jdh2550
(stranger)
02/03/18 03:51 PM
Contender Holster Project

Warning lots of pics...
For those of you having trouble finding a TC Contender holster that fits your needs, consider making your own. I have made several holsters in the past few years but this was my first attempt at a scoped handgun holster.

It is not a very difficult DIY, but it is time consuming. There are not many tools needed. You probably have most of them already.

For this project, I used a piece of 6-8 ounce cowhide.
Start by making a template with a sheet of paper to get the general shape you are looking for. Check it for fit. Then lay your paper template on a piece of quality leather and cut it out. Remember you can always trim it down later in the process but you can't add material back to it. I always cut a little bigger than my template.

Wrap your handgun in clear plastic wrap and set it aside. Submerse the leather pattern in a sink full of water. Lightly scrub it with your hands (I also add a few drops of dawn dish detergent to the water). You want the leather wet the whole way through. Remove the leather from the water and lightly wipe the excess water off with a towel. Form the leather around the handgun (make sure it is covered in plastic wrap). Rub the leather hard with your hands to imprint the shape of the gun into the leather. I use binder clips to hold the holster in shape, just remember the binder clips will leave a mark in the leather. Then I let it firm up and dry at least overnight.


Here I added another piece of leather around the cut out for the scope and stitched it in place. This just helps firm up this area of the holster. Keep your stitch spacing uniform distance throughout. I use a hand push drill to drill the holes to pass the leather needle through. Lay out your spacing on the top piece of leather and drill the stitch holes. Then lay this leather on top of the holster and mark where to drill the holster so the holes line up. Make sure to use a needle and thread made for leather work. Hand stitching leather takes a lot of time. Don?t forget to add the snap hardware as you go. Edge the leather with a leather edging tool. It basically bevels the top of the cut leather edge. You can sand your leather edges with a sander so the edges match up perfectly.


I forgot to add the retention snap base.


This is the final coat of a quality leather dye. Some makers submerse the leather in a dye. I don't want to buy gallons of leather dye, so I rub it in one coat at a time with a rag, just like waxing a car. After the dye is completely dry (overnight) I apply a few good protective clear finish coat that is compatible with the dye I used. Then buff it with a soft cloth. Use a wooden dowel rod to burnish the edges of the cut leather. This holster still needs a retention strap over the hammer that will snap onto the front of the holster.

If you are like me, you will make some mistakes along the way. The biggest challenge is not making a mistake that you can't fix. This holster took time to complete. I didn't keep track but I will guess I have 20 hours in it. Take your time cutting, spacing your stitches and let the dye completely dry and it will last a lifetime.



Randy M
(old hand)
02/03/18 04:18 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Very nice work! I make all my own too. Rewarding projects for sure.

karl
(addict)
02/03/18 05:01 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Very nice! Thanks for the tutorial!

s4s4u
(Shootist)
02/03/18 05:28 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Nicely done!

Teep
(journeyman)
02/03/18 05:34 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Very nice. I have done a paper cutout of a crossdraw holster for my 617/686 with red dots but had not found the information I was needing to make it to leather. Thanks to you, I now know where to start. I am considering taking it to a leather shop to have it stitched though.

jdh2550
(stranger)
02/03/18 06:11 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Thanks for the positive comments all.

The stitching is not difficult, just time consuming. I would encourage you to give it a try with a piece or two of scrap leather. I'm sure you can handle it!


KYODE
(Shooting Expert)
02/03/18 07:45 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

That is nice. I dont usually have the patience for those type projects.

Dekker
(journeyman)
02/03/18 08:02 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Most excellent!

JDK
(enthusiast)
02/03/18 10:33 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

That turned out great! Really nice design also.

pab1
(Distinguished Expert)
02/04/18 01:53 AM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Nice work!

racksmasher1
(veteran)
02/04/18 02:26 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Nice work!

junebug
(Pooh-Bah)
02/04/18 02:38 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Looks good.

Spencer
(enthusiast)
02/05/18 11:49 AM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Awesome job!!!

SGalan
(journeyman)
02/05/18 01:26 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Great job. Love it!

jdh2550
(stranger)
02/07/18 01:06 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Thanks for the positive comments. If anyone tries one and runs into problems or questions I will try to help. I am not an expert but might be able to get you going in the right direction

SamuelKing
(stranger)
04/14/18 03:19 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Wow! I did a great job! I wish I was so skilled to make diy holster. I badly need a holster so I'm examing a few models from this resource - https://secretstorages.com/best-aiwb-holster/ .Currently I'm leaning towards M&P Shield 9mm CC Holster. Seems to meet my needs perfectly.

Gregg RichterAdministrator
(Distinguished Expert)
04/17/18 10:49 AM
Re: Contender Holster Project

 Originally Posted By: karl
Very nice! Thanks for the tutorial!


X2!


cherokeetracker
(addict)
04/17/18 01:43 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

What did you ever do about the retainer?

Looked good.


jdh2550
(stranger)
04/27/18 04:28 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

I still have not made a retention strap. I have carried the contender a few times in the holster and never once felt it could fall out. In all honesty, the holster may be a bit too snug. But I have a solution to fix that. A freezer bag with some water inside the holster, place in the freezer and should be stretched just enough

junebug
(Pooh-Bah)
04/27/18 09:19 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

I usually wet mold my holsters to the gun. Wipe it or spray the gun down good with oil ,wrap in plastic [grocery bag works ok] and stick it into the dampened holster.Leave till dry ,next day. This works for me gun is snug, but not tight.Looks like you could drill out the bottom rivet on the belt loop and secure your retention strap there.

Mad Dog 1954
(enthusiast)
05/20/18 05:26 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Been working leather for 5 years just got a hand sewing machine lot esy especially on lined belts.

Handgun400
(addict)
05/29/18 04:14 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Nice work!

I haven't purchased a holster since I started messing around with leather a few years ago. So far I've built a chest rig for my SRH, a crossdraw for my SRH, another crossdraw for a Buckmark and probably two dozen more IWB and OWB holsters for friends. The wife got a purse and the girls got leather bracelets. There is a lot of trial and error in being self-taught. YouTube and the "interweb" are priceless tools for learning the craft.


OFFSHORE
(member)
06/17/18 07:40 AM
Re: Contender Holster Project

 Originally Posted By: Handgun400
Nice work!

YouTube and the "interweb" are priceless tools for learning the craft.


I must agree. I'm in the planning stages of a bandoleer style holster for my 14" scoped Encore. I haven't quite found what I'm looking for and the prices I've been quoted to build what I want ($450+) has led me to try my creative skills. In the long run I'm probably going to be better off paying the $$ to have one made - LOL. We shall see!


jdh2550
(stranger)
07/04/18 04:58 PM
Re: Contender Holster Project

Offshore - Honestly it is not that difficult. Just take your time and watch lots of tutorial videos on the step you are trying to accomplish. Then try it on a scrap piece of leather.

I recommend getting a scrap piece of leather to make a holster and a good piece. Perform the task on the scrap piece to get a feel for it and work out any mistakes. Once you are happy with the task at hand, perform the task on the good piece of leather.

One step at a time and you will have something that you can be proud of.