• Red Nichols, Holstorian

Damned copycats

Updated: Feb 2

All my professional life, other holster makers have been copying my innovations and dammit, I'm not 'flattered'. Instead I reckon that they should use their own damned brains and come up with their own innovations!

Now, if I didn't know that Thad Rybka (that's his holster above) had been shown one of my innovative holsters, and admired its details, I'd think I was just being paranoid. But it happened right . . . HERE:

Not in the general publicity in the above -- but when I sent along my products to Roy that resulted in this; because, with both of us being Bianchi Holsters alumni, I reckoned he would want to refresh his understanding of what I did/do. He showed them to his good mate Thad Rybka!

This is what happened when J.M. Bucheimer sent a sample of their new Sloan holster to Elmer Keith in the late 1960s (we have his thank-you letter to the company): Keith showed it to newbie Milt Sparks in '72 when Milt, a pilot ho had once flown Elmer on the latter's hunts, visited him for the same kind of publicity support -- and the two of them copied it! Folks have been confusing the two holsters ever since (it's not a Sparks, it's Elmer's holster from Chic Gaylord that preceded Milt's, who was a professional copycat):

Milt integrated the Sloan invention into a copy of the Gaylord above, and the result (remember that the forward welt was all the rage at Safariland at that time) for Keith looked like this. This has led to the false legend, spread by Kanaley when he owned the Milt Sparks company until recently, that Milt 'improved' Sloan's holster by adding the hammer guard!! False, as you can see; the slide guard is from the Gaylord, and the Sloan already had a hammer guard . . ..

In Sloan's case his product was patented; in my case mine is what's called a Configuration Trademark. The construction of the slide guard with its reinforcement is cosmetic styling only, and the manner it which I executed it is not itself functional. I even so-marked my products of that era:

My example here, to suit a SIG for my erstwhile gunfighter/agent in USA, uses my narrowed slide guard reinforcement that other makers would have run out to the edge of the slide guard itself; but I narrowed it substantially for styling reasons. Both rows of sewing show: for the extension of the belt loop to the slide guard, and the sewing for the lining at the edge of it.

Not ever done before, Thad. And Roy. Nor had my trademark 'skeleton slot' that is visible on Rybka's holster, with the offset holes at each end and recurved slit. Invent your own damned stuff after 50 years' service by Red Nichols to the industry! I won't live forever . . ..

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