frequently asked questions

Bear Creek Holsters uses quality leather and leather products to make holsters that are both functional and look good, at a competitive price. Products are sewn at no additional cost and no rivets are used. I expanded from just pocket holsters and now also make a few holsters for some larger pistols. We now offer holsters for several guns and slowly, please view the current list.

General questions

Holsters are typically a little tight when first received, as they will likely loosen with use. They can be loosened by following our loosening suggestions—Here! Holsters can be stretched (to loosen), but they cannot be tightened by anyone. They need some break in time, just like a new pair of leather shoes or boots. So it is recommended that you be cautious trying to over loosen your holster right after you receive it. Wear the holster for a few days and it will start to loosen some with use. After you have worn it for a while, if it needs to be loosened, then follow the loosening instructions. If you stretch the holster initially and then wear it, the holster may get too loose.

If you have a back pocket holster with Chicago screws, check the screws for tightness occasionally. You can place one drop of finger nail polish on the threads when you tighten them. Or you can use a drop of Loctite. But make sure the Loctite is the removable kind (Blue 242) and not the permanent type. These allow you to unloosen when needed, but help keep the screws from being lost. Screws can be tightened or removed with a screw driver, dime, or penny from your pocket.

There are a few ways to loosen your holster. Unload your gun! 1) Put your gun in the holster and wear it for a few days. The holster will loosen with use. 2) Tear off about 18 inches of Saran Wrap. Fold it in 1/2 and then fold it in 1/4. Then wrap the saran wrap over the slide and under the trigger guard a few times. Then place the wrapped gun into the holster. Leave it there for a 30 minutes or so and remove, unwrap, and try the gun by itself again. It should be a less tight. You can repeat as needed, or even leave the wrapped gun in the holster over night. 3) We send a little leather strip with your holster. Insert the leather strip from the muzzle end of the holster, so that it is either on top of the sights and slide, or along the side of the slide. Then insert the unloaded gun so that the leather strip is between the gun and the holster. Leave in for 30 minutes and try the gun by its self and it should be less tight. You can repeat as needed or leave over night if you want.

Essentially, anything you can get in the holster with the gun will help stretch the leather. Even a business card folded in 1/4 long ways can be used. Just don’t use anything abrasive that might scratch your gun. Don't over loosen your gun, it cannot be tightened by you or us, so go slow and give it a little time of wear, before going hog wild on loosening.

The only things recommended are Renaissance Wax or neutral Kiwi shoe polish. Search for Renaissance Wax and it can be found on line in several places. Typically, you don’t need to add products to the holster very often 1-2 times per year should be sufficient. Maybe more often if excessive sweating gets on the holster. Use very sparingly, allow to dry and buff with a soft cotton cloth. Exotic skins typically do not need any treatment or products.

Most other leather products and cleaners may soften or loosen the holster. Especially, if used allot. If you read the label of most leather products and cleaners, it will state that the product cleans and softens leather. Cleaning is ok, but softening a leather holster is not good. Softening products may make the holster loose its shape and retention.

Adding anything to a holster may darken the holster. This is more true for light colored holsters, and black holsters are not affected. You might want to try a small amount on a small place before applying all over.

Horse hide is a little stiffer than cow hide and its main benefit is that it is more resistant to moisture and sweating. All holsters (cow and horse hides) have a sealer applied. The sealer helps keep the dye from bleeding through and helps maintain the shape and provides some moisture resistance. Horse hide provides extra moisture and sweat protection. Watch short video here on horse hide vs cow hide.

Horse hide is naturally darker than cow hide when received from a tannery. Therefore, there are some color differences available between the two. For instance, light brown dye on cow hide will be lighter in color than light brown dye on horse hide. Horse hide will also have a little more of a matte finish. Cow hide looks more finished like a shiny new pair of leather shoes.

We use Hermann Oak Leather for our cowhide holsters. Made here in the US (St Louis) since 1881. We consider it to be the best leather available to us for building holsters. Horse hides are tanned in the US by Horween in Chicago IL., and have been in business since 1905. We are proud to use Made in the USA products for building our holsters!

Exotic accents and full exotic holsters are popular as they typically make the holster unique and look good, but they are mostly cosmetic. Shark and elephant are also very tough and show very little wear over time. Full exotic holsters are much more expensive. An exotic accent adds some flair without the cost of a full exotic holster.

