• Red Nichols, Holstorian

In Living Colour: Chic Gaylord

Updated: Feb 18

It's 1955 and Chic Gaylord puts out his only catalog that is still encountered today and accompanied by price lists of various dates of the late 1950s. His prices are incredibly low compared with Seventrees that follows a decade later; so despite Paris' rep as a very ordinary businessman at least he didn't underprice his goods (of which many have survived into the present day, not bad for a tiny operation). Colorized for our entertainment:

Chic doesn't describe 'boning' as being for retention -- because boning is not detail molding the leather but instead was a process he used to smooth the flesh side of his horsehide, by applying a plastic ball on a shaft in an electric drill to the wetted leather. Notice that he doesn't speak of retention at all on his 13 point list. 'Directional Draw' is explained in Paul Weston's book with a chapter about Chic, as meaning the holster has a 'point of view' for a particular type of target; so a shoulder holster is ideal for targets off to that one side vs. a belt scabbard being for targets that will be directly ahead of the officer.

Now notice not only Chic's low prices; notice the sting in the tail: forty percent off and 30 day TERMS to dealers; because, well, that's what everyone else does, e.g., Bianchi Holsters. So he's being paid just $3.00 per holster -- and event then only 'eventually' (gunleather dealers didn't, and don't, pay in 30 days; because instead they want to sell guns depite their low margins then and now):

What is arguably Chic's most famous design, because it was one he supplied to Elmer Keith (whose big .44s kept falling from it, leading to the copy by Sparks of the style with the Sloan retention system inside it), is this one that I reckon is the improvement to the Federal Speed Scabbard; there is an identical one (less the Bohlin retainer strap that Keith has affixed to it for the reason stated) for the same .44 frame, on eBay right now (which has sold immediately, to a friend of mine):

This appears to be an improvement of his Federal Speed Scabbard, which in his catalog has a mockery of a hammer guard while this one is a full shroud for the rear sights and the target hammers used in the field by the likes of Elmer Keith. Same oddly-shaped shroud was used on Milt's copy of it and by no other maker since.

Oh yeah, colourised images of Chic's book. They're no substitutes for the book, which, encountering it in an Oakland CA library in '66 when I returned from London age 16, showed me that holsters c/b sexy and not clunky like the Myres and Heisers, for example:

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