gun belt aging

How Leather Aging Will Impact A Gun Belt

If you buy a leather gun belt, there are going to be some effects of natural leather aging that you just can't do anything about. However, it's really not much cause for worry. If anything, there are certain aspects of leather aging that are highly desirable.

First Will Be Leather Patina

Leather patina over time

People into vintage clothing - and also serious leather geeks - love a good leather patina. That's the dull shine on the surface of a fine leather product that can only be the result of an item that's seen a good amount of use. Fine leather products will develop that muted luster along with some darkened areas over its lifetime.

A lot of people find it highly desirable, and will go out of their way to buy used products that have it. Not only that, some people find ways to artificially age a leather product to get it - sort of like how pre-faded jeans are a thing.

Quality leather gun belts made from quality leathers will develop leather patina. It's just part of the aging process. You'll notice areas where the leather darkens and others where it develops that tell-tale dull shine.

It won't set in overnight; leather patina takes years to develop, which is why a lot of people like to accelerate the process.

Leather Aging For Fine Leathers

gun belt finishing

Leather aging is part of how you tell good quality leather from leather of lesser quality. As poor quality leather ages, it will begin to tell. Poor quality leathers are often painted or given some other manner of fake grain. The finish - which covers up bad leather - will crack, fade unevenly and begin to look terrible, and quickly if exposed to a good deal of sunlight. A quality leather item will not.

That said, a good piece of leather will still lose a uniform appearance over time. Some areas will darken, others get a patina. This is totally natural, so it's nothing to be distressed over. (And it doesn't matter if you pardon that pun or not.)

Bear in mind that leather is made from skin. Dye penetrates leather, but only changes the color - not the surface of the material itself. Dyes will fade over time due to exposure to UV radiation and moisture (sunlight and moisture tend to find their way through molecular bonds), though quality dyeing will hold up better. It's completely normal and to the vintage goods crowd, desirable. You may also notice that cracks, other patterns and what look like scars begin to show through the dye. There isn't much to be done about that; that's just what the skin of the animal was like.

Moderate darkening can also occur with use of care products routinely used in leather gun belt care or maintaining any fine leather product. You may also notice some softening over time, but this is also normal. In fact, if it's a piece of leather you wear, it will make the item more comfortable.

But A Good Leather Gun Belt Will Still Hold

gun belt will hold up

Another key difference in a quality product, like a good leather gun belt, will be that age doesn't affect function. A belt made from not very good leather will lose it's hold over time. You'll notice your pants riding a little lower and you'll have to cinch it a little tighter. A good belt, made from good materials, won't.

The highest quality leather products are full-grain leather. Out of all leather types, full grain leather items will look better than other leather products with age, but more importantly won't lose function. Typically, you pay a premium for the highest quality leather but that premium will pay for itself with longevity, as quality leather goods can last a lifetime with moderate care.

If you buy a leather gun belt, look for one that will easily hold up for the long haul. A full-grain leather belt is apt to last for your lifetime. A single-ply leather belt can be strong enough to carry every day, but a two-ply belt will be much stronger. A reinforced two-ply belt will be stronger still.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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