Exotic skins by themselves are not moldable. With a full exotic skin holster, the exotic skin is laminated (glued) onto regular cow hide leather and then the holster is built normally. It is the underlying cow hide that allows a holster maker to mold the holster specific to a gun.

If you want the holster to look good or different, consider an exotic accent or all exotic holster. If those things are not as important or your trying to keep the cost down, go with a standard leather holster or horse hide holster. Either one should last a very long time with normal use.

Cow hide—black, mahogany, and light brown (tan).

Horse hide—Natural, light brown (ends up medium to dark brown), or black. There is an up charge for horse hide construction. See the order form for details.

Numerous colors of exotic skins can be added to either horse hide or cow hide.

Complete the online order form. After it is received, you will be sent a separate email with a link for payment. Follow the link to pay with PayPal or a credit card. We will call you to discuss if we have any questions or need more information.

You can also call in your order and we will take it over the phone. We will still intern, send you a link for payment with PayPal or a credit card.

No, not currently. We are charged even higher fees to take payments over the phone. We are trying to keep our cost and fees lower by sending an invoice. This also keeps you from giving out personal information and keeps us from having to protect that information.

Yes. We can send the invoice or give you your total over the phone. You can then send us a check payable to Bear Creek Metal Works Inc. Our address is on our contact page or at the bottom of the home page.

For front pocket, grab the grip of the gun, then push on the thumb push off to help loosen the holster from the gun. You do not have to push the holster all the way off. Then draw slightly backwards, by slightly bending your arm, towards your butt. As you push on the push off and draw slightly backwards, the tab portion of the holster (under the grip) will catch on the top of your pocket. Your pocket will catch the tab and pull the holster off of the gun as you continue to draw. The holster will stay in the pocket and the gun comes out. You should index your finger along the side of the gun and not put your finger on the trigger until you are certain of your target and that you want to discharge the weapon.

For back pocket holsters, put you hand in the top of the pocket. Back pocket holsters are designed for a palm in draw. That means your knuckles are out and the palm is towards your body. The grip of the gun is pointed towards your butt crack. When your hand hits the back of the gun, slide your hand between the gun and the removable panel. Grab the gun and pull it straight up from the pocket. The panel generally provides enough friction to keep the holster in the pocket. You likely will not need to use the thumb push off, especially after the holster loosens some with use.

We do not encourage a palm out draw and holsters are not constructed for that method of draw. That means your palm is facing away from the body and the knuckles are against the body. With this type of draw, you are much more likely to sweep your own body with the muzzle of your gun as you try to present the gun. Which is a very good way to shoot yourself in a defensive situation. Especially with stress and lots of adrenaline.

Practice drawing with an unloaded gun. Never try to re-holster a gun while the holster is in your pocket. Take the holster out of your pocket and insert the gun. Then insert the holstered gun into your pocket.

In our opinion, the best method to conceal is a pocket holster, then IWB, followed lastly by OWB. OWB might be the most comfortable, but it is arguably the hardest to conceal for many people. As you consider bigger guns, pocket holsters are not practical, as they will not fit well in a pocket. So larger guns typically are carried IWB or OWB. IWB holsters and gun, gets pulled into your body from your belt, making it a little easier to conceal in our opinion. You can certainly call us to discuss your needs. Another factor is how you dress and your build (height and weight). Those play a big factor in what is best for any individual.

Snaps have been suggested as an option for the removable panel. That was tried years ago, but snaps have a tendency to fail over time. Plus,if not handled correctly, they can rip out of the leather. Chicago screws will never fail and are easy to replace if lost.

Two layers of leather are glued and stitched with heavy duty bonded nylon thread. The top layer of the belt is dyed to the color of your choice. The bottom layer is left natural, to keep the belt from bleeding onto your pants if you sweat. Construction of this type of belt will lessen the chance of sagging or stretching. Solid brass buckles or nickel plated brass buckles are used. The buckle is removable if you want to change the buckle. Note: changing the buckle might slightly change which hole you might use on the belt, due to a different length of the buckle used. The belt is nice enough to even wear as a dress belt or a gun belt. Make sure to follow how to measure an existing belt, to get your measurement. Belts can be made in 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 wide

Made in the USA from the great state of Texas. Bear Creek Holsters products are custom made in a small shop, and not mass produced. We use leather and leather products that are Made in the USA. Cow hides used in the making of our holsters come from Hermann Oak Leather in St Louis since 1881. Horse hide comes from Horween in Chicago since 1905. Leather products from Fiebing's in Milwaukee since 1895.