrier more confidence in their ability and gear.
Let me know what you think about cleaning holsters and gear in the comments below. Is it something you do regularly or do you tend to forget about it like I often did early on? I’d love to hear about it! If you have questions about carrying concealed or anything in general, feel free to reach out and ask on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.