SouthernCross

Anyone make holsters "flat" on the back?

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It seems that the typical way folks mold holsters involves sandwiching the gun/blank between two layers of leather sewn together, which means the gun ends up stretching the leather outwards on both sides.  Wouldn't a holster be more comfortable to carry on the belt if the back panel of the holster was more flat (but formed on a curve) and only the outside panel doing the molding around the gun?  Or would retention of the gun suffer as a result?

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Dwight   

There are two "rules of thumb" here with your questions.

The flatter the back is, generally the more comfortable the holster is.  This is more noticeable on skinny or bony people, . . . those with "ample" padding don't seem to be quite as affected by it.  Personally, . . . at 6'1 and 180, . . . I like it REAL flat.

The more the gun moves into the front panel and the rear panel, . . . the more retention that can be molded into the holster.  AND the retention will be longer lasting.

You just have to make up your mind about how much comfort is required, . . . vs . . .  how much retention is required.  The more you go for one, . . . the less you get of the other.

Generally when I do a flat back pancake for a customer, . . . I put a thumb break on it also, . . . if they want to disable the thumb break some day down the road, . . . that is their decision, . . . but at least when it leaves my shop, . . . the retention factor is built into the holster.

May God bless,

Dwight

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Thanks, Dwight.  You always seem to have the right answers - can I come apprentice with you some weekend? ;)

Edit: I'm 6'1", 190, so I understand where you're coming from on holster comfort.

Edited by SouthernCross

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noeesp   

besides it being more comfortable pancake style holsters are better for conceal carry.  I like to make mine with just a bit longer flaps so that they will wrap nicely around a persons side and allow you to pull it close to your body with a good quality gun belt.  That's another topic that people tend to forget.  If you don't have a good belt your holster will not function properly for conceal carry.  I prefer the pancake style.  As far as retention I like to make my pancake holster on the snug side, as the leather will break in and keep the retention longer.  

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All my holsters are flat back, IWB or OWB.  No complaints yet on carry, comfort, or retention.  Revolvers are harder to deal with than semi's.  But I have a lot of happy customers.  And it's all I carry too.  

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It's largely a matter of taste, it seems. I've owned a few flat-backed holsters, but never really liked them. I'm not a fan of the way they feel, and they don't seem to pull the gun into my side the way 50/50 holsters do. 

I have experimented with making flat-backed holsters for giggles. It was educational, but I don't think it's worth the hassle, especially when I prefer my holsters the other way.

 

 

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While most of my pancake holsters have been 50/50's...easier to pattern and build...I have built a few flat backs. I could see BHP's point about them not pulling the weapon into your side the same as a 50/50.

On the last one I built, I split the difference...I made it about 90/10 on the front and kept it 50/50 on the rear...that way when the customer (6'-4 and skinny as a fence post rail) tightens their gun belt (a MUST!), the slide didn't dig into their waist yet still tucks up tight in the trigger guard/grip area. I wore it around the shop/house for a few days prior to delivery...I'm 6'-1" and slightly bigger than said post rail but it was still very comfortable and easy to present with good retention.

In my case, I expanded the front pattern about 7/8" or so in the slide area along that stitch line...I'm not at my workbench right now to look at the actual pattern to confirm.

That about sums up my knowledge on the subject...I defer to ChiefJason from this point on.

JW1.jpg

JW2.jpg

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On 9/10/2017 at 1:31 AM, BHPshooter said:

It's largely a matter of taste, it seems.

Kind of like shoes.  I can't tell someone what they will like.  But when they like something that's what they get next time.  And I have a lot of guys that come back.  

As to forming it on a curve in the original post.  Mine ship out absolutely flat on the back.  That lets the holster mold to the customer and their cary position.  The only holsters I bend a little are things like Avenger or trailing loop holsters.  They are a bear to break that wing in initially and I get less questions if it's a little bent and easier to put on when they get it.  

As to retention, you should have seen me trying to remove a G19 blue gun from one today.  I had put it in over night to stretch it a bit.  Barely got it out.  Put it back in with a few slips of paper for a bit more stretch.  The amount of give in the back panel plays a lot into how tight the holster will be.  A stiffer piece of hide on the back will result in a tighter holster.  You can't mold the front all the way down.  Even if you think you do, it shrinks a bit when you dry it.  So when it's glued and stitched there is less room in the holster than the volume of the gun.  So if the back is stiffer it stretches less and increases retention a bit more than expected sometimes.  

One of the biggest things I like about my process is that I don't really need a pattern for every gun.  I had a guy order a HK 45c IWB.  Then a guy ordered one for a Glock 29.  I pretty much used the exact same pattern for both, just added 1/2 " on each side of the front.  My G19 pattern works for about 60% of the holsters I make.  But other areas or more time consuming than the 50/50 process.  

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Mechanic   

So far, I'm doing everything on a flat back and making a new pattern for each gun type.

My patterns are 4 or 5 pieces, back, front cover and stitch line/glue line templates.

37781027492_2e1d12d476_c.jpg

The best way I've found to allow for the thickness of the gun in the front cover is to use a doubled over piece of denim.

I eyeball the stitch line templates, stretch the denim over the mold and mark with a sharpie. Add that length in between the templates for a front cover length.

37764185176_da6065f6cb_c.jpg

This works for me...or generates the least number of culls in a pattern workup, YMMV.

 

 

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