Regular care, cleaning, conditioning, and maintenance are essential to longevity of any leather product. Leather is a unique material that can be very strong and last decades if maintained properly. Below are some guidelines to help you best care for your GGL leather products. Please make time to properly check and maintain your equipment, this can help prevent injury or wreck due to equipment failure.
Care & Cleaning of GGL Mounted Shooting Rigs
GGL Mounted Shooting Rigs should be cleaned and conditioned as two separate pieces; the holsters and the belt/shoulder straps.
Holsters – Holsters are designed and built to maintain their shape and rigidity long term and must be cleaned differently than most leather goods. Do not soak or heavily dampen your holsters with water or oil, this can damage and permanently change the holster. To clean the exterior of the holster use a soft rag. Gently wipe away dust and debris. For heavier soiling (such as gun powder) liquid glyercin soap may be sprayed lightly onto a rag and used to clean the holster. Allow the holsters to dry completely before using. DO NOT USE OIL OR LEATHER CONDITIONER ON HOLSTERS as this can soften and change the gun-holding qualities the holsters are designed to have. If the leather is starting to heavily dry or crack, neatsfoot oil may be applied in VERY THIN coats to restore moisture and prevent cracking.
Gun Belts, Shoulder Straps, & Harnesses – When cleaning and conditioning your gun belt, gently slide the holsters off the belt. Leave holsters off belt until after the belt has dried completely. Gun belt, shoulder straps, and harnesses can be cleaned and conditioned as per similar routines as leather horse tack. Remove excess debris using appropriate leather cleaner such as saddle soap, Leather New, or Lexol Leather Cleaner, apply with a soft cloth using circular motion. Allow to dry completely, away from heat or direct sunlight for at least 12 hours. As needed, then apply a light coat of leather conditioner; Fiebings Aussie Conditioner or BlackRock are two good ones. Pay special attention to conditioning any place where the leather bends or folds as these are the places more prone to cracking. Be sure and allow leather to dry flat in a place away from heat or direct sunlight for 12 hours as it may take some time for leather to soak up the conditioner. After 12 hours, wipe away any excess and use a clean, soft cloth to buff leather to a shine.
Suede Liner – GGL holsters, shoulder strap, and back belt are lined with a suede liner. Suede can still get dirty just like other leathers but it cannot be cleaned or conditioned using water, oil, glycerin, conditioner or the like. To clean suede, a stiff brush or nubuck block is best as it removes dirt while still maintaining the nap of suede. Simply brush dirt away the stuff brush or rub using the nubuck block as needed.
Notes Regarding Conchos
Gunnin Girl Leatherworks is not responsible for lost conchos. Checking that conchos are tight is part of appropriate and regular leather gear maintenance. Screws on the back of conchos can loosen not only with regular use but also simply from bumping down the road in the horse trailer. I recommend keeping a screw driver and a small tube of blue Loctite (semi permanent so conchos can still be removed for cleaning) in your leather care kit or horse trailer. The blue Loctite can help reduce the risk of screws backing out but cannot completely prevent it.
Notes Regarding Using Oils
Liquid conditioning oils (example; neatsfoot oil) can greatly help the longevity of your leather products, however, there are a few things to note when using oils. When applying any liquid oil, do so in a very thin coat. Basting brushes work well for this. Be sure to store leather flat and away from heat or direct sunlight for at least 12hrs after each coat. Multiple coats can be used, especially in very dried out leather, however it is important to allow ample dry time between coats. Oil will naturally cause some darkening of the leather and if left near heat or direct sunlight the darkening effects will be greatly exacerbated.
Breaking in Your New Holsters
You’ll notice your holsters are VERY VERY tight when you receive them. In order for holsters to maintain their rigidity and hold-power long they must start very tight as leather natural will soften and stretch with time.
DO NOT USE OIL OR LEATHER CONDITIONER ON HOLSTERS
The best way to break in your holsters is to wear them around the house, while doing day to day activities, watching tv, doing barn chores, or cooling down your horse. During this time practice your gun change working your guns in and out of the holsters. This will take some muscle at first and you may need to use your non-shooting hand to assist. Holsters are designed for your gun to go in far enough that the trigger guard rests on the holster. If the trigger guard does not and your guns are not staying in the holsters, this means your guns are not pushed in far enough to engage the sight lock. As you practice and use your holsters they will become easier to pull your guns. The dry, gun-change practice will not only help break-in your holsters but it will also help you practice your gun change and work up to not looking at down when you change guns.
- For more info, there is a video on the Gunnin Girl Leatherworks channel about breaking in your GGL holsters. The link is here
Care & Cleaning of GGL Chaps & Chinks